The Lord Mayor celebrates Lancashire in Mansion House dinner
- Credit: Peter Drinkell
Almost 300 Lancastrian exiles gathered at the Mansion House in London for a night of celebration. Editor Roger Borrell was among the guests.
It’s probably safe to assume that in the 278-year history of London’s Mansion House its Palladian columns have never reverberated to a rousing rendition of George Formby’s ‘When I’m Cleaning Windows’…that is, until the Lankies took over the Lord Mayor’s stately abode.
Not that the Rt Hon Alderman Dr Andrew Parmley minded. In fact, he welcomed us with open arms. For the Lord Mayor was among friends having been born in Manchester and raised in Blackpool. And, as for the choice of music, he beamed approval. After all, he’s a Fellow of the Royal College of Organists and Trinity College, London, and an Honorary Fellow of the Guildhall School of Music so he knows a good tune when he hears one.
And just in case there was any doubt about his antecedents, a banner was hung from the palatial Banqueting Hall’s gallery declaring: ‘Our Gradely Lord Mayor.’ He was there to host the 125th anniversary dinner marking the foundation of the Association of Lancastrians in London. This fine body of men – and now, happily, women – was established in 1892 by Samuel Pope, QC, the Recorder of Bolton. Its aim was ‘to promote friendship and good cheer among Lancastrians living in and around London.’
They have continued to do that in some style. Similar county organisations have fallen by the wayside, but the red rose continues to blossom in the capital proving you can take the boy or girl out of Lancashire but…well, you know the rest.
Today, the association also continues to raise money through a series of events and this cash helps to pay for trips for schoolchildren across Lancashire.
The Queen, the Duke of Lancaster, is its patron and Her Majesty sent a message of congratulations to the 280 Lancashire exiles who gathered for this evening of fine food and, as you would expect, much good humour - not all of it at Yorkshire’s expense.
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The Lord Mayor re-enacted the knighting of the loin of beef and leading city actuary and President of the association, Adrian Waddingham, gave a barnstorming speech to a cheering audience.
‘It must be quiet in the County tonight - everybody’s here!’ he told guests. ‘A Garter King of Arms, a Common’s Sergeant, enough Deputy Lieutenants to fill Fulwood Barracks, a Government actuary and the man who single-handedly dug the Crossrail tunnel. And more than enough judges to fill a Supreme Court.
‘The Lord Lieutenant and the High Sheriff do us proud by their presence and it is much appreciated. Lord Shuttleworth appears twice in our list of past Presidents, as does his great grandfather. Your family have done well by Lancashire. You and High Sheriff Robert Webb have travelled down specially. We thank you both for looking after Lancashire while the rest of us run London, this foreign outpost.’
After the feast came Mark Walsh on banjolele, music from the Royal Marine Association Band and Lanky verses from Peter Charlton. Guests left with a bag of local treats which included, of course, a little stick of Blackpool rock.