SIGHS of relief all round yesterday as a veteran of the City broking community emerged unscathed from a terrifying near-death experience.

Brewin Dolphin divisional director Stephen Williams – a former head of small company research at Williams de Broë – was one of 231 passengers aboard a Thomas Cook Boeing 757 jet which had to make a sudden emergency landing in Italy on Sunday, after a stream of fuel was spotted leaking from the plane in mid-air.

The plane, which was travelling from Turin to Birmingham, had to swoop back down to land in a quarantine area at Turin airport after the pilot spotted the alarming leak, after which passengers were put up in a hotel and flown back yesterday once the plane had been repaired overnight.

“The air crew were fantastic at stopping people panicking, though one lady behind me was nearly hysterical,” Williams tells me from the safety of his desk at Brewin.

“It was only when we landed and saw fire trucks everywhere and men in protective foil suits running around that we realised just how serious it was…”

Not exactly a dream ending to your winter ski break, admittedly – though all’s well that ends well, as they say.

The bonus furore may still be raging, but it appears at least one corporate is looking to cash in on the return of the stellar City payday.

Fine jeweller Tiffany & Co is to open a new store in Canary Wharf this September, in the Cabot Place East shopping centre – to add to its current eight branches in London, including one at the Royal Exchange in the City.

Gentlemen, reach for your wallets – there’s nothing a girl likes more than to unwrap a gift to find one of those famous duck-egg blue boxes, all tied up with a shiny white ribbon...

Over to the Saatchi Gallery on the Kings Road yesterday for the global investment conference organised by UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) – which, despite all the pomp of the event, appears to have a very low opinion of itself indeed.

For ease of reference, all delegates were listed in the conference documentation by company name, first name and surname. All, that is, apart from former Lloyds bigwig Sir Victor Blank (above), whose bodged entry read “Leave Blank, Sir Victor, Blank”.

Strange, that – particularly considering that it’s just a few short weeks since Blank landed himself an important new job as an unpaid adviser to a government quango. That quango, for those civil servants still drawing a blank, was one UKTI.

Is there no end to the reams of tiresome gym bunnies peddling the streets of the City to attract die-hard boozers into their dens of pain?

I only ask having been bombarded yesterday with flyers from the Bank branch of Gymbox, which prides itself on offering bizarre workouts (previous examples include high heel workouts and pole dancing lessons).

Their latest offering is a “spare tyre workout” from self-styled Californian iron man Matt Pillar, a tangerine beefcake who calls himself “Miller the Piller”. ‘Nuff said.