Historic Saint George’s Day Luncheon

Members and guests were treated to a truly inspiring St George’s Day talk from Admiral Sir Jock Slater as they enjoyed the Farmers Club’s splendid new facilities

A wonderful selection of photos from the Event can be found in the Farmers Club Photo Gallery within the Library section of the website https://www.flickr.com/photos/farmersclublondon/albums/72157679827067203

 

MEMBERS reaped the full benefit of the £1.5m Project CREST refurbishment as 100 sat down for a St George’s Day luncheon in the Farmers Suite, with 30 more dining in the Restaurant, including a 200th anniversary lunch for the Auctioneers Association on Friday 21st April 2017.

Chairman Tim Bennett paid warm tribute to all the staff who had made this the biggest single kitchen service in the Club’s history, a clear dividend of the decision to invest in the future of the Club for the benefit of all members.

The lunch comprised an asparagus, pheasant egg, truffle cream and pumpernickel crumb starter, followed by Hereford beef, then Champagne rhubarb and strawberries. Restaurant diners also enjoyed a special St George’s Menu, while the auctioneers enjoyed a menu based on their original luncheon two centuries earlier.

Guest speaker Admiral Sir Jock Slater GCB LVO DL, held the audience spell-bound as he delivered a rousing, witty and extremely apposite talk, landing line after line with precision, before a final salvo drew a standing ovation to rapturous applause.

Hailing from north of the border he trod a skilful line of self-deprecation, reflecting on an English education singing “Cry God for Harry, England and Saint George” without the slightest qualm – “may St Andrew forgive me”.

He admitted to being a proud Scott, but a staunch Anglophile, “except at Twickenham for the Calcutta Cup.” He lauded England’s patron saint, and all he stood for, but noted the irony of his origins as a fourth century Roman soldier, and role as patron saint of numerous other nations, who was only appropriated by Richard the Lionheart during the crusades.

Interestingly, George in his parent’s Syrian language was Georgios, roughly translating as god of crops and farming – most fitting for the Farmers Club.

As a former Vice Chief of the Defence Staff Sir Jock paid warm tribute to the armed services, noting the value of a global sea-borne reach, independent of shore support, in volatile times, with the Russian bear growling, China growing, the Korean peninsula frighteningly unstable, the Middle East imploding and a worryingly unpredictable and divisive US president.

“It is no time to drop our guard.” Whilst the services had always been pressured, in reality there was much that was good and very impressive indeed. “We should be proud of our achievements, and can-do attitude, but should never take the services for granted.” The aircraft carriers HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales were a major step forward in the UK’s defence assets.

Moving to a hilarious rendition of a modern St George he considered how computer modelling would be required before setting off to tackle any dragon or rescue a damsel, using a horse procured through a PFI, with Whitehall-approved armour, a lance from ebay, rations approved by the Food Standards Agency, and an appearance on Strictly Come Dancing upon his return, or even the Graham Norton Show. “How wonderfully uncomplicated life used to be!”

In conclusion he paid tribute to all St George stood for. “As we commemorate his death let us give thanks that we live in a great country, with history and traditions to be proud of. We must live up to that inheritance and ensure we have the confidence, courage, qualities and strong sense of purpose and leadership to make an influential impact on the world stage in the 21st Century.”

 

Details of further Club talks and events can be found on the Events page of the Farmers Club website here http://www.thefarmersclub.com/events