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Past Meetings      
 
Meeting 22nd November

Club Meeting Report

Tuesday 22nd November 2016

 

L-R: Graham Sterry, Geoff Richardson, Steve Birch and Dave Bradley

Journalist: Colin Jackson

 

Priest, astronaut, vet…?  were among the choices young Graham Sterry toyed with as a child, wondering what he would like to be when he grew up.  Now a man of mature years, with a successful career in accountancy, management and consultancy behind him, he confessed in his introductory ‘icebreaker’ speech that he was still biding his time before deciding what to do “When I Grow Up”!  Although his first address to the club, it was confidently and entertainingly delivered, without notes, and won him the night’s Best Speech prize.

Jackie Preuss gave an informative ‘educational’ talk on the role of Toastmasters in one-to-one mentoring of newer members on their journey to becoming competent public speakers.  The third prepared speech came from Colin Jackson.  After beginning by declaring that he did not believe in the supernatural, he proceeded to tell three stories from his personal experience which cast some doubt on whether he really did or not – ending with the speech title, the rhetorical question “You Tell Me”. 

The meeting had started with a Christmas-themed Table Topics session presided over by Hazel Robinson.  Among several quick-witted contributions to these unprepared speeches, the winner was Steve Birch with a horror story about his Mum cooking his favourite pudding - gooseberry crumble and custard - for Christmas dinner.  It tasted horrible. Quite why became clear when it turned out that the ‘gooseberries she had taken out of the freezer were actually Brussels sprouts!

It is to be hoped that no such disaster takes place at the club’s Christmas dinner at the Great Malvern Hotel on Tuesday December 13th!!  This Tuesday,  November 29th will see a debate and    and Just-a-Minute evening at the same venue at 7.30pm 

Next meeting will be a debate evening on Tuesday 29th November and a Christmas dinner (with words!) on Tuesday December 13th.

Guests are always welcome to find out what goes on – and many go on to join the club. Guests are always welcome to enjoy the speeches – and the interval home-made cakes for which the club is renowned!

Contact Steve Birch - 07831 846997

Interested guests and potential new members always welcome.

Further information on Malvern Speakers please contact:

 Steve Birch

01684 568676 / 07831 846997 

www.malvernspeakers.toastmasterclub.org

 www.malvernspeakers.co.uk

Next Meeting Tuesday 29th Novemberber 2016 at 7:15pm for a prompt start

Our Toastmaster for the evening will be:

Zara Heaven 

@

The Great Malvern Hotel, Graham Road, Malvern

Worcestershire WR14 2HN

Steve Birch ACS ALS

(steve@albinvega.com) - 07831 846997

 
Meeting 8th November

Club Meeting Report

Tuesday 8th November 2016

 

L-R: Jen Cashmore, Steve Birch and Adrian Lane

Journalist: Colin Jackson

There were prolonged standing ovations for the club’s founder president Steve Birch at last week’s packed meeting, as he made the speech that earned him the Toastmasters International official title of Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM). Senior officers from the neighbouring Voice of Wales and Cheltenham clubs were among the audience for this landmark occasion.

This was Steve’s 50th speech since joining the Cheltenham club 9 years ago as – in his own words - someone who was scared to stand up in public. In 2013 he was the driving force in forming the breakaway Malvern Speakers and is now an accomplished public speaker.

It was no surprise then that his moving account of the decline of a much-loved aunt into dementia - not without its humorous moments – was voted the night’s Best Speech. That in itself was no mean achievement, as the two other prepared speeches were also of high quality.

One was from another equally experienced ex-club president, Hilary Benoit, who lived for many years in the USA. Topically, as American voters were on their way to the polls, she used the Presidential election to give a lucid, Powerpoint-illustrated explanation of the complex US electoral system. It certainly helped her listeners to make sense of the dramatic events even then unfolding across the Atlantic.

Up against two such experienced speakers, a daunting task faced recently-joined member Karen Lowen who was making her first ‘icebreaker’ speech. But there was nothing second-best about her charming, confident and often humorous speech, impressively delivered without notes, introducing herself to fellow members. On another night it might easily have been the winner.

The unprepared Table Topics session, conducted by Alan Roberts, led to some lively moments as participants strove to explain why they had written imaginary books with titles such as ‘Your Feet Smell And Your Nose Runs,’ ‘Become a Mermaid’ and ‘Potatoes Make Good Pets’. Winner was Adrian Lane, who drew on his experience of living in Egypt to explain that the title of his book ‘2 + 2 = 5’ arose from a misinterpretation of ancient Pharoaonic hyeroglyphs! 

Next meeting will be at at 7.30pm on Tuesday November 22nd at the Great Malvern Hotel. Other upcoming club events at the same venue include a debate evening on Tuesday 29th November and a Christmas dinner (with words!) on Tuesday December 13th.

Guests are always welcome to find out what goes on – and many go on to join the club. Guests are always welcome to enjoy the speeches – and the interval home-made cakes for which the club is renowned!

Contact Steve Birch - 07831 846997

Interested guests and potential new members always welcome.

Further information on Malvern Speakers please contact:

 Steve Birch

01684 568676 / 07831 846997 

www.malvernspeakers.toastmasterclub.org

 www.malvernspeakers.co.uk

Next Meeting Tuesday 22nd Novemberber 2016 at 7:15pm for a prompt start

Our Toastmaster for the evening will be:

Dave Bradley 

@

The Great Malvern Hotel, Graham Road, Malvern

Worcestershire WR14 2HN

Steve Birch ACS ALS

(steve@albinvega.com) - 07831 846997

 
Meeting 18th October

Club Meeting Report

Tuesday 25th October 2016

 

L-R: Steve Birch, Tom Ellistone, Stan Cantrill and Dave Bradley

Journalist: Colin Jackson                                          Meeting Report Tues 11th Oct 2016 

Four lively speeches, three of them first-time ‘icebreakers’, plus a swift tour of seasonal Table Topics … such as werewolves, zombies and the like, made for a sparkling evening’s entertainment. The approach of Hallowe'en had inspired Karen Lowen’s scary choice of supernatural subjects for participants in her Table Topics session. Robots, superheroes and aliens figured among the spontaneous contributions, with Steve Birch’s thoughts on zombies – which included some near-libellous references to residents of Ledbury! - voted the best on the night.
 
First of the prepared speeches came from Adrian Lane, who began by scaring arachnophobes in the audience by reciting the nursery rhyme Little Miss Muffet. Much to their relief, however, instead of being about spiders the talk proved to be a well-researched description of the history and manufacture of farmhouse Cheddar cheese!
 
Recently joined member, Zara Heaven, told how she had wanted to be a vet since the age of three, and how she credited her tenacity with the fact that she had achieved that ambition. She also talked interestingly about travel to places as far away as Uganda, Zimbabwe and the Cook Islands as part of the charity fund-raising activities which are also an important part of her life.
John Paul ‘JP’ Lucas, speaking easily without notes, explained how from his childhood as the youngest of four children on a Wigan council estate, he came to be a cybersecurity consultant here in Malvern.
Tom Elliston’s memories went back furthest of all, to a childhood tantrum from before he could walk – described in a well-structured speech of cheerful good humour and excellent delivery., also without notes. They earned him the Best Speech vote, while Dave Bradley’s appraisal of this début effort won the Best Evaluator ribbon.
Next regular meetings will be at 7.30pm on Tuesdays November 8th and 22nd at the Great Malvern Hotel, with a ‘fifth Tuesday’ Debate and Just-A-Minute evening on the 29th November.

Next meeting will be at at 7.30pm on Tuesday November 8th at the Great Malvern Hotel. Other upcoming club events at the same venue include a debate evening on Tuesday 29th November and a Christmas dinner (with words!) on Tuesday December 13th.

Guests are always welcome to find out what goes on – and many go on to join the club. Guests are always welcome to enjoy the speeches – and the interval home-made cakes for which the club is renowned!

Contact Steve Birch - 07831 846997

Interested guests and potential new members always welcome.

Further information on Malvern Speakers please contact:

 Steve Birch

01684 568676 / 07831 846997 

www.malvernspeakers.toastmasterclub.org

 www.malvernspeakers.co.uk

Next Meeting Tuesday 8th Novemberber 2016 at 7:15pm for a prompt start

Our Toastmaster for the evening will be:

Dave Bradley 

@

The Great Malvern Hotel, Graham Road, Malvern

Worcestershire WR14 2HN

Steve Birch ACS ALS

(steve@albinvega.com) - 07831 846997

 
Meeting 11th October

Club Meeting Report

Tuesday 11th October 2016

 

L-R: Jim Ballard, Rodger Granville and Caroline Bellhouse

Journalist: Colin Jackson                                          Meeting Report Tues 11th Oct 2016 

A moving tale of his mother’s stoical endurance of a long and difficult life was voted Best Speech for club stalwart Roger Granville. Members were touched by his account of her two marriages, the first broken by divorce, the other by the death of her second husband after just six months. He told of a stillborn child, of her rearing three others as a single mum – and a fight against diabetes that took her by sheer willpower, without medication, from size 26 to size 10.

By far his best speech since joining the club earlier this year came from Byron Chan, who showed confidence, vocal variety, telling body language, and even some humour, in describing a “Journey of Trouble”. It had started with the cancellation of a train in Cambridge and ended in the depths of the night, after a ride first to Letchworth and finally to London in a taxi with a defective sat-nav!

Angela Davison also told us of a journey of sorts. The complete refitting – mainly by d.i.y. - of her Malvern Wells kitchen had proved fuller of pitfalls than of potholes! Cooking in the garden in the rain, trying to find the spices and waiting two months for the new floor to dry were among the reasons she was glad to report that her summer-long journey was almost over!

The six participants in the unprepared table topics session were invited by Tom Elliston to talk about a visit to various creatures at the zoo. Highlights were Karen Lowen’s meeting a large snake roaming free in the aquarium, and Jen Cashmore’s disgust at having to watch a giant turtle when she would rather have been with the baby rhino! The winner – perhaps unfairly as she had worked at London Zoo - was Caroline Bellhouse, whose two-minute talk mentioned many species besides the flamingos which were her official topic!

Jim Ballard won best evaluator for his informative analysis of Roger Granville’s speech.

Next meeting will be at at 7.30pm on Tuesday October 25th at the Great Malvern Hotel. Other upcoming club events at the same venue include a debate evening on Tuesday 29th November and a Christmas dinner (with words!) on Tuesday December 13th.

Guests are always welcome to find out what goes on – and many go on to join the club. Guests are always welcome to enjoy the speeches – and the interval home-made cakes for which the club is renowned!

Contact Steve Birch - 07831 846997

Interested guests and potential new members always welcome.

Further information on Malvern Speakers please contact:

 Steve Birch

01684 568676 / 07831 846997 

www.malvernspeakers.toastmasterclub.org

 www.malvernspeakers.co.uk

Next Meeting Tuesday 25th October 2016 at 7:15pm for a prompt start

Our Toastmaster for the evening will be:

Andrew Graham 

@

The Great Malvern Hotel, Graham Road, Malvern

Worcestershire WR14 2HN

Steve Birch ACS ALS

(steve@albinvega.com) - 07831 846997

 
Meeting 27th September

Club Meeting Report

Tuesday 27th September 2016

 

L-R: Karen Lowen, Jen Cashmore and Steve Birch

Journalist: Colin Jackson    

How would you feel if you were asked to stand up right now and speak for two minutes on a day in the life of, say, a mirror, a suitcase or a front door….?  These were among the challenges that faced competitors in the table topics section of last week’s meeting – challenges they met with flying colours. Speaker after speaker came to the platform and spoke with imagination, confidence,  humour and a minimum of hesitation. This made voting for the best contribution a real puzzle, but the winner was Karen Lowen, a recently-joined member of the club, for her highly entertaining thoughts on being a mobile phone for a day! 

The jargon of modern technology also featured in the prepared speech by the club’s social-media-savvy president Elaine Watt, in which she warned against false friends such as dream stealers, negative nancies, and frenemies! In a talk laced with memorable phrases such as ‘relational vampires’ and  ‘left-handed compliments’. she urged members not to fall for such people but to be ‘CEO of your own life’.

Roger Granville, standing in at the last moment for another speaker, ambitiously tackled the subject of the historic Putney Debates of 1647, during the English Civil Wars, when the outlines of our present democracy were first put forward, 300 years before they became fact. The complexity of his topic led him slightly to to over-run his allocated time – always an important consideration at Toastmasters’ meetings. 

The other speech of the evening, intriguingly entitled “Circus Freaks, Giraffes and Baseball Players” came from Jen Cashmore.  Fluently and without notes, but with considerable humour, she reflected on her lifetime experience of being a Tall Girl, earning the vote for Best Speech. Best Evaluation went to Steve Birch for his rapid fire evaluation of the evening's Table Topics.

Next meeting will be at at 7.30pm on Tuesday October 11th at the Great Malvern Hotel.  Guests are always welcome to find out what goes on – and many go on to join the club. Guests are always welcome to enjoy the speeches – and the interval home-made cakes for which the club is renowned!

Contact Steve Birch - 07831 846997

Interested guests and potential new members always welcome.

Further information on Malvern Speakers please contact:

 Steve Birch

01684 568676 / 07831 846997 

www.malvernspeakers.toastmasterclub.org

 www.malvernspeakers.co.uk

Next Meeting Tuesday 11th October 2016 at 7:15pm for a prompt start

Our Toastmaster for the evening will be:

Andrew Graham 

@

The Great Malvern Hotel, Graham Road, Malvern

Worcestershire WR14 2HN

Steve Birch ACS ALS

(steve@albinvega.com) - 07831 846997

 
Meeting 13th September

Club Meeting Report

Tuesday 13th September 2016

 

Winners: Geoff Richardson (Humorous Speech) and Allan Roberts (Table Topics)

Journalist: Colin Jackson   

Honours continue to pile up for the Malvern Speakers club.  Acting President Hilary Benoit was able to announce that the three-year-old group had been awarded the Toastmasters International award of President’s Distinguished Club 2015/2016 – latest of numerous accolades achieved in its short history. 

After a series of meetings in which new members and even first-time guests had starred, seniority was re-established as speakers contended to represent the club at the next (Area) stage of the Toastmasters’ international competition.  In the prepared humorous speech contest, there were plenty of laughs during founder member Roger Granville’s successful effort to persuade his audience that scientists can be human beings too, as he described several unlikely and hilarious escapades by serious boffins.   Likewise for djellaba- and fez-clad Adrian Lane’s account of coming to terms with life in Egypt – and especially the surreal experience of driving there.  

But it was newly-retired Geoff Richardson’s musings on “Growing Old Gracefully” that earned him the chance to represent Malvern in the next round at Ledbury on October 2nd.  He revealed that consulting Google on the subject had produced 2.18 billion responses!  But his own hints were fewer and down to earth  (avoid wearing shorts, and eating nuts, for example) and supported his contention that we should embrace advancing age, and enjoy rather than endure it. 

Oddly, that was almost exactly the message contained in the winning table topic, presented with quiet confidence and poise by septuagenarian Allan Roberts.  Contestants were invited by Jackie Preuss to describe the advice they would now give their younger selves as school leavers .  Allan has had a varied and interesting life and despite now being visually handicapped still writes books and is a district councillor.  His advice to himself on leaving school was “Make up you own mind what you want to do, go for it – and enjoy life!”   Runner up among the five table topic speakers  was Adrian Lane, who had still not forgotten advice given him when he was five: “Go and be a fireman!”. 

Next meeting will be at at 7.30pm on Tuesday September 27th at the Great Malvern Hotel.  Guest are always welcome to enjoy the speeches – and the interval home-made cakes for which the club is renowned!


Participants: Geoff Richardson, Graham Sterry, Rodger Granville, Byron Chan, Will Dutton, Allan Roberts and Adrian Lane

Contact Steve Birch - 07831 846997

Interested guests and potential new members always welcome.

Further information on Malvern Speakers please contact:

 Steve Birch

01684 568676 / 07831 846997 

www.malvernspeakers.toastmasterclub.org

 www.malvernspeakers.co.uk

Next Meeting Tuesday 27th September 2016 at 7:15pm for a prompt start

Our Toastmaster for the evening will be:

Hilary Benoit 

@

The Great Malvern Hotel, Graham Road, Malvern

Worcestershire WR14 2HN

Steve Birch ACS ALS

(steve@albinvega.com) - 07831 846997

 
Meeting 23rd August

Club Meeting Report

Tuesday 23rd August 2016

 

L-R Steve Birch, Jackie Preuss, Zara Heaven, Dave Evans

Journalist: Colin Jackson   

“Flipe my socks!” could replace “Shiver my timbers” as the pirates' oath of choice, following last week's meeting of Malvern Speakers club.  Flipe (an old word meaning to turn inside out, as when preparing to put a clean pair of socks in a drawer) was chosen as the word of the day, which speakers were invited to work into their talks.  Members responded brilliantly, at least half a dozen using the word once.  Sergeant-at-Arms Dave Evans managed several times, also coining the exclamation above, which could be a handy cuss when in polite company!

First prepared speech came from Adrian Lane, who mused on the expression “Less is more” with examples from his own experience, ranging from his teenage daughter's wheedling for a pizza to the contrast between two museums in Egypt where he worked until recently.  Next up was Jackie Preuss, who explained in her talk “Money doesn't grow on trees”  how a frugal single-parent upbringing had made her nervous of spending money unless absolutely necessary, but how more recently, now better off, she had relaxed into being able to enjoy splashing the cash. Lastly came Roger Granville, with a real-life tale of a still unsolved mystery.  While living in Texas, he was once asked to drive a stretch limo (memorably described as “great long thing with the normal bits of a car stuck on each end”) for a young couple on their wedding day.  They spoke not a single word to each other throughout the journey – and to this day he does not know why!

Jen Cashmore conducted an Olympics-themed session for impromptu short speeches.  First-time guest, Ledbury-based vet Zara Heaven, charmed the audience and won the night's best Table Topic award for her joyful account of her most romantic moment, which she claimed had happened while calving a cow!  Jackie Preuss's was voted best prepared speech, and Dave Evans best evaluator for his appraisal of Roger Granville's story. 

The meeting had begun with the presentation to founder president Steve Birch of a Toastmasters International Leadership Excellence Award, in recognition of his outstanding and sustained efforts since the formation of the club three years ago.  Next meeting will be at the Great Malvern Hotel at 7.30pm on Tuesday September 13th when members can compete for best humorous speech and best table topic awards, with the winner moving on to the next stage in an inter-club, national and international contest. 

Next meeting will be at at 7.30pm on Tuesday September 13th at the Great Malvern Hotel.  Members are invited to consider having a go at the club’s Humorous Speech or Table Topic competition on September 13th – preliminary round of an inter-club, and ultimately international, contest.

Contact Steve Birch - 07831 846997

Interested guests and potential new members always welcome.

Further information on Malvern Speakers please contact:

 Steve Birch

01684 568676 / 07831 846997 

www.malvernspeakers.toastmasterclub.org

 www.malvernspeakers.co.uk

Next Meeting Tuesday 13th September 2016 at 7:15pm for a prompt start

Our Contest Chair for the evening will be:

Jackie Preuss 

@

The Great Malvern Hotel, Graham Road, Malvern

Worcestershire WR14 2HN

Steve Birch ACS ALS

(steve@albinvega.com) - 07831 846997

 
Meeting 9th August

Club Meeting Report

Tuesday 9th August 2016

L-R Byron Chan, Graham Sterry, Steve Birch, Caroline Bellhouse and Adrian Lane

Journalist: Colin Jackson   

The opening prepared ‘speech’ at last week’s meeting actually took the form of a remarkable six-minute long poem (composed not long before delivery) by Andrew Graham. This veritable tour de force was a serious and deeply thoughtful piece, fittingly from one who had survived throat cancer.  It ranged over many aspects of life and contemporary society and contrasted with the more light-hearted tone of the majority of speeches. 

There were certainly a few laughs during Allan Roberts’ talk, which drew mainly on his army experiences to discuss the practical uses of psychology in daily life – often illustrated by examples from the Sergeant Major!

There was also a military theme in Steve Birch’s speech. He told what happened when his younger stepbrother followed him into a Signals regiment, in the hope of postings to exotic tropical locations. Instead – unlike Steve himself - Alf found himself spending a winter in cold wet Germany!  Delivered with all the verve and panache club members have come to expect from Steve, this was voted the night’s best speech. 

Geoff Richardson, conducting the impromptu Table Topics session, invited speakers to talk briefly on holiday themes.  Yet again the winner was a first time guest, Graham Sterry  who boldly accepted the challenge of talking coherently on an unplanned subject before an audience of strangers.  His well-presented tales of daft in-car games, and his childhood fear of knitted swimming costumes, got the vote for  best Topic.  Caroline Bellhouse was adjudged best evaluator for her appraisal of  the six speakers who took part. 

Next meeting will be at at 7.30pm on Tuesday August 23rdh at the Great Malvern Hotel.  Members are invited to consider having a go at the club’s Humorous Speech or Table Topic competition on September 13th – preliminary round of an inter-club, and ultimately international, contest.

Next meeting will be at 7.30pm on Tuesday August 23rd  – guests welcome as always. 

The next meeting will be at the Great Malvern Hotel at 7.30pm on Tuesday August 23rd – guests always welcome. Contact Steve Birch - 07831 846997

Interested guests and potential new members always welcome.

Further information on Malvern Speakers please contact:

 Steve Birch

01684 568676 / 07831 846997 

www.malvernspeakers.toastmasterclub.org

 www.malvernspeakers.co.uk

Next Meeting Tuesday 23rd August 2016 at 7:15pm for a prompt start

Our Toastmaster for the evening will be:

???? 

@

The Great Malvern Hotel, Graham Road, Malvern

Worcestershire WR14 2HN

Steve Birch ACB ALB

(steve@albinvega.com) - 07831 846997

 
Meeting 26th July

Club Meeting Report

Tuesday 26th July 2016

L-R Roger Granville, Chris Little and Caroline Bellhouse

Journalist: Colin Jackson   

It was story-time at the latest meeting, with widely differing tales from each of the three main speakers. Senior member Roger Granville gave an animated performance in describing the improbable adventures of two mice and two humans in search of a piece of cheese.  It turned out that this was a serious parable on the importance of recognising the inevitability of change, and the need to accept and adapt to it! 

More believable was Adrian Lane’s joyful recollection of his childhood ambition to be a fireman, with a vivid evocation (with copious actions!) of life in his primary school playground, separated only by a chain link fence from the local fire station.  Equally credible, if more serious, was Byron Chan’s moving and affectionate tribute to his own childhood nanny.

The session had begun in somewhat surreal fashion, with Table Topics Master Dave Bradley asking each impromptu speaker to explain why some extremely unusual photograph might feature in their family album. Pictures included, for example, a woman taking a photo while lying on her back on a vertiginous bridge parapet, and another showing a person wearing a cow’s head and carrying a milk churn. Quick thinking by all seven contestants produced suitably daft and imaginative explanations to produce a really lively twenty minutes. 

The night’s awards went to Roger Granville as Best Speaker, Caroline Bellhouse Best Evaluator and Chris Little for his witty table topic. 

Next meeting will be at 7.30pm on Tuesday August 9th – guests welcome as always. 

The next meeting will be at the Great Malvern Hotel at 7.30pm on Tuesday August 9th – guests always welcome. Contact Steve Birch - 07831 846997

Interested guests and potential new members always welcome.

Further information on Malvern Speakers please contact:

 Steve Birch

01684 568676 / 07831 846997 

www.malvernspeakers.toastmasterclub.org

 www.malvernspeakers.co.uk

Next Meeting Tuesday 9th August 2016 at 7:15pm for a prompt start

Our Toastmaster for the evening will be:

Adrian Lane 

@

The Great Malvern Hotel, Graham Road, Malvern

Worcestershire WR14 2HN

Steve Birch ACB ALB

(steve@albinvega.com) - 07831 846997

 
Meeting 12th July

Club Meeting Report

Tuesday 28th June 2016

L-R Steven Scarth, Geoff Richardson and Jen Cashmore

Journalist: Colin Jackson   

Midsummer is not usually thought of as the time to make New Year resolutions!  But Geoff Richardson in his winning speech last week argued that the depths of winter, in the aftermath of the Christmas whirl and facing the long dark haul to spring, is not the best time to be making them.  He charmed his audience by describing his personal answer: during the peace of a summer retreat on the beautiful and tranquil Hebridean island of Iona, he picks up two pebbles from the beach.  To one he commits all the things he resolves not to do in the coming year, ands throws it far into the sea.  The other becomes the repository of all his positive resolutions and this he takes home and treasures.  

Stan Cantrill entertained mightily with his talk on the importance of body language in public speaking.  Himself a judo champion, he illustrated it by demonstrating the familiar victory gestures of such sporting heroes  as Mo Farrer, Usain Bolt, Serena Williams and  Andy Murray.  The night’s third main speech at a packed meeting came from Steve Birch –  recently appointed Toastmasters’ International Divisional Director for much of the South England – who described the mix of hard work and pleasure involved in organising the  40th Anniversary of the disbandment of 14th Signal Regiment reunion for his army colleagues of over 40 years earlier.

Another Steve, Steve Scarth, who had come along as a guest to see what happens at a Toastmasters’ meeting, bravely agreed to take part in the impromptu session and spoke with such  poise and enthusiasm that he was voted best Table Topics speaker ahead of many experienced speechmakers. Visiting Gloucester club member (but Malvern Wells resident!) Jen Cashmore won Best Evaluator for her appraisal of Stan Cantrill’s speech.

The next meeting will be at the Great Malvern Hotel at 7.30pm on Tuesday July 26th – guests always welcome. Contact Steve Birch 07831 846997

Interested guests and potential new members always welcome.

Further information on Malvern Speakers please contact:

 Steve Birch

01684 568676 / 07831 846997 

www.malvernspeakers.toastmasterclub.org

 www.malvernspeakers.co.uk

Next Meeting Tuesday 12th July 2016 at 7:15pm for a prompt start

Our Toastmaster for the evening will be:

Elaine Watt 

@

The Great Malvern Hotel, Graham Road, Malvern

Worcestershire WR14 2HN

Steve Birch ACB ALB

(steve@albinvega.com) - 07831 846997

 
Meeting 28th June

Club Meeting Report

Tuesday 28th June 2016

Previous Committee Members and Speech Winners Pose 

Journalist: Colin Jackson  

Malvern Speakers continues to go from strength to strength. Retiring at the end of her year as president Hilary Benoit reported that  after just three years of existence the club had achieved the designation of President’s Distinguished Club, placing it among the top 10 per cent of  clubs worldwide under a Toastmasters International classification scheme. A new committee takes over from July 1st  under the presidency of Elaine Watt from Martley. 

In the midst of the prevailing feverish political atmosphere, conservation officer Andrew Nixon scrapped his planned speech and gave a thought-provoking talk on the implications of Brexit for environmental protection, throwing light on the complexity of the implications of the June 23rd referendum.  He gave local examples of  areas protected by EU Directives – for example the Wye Valley and the Severn estuary, as well as protective legislation for species such as bats and dormice as well as the Water Framework and Bathing Water Directives which protect water quality. The future of all this legislation would now have to be addressed following the Brexit vote. Adrian Lane won Best Evaluator for his astute evaluation of this speech.

The other main speech, by incoming president Elaine Watt, was about our habits, good and bad, and  how from simple tooth-brushing  they could be used to improve our lives.  Habits, she concluded, could be our best friends or our worst enemies.  In a lively table topics session, impromptu speakers were invited by Rob Allen to talk about a variety of travel experiences.  Delays when flying with a very young baby, a bus trip to the DMZ between South and North Korea, and Nick Banks’ winning account of his mixed experiences of using Coventry Airport  were among the subject covered by the six members who took part.

The club’s next meeting will be held at 7.30pm at the Great Malvern Hotel on Tuesday July 12th.  As always interested guests will be made welcome – and rewarded with the home-made cake which is Malvern Speakers’ trademark speciality!

The next meeting will be at the Great Malvern Hotel at 7.30pm on Tuesday July 12th – guests always welcome. Contact Steve Birch 07831 846997

Interested guests and potential new members always welcome.

Further information on Malvern Speakers please contact:

 Steve Birch

01684 568676 / 07831 846997 

www.malvernspeakers.toastmasterclub.org

 www.malvernspeakers.co.uk

Next Meeting Tuesday 12th July 2016 at 7:15pm for a prompt start

Our Toastmaster for the evening will be:

Jackie Preuss 

@

The Great Malvern Hotel, Graham Road, Malvern

Worcestershire WR14 2HN

Steve Birch ACB ALB

(steve@albinvega.com) - 07831 846997

 
Meeting 12th June

Club Meeting Report

Tuesday 24th May 2016

L-R: Geoff Richardson, Jen Cashmore, Bridget

Journalist: Colin Jackson 

Appropriately enough in Royal Ascot Week, it was Ladies’ Day at the Malvern Speakers last meeting, with the two main awards going to ladies.  Voted the night’s Best Speaker was Jen Cashmore, for her thoughtful and well researched reflections on Top Five Reasons Marriages Survive.  She captured her audience’s attention from the outset by quoting two striking statistics – that even today 75 per cent of the population get married at some point – and that sadly 41 per cent of those marriages will end in divorce. Celebrating her own successful union of 20 years (and counting!) she listed the five reasons most cited for marital longevity. Of these,  most important  were commitment  and communication in particular listening to your partner and  encouraging their self-esteem.

A long marriage was also key to the subject of Colin Jackson’s (also long!) speech, which described  a much-loved  library of cookery books built up over 50 years.  Starting with his wife’s handwritten notes from domestic science college, it contained recipes handwritten by friends and family, newspaper cuttings and  books collected from many countries, some valued as much for their cultural and historical anecdotes and illustrations as their culinary information.  Geoff Richardson’s generous, but not uncritical, appraisal of this speech earned him the Best Evaluator prize.

The third main speech was Caroline Bellhouse’s ‘educational’ describing the twin tracks of communication and leadership which are the main focus of Toastmasters International of which Malvern Speakers is already rated a Presidents Distinguished club after just three years of existence. 

Alan Roberts puzzled many of the volunteers for the short table topic speeches by asking them to find uses for various obscure and specialist items of hardware he pulled at random out of a bag.  Several normally fluent speakers were even reduced almost to speechlessness, but not so first-time guest Bridget, whose charming musings on the possibilities of a humble hinge won her the evening’s prize. 

The club’s next meeting will be held at 7.30pm at the Great Malvern Hotel on Tuesday June 28th.  As always interested guests will be made welcome – and rewarded with the home-made cake which is Malvern Speakers’ trademark speciality!

The next meeting will be at the Great Malvern Hotel at 7.30pm on Tuesday June 2th – guests always welcome. Contact Steve Birch 07831 846997

Interested guests and potential new members always welcome.

Further information on Malvern Speakers please contact:

 Steve Birch

01684 568676 / 07831 846997 

www.malvernspeakers.toastmasterclub.org

 www.malvernspeakers.co.uk

Next Meeting Tuesday 28th Jun 2016 at 7:15pm for a prompt start

Our Toastmaster for the evening will be:

???? 

@

The Great Malvern Hotel, Graham Road, Malvern

Worcestershire WR14 2HN

Steve Birch ACB ALB

(steve@albinvega.com) - 07831 846997

 
Meeting 24th May

Club Meeting Report

Tuesday 24th May 2016

L-R: Hilary Benoit, Rob Allen, Jackie Preuss

Journalist: Colin Jackson

It was a shame that the poorest attendance for some time should have coincided with three exceptional speeches.  Many regular stalwarts were absent for a variety of reasons and even one of the speakers, incoming president Elaine Watt, was only able to join the meeting at the half-time 'cake break'. Tragedy and near-tragedy marked her speech and that of Adrian Lane.  Elaine described how her great-grandmother died in an asylum in her early 20s, soon after giving birth to her third child, from a condition which would later have been recognised as treatable diabetes,  Yet in the same year of 1922, scientists in Toronto were discovering the key role of insulin which would soon transform life for diabetics – and win them a Nobel Prize.

Adrian Lane's moving and dramatic account of his mum's survival of a 1973 air crash in Switzerland which killed more than 100 of the women from social clubs in north Somerset who were on a shopping day trip to Basel. He gave his audience a vivid impression of how the event affected a young teenage boy from the moment he heard it reported on TV until he saw his mum in a Swiss hospital bed – a life-changing experience.

Voted the night's best speech, however, was president Hilary Benoit's masterful guide to public speaking entitled 'Speak or Die'.  This was a veritable tutorial from one of the club's top speakers, who recalled that her first effort many years ago had been marked by several of the audience falling asleep!

In a lively impromptu Table Topics session, participants were invited by Jane Anson, recently returned from a lengthy caravan tour of Europe, to reflect on various holiday experiences.  Recently joined member Rob Allen was voted the winner for a fluent and confident description of his favourite beach in Spain.  Jackie Preuss won the Best Evaluator shield for her thoughtful appraisal of Adrian's speech.

There will be a three-week break till the club's next meeting which will take place at the Great Malvern Hotel at 7.30pm on Tuesday June 14th.

The next meeting will be at the Great Malvern Hotel at 7.30pm on Tuesday June 14th – guests always welcome. Contact Steve Birch 07831 846997

Interested guests and potential new members always welcome.

Further information on Malvern Speakers please contact:

 Steve Birch

01684 568676 / 07831 846997 

www.malvernspeakers.toastmasterclub.org

 www.malvernspeakers.co.uk

Next Meeting Tuesday 14th Jun 2016 at 7:15pm for a prompt start

Our Toastmaster for the evening will be:

???? 

@

The Great Malvern Hotel, Graham Road, Malvern

Worcestershire WR14 2HN

Steve Birch ACB ALB

(steve@albinvega.com) - 07831 846997

 
Meeting 10th May

Club Meeting Report

Tuesday 10th May 2016

L-R: Elaine Watt, Steve Birch

Journalist: Colin Jackson

The single word “Death...” followed by a lengthy and dramatic pause, had the audience for Jim Ballard's mysteriously titled speech 'Micromorts' on the edge of their seats from the outset.  A micromort, it turned out, is a measure which can be used to calculate the one-in-a-million  probability of  death from various human activities.   Reeling off with impressive fluency a string of statistics, Jim showed that things we fear most may not always be the most life-threatening.  For example, there is a greater likelihood of death from a bee or wasp sting than from a terrorist attack!  We were even warned of the (very small!) danger of a fatal fall while putting on or taking off trousers!

Earlier, in the Table Topics session, Adrian Lane had invited impromptu speakers to suggest alternatives to traditional May Day activities.  This stimulated some interesting ideas,.  These included circling the maypole in full Highland dress; through encouraging the morris-men with the Motown hit 'Dancing in the Street'; and students simply getting a job, instead of jumping off Oxford's Magdalen Bridge on May morning. This last won the night's award for Steve Birch.

Steve Birch was in the spotlight again when president Hilary Benoit reported that he had been elected Toastmasters' Divisional Director at a national weekend conference in London – bringing fresh laurels to the highly successful young Malvern club.  Annual committee elections saw Elaine Watt (who also won the Best Evaluator ribbon for her perceptive appraisal of Jim Ballard's talk) voted to succeed Hilary Benoit as President, with Andrew Graham taking over as Secretary.

Hilary ended an impressive year at the top by producing a full-length speech at only a few minutes notice to fill an unexpected gap in the agenda.  Although perhaps not up to her usual high standard that had taken her to the national finals in London at the weekend, it was a remarkable achievement that would have daunted most of her fellow members. 

The next meeting will be at the Great Malvern Hotel at 7.30pm on Tuesday May 24th – guests always welcome. Contact Steve Birch 07831 846997

Interested guests and potential new members always welcome.

Further information on Malvern Speakers please contact:

 Steve Birch

01684 568676 / 07831 846997 

www.malvernspeakers.toastmasterclub.org

 www.malvernspeakers.co.uk

Next Meeting Tuesday 24th May 2016 at 7:15pm for a prompt start

Our Toastmaster for the evening will be:

Andrew Nixon 

@

The Great Malvern Hotel, Graham Road, Malvern

Worcestershire WR14 2HN

Steve Birch ACB ALB

(steve@albinvega.com) - 07831 846997

 
Meeting 26th April

Club Meeting Report

Tuesday 26th April 2016

L-R: Rob Allen, William Dutton, David Evans

Journalist: Colin Jackson

There was delight for members of Malvern Speakers who made a long Sunday trip to Aylesbury in loyal support of their club President Hillary Benoit.  Her polished speech won the Divisional stage of the Toastmasters International Speech and Evaluation Contest, from opposition representing over 30 clubs as scattered across southern England and Wales from Plymouth to Canterbury and Ludlow.  This was her third win in the contest, having already won at Club and Area level, and qualifies her to compete next in London in May in the national finals.  Success there would entitle her to take part in the international finals in USA later in the year.

The Malvern club gained further laurels with the presentation of the 2015-2016 Divisional PR Award for best use of external media – in part thanks to the regular meeting reports carried here in the Community pages of the Malvern Gazette.

There was a strong emphasis on childhood in the speeches at last week's club meeting. David Evans contrasted his own happy and carefree childhood of a generation ago with the more restricted lives faced by today's overprotected youngsters – a state of affairs he blamed firmly on the media obsession with publicising every untoward incident affecting children.  His powerful argument earned him the vote for the night's best speech. 

Also reminiscent of a happy childhood – despite a sad ending—was Caroline Bellhouse's animated re-telling (suitably attired and with props) of a Turkish childrens' story about a well-meaning but rather dim peasant couple.  Not so much about childhood as young adulthood was Tony Waters' first 'icebreaker' speech since joining the club He admitted having spent too much time when a student  at Cambridge watching Ted Dexter (his exact contemporary and later England captain) playing cricket at Fenners!

Other awards for the evening went to Will Dutton for his evaluation of Tony Waters' speech, and for the best unprepared Table Topic to brand new member Rob Allen who had joined the club just before the start of the meeting!

Congratulations to Geoff Richardson as Toastmaster for the very first time and to Martin Harris for his very first Grammarian role. 

The next meeting will be at the Great Malvern Hotel at 7.30pm on Tuesday May 10th – guests always welcome. Contact Steve Birch 07831 846997

Interested guests and potential new members always welcome.

Further information on Malvern Speakers please contact:

 Steve Birch

01684 568676 / 07831 846997 

www.malvernspeakers.toastmasterclub.org

 www.malvernspeakers.co.uk

Next Meeting Tuesday 10th May 2016 at 7:15pm for a prompt start

Our Toastmaster for the evening will be:

Dave Evans 

@

The Great Malvern Hotel, Graham Road, Malvern

Worcestershire WR14 2HN

Steve Birch ACB ALB

(steve@albinvega.com) - 07831 846997

 
Meeting 12th April

Club Meeting Report

Tuesday 12th April 2016

L-R: Geoff Richardson, Caroline Bellhouse, Roger Granville

Journalist: Caroline Bellhouse 

Murder mysteries were the subject of the impromptu ‘miniature speeches’ on Tuesday night run by Hazel Robinson. When Jim Ballard was asked to continue the sentence ‘The butler opened the door and announced…’, he found it easy as he confessed that he was actually the butler and described the meal he had prepared and served to friends at a murder mystery party. Angela Davison described a nightmare scenario involving trying to revive someone with a ghost in the background and Ben Colyer described vividly how he tried to cover his eyes and ears to avoid seeing Santa on his way to deliver presents, terrified that by seeing him, the illusion would disperse. But it was Caroline Bellhouse’s unlikely but true description of holding a policeman’s hamster to bathe its eye that won the Best Table Topic of the evening. 

The audience were then treated to three top quality and well-honed prepared speeches. Geoff Richardson asked if perhaps we should be a bit more Japanese, describing three pleasant and popular Japanese pastimes; Shopping (everything meticulously wrapped in lots of paper; each assistant wishing you well as you leave the shop); Socialising – which is often linked to the third pastime of Soaking – in communal baths, pre showered and completely naked. He noted that some downsides are that an awful lot of wrapping paper is used; the fact that smart new shoes cannot be shown off as they are left at the front door but he urged us to join him on his next family visit to Japan, asking if we were up for the challenge of becoming a little bit more Japanese.

Club President Hilary Benoit’s prepared speech was accepting a fictional award for twenty years’ service. Full of humour, such as the fact that she had been ‘passed around (the executive) because I’m such a pain to work with’, her well-honed and crafted speech was evaluated by Roger Granville.

Finally, Glenda Ballard brought a fascinating and controversial subject to the audience for consideration; that of  x- boxes being allowed in jail. As a prison psychologist, Glenda’s speech, entitled Prisons or Holiday Camps? gave the audience an ‘insiders’  view, exploring  the use of goodies (distractions such as computer games) for baddies, noting that since ‘every act of violence has a victim’, then if computer games may stop another warden being harmed, then perhaps the taxpayers’ money is indeed well spent.

In a slick summing up, Andrew Graham exclaimed that if Carlsberg did Toastmasters then it had been one of the best meetings to date.

Award for Best Speaker went to Geoff Richardson, Best Evaluator to Roger Granville and Best Table Topic to Caroline Bellhouse.

Special mention to Andrew Graahm as first time General Evaluator. 

Never a dull moment at Malvern Speakers' meetings! The next will be at the Great Malvern Hotel at 7.30pm on Tuesday April 26th – guests always welcome. Contact Steve Birch 07831 846997

Interested guests and potential new members always welcome.

Further information on Malvern Speakers please contact:

 Steve Birch

01684 568676 / 07831 846997 

www.malvernspeakers.toastmasterclub.org

 www.malvernspeakers.co.uk

Next Meeting Tuesday 26th April 2016 at 7:15pm for a prompt start

Our Toastmaster for the evening will be:

Geoff Richardson 

@

The Great Malvern Hotel, Graham Road, Malvern

Worcestershire WR14 2HN

Steve Birch ACB ALB

(steve@albinvega.com) - 07831 846997

 
Meeting 22nd March

Club Meeting Report

Tuesday 22nd March 2016

L-R: Geoff Richardson, William Dutton, Steve Birch

Journalist: Colin Jackson 


Club Meeting Winners

Whatever next at Malvern Speakers?  A packed meeting at the Great Malvern Hotel, with a large contingent of perhaps slightly surprised first-time attenders, was regaled with a mixed menu of speeches which even featured, among other things, both bellybuttons and belly dancing!  Will Dutton's sparkling impromptu dissertation on the unlikely first subject won him the night's Table Topics prize, in a session in which Caroline Bellhouse invited each speaker to talk briefly about a body part. The second came up in the context of club president Hilary Benoit, whose many skills include belly dancing, in which she was at one time a professional in New York, and is now a teacher in Ledbury!  Hilary was not present, but the meeting heard that she had won both Best Speech and Best Evaluator at a recent inter-club Area competition at Cheltenham, the first round in a world-wide Toastmasters International contest. She will now progress to the Divisional round in Aylesbury on April 24
th.

The evening's prepared speeches were led off with a first-time 'icebreaker' from recently-joined Ben Colyer. This was a cleverly-constructed and confidently delivered account of various recurring themes in his life, and was enthusiastically received by his audience. Following the club's trademark 'Cake Break', the next speech came from Elaine Watt, who enjoys the title of Vice President of Public Relations – usually shortened to V.P. P.R.  A relaxed and entertaining account of how she took to rehabilitating chickens rescued from intensive egg production, it led her to the conclusion that her title should now be changed to VP Eggs!  

The final speech came from 'super-sub' Steve Birch.  One of the club's most experienced speakers, he had stepped in at short notice to replace a member held up in post-Brussels air traffic chaos.  Steve's brief for the speech was to tell a story.  This he did with a highly dubious account of the origin of the Baker's Dozen, to such good effect that he was voted the night's Best Speaker.  Geoff Richardson earned the Best Evaluator ribbon for his thorough and sympathetic appraisal of Ben Colyer's début effort.  Next meeting will be at 7.30pm on April 12th at the Great Malvern Hotel.

Special mention to Dave Evans as first time General Evaluator and Martin Harris as first time Timekeeper. Both were executed with aplomb! 

Never a dull moment at Malvern Speakers' meetings! The next will be at the Great Malvern Hotel at 7.30pm on Tuesday April 12th – guests always welcome. Contact Steve Birch 07831 846997

Interested guests and potential new members always welcome.

Further information on Malvern Speakers please contact:

 Steve Birch

01684 568676 / 07831 846997 

www.malvernspeakers.toastmasterclub.org

 www.malvernspeakers.co.uk

Next Meeting Tuesday 12th April 2016 at 7:15pm for a prompt start

Our Toastmaster for the evening will be:

Elaine Watt 

@

The Great Malvern Hotel, Graham Road, Malvern

Worcestershire WR14 2HN

Steve Birch ACB ALB

(steve@albinvega.com) - 07831 846997

 
Meeting 8th March

Club International Speech & Evaluation Contest Meeting Report

Tuesday 8th March 2016

Journalist: Colin Jackson 


Club Contest Meeting - International Speech & Evaluation

The Hilary Presidential bandwagon rolled into the Great Malvern Hotel last Tuesday! No, not the one aimed at putting another Clinton into the Washington White House – just a clean sweep of night's awards at the Malvern Speakers Contest Meeting by club president Hilary Benoit. She not only won Best Speech in the International Competition, a success which will take her forward to represent the club at Area level later this month, but also took the prize for Best Evaluator for her appraisal of a non-competing speech by David Evans.

 Her winning speech dwelt on the power we all have to influence others' lives in a moment for better or worse. Quoting examples from her own experience of small incidents with long-lasting effects, this widely travelled lady mentioned a 'road rage' event in Washington DC and being presented with a bunch of flowers in the street by a complete stranger in Minsk, Russia as instances of such negative and positive moments which can linger in the memory for years afterwards.

 

It was an evening of high quality content, with the other competition speech coming from senior Toastmaster Ciaran Murphy containing the mix of serious material and impish Irish humour the audience have come to expect of him. Likewise the non-winning evaluation by Caroline Bellhouse, a textbook example of how to appraise, encourage and criticise constructively.
 

Also worthy of special mention was
David Evans' speech – a relaxed, enjoyable and humorous account of his experiences of DIY, which included some memorable phrases such as “every silver lining has a cloud” and his wife's role as a “DIY widow”. A quick-fire table topics session was conducted by the amiable David Bradley, pulling objects out of a sack like Santa in his grotto for participants to discuss, as varied as a jubilee clip, a cricket ball, a lemon and tin of cannelloni beans. 

Never a dull moment at Malvern Speakers' meetings! The next will be at the Great Malvern Hotel at 7.30pm on Tuesday March 22nd – guests always welcome. Contact Steve Birch 07831 846997

Interested guests and potential new members always welcome.

Further information on Malvern Speakers please contact:

 Steve Birch

01684 568676 / 07831 846997 

www.malvernspeakers.toastmasterclub.org

 www.malvernspeakers.co.uk

Next Meeting Tuesday 22nd March 2016 at 7:15pm for a prompt start

Our Toastmaster for the evening will be:

???? 

@

The Great Malvern Hotel, Graham Road, Malvern

Worcestershire WR14 2HN

Steve Birch ACB ALB

(steve@albinvega.com) - 07831 846997

 
Meeting 23rd February

Meeting Report

Tuesday 23rd February 2016

 L - R   Steve Birch, Allan Roberts and Jim Ballard

Journalist: Caroline Bellhouse

The evening began with a lively and reputedly scientific explanation of man flu from Sergeant at Arms Dave Evans, who tried to convince his audience that it is all down to testosterone levels; the male component of the audience were probably convinced, if not the females.

The meeting was divided as usual into two parts, with delicious homemade cakes provided in the aptly named ‘cake break’; both the lemon drizzle cake and Belgian buns went down a treat. The first half included a topical impromptu session about February 29th, the leap year phenomenon, ably run by Jackie Preuss.  The audience was treated to tales of imaginary mountain top horseback proposals (Abby O’Gram) and pompous statue yarn bombing (Hazel Robinson) but it was Romantic Roman festivities (Allan Roberts) that was voted winner of the two minute  mini speeches.

The three prepared speeches of the evening were of an extremely high calibre but with very different content. Seasoned speaker Steve Birch had the challenge of accepting an unknown topic about which he had to speak for five to seven minutes. There was surely not a dry eye in the house at the end of his very moving and smoothly delivered account of a troubled upbringing in ‘When I was A Boy’ and he deservedly claimed Best Speaker ribbon at the end of the evening.

The next speech was Alice Crumpler’s ‘Ice Breaker’ speech, during which a member is required to talk for four to six minutes on any topic that introduces them to the club. Alice chose to focus on a hilarious recent adventure which involved acquiring a discarded car bonnet, as part of an ambitious art project. This was achieved on foot, on a very windy day, with the aid of a passing grandmother. Alice’s lively  gestures and storytelling were compelling and stand her in good stead for her teaching career. Jim Ballard’s eloquent evaluation of Alice’s speech won him Best evaluator.

Andrew Graham spoke earnestly about being yourself when presenting, suggesting that ‘the body is a hologram’, an outward representation of your inner self. His proposal that presenters may benefit from letting relaxation and a natural style do the work for us rather than aspiring to be the ‘super charged speaker who launches onto the stage to the tune of Rocky’ certainly hit a note judging by his audience’s reactions. His simple conclusion, that ‘a smile is a smile in Minnesota or Malvern’ was a neat conclusion to his speech.

The next meeting is a competition night held at The Great Malvern Hotel on Tuesday March 8th 2016. Visitors always welcome. Contact Steve on 07831 846997

 

Interested guests and potential new members always welcome.

Further information on Malvern Speakers please contact:

 Steve Birch

01684 568676 / 07831 846997 

www.malvernspeakers.toastmasterclub.org

 www.malvernspeakers.co.uk

Next Meeting Tuesday 8th March 2016 at 7:15pm for a prompt start

Our Contest Chair for the evening will be:

???? 

@

The Great Malvern Hotel, Graham Road, Malvern

Worcestershire WR14 2HN

Steve Birch ACB ALB

(steve@albinvega.com) - 07831 846997

 
Meeting 9th February

 Meeting Report

Tuesday 9th February 2016

 L - R   Hazel Robinson, Abigail O'Gram and Adrian Lane

Journalist: Colin Jackson 

Last week's meeting ended with prolonged applause for an unusual self-deprecating and chivalrous gesture by the winner of the vote for best speech, Ciaran Murphy.  Possibly the club's most experienced speaker, his winning talk – a vivid and emotional account of an England-Ireland rugby international -  however ran more than two minutes over its allotted time. Timekeeping is one of the key aspects stressed by Toastmasters, so on receiving his award from club president Hilary Benoit, Ciaran immediately admitted his fault and re-presented the shield to Abigail O'Gram, a new member of the club who had just made her first 'icebreaker' speech- a handsome gesture well appreciated by the assembled company.

Abigail in her introductory speech traced her life from a carefree upbringing on a Yorkshire farm, through a successful youthful equestrian career to settling down to a desk-bound office job – from which she was made redundant after 3½ years.  Realising that the outdoors was where she was happiest, she then took a two-year course at Pershore College and now runs her own garden design business at Upton-on-Severn. Hence the advice in the title of her confidently delivered talk: Follow Your Heart for True Happiness.

There was an equestrian theme in the other main speech of the evening, in which self-confessed one-time horsey tomboy Jackie Preuss (wearing uncomfortably high stiletto heels for the occasion!) entertainingly described coming to terms with the glamorous and mysterious world of make-up.  

In the impromptu session, Table Topics Master Alice Crumpler cleverly used David Bowie song titles to provide subjects for her speakers.  Winner was Adrian Lane (recently repatriated from Egypt), who somehow managed to use China Girl as a basis for describing how he would like to have the Great Sphinx (and a small pyramid!) as a the sculpture of choice in his garden.

Hazel Robinson's critique of Ciaran Murphy's sporting tour de force won her the Best Evaluator vote, while Jabba Riaz went home joyfully clutching the Um Pig – awarded to the speaker with most ums and ers on the evening.

Next meeting will be at the Great Malvern Hotel at 7.15pm on Tuesday February 23rd.  Guests are always welcome.

Interested guests and potential new members always welcome.

Further information on Malvern Speakers please contact:

 Steve Birch

01684 568676 / 07831 846997 

www.malvernspeakers.toastmasterclub.org

 www.malvernspeakers.co.uk

Next Meeting Tuesday 23rd February 2016 at 7:15pm for a prompt start

Our ToastMaster for the evening will be:

Jabba Riaz 

@

The Great Malvern Hotel, Graham Road, Malvern

Worcestershire WR14 2HN

Steve Birch ACB ALB

(steve@albinvega.com) - 07831 846997

 
Meeting 26th January

 Meeting Report

Tuesday 26th January 2016

 L - R   Alice Crumpler, David Evans and Dave Bradley

Journalist: Colin Jackson

An overnight guest at the Great Malvern Hotel last Tuesday, had he accidentally strayed into the meeting room at the back, would have been confronted by a strange sight (and sound). A couple of dozen otherwise normal-seeming people were rocking to a Maori-style haka to the words of Humpty Dumpty!  This was Dave Bradley's remarkable suggestion to replace the current national songs used by the Home Countries at rugby internationals, so as to compete more effectively with the New Zealanders' traditional pre-match challenge. His speech not only had his entire audience acting and singing, but also readily won the vote for the night's best.


Not that there was any lack of competition. Club President Hilary Benoit, who was presented at the opening of the meeting with an Advanced Leadership Bronze Certificate, gave a typically polished example of a Toast – in this case as if to her own parents at their Diamond Wedding.  Steve Birch used recollections from his army life to consider how the appearance of food and drink can affect its appeal to our taste. Bright red custard on coal-black apple crumble, for instance...! Dave Evans's appraisal of Steve Birch's speech won Best Evaluator for the meeting.

Cate Cody, in a speech intriguingly entitled “Mermaids Manage With Long Hair”, described her childhood struggles growing up from a “fabulously rubbish all-rounder at the age of eight”  to successfully learning to swim, as well as acquiring many other skills in later life. These include writing poetry, and her use of language showed a poet's originality – for example in shivering so much by the pool that she “felt her goosebumps might work as buoyancy aids”. This was her tenth speech in less that two years as a club member, earning her the Toastmasters' official designation of Competent Communicator.

An inspired impromptu performance as the Queen as a secret spy won the night's Table Topic prize for Alice Crumpler for the second meeting in succession. Other competitors were invited by Colin Jackson to impersonate characters as varied as Donald Trump, Eve in the Garden of Eden, Santa Claus, Captain Mainwaring, and Napoleon, each relaxing after a hard day at the office. 

Next meeting will be at the Great Malvern Hotel at 7.15pm on Tuesday February 9th.  Guests are always welcome – haka experts especially!

Interested guests and potential new members always welcome.

Further information on Malvern Speakers please contact:

 Steve Birch

01684 568676 / 07831 846997 

www.malvernspeakers.toastmasterclub.org

 www.malvernspeakers.co.uk

Next Meeting Tuesday 9th February 2016 at 7:15pm for a prompt start

Our ToastMaster for the evening will be:

A Surprise 

@

The Great Malvern Hotel, Graham Road, Malvern

Worcestershire WR14 2HN

Steve Birch ACB ALB

(steve@albinvega.com) - 07831 846997

 
Meeting 12th January

 Meeting Report

Tuesday 12th January 2016

 L - R   Geoff Richardson, Alice Crumpler and Hazel Robinson

Journalist: Colin Jackson

It was as well there was a packed room for Malvern Speakers' first meeting of 2016, as the sheer number of bodies (including several new faces), plus a goodly measure of verbal hot air, made up to some extent for the absence of heating during replacement of the hotel's system! 

Affairs got off to a January Sales-themed start in the Table Topics session conducted by Glenda Ballard.  Voted best of six spontaneous short talks was newly-joined member Alice Crumpler's joyous account of receiving some boring blankets instead of the powder-blue half price radio she had ordered – and getting satisfaction from the supplier!

First of four varied and interesting prepared speeches was Hazel Robinson's animated chronicle of the development of her musical tastes from earliest youth, copiously illustrated with snatches of song and dance which kept her audience constantly entertained.  Next came Angela Davison with the intriguingly titled 'Peacocks for Sale' – which contained a lot of fascinating information about these spectacular birds – but ended with her having decided not to buy any – not even the ones she saw advertised as “pre-loved peacocks”.

This was followed by Andrew Graham's impassioned appeal on behalf of the charity SHAPE, which works to help the homeless, rough sleepers, the destitute and dispossessed.  Laced with impressive statistics and enlightened with clever use of language and alliteration, his speech gave club members much food for thought.

A full and varied programme was completed by Adrian Lane's quaint and quirky musings on Alice in Wonderland, described by his evaluator John Day as a “surreal, abstract” speech.  When the evening's awards were announced, Alice Crumpler won Best Table Topic, Hazel Robinson Best Speaker and Geoff Richardson Best Evaluator for a balanced and positive appraisal of Angela Davison's speech.

The club's next meeting will take place at 7.30pm on Tuesday January 26th at the Great Malvern Hotel – guests welcome as always.

Interested guests and potential new members always welcome.

Further information on Malvern Speakers please contact:

 Steve Birch

01684 568676 / 07831 846997 

www.malvernspeakers.toastmasterclub.org

 www.malvernspeakers.co.uk

Next Meeting Tuesday 26th January 2016 at 7:15pm for a prompt start

Our ToastMaster for the evening will be:

Andrew (Dodsy) Graham 

@

The Great Malvern Hotel, Graham Road, Malvern

Worcestershire WR14 2HN

Steve Birch ACB ALB

(steve@albinvega.com) - 07831 846997

 
Meeting 10th November

 Meeting Report

Tuesday 10th November 2015

 L - R   Ciaran Murphy, Jackie Preuss & Elaine Watt

Journalist: Colin Jackson

It is testament to the strength of this club, still only in its third year, that even in the absence of many of its more experienced stalwart members others appear to ensure lively and stimulating meetings. So it was last week, when two of the main speeches were 'Ice-Breakers' from first-time speakers. First up was Adrian Lane with a gripping account of being in Cairo during the revolution in Egypt, with tanks on the streets and all means of communication cut off. Unsurprisingly after such an experience, the speaker showed no sign of nervousness in addressing his audience. 

The other newcomer was Andrew Graham, whose introductory speech covered aspects of his  varied and often tough life, which included being a civil rights activist, traumatic incidents from his army service in Ulster, being diagnosed with cancer – and even crossing swords with Jack Straw at a Downing Street reception!

Voted best speaker on the night, however, was Jackie Preuss, whose speech 'Persistence and Determination' showed just how much of those qualities she possesses.   She described how she had applied four times before finally getting a job she had set her heart on at Jaguar Land Rover; and again  how she had  persisted with determination towards an ambition to have a book published.  Jackie was also presented by club president Hilary Benoit with a special award in recognition of her rapid progress through her first five speeches – halfway to Competent Communicator status.

The impromptu Table Topics session was presided over by Will Dutton, who used a mysterious folded paper to enable speakers in effect to choose their own subject. This so threw the first 'victim' , Hazel Robinson, that she got through her allotted time almost without speaking!  No such  problem, though, for Ciaran Murphy, whose upbringing in the land of Blarney enabled him to conjure up a fluent and colourful account of the Dungeons of London to claim the winner's shield.

Best Evaluator was awarded to Elaine Watt for her excellent evaluation of Andrew Graham’s Ice-Breaker “Extra Time”

Next meeting will be at the Great Malvern Hotel at 7.30pm on Tuesday November 24th.   The next event, on December 8th,  will take the form of a Christmas dinner (with verbal trimmings).  A few places are still available - contact: Steve Birch on 07971 846 997. 

As ever, interested guests and potential new members will be made welcome.

 

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