Pembroke: Second thoughts

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The Independent Online
Malcolm Williamson, the cigar-smoking chief executive of Standard Chartered, didn't realise what he was letting himself in for when he agreed to walk through the Channel tunnel next month. One of 100 business and showbiz luminaries signed up to trudge the tunnel for various charities, the intrepid Mr Williamson is seeking pounds 100,000 for the Imperial Cancer Research Fund.

But he doesn't sound too keen. The walk is 31 miles, considerably longer than he'd thought. He won't be able to indulge in his customary cigar. And he will suffer being met at the other end by the dreaded Mr Blobby.

'I used to do a lot of long distance walking and running but I don't do much now, so I'm not sure how the body will respond,' he says. 'But I am about to go into training.' So far this consists of taking the stairs rather than the lift.

Forget The Ivy. The place to be seen if you are a media figure is obviously the Blueprint Cafe, Sir Terence Conran's upmarket eaterie near Tower Bridge.

Yesterday lunchtime, Lord Hollick, of the media group MAI, was spotted lunching three teenage girls, while only a couple of tables away sat Charles Moore, editor of the Sunday Telegraph, with another senior Telegraph executive.

Suddenly the head waiter appeared, leading a couple to the table in between. But when they saw their potential neighbours they asked to sit somewhere else. And who were these people? Andrew Knight, chairman of News International, and Jane Reed, the company's communications director.

The New Year has not been kind to salesman Jack Lockwood. Despite landing a pounds 12m deal late last year he has had his house repossessed after falling behind with the repayments.

Mr Lockwood hit the headlines last year when he negotiated a big deal to sell fuel saving devices made by a Welsh company to Pakistan. Now his building society seems unable to track him down. 'The last contact we had with him was when he handed me the keys and said he was vacating the property,' said his local manager.

As the toy world descends on Harrogate for the Toy Fair, Cassidy Brothers seems to have caught the mood of the times. Its new products include a 'Super Diver', a mock-up of a car interior including steering wheel, dial-laden dashboard and that de rigueur yuppy accessory for today's toddler, a mobile phone. Cellnet and Vodafone must be delighted that the next generation of customers is being groomed.

Sir Anthony Gill, who bows out as chairman and chief executive of Lucas in the summer, will need all his renowned engineering expertise in his new job. He will chair the Docklands Light Railway, the temperamental toytown rail link.

'It's not that temperamental,' protests Michael Pickard, the Docklands Development Corporation chairman. 'It's running at 98.5 per cent efficiency, better than any other railway.'

Sir Anthony's priorities will be getting the signalling sorted out so the trains can run past 9.30pm, and grooming the whole show for privatisation.