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2012 : City Lunch Review

2012 City Lunch

I remember sitting in the Officers Mess at 10 Stone Buildings back in 2002 – brandishing a list of 30 Worthians who had ‘promised’ to attend our pilot WOBS City Lunch – just waiting to see if anyone would actually turn up!  These 30 had not proved easy to pin down but gradually; faces familiar, changed and new trickled in and, half an hour or so after the appointed time, we had a quorum and sat down to a lunch that would have been memorable had we not then gone on to a local bar afterwards…

Now here we are 10 years later and it is clear that the City Lunch has come of age.  Nick Barnett and Olivia had scoured the City in search of restaurants that could accommodate 60 for a sit down lunch in a private room.  They settled on Vivat Baachus in Farringdon Road and not only were these 60 places quickly filled – there were a further 14 on a waiting list.

One of the greatest strengths of Worth Society is that it offers opportunities not only to catch up with old friends, but also to make new ones who may be from quite a different generation.  This is increasingly the case with the City Lunch which, though informal and fun, is also a great networking event and an opportunity to tell fellow Worthians what you do.

This year the pre-lunch drinks were kindly sponsored by Nick Barnett who was promoting his Fine Jewellery business.  In the past lawyers, estate agents, wine merchants and distillers have all kindly supported the event.  It was particularly heartening to see the increased numbers of Worthians in their 20s and 30s attending this year – some already well established in their careers, while others were still looking for ‘that ideal job’.

Abbot Kevin joined us and was mobbed by the usual queue of those wanting marriages, baptisms and maybe even the odd informal confession conducted (I’m sure if the Church still had Chaucerian Pardoners Abbot Kevin would do rather well!).

It was fantastic to see a good number of the Society’s Honorary Members present, including Fred Belcher, Evonne Gubbin, Glenn Robertson, Nick Robinson, Roger Stokes and Helen Sweetman – who all obviously still receive their monthly package of miracle drug from!

Lunch was hearty, sanguine fayre; bloody steaks with chips and gallons of red wine; but it really could have been sheep’s eyes in marmite, no would have cared because the real reason for being there was to talk – and the room was buzzing with chat and laughter.  

The few hours passed incredibly quickly and those running desks or with afternoon meetings started to shoot off before we had the chance to exchange much more than a nod or a wave across the table.

With diaries so difficult to co-ordinate, this really is one date to put in the diary which is the alumni equivalent of speed dating –“Hi, how are you? How many kids have you got now? I see you’ve moved job? Are you on LinkedIn?” – and then someone else taps you on the shoulder, further introductions are made and the banter continues.

It was over all too quickly – roll on 2013!

Simon McMenemy (R’89)