Tobacco Trade Sponsored Charity Lunch

Always a popular event with our members, the whole thing really comes together when the sun shines and the lovely Harris Garden can be fully occupied to good purpose. Happily we were blessed with fine weather and, with jazz band accompaniment, diners started arriving from 11am to enjoy cigars and champagne and lots and lots of chat!

Our Livery put in a strong turnout and perhaps some twenty or so of us were present and many fine Havana’s were reduced to ashes before the MC invited us inside. It was a particular pleasure to find that, at the last moment, the venue had changed from the somewhat municipal Thomas Lord Suite, to the Long Gallery and so it was to one of London’s finest rooms we adjourned for lunch. The Livery mainly occupied two tables, plus our Master of course who sat with guest speaker, Henry ‘Blowers’ Blofeld and AITS chairman Paresh Patel.

Dining well off rare roast beef, we were allowed a generous ‘comfort’ break before coffee, a euphemism for a smoking break and more than half the room made good use of the time.

Reassembled, the Master awarded the Retailer of the Year award to Gauntley’s of Nottingham before Blowers took to the podium. It was a bit of a busman’s holiday of course for him, and he’d actually been in the Long Room the night before as guest speaker at dinner – perhaps we got the same speech, who knows, but we enjoyed twenty or some minutes of whimsical cricketing and career anecdotes, and he even fielded a couple of questions at the end.

With that done, the raffle was next, generously piled with great things, Liveryman John Noble won a £500 Italian pipe! With the proceedings formal all done with, many of us went to enjoy a sunny terrace at the Tavern next door and see out the afternoon – a lovely day to which thanks is owed, as ever, to Past Master Roger Merton and his gang, and whose efforts raised an impressive £12,935 for The Tobacco Pipe Makers & Tobacco Trade Benevolent Fund, ‘Welfare Fund’– well done indeed!