The Yorkshire Big Curry Lunch

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For 15 years, ABF The Soldiers’ Charity has hosted The Lord Mayor’s Big Curry Lunch in the Guildhall, London. This year, the Yorkshire Big Curry Lunch brings the Army’s favourite dish to God’s Own Country. Look at this event as our culinary contribution to ‘levelling-up’!

With the same look and feel of our flagship London event, we are giving the opportunity to eat curry and be merry in the iconic Merchant Adventurers’ Hall on Fossgate. We are extremely privileged to have the use of this historic 14th century building, and are hugely grateful to the Company of Merchant Adventurers of the City of York for their support in running this event.

Merchant Adventurers' Hall

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Merchant Adventurers' Hall Location

You will rub shoulders with VIPs and civic dignitaries, senior officers from the British Army, and corporate influencers from across Yorkshire.

Unlimited curry, beer, and wine is on offer to lubricate the networking opportunities, and raise money for the Army’s national charity. For an additional tipple, we also have a cash bar serving Champagne (with raffle entry) and more exotic drinks.

There will be a chance to gather prior to lunch in the Undercroft, where the space will be organised to maximise networking opportunities. Lunch will be served banquet style, with no formal seating plans, in two sittings in the Great Hall – guests may be surprised by who they are sat next to!

The networking opportunities will continue after lunch, to enable discussions to continue and, of course, more money to be raised for the Charity!

Throughout the afternoon there will be an opportunity to bid on a live auction, and take part in an extra-special raffle draw.

The hottest event in Yorkshire this year!


The event will feature musical accompaniment with an ensemble from the Band of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, and pipers from the Royal Dragoon Guards.

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For ticket details, please see the ‘Tickets’ tab above, or just click on the link below. On arrival, you will be given a colour-coded pin badge – this will be your passport to the curry, beer, and much more!

The timings for each sitting are as follows; please use the appropriate registration for the sitting you wish to book for.

  • Sitting One – 12:30
  • Sitting Two – 13:30

Irrespective of which sitting you choose, you are welcome to arrive from 12:00 and enjoy the networking opportunities and hospitality on offer for the whole of the event (not just your designated sitting). You will be called through to dine when it is time for your sitting.

If you encounter any difficulties with the booking process, please get in touch with either Barney Barnbrook or Amy Simeon.

Group and Corporate Bookings

Those who book for ten (or more) will be eligible for a dedicated space in the reception area for client hosting.


We have a number of iconic brands supporting this event but would love to partner with further organisations. For more information and to discuss available options, please get in touch with Lt Col Barney Barnbrook, Regional Director, ABF The Soldiers’ Charity.

Please see the ‘Sponsorship’ tab above for further details. Opportunities are available for both financial sponsorship and support-in-kind.


The dress code for the event is Business/Business Smart Casual. The wearing of high heels and steel-tipped (hobs or taps) shoes is not recommended in the Grand Hall, due to the uneven nature of the floor. High-heel caps will be available.

The Small Print

There is no small print – this is an opportunity to host, engage, dine, and raise funds for the Army’s national charity! That said, whilst the event does offer unlimited beer and wine (and curry, where overindulgence can bring its own issues!), we do advocate drinking responsibly, and in moderation.

Please also be considerate to the building that we are privileged to be using. The Merchant Adventurers’ Hall has been a York landmark since the 14th Century. Whilst it has its stories to tell, we don’t want any stories of woe from the Yorkshire Big Curry Lunch!

Keep Calm and Curry On!

Eat curry, help others – what’s not to like?

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When you click on the ticketing link below (or scan the QR code), please select the appropriate tickets from the list of options.

You can choose between the two lunch sittings, both costing £55.00 per person. Registration will allow you to book up to 20 tickets per booking; if you would like to purchase more than twenty, please email us.

The timings for each sitting are as follows; please use the appropriate registration for the sitting you wish to book for.

  • Sitting One – 12:30
  • Sitting Two – 13:30

Irrespective of which sitting you choose, you are welcome to arrive from 12:00 and enjoy the networking opportunities and hospitality on offer for the whole of the event (not just your designated sitting)

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The standard method of payment is Credit/Debit card. If you would prefer to pay by invoice, please use the ‘Pay by Invoice’ option, and we will send an invoice reflecting the company/organisation details given. Payment can then be made via BACS or cheque.

When registering, there is an option to make an additional donation. This is not compulsory, but any additional contributions would be greatly appreciated, and would help to offset any credit card transaction fees.

Group and Corporate Bookings

Those who book for ten (or more) will be eligible for a dedicated space in the reception area for client hosting.

Registration QR Code BITLY Branded

On arrival, you will be given a colour-coded pin badge – this will be your passport to the curry, beer, and much more! Those who book for ten (or more) will be eligible for a dedicated space in the reception area for client hosting. Please also bring a printed/mobile copy of your confirmation email.

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This will be the first year that the Charity has hosted a large-scale ‘northern’ Big Curry. Aiming to have the same ‘look and feel’ as the flagship annual Lord Mayor’s Big Curry in London, we hope that it will become a hardy annual event in the Yorkshire calendar – a culinary expression of levelling up. After all, Yorkshire has become the curry heartland of the Country and, for many years, curry has been a staple food of the British Army – synergy indeed!


The Yorkshire Big Curry Lunch has four key purposes:

*To raise funds to support Soldiers and former Soldiers, both Regulars and Reservists,  and their families.

*To raise awareness in Yorkshire of the role of the British Army, particularly among a younger generation of Yorkshire Folk.

*To build awareness of the Army’s national charity that works ceaselessly to support all members of the British Army Family.

*To emphasise breadth and depth of Yorkshire’s philanthropy in support of those in society who need help in a variety of ways.



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Event Sponsorship

This event would not be possible without the generosity of our sponsors. Opportunities are available for both financial sponsorship and support-in-kind.

Sponsorship Packages

Sponsor Packages


We would love to partner with further organisations. For more information and to discuss available options, please get in touch with, Regional Director, ABF The Soldiers’ Charity.

The Yorkshire Big Curry Lunch Sponsors and Supporters

Burflex ScaffoldingBurflex Table LogoEvent Partner
Hugh JamesHugh James Table LogoSilver Sponsors
City Cruises YorkCity Cruises TableSilver Sponsors (Champagne Reception)
Pulse FitnessPulse Fitness Table LogoBronze Sponsors
University of YorkUniverstity of York TableBronze Sponsors
York RLFCYork RLFCSupporter
St Peter's School YorkSt Peter's School York TableCatering Sponsors
The Company of Merchant AdventurersVenue Sponsors
Brew YorkBrew York TableBeer Sponsors
Cobra BeerCobra TableBeer Sponsors
Betty'sBettys Table'Fat Rascal' Sponsors
Harrogate SpringHarrogate Spring TableWater Sponsors
Gough and KellyGK TableSecurity Sponsors
Lord Mayor of YorkLord Mayor York TableHosting Support
Thor'sThors TableEvent Support
Band of the Royal Regiment of FusiliersRRF Table LogoArmy Musical Support
YO1 Radio (York)YO1 RadioMedia Support
York GarrisonYork Garrison TableEvent Support
RFCA Yorks & HumberRFCA TableEvent Support
2 Signal Regiment2SR TableEvent Support
The Royal Dragoon GuardsRDG TableEvent Support
The Royal Yorkshire RegimentYORKS TableEvent Support
St John AmbulanceSt John Ambulance Small LogoEvent Support

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Auction Prizes

A full list of auction lots is available via the Givergy website. The auction is now live, and it is not restricted to just those who attend on the day.

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Below is a selection of lots on offer.

Lot 1: Framed ‘Century of Centuries’ Limited Edition Handkerchief and England Cap signed by Sir Geoff Boycott. The commemorative handkerchief marked the 1977 Test match at Headingley, vs Australia, where Boycott scored his 100th ‘100’.

Geoff Boycott Hankie
Lot 1: Century of Centuries Handkerchief

Lot 2: A ‘fight night’ for four at the Infantry Training Centre Catterick Boxing Evening. The Army Boxing Team will compete against Boxing Wales. Date: 2nd November 2023; Venue: Infantry Training Centre, Catterick Garrison, North Yorkshire.

ITC Boxing Prize
Lot 2: ITC Catterick Boxing Evening

Lot 3: Sheriff Andrew Marsden will give four people a private tour of the Old Bailey, the most famous court building in the world, followed by a Champagne reception in the Shrieval Apartments.

An early evening by mutual agreement, before October 2023.

Old Bailey
Lot 3: Tour of the Old Bailey

Lot 4: Tour of the Palace of Westminster for four people, accompanied by Lord Crathorne KCVO JP, former Lord-Lieutenant, with lunch.

Houses of Parliament
Lot 4: Tour of the Houses of Parliament

Lot 5: Signed portrait of the legendary Lieutenant Colonel Robert Blair ‘Paddy’ MayneDSO (3 Bars), Special Air Service Regiment. By local Yorkshire artist Lee Buccilli

Paddy Mayne
Lot 5: Paddy Mayne Print

Lot 6: Signed portrait of the Special Air Service Regiment’s storming of the Iranian Embassy in 1980 – the legendary ‘balcony’. By local Yorkshire artist Lee Buccilli.

The Balcony
Lot 6: SAS Iranian Embassy Siege Print

Lot 7: An exclusive beer tasting for 6 people led by Brew York founder Lee Grabham in their new Tasting Lounge. Tour the brewery, try the beers and learn more about this exciting brewery that supplies beer made in York across the world!

Brew York
Lot 7: Brew York Experience

Lot 8: Let Expedition Yorkshire take your party of 7 on an unforgettable tour of God’s Own County. The lot includes a day exploring Yorkshire in their luxury Mercedes people carrier with an experienced guide. You will have the chance to shape the tour around your own interests.

Expedition York
Lot 8: Expedition Yorkshire Experience

Lot 9: Enjoy a day in Somerset blowing things up with Alford Technologies! Up to 4 people can experience an exclusive day at Alford Technologies Test and Evaluation Site – Broadmead Quarry (near Wells in Somerset) which will include the opportunity to get hands on experience with explosives, conduct practical techniques developed by Alford Technologies, including IED disruption, explosive breaching and much more! A buffet Lunch on site is included. Date by mutual agreement.

Alford Technologies
Lot 9: Blow Stuff Up!

Lot 10: A two night stay in a two bedroom premium apartment (sleeps 3 to 4) at Plawsworth Hall on the edge of the beautiful Durham Dales and just a five minute drive from the city centre of Durham  Valid to 31 December 2023 but not available for bank holidays.

Plawsworth Hall
Lot 10: Plawsworth Hall

Lot 11: A rare opportunity for 4 to attend the Commandant’s Rehearsal of the Sovereign’s Parade at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. Including champagne drinks reception, lunch, and a tour of the Academy. Date: either 20th August 2023, 0r 8th December 2023.

RMAS Auction Prize
Lot 11: Commandant’s Rehearsal, Royal Military Academy Sandhurst

Terms and conditions apply, and prizes shown here may be subject to change.

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Who we are

ABF The Soldiers’ Charity is the National Charity of the British Army, supporting soldiers and veterans from every conflict, and their immediate families. We were established as the Army Benevolent Fund in 1944, to ensure that the hardships endured by soldiers in the aftermath of 1914-18 were never repeated.

Most soldiers leave the Army with a promising future and excellent life skills, but there are some who need extra support as a result of their service. For more than 70 years we have been helping people from the Army family, defining our work through the Army’s own values of courage, loyalty and selflessness. We are constantly changing and adapting to meet the current needs of today’s Army: each year we provide assistance to some 5,000 individuals in need, and give grants to up to 100 other charities and partner organisations, which deliver specialist support on our collective behalf – touching the lives of around 80,000 people per annum.

Our Purpose

ABF The Soldiers’ Charity works hard to ensure that all soldiers and veterans of the British Army, and their immediate families, are afforded the independence and dignity they deserve. We make grants to individuals and to a wide range of specialist charities that sustain the British Army ‘family’, both at home and around the world.

What we do

We often help with the everyday things, which may not be exciting, but are life-changing to our beneficiaries. Support with care home fees, training courses or home adaptations are just some of the things that can ensure every soldier and veteran of the British Army is afforded the independence and dignity they deserve.

Those individuals who need us usually come to us through their Regiments or Corps, and we can often provide vital help within 48 hours. On some occasions, we can provide a grant within minutes; we understand that if you’re facing a night without shelter or your next meal, you need help right away.

The scope of our work is enormous; last year our eldest beneficiary was a 108-year-old World War II widow who needed assistance in paying her care home fees. The youngest was a two-year-old child of a serving soldier who needed funding for a specialist piece of medical equipment.

How We Help

BriefcaseEducation and Training Grants. If a veteran is struggling to secure a civilian job after leaving the Army or has been made redundant unexpectedly, we cover the cost of training fees and provide them with the tools and equipment they need to build a sustainable career.
FamilyFamily Grants. Support to the immediate families of soldiers and veterans who have found themselves in unexpected or exceptional difficulty. Due to the cost-of-living crisis we are expecting more families to come forward for urgent support.
ElderlyElderly Care Grants. Including home adaptations such as stairlifts, grab rails, riser/recliner beds, as well as Electric Powered Vehicles, all of which enable independent living and help to combat loneliness. When an elderly veteran is no longer able to live at home, we also cover the balance of care home fees so that they can access appropriate support.
Mobility Grants. Empowering injured veterans to live as normal a life as possible by paying for specialist mobility equipment. This includes wide-ranging support to wounded soldiers, many of whom will need increasing financial assistance for decades to come, as well as dependant family members with mobility issues.
Wellbeing Grants. Provide a variety of support, such as respite breaks to relieve Army families caring for a loved one, or a bicycle for a veteran suffering from PTSD so that they can get outdoors and be active, aiding their recovery. Whilst we acknowledge that all our grant-making efforts contribute towards improved mental health and wellbeing, these grants provide more targeted help.
Housing Grants. Our housing grants ensure veterans and their families have a safe and adequate place to live. From providing a homeless veteran with a rental deposit and essential furniture, to covering the rent arrears of an Army family who have lost their income and are threatened with eviction.

Military Welfare Ecosystem

The Military Welfare Ecosystem

A Yorkshire Imperative

The Yorkshire Region remains one of the strongest recruiting areas for the British Army; it is also the home of the largest military garrison in Northern Europe. Consequently, a disproportionate amount of the Charity’s support is focused here, particularly as many soldiers return home on completion of their service, and many of those who come from elsewhere but have served in Yorkshire, remain in Yorkshire after retirement (and who wouldn’t?).


Due diligence is undertaken at every stage in our grant making process, and our strong governance infrastructure means that we are uniquely placed at the centre of the military welfare network to ensure that our help is distributed fairly.

We fund SSAFA (the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association) caseworkers to establish that every applicant’s need is genuine, and to ensure that all possible sources of statutory funding have been exhausted before we make a grant.

More Information

For more information on the Charity’s work, please visit our website.


We rely on volunteers to make events like the Yorkshire Big Curry Lunch successful. It you are able to give up a few hours on the day to help us, we’d be extremely grateful – please email either Barney or Amy to discuss available options.

Whether it is guiding guests throughout the afternoon, assisting with the auction, or helping the waiting-on staff, there’s plenty to do.

All volunteers will get free curry and beer to boot!

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FR Regulator   COBSEO Veterans Scotland

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Yorkshire Case Studies

Here, we look at two of our Yorkshire beneficiaries. Further stories about how we help can be read on our website.

Lee was 24 when a back injury ended his Army career. With a little help from our charity, he now runs a successful commercial cleaning business that operates across North Yorkshire.

Lee Harris Hamer

Lee Harris-Hamer joined the Royal Artillery in 2008, aged 17. He deployed to Afghanistan in 2010 and again in 2012, serving a total of eight years and rising to the rank of Lance Bombardier.

Then, aged 24, a back injury ended his Army career. For a fit young soldier, the news was devastating. Lee struggled with feelings of worthlessness and developed anxiety and depression. Eventually, he entered the Personal Recovery Unit in Catterick and was assigned a Personal Recovery Officer who helped to transform his outlook. With a wife and young child at home, Lee decided to use the skills he’d developed in the Army to start his own carpet-cleaning business.

Lee named his business White Horse Cleaning Services after the Kilburn White Horse carved onto the hillside near Thirsk, North Yorkshire. ABF The Soldiers’ Charity supported Lee with his new venture, helping him fund training courses in Leicester and to purchase specialist cleaning equipment.

White Horse VanIn 2016, Lee started his carpet cleaning business in Thirsk. Several years on, Lee’s business is thriving. His business plan has changed and White Horse Cleaning Services now offers a full suite of cleaning services for commercial buildings and factories across North Yorkshire. In 2022, Lee now employs 46 staff and the business continues to expand. Lee sees his employees as part of the family, with the same brother and sisterhood he remembers from his Army days.

Lee’s commitment to the Armed Forces remains a driving force behind White Horse Cleaning Services. In 2021, Lee’s company gained Silver accreditation in the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme; a great achievement. The company aligns it’s values with the Armed Forces. Lee is aiming to become the number one specialist commercial cleaning contractor in Yorkshire region and beyond. His is a story of triumph over adversity.

In 2022, Lee was nominated for the Soldiering On Awards and has won the ‘Business of the Year – Scale Up’ award, which honours an individual or group of individuals linked with the Armed Forces Community who have started a successful new venture more than two years ago and who still retain a minimum of 50% interest in the venture.

Our charity is very proud of Lee’s achievements and send our warmest congratulations on the growth of his business.

Les was in caught in an IED explosion in Afghanistan, ending his 13 year career in The Light Dragoons. A keen mountaineer, he was awarded a Silver Medal by the Humane Society in 2016 for rescuing another climber just 500m from the Mount Everest summit. On Friday 13 May 2022, Les ‘cried tears of joy’ after making Everest summit at third attempt.

Les Binns

Les Binns joined the Army in 1997 and served operational tours in Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan. On his second tour of Afghanistan in 2009, he was awarded The Queen’s Commendation for Bravery for looking after casualties. Then, whilst on a patrol, he was in the vicinity of an IED explosion and peppered with shrapnel in the face, arms and legs. Les underwent several operations and is now blind in his left eye.

Les has suffered from PTSD since his medical discharge in 2010. He found the best medicine was to head into the mountains and seek solace away from his transition from military to civilian life.

In 2015, Les decided to attempt his childhood dream of conquering mount Everest, 8849m peak. In May 2016, just 12 hours and 500m from the summit, he selflessly turned back to save a climber who was sliding out of control towards almost certain death. He was able to get her to safety, and was subsequently awarded the Silver Medal by the Royal Humane Society for his life-saving actions.

Les tried again to summit Everest in 2017.  He rescued an American climber in bad weather and due to 80 mph winds was forced to give up on this attempt.  ‘When you get so close to the summit and there are things that happen outside of your control, you always think of what-ifs.  What if that never happened, I could have been stood on the summit.  That’s the thing that spurred me on for third attempt.  It started as a personal achievement, but now I want to inspire my daughter’.

Les Binns SummitAt his third attempt, Les reached his goal of scaling Mount Everest on Friday 13 May 1922 around 6 am.  He began his push to ascend the summit on Tuesday 10 May, having spent a month acclimatising himself on the mountain in order to adjust to the harsh climate safely.  He says ‘ it was the most challenging thing physically and mentally he had ever done.  Whilst it was a very draining experience, it also was a fairly smooth adventure and he’s thrilled he did it’.

Les said ‘I found climbing replaced what I lost when I left the Army.  My loss of sight doesn’t affect my climbing on Everest but climbing is an escape from my PTSD.  Climbing taught me that there’s got to be something else in life for me to achieve after leaving the Army and I think reaching the summit of Everest is the piece de resistance’.

After his discharge, we helped Les with a grant, enabling him to retrain in electrical engineering. Les works in designing interiors. He is now a proud ambassador for our charity.

Les says: “When I genuinely needed help with life after the Army, The Soldiers’ Charity stepped in and gave me the opportunity to learn a trade and earn a living.”

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The Company of Merchant Adventurers of the City of York

Merchant Adventurers Coat of ArmsThe Company of Merchant Adventurers of the City of York is a Guild founded in the 14th century. In 1357 a number of important men and women came together to form a religious fraternity and to build their Hall. By 1430 most members were mercers, and alongside the fraternity they set up a trading association or guild. They used the Hall to transact their business affairs, to meet together socially, to look after the poor and to pray to God.

It has a long and prestigious history in promoting enterprise and commercial ‘venturing’ – business risk taking. A Tudor Merchant Adventurer was quite simply a merchant who risked his or her own capital in pursuit of trade.

Today the Company, as well as maintaining and improving its Hall for the education and enjoyment of the public and as an important place for business, is an active force in the economic development of the City of York and its surrounds.  It seeks to identify, encourage and inspire young entrepreneurs as well as fulfilling its charitable objectives through its two charitable trusts.

The Company has some 170 members drawn from a  wide range of professions.  The membership is the Company and it is through its members that it meets its core purposes.  The Company is incorporated under a Royal Charter granted by Queen Elizabeth I in 1581.

The Merchant Adventurers’ Hall

MAH Great HallThe Merchant Adventurers’ Hall is a unique building in the heart of historic York. This stunning timber framed building was constructed by a fraternity made up of York citizens to provide a base for charity, worship and business in the centre of the city of the city on the banks of the River Foss. Today, as well as being a fascinating museum it is also a scheduled ancient monument and Grade 1 listed building.

MAH UndercroftThere have been many additions and changes to the Hall over the years, but the main functions of business and charity remain the same today. There are three main rooms in the Hall. The Great Hall is where the Medieval merchants first gathered to conduct their business and to socialise. The Undercroft used as an almshouse to help the sick and the poor until as late as 1900. The Chapel offering spiritual care to the merchants and the inmates of the almshouse.

The Merchant Adventurers’ Hall is home to many remarkable collections. Including silver, furniture and paintings, which provide a glimpse into the rich history of the Hall and the people associated with it. A portrait of a Queen sits next to one of a Lord Mayor whilst a Medieval ‘Evidence Chest’ is older than the Hall itself.

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Your Army, Your County

In addition to the draw of the curry, the Army will be present in St Helen’s Square throughout the day, with the opportunity to speak to local soldiers from the Royal Dragoon Guards and The Royal  Yorkshire Regiment.

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There are lots of opportunities available across the Army, both full-time (Regular) and part-time (Reserves), and the Army Cadet Force.

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Fulfil Your Potential

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St Helen's Square

For more information visit the British Army website.

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