The meeting began with the very sad announcement by President Bev Hepting that Dryden Pennington passed away on Tuesday 17th Jan. We all agreed with her proposal that we made the meeting an exceptional one as a celebration of his friendship and support of the club as a founder member. He will be sadly missed. We then welcomed two guests.

The meeting then moved on with David Smith lifting our spirits in his usual and inimitable manner, with a meeting theme of ‘Winter Warmers’ the warm up for which elicited some interesting responses.

Timekeeper Colin Beveridge then explained his role, assisted by new member Ali Dolphin. Grammarian Andrew Knowles gave us the challenge of the word ‘infer’ to use, but with the added mystery of offering no definition for the word or its usage.

Our first speaker was Rachel Knowles, with a speech entitled ‘Betsy’s Story’ set to be an inspirational presentation for a women’s group. She certainly inspired us with her story of the life of Elizabeth Fry and what she overcame to become an icon of progressive womanhood, and an example to everyone of whatever gender, that persistence and courage will achieve whatever you set out to do.

Our second speaker was Luke McLachlan, with a speech entitled ‘uko freshi’, in which he told the moving story of a little boy he sponsored in Kenya, and how he had visited the Gideon Orphanage where he lived. The speech was full of humour and a very touching pathos, and fully achieved the purpose for which it was given, ‘how to say it’. I believe everyone in the audience was impressed with what he had to tell us.

The evaluator for Rachel’s speech was Steve Graham, who, as an experienced speaker himself, was able to offer a good mix of encouragement and advice to her. He pointed out that the speech would be suitable for delivery to an audience of any gender, and commended her for using a script to ensure accuracy when using a quotation.

The evaluator for our second speaker, Luke, was Richard Howes, who gave us a very structured and powerful evaluation, commending Luke for the simplicity of his language, and the power of his message. This presentation was exception as it was Richard’s first evaluation, and he delivered it excellently. Well done Richard!

After the break we moved on to the Table Topics, which was presented by Alex Picot.
Based on the events unfolding in America this week, he loosely based his topics on inauguration and subjects surrounding it.

The first speech was by Bev Hepting with the brief of what would be her mandate for the next four years if she was to become President of America. In one sentence, her solution to all ills was to bring colour into the lives of everyone.

The second to stand was Ron Kirby, asked to specify his suggestions for the celebration of his inauguration, which he concluded would be best observed with a Guinness drinking competition.

Third was David Smith with the challenge of music for his event, to which he responded that her would have invited Status Quo, but as they were unavailable, he would be happy with a good brass band.

Fourth came our new member Ali Dolphin, with an excellent and healthy menu for the occasion.

Next at fifth, came Chris Vowell, who had to specify who he would invite as guests.

Colin Beveridge was sixth and would protest against the Trump regime with the group ‘Mathmaticians against Trump’.

Lastly, guest, Annabel Wilson, would pardon the inmates of Guantanamo Bay Gaol, and a selected number from death row.

This concluded the Table Topics which were then ably reviewed by Rosie Barfoot, who based her evaluation on three points, confidence, content and conclusion, with strong recommendations to all participants. Her advice was that following selection of the participant for the table topics, the question they have to address should be repeated.

Our grammarian’s report followed, with Andrew providing the definition of his selected word for the evening, followed by an explanation of the difference between the work ‘infer’ and the word that is frequently confused with it ‘imply’. He suggested that maybe language is evolving and that is why the words appear to be becoming interchangeable.

With the timekeepers report, the meeting having to a great degree run to schedule, and the review by the General Evaluator, Christine Wallach, in which she suggested that the Table Topic questions should not be so difficult as to deter new members and guests from participating, and a call to action to make sure that our speeches are audible and our diction clear, the meeting was closed by Bev Hepting.

Congratulations go to:

Richard Howes – Best Evaluator
Bev Hepting – Best Table Topic speaker.

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