Club Meeting 19th Dec 2016 – theme “it’s Christmas”

Our Christmas meetings do not have a written agenda and members just turn up and do their own thing, it could be reciting a poem, a reading, singing a song, playing a musical instrument ,as long as members get on their feet and gain valuable experience in front of an audience (its the main purpose of our club)

At the start, Frank had a pleasant duty to perform, presenting the certificate of achievement to Roger; this proves that the member has successfully tackled all 10 assignments from the ‘speakers Guide’, no mean feat.

Frank began the evening with 2 light hearted readings, one dealing with the internet according to the bible and another about a reunion between a group of 40 year old men and how their reasons for choosing their restaurant changed through the ages, at 40 they chose Wetherspoons because the waitress had a big cleavage and wore a short skirt, at age 50 it was because the waitress was attractive, the food and service was good and the beer  excellent. At aged 60 it was because there was ample parking, could dine in peace and quiet with no loud music, at 70 it was because the restaurant was wheelchair accessible and had toilets for the disabled, finally at aged 80 they chose Wetherspoons because they had never been there before! Roger recited a poem that he had written, the words have been adopted by a pop group who have used them in one of their records. Ron gave us a thought provoking speech on memory and the brain. David gave us a quiz which Roger won, correctly answering 9 out of the 20 questions (its a good job we aren’t a quiz club!)

Roger, as topics chairman, asked Frank to imagine he was a Fox in a field and heard the sounds of the hunt, after 3 minutes Frank asked another member to continue and after 3 minutes it passed to another member and so on, in other words a continuous story. This proved quite challenging but enjoyable and showed once again the quality of the club members who always seem to come up with something different.

Frank closed the meeting at 9.45pm, after wishing everyone a safe journey home.

Club Meeting 7th November 2016


This meeting had a bit of everything, a ‘beginners speech’ by Pauline, a ‘Showpiece’ (only attempted after progressing successfully through 9 different speeches ) originally called a ‘masterpiece speech’, a very different topics session from Roger; Mark filling the role of ‘General Evaluator’ for the first time. We also had a few blips (timing lights not explained properly and Frank ,as chairman, forgot one or two things) David evaluated Pauline’s speech, praising her for her content and the obvious research she had carried out, “preparation is everything” and he found the subject very informative telling her that she should move on to the next assignment in the guide book(A2) Rogers speech, because it was an A10 assignment, was evaluated by two members Ron(as the external evaluator) and David. Roger developed his theme on ‘failure’ explaining that one persons failure was another ones success ie in a battle, million fish eggs that fail to survive but millions do and he finished with, “failure is just a moment in time ” Both evaluators praised Roger and told him he had successfully completed all ten speeches in the ASC Guide. Roger then chaired the topics session, giving each member a number to speak on for three minutes, it became quite a memorable session, as each member tried , with varying success, to relate to their number. Mark, as General Evaluator, summed up the evening and managed to get all his points across to the audience. Frank closed the meeting, see you next time!



Five members entered the contest and we were treated to stories on a variety of subjects.  Some members had put a lot of research into their story and it showed. We heard about Pauline’s ‘holiday from hell’ which started with a suitcase being crushed by a trolley at the airport and proceeded to get worse as the holiday progressed. A stranger who left £75 in a restaurant for a meal  for  Frank and Jean, Mark’s walking holiday in the Pyrenees when he met the actor Anthony Perkins in a bar, Ron’s ‘north/ south divide’ involving London cockneys  and Rogers strange ‘sixth sense’ experience. Frank and Pauline tied equal first, fooling four members!

After the interval Mark chaired the topics session and he used ‘Halloween’ as his theme; it turned out to be a challenging session, Frank struggled with his topic because he admitted that being a Londoner he knew very little about the subject (Halloween wasn’t celebrated where he was brought up as a child) he waffled for about two minutes before making way for others. The rest of the membership coped a little better and we were treated a very informative, interesting, enjoyable session.

Roger, in his role as General Evaluator, praised everyone for contributing to a memorable evening, the most unusual he had attended, he picked out Mark for special praise for his excellent topic session, his commitment, research into the subject ensured the everyone was entertained.

For this meeting we were without the lectern, which had gone missing! After the first five minutes it was as though we had never used one before, because the members all coped  so well, perhaps there should be an extra assignment in the speakers guide for ‘speaking without a lectern’; the members would all have passed on tonight’s evidence.

Frank Grace

Club Meeting 19th September 2016

We are getting quite good at coping with a small membership and this meeting was no exception. Several members were absent but the good news is that a new member, Brad (aged 18) attended along with Mark an ex member, who has rejoined the club. Frank, standing in for president David Heaton chaired the business session which was longer than normal because we wanted to give Brad information about the club and also discuss ways of publicising the club; It resulted in a very interesting and informative session. David Preshaw took over as chairman for the evening, introducing Roger for his reading of ’26 mates’; it was something he had found in a drawer, written over 30 years ago and we were treated to a wonderful, humorous rendition, it was really so much more than just a reading and could easily have doubled as a speech. David then stepped in with a speech, in place of the absent Pauline. He spoke of life at Workington Grammar School (very topical) in the late 1960’s. Some of us were down memory lane on this one although Brad (who is so much younger than us) must have been intrigued at David’s portrayal of school days all those years ago. Frank evaluated and praised David for his use of gestures, speech construction, eye contact, use of humour and pace (not too fast) Brad then gave us his first speech for the club; this is probably the most difficult assignment to do because its the first attempt in front of an audience. Brad talked about aspects of his life and spoke with feeling. Mark gave a very good evaluation, praising him for his presence at the lectern, his good pace and the overall impact on the audience. After the interval Ron chaired the topics session; he gave each of us a symbol from a map to identify. We are usually quite adept at answering topics but we all struggled to (a) identify the symbol and (b) to use up our 3 minutes, poor frank didn’t have a clue and proceeded to waffle his way through! Roger evaluated the evening, lavishing it with praise for the members contributions and the overall standard. He thought it had been different from previous meetings but was just as enjoyable and informative. Frank closed the meeting at 9.50 pm

Frank Grace

club meeting Monday 5th September 7.40pm


Theme ‘Checkmate’

Chairman, Pauline, Speech by Ron, Evaluated by David, Topics Chairman, Frank, General Evaluator for the evening, David.

Frank opened the meeting in the absence of president David Heaton and gave apologies for absentees, also welcoming John (a guest) He handled the business session and under ‘any other business’ opened a short discussion about publicity to attract new members. Pauline then chaired the meeting and decided to have the topics session first, introducing Frank as Topics chairman. Frank kept to the theme and picked out items from the chess board. Roger, spoke about his favourite King but struggled, admitting that history was not his favourite subject!, however he still managed to stay on his feet for 3 minutes, Pauline was asked about the queens of England and as she had been watching the recent television series about Victoria, coped admirably. David’s subject was horse riding and we heard of his experiences as a child, donkey riding on Blackpool beach. Frank then changed direction and asked Ron about the Czech republic, thinking that Ron might find the subject challenging, but in fact Ron knew so much about the country that he went over his time! Pauline then took over the chair and brought Ron to the lectern for his speech, which was about being qualified(or unqualified) for a particular job. David evaluated the speech and praised Ron for his delivery, content, construction and the audience rapport. David, in his role as General Evaluator, summed up the meeting; he had thoroughly enjoyed the session, it was entertaining and educational and the members who were given topics, coped very well. He praised Frank for they way he conducted the topics session but thought the business session was longer than it should have been, he thought Pauline did well as chairman, despite forgetting to explain the timing lights!

Frank closed the meeting, earlier than usual, at 9.30pm.


Club Meeting 21st March 2016

In the absence of the President, (Mike) Frank opened the meeting and welcomed two young women from Germany who were staying with David Preshaw. After Franks’ business session, which included details of our new website, financial details and report on the Border Area conference, he handed over to Roger as chairman for the evening. In the absence of Mike and Wendy(both included on the original programme) he had to make changes and Frank gave us a speech with a difference, part speech and part reading! He spoke about one of his favourite authors, Arthur C Clarke and talked for several minutes about the author before finishing with a reading from one of his short stories, ‘Before Eden’. David Heaton evaluated, high lighting the good points and adding some good constructive advice where appropriate. Our two German guests were very brave and spoke to us as a duo, for several minutes, they remarked that it felt like an oral exam at school! Mark was the second evaluator and both evaluators spoke after the interval. Ron following on, gave us a topics session based on the nights theme ‘Mad as a Hatter’. Some members, struggled to use up their 3 minutes but, as usual, lots of humour was generated, with Ron linking the speakers well, informing us of the origins, which was very educational. Pauline as General Evaluator, summed up the evening which she thought was informative and enjoyable. Roger as chairman for the night, was praised for keeping things running smoothly.


VENUE  Hundith Hill Hotel, Cockermouth

Vic Emmerson, President of Cockermouth Speakers Club, opened the meeting and welcomed guests from other clubs before handing over to the chairman for the night, Peter Hodgson. This was a very special meeting with the accent on ‘fun’, members supplied a number of objects, which were to be discussed on the lines of the ‘Antiques Roadshow’. Peter selected the  objects, chose a couple, one as the ‘expert valuer’, the other as the ‘owner’ of the object, each couple was allowed 5 minutes to enlarge on the subject and with the accent on ‘fun’, a lot of humour was generated; among the objects were a rusty old sword, crystal beads, which Vivian, as the ‘expert’, informed us that it was a hat!, nautical object, powder horn and magician’s contraption. each couple approached the subject in a different way, adding much variation to evenings entertainment. The meeting could have been quite a challenging one, despite the ‘fun’ theme, but members remarked that they enjoyed themselves and also learned from it.

Frank Grace

Club Meeting 7th March 2016

CLUB MEETING 7th March 2016

Tonight’s meeting was very different to our usual format; its theme was, ‘The Association of Speakers Clubs (ASC)’ and was presented by David Heaton. Frank opened the meeting in the absence of our President, Mike George, and welcomed back ex member, Mark, who has changed his work pattern and is now able to attend regularly. Frank introduced the business session and informed the members that our new web site was up and running, we can now begin some serious advertising to attract new members. David then took over as chairman for the evening; as a former District President and current Area President (second year in office) he is very familiar with the workings of ASC and took us through the hierarchy, the various geographical regions and explained how the ASC organised, conferences, seminars, training days and issued guidance notes and literature on just about every facet of speaking in front of others, he provided maps and print outs to illustrate his talk. We were shown a DVD of the speakers at our national conference in Southport in 2015 (we saw a very high standard) and also an address from William Warren, the National Chairman (very impressive) David then asked the members for feedback, why did they join a speakers club? what do they get out of it? what don’t they like about ASC? When David attends the next NEC meeting he can pass on the feedback. Frank, our longest serving member, told us how and when the club was formed, its venues, past members and how he wanted it to be a mixed club from day one, it became the only mixed club in our area in 1995. Frank also announced that the club had now ‘come of age’ and is 21 years old! The meeting started late at 7.50pm and finished late, well after 10pm (several members going over their time when speaking!)

Our next meeting will be on the 21st March 7.40pm start.

Frank Grace,

Vice President, Club Treasurer and Webwester.


Our meeting on the 8th started with the sad news that Reg had resigned from the club on health grounds; this is a huge blow to the club, Reg is a founder member and his knowledge and experience will be sorely missed. Our President, David, gave a brief resume of the summer activities, Franks social at his house was well attended and we all enjoyed sitting out in the sun with our refreshments, the afternoon trip to the bowling alley in Workington, later in the year, was appreciated by all who participated.

Roger gave a speech based on the evenings theme ‘lost in space’ and featured David Bowie’s ‘Space Oddity’. Wendy evaluating said how enjoyable she found it and highlighted the good points with suggestions where it could be improved. Glen gave his first speech for the club which was so humerous that we were still chuckling when the meeting closed, Frank evaluated and congratulated him on his good start with the club.
Mike gave us a topic session based on the theme for the evening, it was very challenging but the members managed to speak for allotted time of 3 minutes, something that David Preshaw picked up on when he evaluated the whole evening; he thought that everyone made a good contribution, before passing back to the president to close the meeting.

On 15th we welcomed a new guest, Pauline and Annette, who attended a previous meeting. Frank chaired the meeting which produced lots of humour as the members all kept to the theme ‘all the fun of the fair,’

President, David, despite having very little time to prepare for his speech because of pressure at work, managed to give a very good speech which was praised by Mike when he gave his evaluation. Roger gave us a speech that kept our interest throughout, something that was highlighted by Ron when he gave his evaluation.

David Preshaw gave us a topic session that the members really appreciated, ‘the fun of the fair’, striking a chord with us all; once again, Glen entertained us giving a tale about a rabbit, he really is a very funny man and once again we were still chuckling on the way home.

Wendy gave a very good general evaluation of the evening, with some criticism of the business session (straying off the subject, Frank as chairman, forgetting one or two things!) but she thought the meeting was successful, and very enjoyable.

The next meeting on 6th October is our ‘tall Story’ evening, where everyone gets involved.

SEASON 2013/2014

The West Coast SC has never enjoyed a large membership, so when 6 members left at the beginning of the season, the clubs future looked grim; those who left, did so for genuine reasons, Jess to university, Anna to have twins, Trix went into a care home, Adelaide and Liz moved away from the area, whilst June our ‘social’ member lost her chauffer when Adelaide moved away! This left us with 4 full members and 1 joint member, clearly an unsustainable membership.

 We decided to continue until the end of the year and went on a recruitment drive. Susan Trafford, Area President, heard of our situation and we met over a coffee to discuss possible avenues, the cup of coffee extended to several cups, plus a sandwich and cakes and our meeting lasted for 2 hours! Susan promised to help in any way she could, including, instigating the ‘flying squad’ idea mooted in the ‘Speaker’. We did the usual things, increased publicity through posters, local newspapers and radio and contacting firms/organisations in the area.

Reaction was slow and although we received some feed back we were still low in numbers for our first meeting; we were saved by members from other clubs in our area who attended to swell the numbers, the flying squad had arrived! In the meantime we changed our venue to the Sailing Club in Harrington, a move which seemed to please everyone, especially the visitors, who returned time again, quite remarkable really, because some had to travel up to 30/40 miles to attend.

 The flying squad literally saved our club and during the season we gained new members including some from another club, as joint members (the new venue was proving to be an attractive one) As a result we were able to continue as a club and saw the season out.

We now have enough members to continue to function and the future is brighter but membership is still low and we continue with our recruitment drive, the ‘flying squad’ continues help out, one meeting approaching 20 in number! (I think they like our venue!) and we look forward to the coming season with optimism.

I am full of admiration for the ASC members who have contributed to our cause, giving up hours of their spare time to save our club.  The members of the Cockermouth and Carlisle and District Speakers Clubs have rallied round and supported us. A special mention is needed for Susan Trafford, who worked tirelessly to assist in methods of recruiting new members. Information (from national officers) on financial help for new and struggling clubs, was greatly appreciated.

We managed to continue without it, but it was encouraging to know that help was available if needed. As for our season, we were able to hold regular meetings which were varied, interesting, enjoyable, educational and the informal atmosphere created a lots of humour with members leaving the meetings with a chuckle and a smile.

Frank Grace

August 2014