Miller kept out of Rudd knees-up

CITY DIARY

Nigel Rudd, chairman of Williams Holdings and a clutch of other companies, is celebrating his 50th birthday with a golfing party at the famous Belfry golf course in Sutton Coldfield. "Only close personal friends have been invited," a source said.

One person who sadly will miss the shindig is Chris Miller, chief executive of Wassall, another mini-conglomerate. Yesterday Mr Miller unveiled Wassall's sparkling full-year profits but admitted that an impending operation on a knee ligament prevented him from accepting the invite.

Mr Miller is still trying to get into Sunningdale, another famous club, although he feared that his handicap of 17 was too high. Something like 15 would be fine, he said.

DTZ Debenham Thorpe just missed its appointment with destiny yesterday lunchtime. Rob Andrew, a former investment director with the property agents and ex-kicker for the England rugby team, failed by a big margin to beat the world place kick record. The attempt in London's Regents Park raised several thousand pounds for the property industry's charity for the homeless, Land Aid, and launched the first ever Property Awards.

But Rob, or "Mr Golden Boots" as he was known, managed only 56.2m, against the world record of 91m. According to the Guinness Book of Records Douglas Francis Theodore Markel kicked this distance for South Africa in 1906. According to one witness, Rob "raised a serious eyebrow when told this - it's almost the entire length of the pitch".

Tony Blair is working hard to improve relations between the Labour Party and small businesses in the wake of the Government's cack-handed treatment of the late payment row. Yesterday he spoke at a City meeting titled "Labour and the SMEs (small and medium enterprise) and the growth agenda".

Hundreds attended, but most were either from Quangos or academia. "Only a handful of small businessmen were there," admitted one person on the platform.

The Conservative Party is putting out a Party Political Broadcast today, the filming of which has been "shambolic", according to internal sources. The idea dreamt up by M&C Saatchi was for scenes depicting scenes of prosperity, with a voice-over along the lines of: "You'd have thought this was Sweden. In fact it's Britain under the Tories." They wanted a shot of somebody in the City so they approached John Godfrey, head of corporate communications at Lehman Brothers, for permission to use the Broadgate head office. Mr Godfrey, who is also a potential Tory candidate, had to turn them down. He explained: "We don't as a firm mix it in politics in any direction. This is nothing to do with my politics." All the same, it's unlikely to endear him to a selection committee.

What is the connection between Roy Orbison, Fulham Football Club and the Midland Bank? The answer of course is Dennis Turner, head of Midland's business economic unit. Dennis is normally to be found touring the country and lecturing businessmen on the need for a stronger British manufacturing sector. He has, however, found time to write four books on Fulham, including the club's official history.

He is also a regular writer of sleeve notes for a friend's record company which reissues collections by golden oldies such as Roy Orbison, Van Morrison, Waylon Jennings and Joe Cocker. "I recently did 5,000 words for a box set of Ray Charles CDs. Fantastic," Dennis said yesterday. A welcome break from Midlands metalbashers, no doubt.

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