Pembroke: A woolly interpretation of the City freedom

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The Independent Online
IF YOUR offices are anywhere near Tower Bridge in London, it will be worth strolling down there on Wednesday morning.

At 9.30am sharp, two freemen of the City of London will drive sheep across the bridge, exercising one of their privileges as freemen.

Jack Wolkind, a former Taylor Woodrow executive, and John Marshall, a Glasgow MP and City stockbroker, will be launching the national Kidney Research fund's 'City Challenge', a walk across the bridges.

The freemen's right is actually to walk sheep across London Bridge, but the final bridge in the walk is Tower Bridge, so the fund decided to use that instead.

The two City gents, who will be sporting bowler hats and rolled-up umbrellas, will have to get a move on. At 10am the brige will be raised to let a ship through.

IT'S OFFICIAL. The Queen Mum shops at Waitrose.

This is the big splash in the latest issue of The Gazette, the illustrious John Lewis organ which says the store at Sunningdale (handy for Windsor Castle) has been given a Royal Warrant.

They are probably cracking the champagne at the Waitrose head office. Rivals Sainsbury and Tesco have yet to achieve the 'By Royal Appointment' nod.

EITHER there was a mistake, or someone was displaying a waggish sense of humour at the annual shindig of the Chartered Association of Certified Accountants.

When the penguin-suited hordes filed in for dinner at Guildhall, Hilary Williams found her seat placing somehat unfortunate.

Ms Williams, you may recall, was the marketing executive who won a sexual discrimination case against British Gas two years ago when she found herself demoted after a restructuring.

And on whose table was she placed at the dinner? That of Philip Rogerson, the British Gas finance director. My mole at the bash says the pair maintained a frosty silence thoughout the meal and the interminable speech by Baroness Blatch.

Ms Williams, who has subsequently left BG to become chief executive of the Guides Association, will no doubt shed more light on the episode in May. She is appearing in Breaking the Glass, a BBC documentary on the glass ceiling, the so-called barrier that prevents women from reaching the higher echelons of British business. I bet British Gas can't wait.

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THE BROADGATE ice rink in the City will be the centre of sporting activity this lunchtime when the annual Broomball finals are contested. In the men's section the Lasmo Oilers will take on the IBK Moosemen.

Lasmo, the reigning champions, are deemed to be favourites and will take to the ice wearing boots imported from Canada. The Moosemen, who include four Canadians, are said to be 'gutted' at the withrawal of ace striker Matt Giffin, who sustained ligament damage in the semis.

In the mixed final Dulwich Paternity (Morgan Grenfell) will go shoulder- to-shoulder with the Lehman Demons (Lehman Brothers), who entered the competition 'just for a laugh' and have not lost a single game.

I HEAR the Swerves, the City rock band that played the Midland Bank Christmas party and the Shearson Lehman summer ball last year, gave a fine send-off to one of their departing members the other night.

The Marmiton, a City bar, was packed to the rafters with suits as the rock 'n' roll outfit ripped through its usual selection of Stones and Beatles classics.

The gig was a farewell concert for Peter Evans, the bass player who works for ABN Amro in his spare time. He is off to Paris for couple of years.

Drummer Gerry O'Neill, a trader at Kleinwort Benson by day, assures me that plans for a replacement are well advanced and that the new five- piece 'will be doing a lot more City gigs in the future'.