The City Diary

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Winterflood's donation is the curtain raiser to many sleepless evenings

Nice to see the opening of a new theatre in the City last week partly funded by Square Mile veteran Brian Winterflood, a non-exec at Close Brothers.

He said he was thrilled to contribute something to the area – the theatre which will be housed in the City of London School. "The City has given me everything and it is my great honour to be able to give something back to the school right in the heart of the financial centre of the world." Winterflood also praised the school for making the theatre available for local dramatists and community groups to use.

And in a final flourish he announced that he had embraced a firm undertaking with his wife not to fall asleep in theatre performances, which is an impressive step.

Uma's secret admirers

What was going on behind closed doors at the Absolute Return for Kids (Ark) annual dinner at the Royal Naval College in Greenwich on Thursday? Despite raising £25m, organisers refused to disclose the list of attendees, saying it was "strictly private". What we do know was that the guests enjoyed the company of Hollywood star Uma Thurman, who is dating the charity's chairman, Arpad Busson. One of the lucky philanthropists will be giving Busson a run for his money when they take a speaking part in Thurman's new film, 'Eloise in Paris'. The role was a prize in an auction hosted by Sotheby's deputy chairman Lord Dalmeny. Let's hope they are as silver-tongued as ex-PM Tony Blair, guest speaker at the dinner.

Tall and skinny with a side order of conscience

The belt-tightening of the credit crunch is yet to trickle down to the ethical caffeine fiends who splash out on fair-trade coffee. Recent YouGov research commissioned by Costa Coffee shows that Brits are willing to spend an extra 14p per cup to ensure their coffee is ethically sourced. To capitalise on their customers' altruistic urges, the chain will host its inaugural Foundation Day this Saturday, when all profits will be invested in the education of children in coffee-growing regions and building schools. All cappuccinos will come with a side order of conscience.

Chambers seeks another champion for the disabled

The hunt is on to find the disabled entrepreneur of the year. The winner will scoop £50,000 from the British Chambers of Commerce Awards at London's Natural History Museum in November. Last year's winner, Amar Latif from Leeds, scooped the award for Traveleyes, a company specialising in tailor-made breaks for visually impaired travellers. He was overwhelmed by his win and said: "It was hard to find words to describe my emotions. The £50,000 has meant I've been able to invest in my business and put in a lot of hard work to watch it grow."

Flashy cars and the older man

Men of a certain age battling receding hairlines and expanding waistlines are most likely to head for a Porsche dealership, a study has found. Gentlemen heading into their 40s are flashing the keys to Cayennes, Boxsters and 911s. James Bond wannabes are a few years older – the average Aston Martin DB7 driver is 42, presumably hoping the car will provide them with a timeless Bond-esque sex appeal. Silver foxes are currently eyeing up the Jaguar XJ8, whose typical owner is 52. The average age of the woman in the passenger seat is not disclosed.

Sachs man celebrates 75 years of wedded bliss

If some people are wedded to their jobs then Al Feld has had a long and happy marriage. According to the website Here is the City, the Goldman Sachs private wealth manager has been with the New York-based company for 75 years, nine months. His long-standing love affair was honoured with a jamboree in Scottsdale, Arizona. The competition as the longest-serving employee doesn't hold a candle to his record. Tom Phillips at Citi Smith Barney in Adelaide is trailing at a meagre 59 years.

Channel 4 tries to dig the dirt on life in the City

The chaps at Channel 4 News are trying to engage ex-City fat cats in a little mumbling and whispering. They are sniffing round for disgruntled traders so disillusioned with their life in the Square Mile that they are packing it all in for a quieter and less stressful life in the country. Or rehab. Or anywhere else in the world. These heroic tales of crushed dreams will be part of an upcoming report on the recent turmoil in the financial markets. The report will look at the much-commented-upon hiring and firing practices at investment banks and other financial market institutions, but the broadcaster claims it will be "a balanced review of life working in the City".

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