CITY DIARY

City workers could be forgiven for thinking that Keith Whitson, Midland Bank's chief executive and other HSBC Midland staff were looking for improving inspiration from on high in the bank's latest venture. Midland has just announced that it will support some extra services at the St Botolph's Project.

The project operates in the crypt of its namesake church in Aldgate, east London. It aims to provide help to the homeless at times when everything else is shut, and with HSBC's support it plans to launch a Sunday service with the emphasis less on the hymns and more on the practicals of finding accommodation and providing food.

Money raised by the staff in the Midland Global Markets department is being matched by the bank.

Mr Whitson said Midland was backing the project because it was committed to putting something into the communities in which it works.

Expect great things from Dalgety, which has finally off-loaded its Golden Wonder Instant Hot Snacks division to the US company CPC International for pounds 180m. Now its attention has turned to making the most out of the canine and cat population throughout Europe as it moves up a gear in the pet food marketing stakes.

The prognosis is good. For the first time in a very long time a big rival pet food producer was denied the honour of flaunting the Cruft's best of show winner in its advertising.

The winning dog - an Irish Setter named Joshua, was fed on Spillers shapes and products from the Beta range, both made by Dalgety.

Should this success be deemed only a fluke in the industry, Dalgety could comfort itself with the fact that Joshua had already appeared on Beta brand name packs as a puppy as early as mid-1992. An auspicious start for the big push into pet food.

The latest advertising campaign from Bradford & Bingley is driving City folk mad. Posters which feature diverse questions such as "Why do flies sleep?" and "Why is there only one monopolies commission?" seem to have little to do with a building society, but have certainly had the desired effect of generating interest.

So far, "Why don't bidets have seats?" appears the most popular, judging by the number of replies.

John Wriglesworth of B&B says the campaign is designed to suggest people who have sorted their money worries out have time to think about other things.

The questions may seem random, but there are rules which apply. Sod's law does not qualify, and questions must be trivial and unanswerable.

B&B staff are obviously very happy people with absolutely no money worries whatsoever. According to Mr Wriglesworth, many of the questions have been generated by them.

The actuaries down at Prudential have been busy sharpening their pencils and ruminating on life in general. The latest calculation to emerge is that the average, healthy, 30-year-old male has a greater chance of dying suddenly on a Saturday night between 7pm and 8pm than someone winning first prize in the National Lottery. The message? Perhaps that your weekly lottery loot is better spent on life assurance. However, the marketing men at the Pru will have their work cut out to persuade any member of the public to swap the chance of becoming an instant millionaire for a policy.

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