We have held several club meetings during this period and despite our low membership, continue to have enjoyable, interesting and thought provoking sessions. In addition we have been out and about, visiting other clubs to act as judges and evaluators and also to the WI at Plumbland where we gave a demonstration evening, afterwards being asked to judge their toffee making competition! These outside engagements should be encouraged because they are a test of what we have learnt from our meetings.

Our club speech competition was won by Jess Longrigg and the evaluation contest by David Preshaw. Frank Grace won the tall story competition with a tale from his school days.

We also competed against the Carlisle club in a debate, speaking for the motion ‘that the school leaving age should be reduced to 15’ Jess and Anna were our main speakers, performing so well that West Coast won the debate.

Earlier in the year we organised a club debate on the motion ‘that the recent riots in London were justified’. this motion produced many interesting comments from the members. We all agreed that the session was worthwhile and should be repeated.

Our youngest member, Jess(aged 17) took part in debate at the House of Lords, she was representing Cockermouth School and did not know she was going to speak utill she arrived at the debate! there were numerous speakers from other schools and from the U3A organisation. I am biased, I know, but I thought Jess was really very good and demonstrated many of the practices that we try to develope at the club, good eye contact, variation of volume and pace, gestures no apparent notes etc. but best of all, she appeared relaxed and ‘comfortable’ when speaking in front of others, something we are trying to achieve at our club. It was noticeable that many of the other speakers did not have these attributes, displaying lack of variation in volume and pace, adopting a rather wooden,stiff stance and lack of eye contact, some adopting the ‘nodding dog’ scenario with their heads as they glanced constantly at their notes and back again. The club can be rightly proud of her ‘performance’.

Our christmas lunch was held in the Cumberland Hotel on 10th December when the treasurer decided to subsidise the meal by £10 per head, so everyone went home happy.

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