This year’s Livery Lunch was held on (a very warm) Wednesday 16th July at the Cavalry and Guards’ Club in Piccadilly. As on previous occasions, this is a wonderful opportunity to meet not only our fellow liverymen including Honorary Liverymen and Freemen, but also spouses and partners, and it was good to see a number of these present.
Following a delightful reception, and after grace by our Chaplain, Colin Semper, we settled down to an excellent lunch of smoked trout parfait, lamb and Eton mess, as usual accompanied by well-chosen wines.
The Livery Lunch is a somewhat less formal occasion than our various dinners, and a very good opportunity for those who may find attending an evening event difficult for one reason or another. Whilst there were, therefore, no formal speeches, we were very privileged indeed to have an illustrated talk from Maggie Burgess on the subject of Promise Nepal, a charitable venture she helped establish, which provides a wide range of assistance to those suffering from leprosy in that country, and which was one of the four charities supported by our Master, Simon Bartley, and our Clerk, Jollyon Coombs, in their recent Great Glen Challenge.
Maggie spoke simply and movingly about the effects of leprosy in Nepal, which has the third highest incidence of the disease. Far from being a disease of the past , it is not only still prevalent, but fear of it leads to the ostracism and even the incarceration of its victims. Leprosy, however, is one of the least contagious diseases, and, whilst the long-term effects of untreated leprosy can be very severe indeed, it is curable with drug therapy. The difficulties encountered by Promise Nepal are manifold. Victims may (not surprisingly) be reluctant to admit to the disease or to seek treatment, funding is scarce, mis-information and fear abounds, and knowledge about how to treat the disease itself and leprosy patients is poor. On a positive note, however, Promise Nepal has achieved some remarkable results, in terms of providing medical facilities (including a specialist hospital), support and rehabilitation for victims, and extending knowledge of the disease. Maggie gave us heartening details of some individual cases where lives have, literally, been transformed. We thank Maggie for giving us a most important and informative talk.