How I found myself singing with the Lord Mayor of London and the saxophonist from Supertramp
22nd September 2020, City Giving Day, dawned bright and full of promise, but for me it wasn’t the early start it would have been in previous years, heading in to the City of London to see the Lord Mayor of London launch proceedings in Guildhall Yard.
Today I was to join him, this year the honour rests with Alderman William Russell, live from Mansion House, on a Zoom call with my fellow virtual choir members, and Supertramp legend John Helliwell, for the premier of our City Giving Day song ‘Give a Little Bit’.
City Giving Day, now in its 7th year, is the focal point for the Lord Mayors Appeal, a charity which aims to have a transformational impact on people’s lives by bringing together businesses, employees, neighbouring communities and charities to find solutions to some of London’s most pressing societal issues. Primarily it seeks to raise funds to support charities/projects that address at least two of the four key pillars of the scheme; inclusive, healthy, skilled, fair. To date it has raised in excess of £500,000.
My involvement this year was a choral contribution to an initiative orchestrated, excuse the pun, by Music in Offices. Following a couple of Zoom rehearsal sessions, participants such as myself submitted their recordings which were brought together along with that of Alderman Russell and Supertramp saxophonist John Helliwell. The result was fantastic;
Where do the red socks come in to it I hear you ask. Well, after the big reveal, of the song, not the socks, Alderman Russell and John Helliwell entered what can only be described as a ‘banterous’ exchange, my children would cringe to hear me say that.
We are encouraged to Go Red on City Giving Day, red being the colour of the Alderman’s robe, and John, being concerned that the top he was wearing was more maroon than red, surprised us all by climbing on his chair, lifting up his trousers and showing us his bright red socks. John would forgive me I’m sure for saying he is not in the flower of youth and was remarkably agile.
Red socks away and John safely restored to a seated position, it was his turn to be surprised when the Lord Mayor announced that he would like to put him forward for the honour of the Freedom of the City of London in recognition of his contribution to City Giving Day. When John asked if this involved a giant key he was kindly told that it did not but that if he has any sheep he will be permitted to herd them across London Bridge, an ancient ‘right’ given to Freemen and famously exercised by Dame Barbara Windsor in 2015 and by Alan Titchmarsh in 2018, a stunt which, as it happens, raised a good deal of funds for the Lord Mayors Appeal.
Speaking of fundraising, which is what City Giving Day is all about, please consider donating to The Lord Mayor’s Appeal which this year is supporting Place2Be, Samaritans, OnSide Youth Zones and The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. Text TLMA4321 to 70191 to donate £10. Thank you.
by Julie Tucker, Corporate Social Responsibility Manager