The first meeting of the New Year saw members and guests in abundance. We were particularly pleased to see Maureen Scott rejoin us after a long absence through illness. New member Martin Groom opened the meeting as Sergeant at Arms and welcomed Susy Mathews to the lectern as Toastmaster for the evening. In her usual lively manner Susy welcomed all to the meeting and wished everyone a happy new year - bah humbug! Robin Chawner informed us of the timing arrangements before Robin Clarke stood up to take the role of Grammarian with the word of the evening “Prejudice”.
Members and guests were already buzzing before James Rolfe took on the role of Warm-up master and asked people’s wished for careers, these ranged from the sensible to the absurd with some wishing to be unemployed but rich and one wanting to be a pianist in a brothel in Buenos Aires.
We now came to the prepared speeches. Gavin Meikle took on the role of storyteller with “A Gainful Way to lose a Wager” relating the tale of Tamerlane and his jester, with the jester winning the bet. Adrian related “The sinking of the RMS Titanic”, relating it to modern day experiences in industry, and Michael John Smithson took on the New Year theme with a toast to everyone’s ambitions for the year.
We were well on time allowing a good network break for members and guests to mingle.
Martin Groom re-opened the meeting and we moved swiftly on to the evaluations, ably undertaken by John Webber, Mustafa Soomro and Tim Rampton, a former Toastmaster and old friend of the club. All three identified vocal variety as either an issue or strength of the three speakers.
Marian Way took on the role of Topics Master, with a variation of “Consequences” with the audience supplying the characters, location, key phrases and leaving the participants to relate a story. Gus Badran started by introducing James, followed by Louise Hockaday who introduced us to Julia Roberts. Maureen Scott explained how they met at a Toastmasters meeting, before Claire Godwin (guest) had to weave in James’ comment “It’s big isn’t it. Dave Simmondson (guest) next had to deal with the response, I have three of them”, before Cat Borrow (guest) had to round off the story.
Robin Clarke reported back on a night of few ums and ahs and use of the word of the evening, before Keith Oliver evaluated the Topics speakers, guessing their New Year’s Resolutions from their performances.
It was left to Louise Hockaday to give an overall evaluation of what had been an enjoyable and memorable meeting before passing back to Susy who thanked all who had participated, before then handing over to club President, John Webber. John asked the guests for comments before dishing out the awards before dealing with club business.