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District 71 
District 91 

Past Meetings (2018)  
Meeting 13th November


Karen Lowen | Steve Birch | Claire Davies

Malvern Speakers

Toastmaster 13th November 2018 

‘The Chill of Winter Approaches’ was the theme for the evening and a number of members, plus one visitor, spoke for between one and two minutes on a variety of Winter topics set by Kenny Kayani. We were taken skiing and sledging by Sarah McCarten Williams and visitor David Dutton respectively, back to a Romanian childhood with Andrei Rezmerita, and then Steph Bilton’s description of a baked potato and sweet chestnuts had our mouths watering. The winner for the evening was Karen Lowen with a humorous account of her climbing adventure in the Peak District as a teenager.

The prepared speeches were of an incredibly high standard with Clare Davis taking home the blue ribbon for Best Speaker with her Ice Breaker speech entitled All in a Days Work. Clare gave an account of 3 trips to very different parts of the World in her capacity as a Primary school teacher and she concluded with a call to action that we should all open our minds so that we can educate ourselves along with teaching others

Dogs were a connection with the two other prepared speeches. Hilary Benoit with a speech ‘Now is not for ever’ had all the pet owners in the audience very emotional as she told the story of her Father’s childhood wish for a dog finally being realised after his own children had grown up and  then the sadness of Kipper the dog’s passing. 

Tom Elliston tried to persuade us to agree with his viewpoint that Jesus was a dog. This was done in a clever and funny comparison of Diogenes with Jesus both of whom advocated living without ‘tat’.

Jackie Baker in her thoughtful evaluation of Hilary’s speech reminded us that Hilary has now achieved her Competent Communicator Gold award which was presented at the end of the meeting by President Geoff Richardson. Graham Sterry gave an excellent evaluation of Tom’s speech but it was experienced Toastmaster, Steve Birch, who took the Best Evaluator ribbon for the evening, despite Will Dutton having 6 Table Topics to report on earlier in the proceedings.

Isaac Baker, one of our youngest members excelled as Timekeeper with very creative reminders of the subject for each speech, Yuri Douse gave us a very warm and friendly count of those who used um and ah too much, and we were led very ably through the entire evening by experienced Toastmaster Roger Granville.

Malvern Speakers meet on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month and the next meeting is on Tuesday 27th November at the Great Malvern Hotel . Visitors are very welcome.

Meeting 23rd October
Bethany Barnes | Claire Davies | Geoff Richardson

Meetin Report - Tuesday 23rd Oct 2018

Tom Elliston ably and amiably kept the evening rolling at a good pace as Toastmaster for the evening. There was a buzz in the air at Tuesday’s meeting with first time timekeeper Sarah McCarten Williams doing a sterling job, keeping us all on our toes with the timing lights!

Sarah Williams as Table Topics Master employed a technique that she picked up whilst visiting a New York Toastmaster Club earlier this year; she relied on volunteers for two-minute impromptu speeches, rather than choosing people. There was not a moment of hesitation as people faced their fears and rose to her challenge. Particularly impressive were brand new members Daisy Davies speaking about her "life mottos" whilst Isaac Baker spoke with ease and poise about the fortunes or misfortunes of his football team but it was Bethany Barnes’ animated sharing of the best, or perhaps, most memorable piece of advice from her father which won her the Best Table Topic of the evening.

In the first of four prepared speeches Geoff Richardson; ‘The Bad, The Bad and The Ugly’ recounted three examples of negative experiences in his life that were both personal and touching. However, as always with Geoff, he highlighted what he had learned from each experience and how he has used the lessons throughout his life. Delivered clearly, in a measured and inclusive manner, this speech was voted the best of the evening, the lessons certainly hit home but still being valid and valuable for each audience member.

After a chatty network break with a plethora of home-made cakes, Elaine Watt spoke sincerely about the pressing issue of plastic pollution. ‘Plastic Population’ was laden with figures but in bite sized chunks whilst still avoiding a feeling of doom and drowning in plastic, Elaine kept a  positive tone by suggesting simple things that every audience member could implement immediately to be a part of the solution rather than the problem.

In another fact finding report entitled ‘Adding It All Up’, Mike Snoswell used slides of colourful pie charts to illustrate and explore discrepancies of donations to different sensory charities, such as Guide Dogs for the Blind and the National Deaf Children’s Society. Mike championed the silent and underrepresented charities dear to him and his hearing dog Alvin. He urged people to follow and support his upcoming sponsored cycle ride up Mount Tiede, the world’s third tallest volcano. Good luck Mike! As his speech evaluator Claire Davies noted, the club looks forward to further presentations about that adventure! Claire was positive and analytical in her excellent evaluation and was justly voted Best Evaluator of the evening.

The fourth and fascinating speech, from Roger Granville, called ‘In Praise of Sleep’, began with the old rhyme ‘Wee Willy Winky’ and was full of interesting facts about the history and science of sleep. There were one or two yawns in the audience, not from boredom but possibly from autosuggestion! Roger ended by suggesting we throw away fit bits and sleep monitors and simply keep a regular routine and exercise effectively to promote a sound night’s sleep.

Thus ended a packed programme, ‘with lots of personalities bubbling away’, as visitor John noted.

The next meeting will be on November 13th at the Great Malvern Hotel at 7.30pm, all are welcome. Good luck to Karen Lowen who will be representing the club at the District Humorous Speech Contest in Didcot this Sunday 28th October.

Meeting 9th October
Malvern Speakers 9th October 2018

Bethany Barnes | Karen Lowen | Sarah Williams

Meeting Report Tue 9th October Colin Jackson

This was Ladies’ Night with a vengeance, with all three awards going to members of the fair sex. The meeting opened with the news that Karen Lowen had progressed at the Area competitions in Cheltenham the previous week and would represent Area J11 at the Divisional Humorous Speech contest at Didcot on October 28th, Beth Barnes came a very close second in the Table Topics competition but was just pipped at the post And they repeated those successes, winning the Table Topics and prepared speech votes respectively. 

Invited by Dave Evans to speak off the cuff about her happiest moment, Karen Lowen surprised her listeners with the information that it had been enjoying a humble digestive biscuit when ravenously hungry following the traumatic birth of her first child! Bethany Barnes, whose Table Topic speech at Cheltenham had been placed second, went one better with her deceptively entitled prepared speech “Investments”. These turned out to be not financial instruments, but rather the investments of time and love made in herself as a child by a much-loved granny! The all-female whitewash was completed by Sarah Williams for her exemplary evaluation of Bethany’s speech.
It wasn’t that the blokes didn’t try. Among the table topics, we heard about Steve Birch’s hero (his dodgy Dad); Colin Jackson’s soft toys rescued from a mouldy fate on the Malvern Hills: and Kenny Kayani’s most nervous moment, which had turned to triumph when he successfully beat 150 other interviewees for a new job.

The longer prepared speeches set off with veteran Roger Granville’s memories of his “favourite flicks” over several decades of film watching, while Tristran Mitchell gave a humorous and affectionate warts-and-all account of his three young daughters (including a tantrum rating for each!). And to complete the male contributions, super-sub Steve Birch stepped in at the very last moment with an ‘Evaluation Educational’.

Next meeting will be at the Great Malvern Hotel at 7.30pm on Tuesday October 23rd, guests welcome as always.
Meeting 25th September
Malvern Speakers 25th September 2018

Graham Sterry | Karen Lowen | Rodger Granville | Bethany Barnes | Jackie Baker | Stephanie Bilton

 Club Contest Meeting Report for Tuesday 25th September 2018

Journalist - Caroline Bellhouse

Four visitors and over twenty members enjoyed a lively night of contest speeches, the winners of which will go on to represent the club at the Area Contest.

Two contests formed the basis of the meeting, firstly the Humorous Speech Contest in which three entrants entertained the audience with anecdotes ranging from a colleague suffering from ‘narcolepsy, gullibility and innocence’ (Roger Granville, ‘It shouldn’t happen to a …’) to tales of pensioners shimmying across the dance floor and the slightly disturbing prospect of a ‘seedy beyond the grave swingers club’ (Graham Sterry ‘Heaven Knows’). But it was Karen Lowen’s ‘Banana Dinner’ speech, in which she recalled her childhood ambitions of discovering her super power, complete with super hero antics and poses that won the contest. After a lifetime of being told ‘you can’t do that’, Karen revealed that her personal super power of being Speaker Girl revealed itself after joining Malvern Speakers Club and finally being told ‘you CAN do that, even when she herself thought she could not do it.

The Table Topics contest required entrants to present an off the cuff two minute speech on a subject given to them on the spot. In this case, Geoffrey Richardson asked each one to tell the audience what the weather would be, and why, in 2019, should they be given the authority to choose it. Most speakers chose a mixture of mainly sunshine - in order to grow crops, encourage tourism and provide pleasant dog walking conditions – combined with a few storms and downpours, partly to provide contrast but also in Bethany Barnes’s case, to clear Disneyland of tourists and allow her easy access to all the rides. Bethany’s real life run in with Hurricane Irma thus inspired her to win the contest and she will join Karen Lowen and Graham Sterry in representing the club in Cheltenham on Saturday October 6th  at 1pm

Hatherley & Reddings Cricket Club, North Park,

Shurdington Road, Shurdington, Cheltenham GL51 4XA

 Congratulations to all participants and good luck to the winners.

Next meeting: 19.30 at The Great Malvern Hotel on Tuesday October 9th. All welcome.

Meeting 11th September
Malvern Speakers 11th September 2018

Manda Graham | Shaun (Visitor) | Karen Lowen | Sarah Williams | Kenny Kayani | Derek Serafini

Malvern Speakers report 11.9.18

This was a rather more serious meeting than usual -  with the notable exception of the first prepared speech, from Tom Wood, which generated much hilarity.  It was entitled “Preparation is Key” - a detail Tom had failed to pass on to Kenny Kayani whose task it was to introduce him!  The event for which Tom imagined preparing for was, of all things, a colonoscopy – a subject that led him into some murky areas.  It also provided a lot of harmless fun for his audience – especially when he concluded by revealing that his preparation for the speech had begun only a couple of hours previously. 

Not entirely surprisingly, Tom did not win the vote for the night’s best speech.  That went to Manda Graham, who took her audience with her on A Creative Journey.   Although involved with arts in one form and another during her working life, Manda had never regarded herself as a creative person and so set off to try and discover the roots of artistic creativity. Curiously, one of her conclusions was what her evaluator Roger Granville described as the creative use of doing nothing! 

The other two speeches were rather more technical. Jackie Baker, with an important speech to make soon to an outside body, explored and explained for the benefit both of herself and her listeners the technique of ‘mind-mapping’ in planning and constructing a speech. What might have been on the dry side was saved by Jackie’s warm and smiling presentation. Sarah Williams’ admirable appraisal of this speech was voted the night’s best evaluation. Steve Birch analysed the characteristics of four contrasting communication styles and how to adapt each to particular circumstances.  And being Steve, his speech lived up to its title and went ‘Straight to the Point’.

Ben Colyer used the theme of Back to School to invite speakers in the table topics session to recall aspects of their school memories.  This subject had the advantage that everyone had something to remember and so something to say – not always the case with these unprepared short speeches.  The winner was Shaun (Visitor) with affectionate recollections of sausage, beans and chips after rugby in his Welsh schooldays.

Next meeting which will be a speech contest, with winners going on to compete at District level, will take place at the Great Malvern Hotel on Tuesday September 25th at 7.30pm.

Meeting 28th August
Malvern Speakers 28th August 2018

Tristan Mitchell | Karen Lowen | Graham Sterry | Stephanie Bilton

Members settling down to listen to Karen Lowen’s speech entitled CANOEing who were expecting an idyll afloat on some beautiful river were in for a surprise. It turned out that the capitalised CANOE represented a  (very!) secret organisation called the Committee for Alleging Nautical Origins for Everything.  She illustrated its activities with four examples widely believed to be of nautical origin:- grog; freezing the balls off a brass monkey; son of a gun; and posh.  In a well researched speech, delivered with her usual smiling charm and enlivened by her use of a piratical hat, she demonstrated that only two arose from seafaring beginnings (guess which).  It was no surprise when this unusual and interesting contribution was voted best speech at the end of the evening.

This is to take nothing away from the two other  prepared speeches.  Master storyteller Hilary Benoit had her listeners rapt with her re-telling of the ancient legend of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.  A more serious tone was struck by Graham Sterry, with his “Less Stoicism Please”  a heartfelt appeal for less of the Anglo-Saxon stiff-upper-lip, suffer-in-silence, grin-and-bear-it tradition, and more open discussion of what are now recognised as mental illnesses of people in need of help.

In the earlier session for short unprepared speeches none of the eight participants was  less prepared than Tom Elliston.  Arriving late in mid-session at the front of the meeting (in a striking pink pullover), he was immediately grabbed by Table Topics Master Steve Birch.  Quite unfazed by having to explain at no notice what he might do as a vampire, quick-thinking and ever-smiling Tom responded so successfully as to win the night’s award! Treasurer Tom also earned extra approval from members by announcing, that thanks to sound club finances, it had been decided NOT to raise subs as previously planned.

Next club meeting will be at the Great Malvern Hotel at 7,30pm on Tuesday September 11th – guests most welcome as always.

Meeting 14th August
Malvern Speakers 14th August 2018

Jane Anson | Tristan Mitchell | Bethany (Guest) | Hilary Benoit | Tom Elliston | Tom Wood

Meeting Report - Tues 14th Aug 2018
(Colin Jackson CL)

Subject matter at Malvern Speakers’ meetings is nothing if not varied! Last week’s session kicked off with a series of unprepared short Table Topics set by Stephanie Bilton on the theme of lost opportunities – at work, on holiday, at school and so on. Dave Evans revealed that a missed train resulted in his missing the chance to meet a childhood hero - Tim Brooke-Taylor of The Goodies! No fewer than seven members took part, but it was a guest Bethany Barnes whose contribution was voted best of the night.
There was another numerical bonus when it came to the longer prepared speeches, with four instead of the usual three. Jane Anson drew on her experiences on several continents to support her contention that ‘Life’s An Adventure’. Mike Snoswell – aided by his faithful companion Alvin – explained and demonstrated some of the many ways in which a ‘ hearing dog’ can help a deaf person – most importantly in alerting them to alarms.

In another abrupt change of topic, Kenny Kayani gave an informative talk about key moments in the history of the ancient Rome. But it was Hilary Benoit with a charming story and Moral Tale of Three Cats, which won the night’s vote. This was possibly because of her excellent body language as she described the cats’ adventures – her am-dram experience clearly standing her in good stead. . Her evocation of two pussies plodding agonisingly through deep snow was memorable! She also provided Tom Elliston with the material for the winning speech evaluation.

Finally, it was confirmed that a Worcester Toastmasters club has been formed and will hold its inaugural meeting on Monday October 1st (7.15pm) at WGTA, McKenzie Way, Worcester WR4 9GN This follows last month’s event at the city’s Guildhall when the Malvern club held a meeting as guests of former member Mayor Jabba Riaz,

Next Malvern meeting will take place at the Great Malvern Hotel at 7.30pm on Tuesday August 28th
Meeting 31st July
Malvern Speakers 31st July 2018

Malvern Speakers report July 31st 2018 - Colin Jackson Club Journalist

Moves are afoot to start a new Toastmasters speech-making club in Worcester.  This follows last week’s meeting of the Malvern Speakers club held in the historic setting of the Worcester Guildhall as personal guests of the guests of city mayor Jabba Riaz.

Malvern club members, scrubbed up and dressed up for this special occasion (some even in jackets and ties!) were joined by senior officeholders from other Toastmasters clubs as far apart as Chichester, Cheltenham, Usk and Ludlow. Also present were interested guests from the Worcester area , including the family of the mayor, who himself joined the Malvern club some years ago to improve his public speaking and leadership skills.

Three prepared speeches were presented: one by Malvern member Graham Sterry; one by visiting club leader Rick Cooper; and one by Sam Warner, who is currently involved in the creation of a new club in Ludlow.  And no fewer than a dozen speakers took on the challenge of presenting a Table Topic – a short spontaneous speech  on a subject given as they are called to the platform. These ranged from Andy Hammond, visiting Director of the 164-club District of Toastmasters International, to courageous guests venturing a first-ever speech before a public audience.

In a final open session, speaker after speaker came forward to say how membership of a club had increased their self-confidence and leadership abilities, rounding off a successful occasion. Malvern Speakers’ next regular meeting will take place at the Great Malvern Hotel on Tuesday August 14th at 7.30pm.

*Anyone interested in becoming involved in the formation of a Worcester Toastmasters club should contact  Steve Birch  email:  Mob  07831 846997


 Next meeting will be at the Great Malvern Hotel on Tuesday August 14th at 7.30pm Guests welcome as always. For more details contact Steve Birch - 07831 846997  or


Meeting 24th July
Malvern Speakers 24th July 2018
Tristan Mitchell | Tom Wood

Malvern Speakers report July 24 2018 - Colin Jackson Club Journalist


An unusually large number of new faces were at the Great Malvern Hotel for what turned out to be an unusually interesting meeting. The evening was set off by Manda Graham with an appropriately summertime-themed Table Topics session. Eight contenders accepted the challenge of delivering a short speech on a subject given to them just seconds earlier and the results were impressive. Evaluator Geoff Richardson pointed out, however, that in some cases speakers rather dodged their subject while still providing entertaining results. Winner was Tristan Mitchell with a tale about a sheep stealing cucumbers at a picnic!


First prepared speech came from veteran Steve Birch, who recalled a painful trip as a young Army apprentice across what is now the popular Lyke Wake Walk in the North York Moors National Park But it was bitter November day of driving rain and wind. With others, he had been ‘volunteered’ by the Sergeant Major to undertake the muddy 42 mile trek (52 allowing for the ups and downs, he claimed !). Describing it as the worst day of his life, Steve assured us that it was not at all what was promised by the title of the speech - A Walk in the Park. Delivered with all the panache and up-front bravado we have come to expect from Steve, on another night this might well have won the Best Speech ribbon.The same could be said for Byron Chan’s very different re-telling of a Chinese folk tale. Told without notes, with sympathy, clarity, excellent diction and beautifully paced, this speech bore witness to his transformation from the nervous, hesitant, note-bound speaker from Hong Kong who joined the club a few years ago. Sadly Malvern Speakers will be losing him, as he is moving to Birmingham to pursue his architectural studies.


In the event the coveted Best Speech vote went to Tom Wood, for an emotional and deeply personal account of struggles with depression and alcohol – and the redeeming epiphany of the arrival of a baby son. By no means the most polished or fluent speech ever delivered to the club, it nonetheless brought the audience to its feet in a standing ovation at the end.


Tristan Mitchell also won Best Evaluator for his evaluation of Steve Birch's speech.

The club’s next regular meeting will be on Tuesday July 24th at 7.30pm at the Great Malvern Hotel. The following Tuesday July 31st, the club will hold a special meeting at the Worcester Guildhall at the invitation of former club member, city mayor Jabba Riaz.

Next meeting will be at the Great Malvern Hotel on Tuesday August 14th at 7.30pm Guests welcome as always. For more details contact Steve Birch - 07831 846997  or


Meeting 10th July
Malvern Speakers 10th July 2018
Derek Serafini | Steve Birch | Stephanie Bilton | Mike Snoswell

Malvern Speakers report July 10 2018 - Colin Jackson Club Journalist

The hot weather ensured an impressive show of (mostly male!) knees and calves at last week’s club meeting. Attendance was well maintained despite competition from a football match in Russia (no contest, really).

Newly elected President Geoff Richardson gave a brief introduction in which he paid particular tribute to hard-working members Tom Wood and Dave Evans and retiring President Steve Birch. This was followed by a lively (football-themed, surprise surprise!) table topics session run by Jackie Baker. Steve Birch’s was voted best of the six short unprepared contributions from members.

First (and voted best) of the main prepared speeches came from Steph Bilton who highlighted memories of experiences in her life which were triggered by sound – rather than, say, sight or smell. They included hearing Enrico Caruso for the first time singing a Neapolitan love song and the call of a bellbird when she was working at London Zoo with Desmond Morris. Most dramatic, however, was the silence when the engine of a wartime V1 flying bomb cut out, and seconds later exploded, destroying a house just two doors away from her home.

In a thoughtful speech Dave Evans’ asked “What makes a Good leader?” He highlighted the role of Toastmasters International, worldwide in developing leadership qualities among its 350,000 members in 16,000 clubs in 141 countries worldwide He picked out clear and confident communication as a key element of successful leadership.

A complete contrast was Hilary Benoit’s charming telling of an Indian folk tale of a prince who sets out to acquire wisdom. It was delivered with all the clear and confident skills to be expected from one of the club’s best and most experienced speakers. Mike Snoswell’s appraisal of Hilary’s speech was voted best evaluation.

The club’s next regular meeting will be on Tuesday July 24th at 7.30pm at the Great Malvern Hotel. The following Tuesday July 31st, the club will hold a special meeting at the Worcester Guildhall at the invitation of former club member, city mayor Jabba Riaz.

Next meeting will be at the Great Malvern Hotel on Tuesday July 24th at 7.30pm Guests welcome as always. For more details contact Steve Birch - 07831 846997  or


Meeting 26th June
Malvern Speakers 26th June 2018
Stephanie Bilton | Geoff Richardson | Megan Paul
Meeting Report Tuesday 26th June 2018   -   Colin Jackson

Unlikely as it may seem for a speech-making club, the stars at last week’s Malvern Speakers meeting were a deaf man, a blind woman – and two dogs!  Profoundly deaf Mike Snoswell,  with the help of his canine ‘ears’ Alvin, in a most interesting talk explained the role and functions of a trained ‘hearing dog’.  And blind-from-birth Megan Paul, a visitor from the Cheltenham club with her recently acquired second Guide Dog Layla, tackled the difficult role of evaluating half a dozen Table Topics (won by Stephanie Bilton) - short unprepared speeches – immediately after the last speaker had finished speaking.  This she did brilliantly, talking fluently and without hesitation, and appraising every speech with words of approval seasoned with constructive suggestions for possible points for improvement for each speaker. Unsurprisingly, Megan Paul’s was voted the evenings Best Evaluation.

Best Speech award went to Geoff Richardson, who has just taken over as club President. In a typically thoughtful and well-structured address, he pondered the virtue of humility in the age of the selfie, pointing out that to be humble and self-deprecating was not the same as weakness.  

The remaining speech came from Colin Jackson, who had arrived at the meeting not expecting to speak at all,  and volunteered to fill a gap in the agenda at short notice.  He had some advice for the weather forecasters.  “Don’t tell us it is “for” anyone or “on offer” or “to be had”: it is a force of nature, and just happens; don’t tell us how we should react to a forecast,  e.g. take an umbrella if it is raining; and don’t patronise us by trying to make a forecast into a kind of bedtime story!  “Just Tell Us the Weather!”

Next meeting will be at the Great Malvern Hotel on Tuesday July 10th at 7.30pm Guests welcome as always. For more details contact Steve Birch - 07831 846997  or


Meeting 12th June
Malvern Speakers 12th June 2018
David Bradley: Best Table Topic
Stephanie Bilton: Best Evaluator
Tristan Mitchell: Best Speaker and an Um Pig Winner

Malvern Speakers report

Colin Jackson   CC June 12 2018

Members could have been forgiven for feeling just a tad drowsy during Karen Lowen’s opening speech.  Not from boredom- but lulled by a charming bedtime story about two mice and a piece of cheese that would calm even a wakeful four-year-old. They would have been galvanised into wakefulness, however, by a sudden change of direction to the serious moral at the end – the importance of being prepared to adapt readily to the many changes that life inevitably brings.

Quite a contrast was Dave Bradley’s re-telling of a very different story - that of cricketer Basil D’Oliveira’s progress from a deprived childhood in Cape Town to Worcestershire and England cricketing hero – and the accompanying political storm which led to South Africa’s exclusion from international cricket for many years and the ultimate breakdown of the apartheid regime.  Illustrated  on screen with contemporary images and press reports, it was a timely reminder to a younger generation of a Worcestershire legend.

Not a glance at a note or a moment’s hesitation marred these two confident and fluent speeches, and the same could be said for the third, from recently joined member Tristan Mitchell.  In introducing himself to fellow club member, he  made clever use of three pairs of shoes to illustrate aspects of his life: trainers to represent his love of running, slippers the comforts of home and family, and sandals his Christian faith.  Three excellent speeches made voting for the night’s best more difficult than usual, but it was Tristan who took home the winner’s shield and ribbon. 

Other awards went to Stephanie Bilton for her evaluation of Karen’s speech, and there was consolation for Dave Bradley, who topped no fewer than seven contributions in Derek Serafini’s Table Topics session for spontaneous offerings on an unprepared subject. And the not-too-coveted Um Pig, for most ums and ers, will be spending the next fortnight in the home of timekeeper Kenny Kayani!

 The evening had opened with the exciting news from president Steve Birch that the club’s July 31st meeting will be held in the Worcester Guildhall, at the invitation of former club member Jabba Riaz, now the city’s mayor.  The next regular meeting will be held as usual at the Great Malvern Hotel on Tuesday June 26th at 7.30pm.  As always, no charge (and free cake!) for guests who are welcome to come along and see what happens.

Meeting 22nd May
Malvern Speakers May 22nd 2018
Jackie Baker: Best use of word of the day of Capital as Cap-It-all.
Kenny Kayani: Best Evaluator
Rodger Granville: Advanced Communicator Gold
Sarah Williams: Advanced Communicator Bronze
Steve Birch: Best Table Topic
Karen Lowen: Best Speaker
Stephanie Bilton: Um Pig Winner
Charlotte Cook: Secondary Um Pig Winner

Malvern Speakers Tues 22nd May 2018 Colin Jackson

This was a capital meeting! A packed room; the election of Geoff Richardson as new club President; one brand new member; several guests, including one from a Toastmasters club in Kent; lively speeches; and copious use of the Word of the Day which speakers are expected to incorporate into their narratives – which in this case was indeed ‘capital’!

Tristan Mitchell’s theme for the unprepared speech session was the topical one of the royal wedding. It produced some imaginative contributions, the vote for the best going to Steve Birch. who fastened on Prince William’s alleged threat (as Best Man) to gain some revenge on his brother for some of Harry’s remarks at his own wedding some years earlier, when the roles were reversed, Steve used it to recall a decidedly unkind instance of a childhood revenge against his own younger brother.

First of the prepared speeches came from Karen Lowen, who used a series of spoof internet messages from a fictitious group People Opposed to Oranges (yes, POO!) to issue a serious warning of the dangers of responding to requests to ‘like’, ‘share’ and ‘comment’ on social media. Be responsible - think first, was her warning. In contrast to her racy, almost breathless, style was Sarah Williams’ calmer presentation in the following speech, in which she set out with on-screen examples her ideas as a keen photographer of the three most important aspects of a good picture: lighting, composition and timing.

The final speech was a lightweight offering from senior speaker Roger Granville, who more often tackles serious subjects. It consisted basically of a retelling in his inimitable style of a compendium of chicken-crossing-the-road jokes, most of which had his audience in stitches. Karen Lowen’s was voted best speech, while Kenny Kayana’s thoughtful appraisal of Roger’s talk was adjudged best evaluation.

Next meeting will be at the Great Malvern Hotel, Graham, Road at 7.30pm on Tuesday June 12th Guests welcome as always. Cake and good company assured!

For further information contact Steve Birch - 07831 846997 



Meeting 8th May
Malvern Speakers May 8th 2018
Hilary Benoit: Best Speaker | Tristan Mitchell: Best Table Topic and Um Pig | Amanda Duncan: Best Evaluator (Not Shown)
Meeting Report - Tuesday 8th May 2018  -  Colin Jacskon CC

It was quite a surprise at Malvern Speakers’  latest meeting to hear two of the club’s most experienced – and much decorated  - speakers making Icebreaker or ‘maiden’ speeches!  This was to launch within the club the Toastmasters International “Pathways” program, the subject of a recent series of local workshops led by Distinguished Toastmaster Steve Birch, himself one of the two speakers. 

The other was Competent Communicator Hilary Benoit, who has several times in the past progressed to area and district level in inter-club competitions.  Hilary gave a superbly researched and largely memorised account of the results of bad driver behaviour on the roads.  She gripped her listeners from the start with two horrifying statistics  - a million deaths every year worldwide, 40,000 of them in the USA alone – and went on to analyse the main causes: alcohol, fatigue, distraction and aggression.  It was no surprise that she won the night’s Best Speech vote, or that Amanda Duncan’s critique of it was also judged Best Evaluation.  

The third main speaker Charlie Cook charmed listeners with her “Life is a Great Adventure”, which followed her own progress from childhood participation in a family concert party on the Northern variety circuit,  through appearances at nightclubs in Hong Kong, to her latest venture of writing a book.

In the unprepared Table Topics session, speakers were invited by Colin Jackson to say what experience they would wish to lose last if one of their senses were to fail.  For Stephanie Bilton it was the smell of the sea, for Mike Snoswell the taste of a favourite ice cream, and for Claire Davies the view from the highest point on the Malvern Hills. But the vote went to father-of-three Tristan Mitchell for his unfazed reaction to being asked which sexual pleasure he might last wish to lose!  Tristan, perhaps understandably, also won the um-pig for the most ums and ers! 

General evaluator of the meeting was visiting Area Director Tom Fletcher, who paid particular tribute to Toastmaster Karen Lowen for her amiable conduct of the evening’s proceedings.

Next meeting will be at the Great Malvern Hotel, Graham, Road at 7.30pm on Tuesday May 22nd.  Guests welcome as always.

For more information contact Steve Birch - 07831 846997


Meeting 24th April
Malvern Speakers April 24th 2018
Speechcraft hosting award: Steve Birch (Centre right)
Best evaluator: Amanda Graham (Centre left)
Best table topic: Geoff Richardson (Right)
Um pig winners: Tristan Mitchell, David Bradley, and Caroline Bellhouse
Meeting Report Tuesday 24th April 2018  -  Caroline Bellhouse

Toastmaster and timekeeper for the evening Kenny Kayani and William Dutton ably and affably kept last Tuesday’s meeting to order and fostered a friendly atmosphere throughout.

The impromptu session was compiled and conducted by Karen Lowen who had devised imaginary blogs for her selected speakers. Thus, the audience heard how imaginary gadget blogger Tom Wood was  annoyed by his Apple watch vibrating and poking him about fitness goals that he didn’t even set, although he marvelled at its ability to receive ‘phone calls. Stephanie Bilton declared that in her designated blog ‘A Million Things I Hate About Trump’, that ‘a million wouldn’t be enough!’ Geoff Richardson, the evenings Best Table Topic Speaker, used a jolly tone to urge fictional followers of his Irrational Fears and Phobias’ blog to learn to love spiders in the bedroom and so sleep easier.

Two speakers cleverly used real life to convey their message; when interrupted by someone needing to get out of the car park, Tristan Mitchell adeptly turned this to his advantage for his designated blog ‘Why Is It Always Me?’ and Jonathan Fincher spoke from the heart when he said that the main topic for his ‘Things That I Dislike’ blog would be standing up and speaking in front of an audience. Great toastmaster tactics from both and future presentations are awaited eagerly.

The main prepared presentation was delivered with enthusiasm and energy from club president Steve Birch, who demystified a new system of learning within Toastmasters and judging by the positive feedback he certainly got his message across effectively. Amanda Duncan’s , braving her whiplash injury, excellent evaluation of the presentation earned her Best Evaluator Award.

 Dave Bradley, with dignity and grace, then led a vote of thanks to club president Steve Birch for delivering a seven week speaking course in his home to a dozen members keen to hone their speaking and presenting skills. Details of a second course to follow. Dave also wowed the cake loving club with his delicious home baked ‘brown’ cake.

Stan Cantrill bravely stepped in at a moments notice taking on the role of Um-Counter. Not content with presenting a "Myriad" of Um Pigs Stan also  invented the TOTF System for counting the ums and arrsss  (Time Out The Fron - Ums per minute talking). The brave recipients of the Mama, Dada and Baby Um Pigs were Caroline Bellhouse, Dave Bradley and Tristan Mitchell.


The next meeting is Tuesday 8th May at The Great Malvern Hotel 7.30 prompt start. Visitors welcome.

For more details contact Steve Birch - 07831 846997  or

Meeting 10th April
Malvern Speakers April 10th 2018
David Evans, Karen Lowen, Steve Birch, and Geoff Richardson 

Meeting report 10th April 2018  - Caroline Bellhouse

Jovially opened by one half of the Slimmers’ World Slimmer of The Year Couple, Dave Bradley, there was nothing reduced about the content of the evening.

In a welcome break from the recent dreary weather, Ed Davis set impromptu speakers Desert Island Dilemmas to ponder; Caroline Bellhouse tried to convince a tribe of cannibals not to eat her, while Kenny Kayani taught them the rules of various beach based sports. Tom Wood spoke of chandeliers made from ultra-polished bananas and Mike Snoswell gave the tribe tips on dog training, with the help of his trusty canine sidekick, Alvin. But Steve Birch gained the blue ribbon for his amusing fashion advice for the desert island dwellers, involving coconut shells and fig leaves.

Jackie Baker’s inaugural speech for the club ‘In the Spotlight’ was beautifully delivered and Jackie revealed a childhood memory and subsequent family story that had led her to shun the spotlight for years. However, she has braved that spotlight to build on her not insubstantial skills, she is a name to keep an eye on! Welcome Jackie.

Graham Sterry cleverly used Janes Austen’s words from ‘Persuasion’ 

‘Let us never underestimate the power of a well-written letter’ to explore the humanness of hand writing versus typed text or, God forbid, the forced jollity of emojis. His evocative musings compared ‘the joy of an old shoe box stuffed with love letters’ to a soulless text message, surely persuading his audience that the written word is both a pleasure to write and receive.

It was Karen Lowen’s clever speech ‘The Blink of An Eye’ with confronting facts about being judgemental (and placed Karen in either ‘sane professional’ or ‘possibly bonkers’ categories) that challenged and engaged the audience and was voted best speech on the night.

As well as a consistently high quality of presentations, the night’s evaluations by peers were clear and constructive, topped by Dave Evan’s superb summing up of Graham Sterry’s speech.

Geoff Richardson sneaked off with the "Um Pig" award for the most "Ums" & "Ers"


The next meeting is on Tuesday 24th April at the Great Malvern Hotel at 7.30pm, free to attend, all welcome and there is usually (always!) cake.    see the agenda here.

Meeting 27th March
Malvern Speakers March 27th 2018

Winners from previous meeting left to right

Charlotte Cook - Best speaker

Elaine Watt - Joint first Pathways speaker

Angela Davis - Bonus um pig

Caroline Bellhouse - Best evaluator and table topic

David Evans - Bonus um pig

Ben Yapp - Joint first Pathways speaker and main um pig

Meeting report 27th March 2018  - Caroline Bellhouse

Spring was in the air at the latest Malvern Speakers meeting, ably run by Toastmaster Elaine Watt, right down to chocolate Easter cakes in the break.

Karen Lowen posed clever Easter themed topics for her chosen impromptu speakers, all of whom conjured up suitable mini speeches. Geoff Richardson drew on his grandfatherly story telling skills with a tragic tale of Bobtail the rabbit; Hazel Robinson’s wonderful chicken impersonation and use of the stage to seek out Daphne the hen were much enjoyed by the audience, many of whom could empathise with Stephanie Bilton’sdisappearing chocolate conundrum (it appears in your shopping trolley but then disappears from your cupboard). New guest Gareth bravely took up the challenge with a horror story involving cold egg yolk trickling down his throat. Caroline Bellhouse’s tale of the near death of a bonnet-wearing toastmaster while herding pet rabbits Bonnie and Clyde was voted the best tale of the session.

The three prepared speeches were all of exceptional standard; Ben Yapp and Elaine Watt (both presenting an ICEBREAKER)  brought illuminating insights and great humour, but it was Charlotte Cook’s sinister investigation into The Darker Side of Nursery Rhymes which was voted night’s best speech. Who knew Humpty Dumpty was actually a cannon?

Congratulations  to  Hilary Benoit who successfully represented the club at the recent Area Level contest and will now go forward to the Divisional stage of this international competition.

The next meeting is on Tuesday 10th April at the Great Malvern Hotel at 7.30pm, free to attend, all welcome and there is usually (always!) cake.

Meeting 13th March
Malvern Speakers March 13th 2018
This was the 2018 speech and evalutation contest. The winners are below - they go through to area contest held on the Satuday 24th of March. Best of luck to them all!

Graham Sterry (1st Place Evaluator) - Kenny Kayani (2nd Place Evaluator) - Hilary Benoit (1st Place Speaker) - Geoff Richardson (2nd Place Speaker)

Next toastmaster meeting is on the 27th of March with a normal schedule. Meet at the back room function room of the hotel before a 7:30pm start. See the agenda here.

Meeting 13th February
Malvern Speakers February 13th 2018

Dave Bradley - Charlotte Cook - Ben Colyer

Malvern Speakers report 13.2.2018 from Colin Jackson 01684 577604

Yet again it was newcomers who starred at a Malvern Speakers’ meeting. A member for only a few months, Tristan Mitchell as Toastmaster conducted affairs with confidence and efficiency throughout. And the vote for Best Speech went to Charlotte ‘Charlie’ Cook, making her début at the club. Her assured and relaxed manner, unusual in such ‘icebreaker’ speeches, became easier to understand as she explained how - under the influence of her father, a one-time ENSA performer - she had been ‘treading the boards’ since the age of six as part of a family concert party performing variety acts round northern working mens’ clubs.
The other two prepared speeches were in complete contrast to each other. There is always a physical, down-to-earth quality about aspiring comedian Tom Wood’s contributions and this talk was no exception. Basically about his favourite comedians from Billy Connolly to Adam Bloom, it somehow strayed into an account of his foddering an exceptionally well-endowed bull on the family farm which had his audience in stitches. A workmanlike appraisal of this speech by Ben Colyer deservedly won Best Evaluation.
Graham Sterry’s provocatively titled “Will Humans Become Obsolete?” was a serious review of the onward march of computers, robots and the cyberworld. It was full of startling statistics – such as that today’s smartphones can contain 1000 times the computing capacity of the first moon lander. He listed three worries about the future: lack of regulation; rogues and terrorists; and 17-year-old kids in their bedrooms! His final answer to his own question? “Maybe.”.
In Elaine Watts’ Winter Olympics-themed Table Topics session, the mind-boggling picture of recently returned veteran member Dave Bradley taking part in the “downhill tea-tray” as his event of choice was a clear winner among the seven unprepared speeches.
Next meeting will be at the usual venue, the Great Malvern Hotel, on Tuesday February 27th at 7.30pm.
Once again the club was able to welcome one new member and two guests.

Next meeting will be Tuesday 27th February 2018 at The Great Malvern Hotel. Please contact Steve Birch for more information:  07831 846997  or

Meeting 30th January

Malvern Speakers report 30.1.2018 from Colin Jackson 01684 577604

Attendance at Malvern Speakers’ meeting on January 30th was depleted by seasonal illness and the fact that it was a ‘fifth Tuesday’ and so extra to the normal cycle of meetings.  None of this daunted  Will Dutton, presiding over a meeting for the first time as toastmaster. He introduced some novel ideas, to which his audience responded with enthusiasm and no little skill, to produce a lively and light-hearted evening.

In the first part, each competitor was shown a succession of words which they had to illustrate without actually using them, so their fellow team members would identify them. Impressively imaginative and quick-thinking responses saw some scores more of than 20 words in the allotted two minutes.

Part two consisted of five speeches, the first from Steve Birch, who explained the concept of Mind Mapping.  Soon after, Jane Anson made practical use of the technique in her discussion of creativity. She listed skill, passion and talent as the main requirements, ending with a reassuring quotation from Salvador Dali: “Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it”! In an informal poll, this was voted the night’s best speech.

Graham Bullock regaled members with his first,‘icebreaker’, speech outlining his lifetime journey to date, from Birmingham via Halesowen, Evesham, Moreton in March, Blackpole, Ashchurch and so to his present base at Droitwich.   Journeys of a different kind were reflected in Geoff Richardson’s musings, on the eve of a 14-hour flight to Japan, on the mysteries of air travel, such as why you are always called back to your seat just as you have reached front of the queue for the loo! Finally, Caroline Bellhouse brought us recollections, revived by rediscovering an old diary, of some exceedingly colourful local characters in a village in the south island of New Zealand. 

Next meeting will be at the Great Malvern Hotel on at 7.30pm on Tuesday February 13th

Once again the club was able to welcome one new member and two guests.

Next meeting will be Tuesday 30rd January at The Great Malvern Hotel. Please contact Steve Birch for more information:  07831 846997  or

Meeting 23rd January
Malvern Speakers January 23rd 2018

Caroline Bellhouse - David Evans - Hazel Robinson - Hilary Benoit - Manda Graham


Malvern Speakers report 23.1.2018 from Colin Jackson 01684 577604

Each Speakers’ meeting takes on its own special character.   A serious tone was set in earnest opening speeches from Hazel Robinson and Manda Graham  but this was offset by the third, Will Dutton’s joyous account of childhood holidays on a Jersey beach.  Hazel, in a emotional and very personal discussion of the importance of single-minded commitment in life, urged total  commitment to a single objective, whether personal or career-oriented.  After all, she pointed out, you would not set your sat-nav to two destinations at once!

Manda Graham’s talk was an eloquent plea for the value of retaining a kid’s curiosity, which she defined as an eager wish to know and learn, into later life. Keep an open mind, don’t make assumptions, keep asking questions, she urged.  She noted how the internet had made it easier to follow one’s curiosity.  And she sealed her case with a quotation from Einstein: “I’m nothing special, I’m just curious!”

Will Dutton welcomed us to Plemont Bay beach in Jersey, sharing his delight in a river meandering its way across the sand and the thrills of exploring a treasure trove of rock pools. His infectious pleasure in recalling the magical days of his childhood came over vividly to his audience. 

The award for night’s best speaker went to Hazel Robinson, and it was Hilary Benoit’s expert appraisal of her speech that earned the vote for best evaluation. The prize for best unprepared speech in a table topic session masterminded by club president Steve Birch, went to Dave Evans for a lively account of living with six cats who came along with his wife when they married!.  

Once again the club was able to welcome one new member, several guests – and the return after a bout of ill health (and moving house) of popular stalwart Dave Bradley, whose off-piste comments were as sharp as ever.

Next meeting will be Tuesday 30rd January at The Great Malvern Hotel. Please contact Steve Birch for more information:  07831 846997  or

Meeting 9th January
Malvern Speakers January 9th 2018

Geoff Richardson - Byron Chan

Malvern Speakers report January 9 2018                   from Colin Jackson 01684 577604

The unprepared short speech part of a Toastmasters meeting, known as Table Topics, often takes an unexpected turn.  And so it was when Roger Granville’s agenda, based on a random selections from a pack of cards, led to a succession of accounts of wet campervan holidays in Wales!  The winner on the night, however, was Geoff Richardson’s witty and wonderfully imaginative ad hoc bedtime story about pirates (based on the seven of diamonds), which showed just the sort of quick thinking and polished result that this discipline is designed to develop.

Travel further much afield than Wales featured in the full-length prepared speeches.  Steve Birch, a last minute stand-in after the withdrawal of another speaker, gave a vivid and enthusiastic account of the pleasures and surprises of a Christmas holiday in Madeira.  Colin Jackson’s speech, partly delivered in verse, went even further afield, highlighting some of the incidents (and accidents) his piano accordion had brought him on world-wide travels. Though appreciated by the audience, this speech earned black marks by running far over the allotted time.

The vote for best speech went to Byron Chan for a humorous account of his twice-unsuccessful attempts to pass a driving test.  Seasoned  with appropriate gestures and imitations of his  examiners’ reactions,  it was delivered with confidence and competence,  highlighting the progress made by this once nervous and hesitant speaker since he joined the club not very long ago. 

The meeting concluded with a general discussion of club issues sparked by general evaluator Caroline Bellhouse’s decision to delegate comments to each member in turn. This produced some interesting ideas and suggestions for the future.

Next meeting will be Tuesday 23rd January at The Great Malvern Hotel. Please contact Steve Birch for more information:  07831 846997  or


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