CITY GRANDEES joined some of the stars of Downton Abbey in the crypt of St Paul’s Cathedral last night at the launch of the Lord Mayor’s Appeal 2012.

As Lord Mayor David Wootton explained to guests including Phil Raper, head of corporate broking UK at Goldman Sachs, Aon Benfield chairman Grahame Chilton, and Jonathan Moulds, European president at the appeal’s supporter Bank of America Merrill Lynch, his Fit for the Future campaign will provide “better health opportunities for all”.

“This is an appropriate ambition in an Olympic year,” said Wootton – although his appeal chair Justin Dowley suspects 2012 will be “a year of good parties”, after discovering the password for the Mansion House computer is “gin and tonic”.

The reception was followed by a carol service, with music from the Cathedral Consort and readings by representatives of the five charities supported by Fit for the Future, including Simon Mackenzie-Smith, UK and Ireland head of corporate banking and investment at Bank of America Merrill Lynch; Olympic rowing medallist Sarah Winckless; and Alex Dowsett, a cyclist for Team GB and Sky and an ambassador for the appeal.

Downton actresses Michelle Dockery and Laura Carmichael, meanwhile, who will reprise their roles as Lady Mary and Lady Edith Crawley in February when filming starts on series three of the ITV drama, disappointingly gave away nothing about the Christmas Day special. “There will be twists and turns and high drama,” hedged Carmichael.

THE GOODWILL didn’t extend to the Occupy London protesters, however, who were not invited to join the 2,300 guests at the carol service – or even the 500 on the waiting list.

Not that the protesters were bothered – they were more interested in driving a small tank to their latest site, a disused magistrates court on Old Street, where they plan to put tax-avoiding corporations and individuals who have profited from the recession on trial. Banking bosses will be invited to defend their case – but it is “fine” if they don’t show up, says one protester, as the trials are “symbolic”.

A FINAL goodbye from Alice Macandrew, James Murdoch’s press adviser, who leaves News Corp this week, having handed in her notice after the phone hacking scandal broke in July. Time for a well-earned break: “I plan to spend a month or two catching my breath before deciding what to do next,” writes the spun-out spinner.

WHAT do you give the banker who – until recently – had everything? Nothing more generous than a bottle of wine, says PwC’s corporate gift guidelines, unless you want to fall foul of the Bribery Act. So food hampers and cases of champagne are out, as is “anything delivered to a home address”.

Company calendars, however, are acceptable, as are “low-cost” umbrellas branded with a corporate logo, invitations to a “modest” Christmas party or lunch, and “reasonable” socialising at sporting events – provided the host is present, that is. Happy Christmas!

FOR ONCE, a private bank is pleased to be attracting a lot of attention from outside. Coutts has transformed its window at 440 Strand into a “giant message of goodwill” by artist Rob Ryan. All the bells and two of the handmade children’s toys in the window (pictured above) will be auctioned off in aid of Kids Company in January, and £5 donations to the charity can be made by texting KIDS HELP to 70700.