Lost in Nepal - Peter Shore

Posted on November 19, 2015           

Todays excellent talk was given by Peter Shore MBE. The story began:

It started in 1987, Beryl & Peter Shore were backpacking through India and Nepal heading for an International Scout Jamboree. Unfortunately they got hopelessly lost in the isolated poor jungle village of Meghauli, Nepal. In the confusion and concern as to where to spend the night they were befriended by a 13 year old English speaking boy Hari who for their safety from Tiger and Rhino attack invited them to stay at his simple home. So touched by this generosity from a fellow Scout that they decided, with their three-son Scout family to co-found a free medical clinic. With the sole intention and effort to improve the lives of the local desperately poor young and old regardless of caste, creed, colour or faith. Currently there is now a firmly established sustainable organisation of Doctors and Nurses, freshwater wells and kindergartens – even a Scout Troop all operating from a solid hygenic simple building!


Charles Worth - Designer - Gina Merrett-Smith

Posted on November 5, 2015                                                

Our speaker today was Gina Merrett – Smith who presented a talk on Charles Worth – Designer.

The story is told from his beginnings to his rise to fame.

An extremely well researched topic and professional presentation encapsulated the interest of the not only the members, but also the ‘ladies’ who were invited to attend.

Worth was born in Lincolnshire, England in 1825. His first jobs were working with London textile merchants, and he moved to Paris, the center of the fashion world, in 1845. This was where Worth established his reputation as a great designer, winning fashion contests at the Great Exhibition in London (1851) and the Exposition Universelle in Paris (1855). In 1858 Worth struck out on his own and opened his own business.

He was known for the lavish fabrics and trims which made up his beautiful garments, and often took historic influences. Apart from the one-of-a-kind designs he made for his wealthier clients, Worth also made collections which were displayed on live models, which less wealthy clients could order in their own size. He would provide entire wardrobes, including morning, afternoon, and evening dresses, nightgowns, wedding gowns, gowns for masquerade balls, and even costumes worn onstage by the famous actresses and singers of the time.

Worth died in 1895, and his sons took over the family business, which continued to flourish until 1952 when his great-grandson retired.

Travel Isle of Scilly - Pat Lomasney

Posted on October 15, 2015 

Our speaker today was Pat Lomasney who used maps and his own projected photographs to illustrate the islands known as the Scilly Isles.

For those that had thought about making a trip to these Isles, Pat’s photo show provided many reasons to take the plunge and go visit.

Pat was very informative and enthusiastic about his travels and offers talks on a wide range of ‘journeys’ he has undertaken.

A question and answer session concluded the presentation.

The Dambusters Raid - Nigel Turner

Posted on October 1, 2015 

A very interesting talk today, by Nigel Turner about the Dambusters Raid during the Second World War.

Initially a presentation formulated for RAF Cadets, Wing Commander Nigel Turner was able to deliver it in a way that was both interesting and informative to the members.

A slide show accompanied the talk, which was dissected into sections, beginning with the ‘invention’ and concluding with the ‘consequences’.

It was amazing how accurate the ‘technology’ of the day was able to produce the effects that the raid had on the War effort.

A question and answer session was held afterwards, so much was the interest, followed with a vote of thanks

The Work of C Group Royal Marines - Peter Simmonds & Shirley-Anne Fison

Posted on September 17, 2015         

Peter Simmonds (who is a retired Royal Marine Major) gave an awesome talk on the Royal Marines and particularly their involvement in Afghanistan.

He also talked about the work of “C Group” which is a Charity dedicated to supporting Royal Marines whose careers have been ended due to injury or are suffering hardship, distress or need.

The charity also assists former Marines to settle into civilian life and is inspired and supported by businesses both large and small.

This talk which was both powerful and thought provoking included numerous photographs and videos – in this, Peter

was assisted by Shirley-Anne Fison who is an Ambassador for the C Group Charity.


Around The World In 80 Days - Tim Lewis

Posted on September 3, 2015           

Tim Lewis, accompanied on the keyboard by Sheila Furneaux gave a presentation based on the classic adventure novel by the French writer Jules Verne,  ‘Around the World in 80 Days’.

Published in 1873, in the story, Phileas Fogg of London and his newly employed French valet Passepartout attempt to circumnavigate the world in 80 days on a £20,000 wager.

The combination of live music, song and the written word were all accompanied by a comprehensive slide show.

It was a ‘different’ and entertaining presentation which caught the imagination of many.

Volcanic Hazards - Bob Thompson

Posted on July 2, 2015            

Our Speaker today was Bob Thompson. Bob presented a talk on Volcanoes and the associated hazards resulting from their eruptions.

The Volcano in Montserrat and its recent eruptions was the highlighted volcano of the presentation.

Explanatory slides were shown as were photos of some of the horrific consequencies of not retreating an erupting Volcano quickly enough!

Plenty more can be found on the website below.


Theatre On Stage and Off - Brian Saunders

Posted on June 18, 2015         

An entertaining and amusing talk today from Brian Saunders who couldn’t help but ‘name drop’ a few comedy actors and actresses names. These were people that Brian had worked with over the years during his time ‘treading the boards’.

When Brian gave up the acting side of Theatre, he went behind the scenes and produced many ‘props’ some of which he brought along for the members to see and hold. Some ‘tricks of the trade’ were given away as well.

A true lifelong career in Theatre, Brian brought it all to life today with his skillful ‘performance!

Keep The Home Fires Burning - Elizabeth Rhodes

Posted on May 21, 2015        

Elizabeth joined us today for an ‘interactive’ presentation on ‘keeping the home fires burning. The presentation was complimented with audio and visual slides. Many of the ‘home’ aspects of the second world war were discussed which included the children who were evacuated, air raid shelters, the Home Guard, Land Army and other voluntary war efforts.

Members were able to contribute with some of their own memories, most of which were of humerous nature.

Elizabeth is also involved in helping families in Zambia: https://www.facebook.com/MulakoSafeHomeZambia/

Waterloo - Colin Yorke

Posted on May 8, 2015           

We were very much indebted to Colin for stepping up to the plate, due to our advertised speaker not showing.

Without any ‘props’ to guide him through, Colin gave an enthralling talk about the Battle of Waterloo and the associated campaigns.

Obviously a subject very passionate to his heart, the talk itself  was delivered with great passion.

The members  left the meeting having been well educated in this subject.

We thank Colin again for his ‘last minute’ presentation.


Magic - Richard Ballinger

Posted on April 16, 2015         

The numbers were swelled today with the inclusion of the ‘ladies’ who joined us.

We were treated to a presentation from Richard Ballinger who not only is a professional magician and qualified teacher, but knows how to entertain all age groups and use his magic to teach them something at the same time.

A very much ‘interactive’ demonstration of illusion and number skills were performed with some participation from his ‘audience’.

A thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining presentation, which complimented the very social gathering today.

Thank you Richard.


Your Holiday Flight - Dickon Povey

Posted on April 2, 2015          

Today’s talk was given by Dickon Povey who guided us through ‘behind the scenes’ of an aircraft flight. Projected photos aided the presentation. Whilst the passengers are busy deciding whether to buy inflight refreshments or not, an army of people are ensuring that the aircraft is monitored at all times during its flight. Dickon himself had undertaken hundreds of flights during his working career, which involved him in the guided system for planes to land automatically! Generally though, he suggested that pilots prefer to land the planes themselves! A question and answer session ensued before our Chairman gave the vote of thanks and all members responded in the usual manner.

UK Cops - Glynn Kettleborough

Posted on March 19, 2015     

Our newley elected Chairman Glynn Kettleborough moved from the ‘hot seat’ to present todays talk.

Glynn spent his working life in the Police and gave an historical account of this, from joining as a Cadet, through to PC, Traffic Cop and finally Dog Handler.

Not only did Glynn choose this as his profession, as a result of which, he met his wife to be who was enrolled as a WPC.

Many amusing tales were reminiced although unfortunately due to the nature of the job, there were some dark recollections.

Glynn also brought along a display of photos and certificates to illustrate his working life.

The clock on the wall finally brought the presentation to a close and the members showed their appreciation in the usual manner.

Aspects of Weston, Clevedon and Portishead Railway - Paul Gregory

Posted on March 5, 2015       

Speaker Paul Gregory gave an illustrated talk on the History of The Weston Clevedon and Portishead Railway. The talk covered many interesting facts and humorous stories about this unusual privately owned standard gauge light railway, which opened in 1897 and after a short life closed in 1940. The speaker explained the history of the 14 mile route that had 19 stations, the majority of which were small wooden shelters with very low and often no platforms. These were ideal as the company rolling stock carriages that were originally destined for Argentina had steps to ground level at each end. In later years the WC&P Railway purchased seven second hand London Metropolitan ‘Craven carriages one of which is preserved today and was also used in the recent 2013 Metropolitan Railway celebrations. The WC&P railway always struggled to make money, even in later years when it was owned by the ‘Light Railway King’ Colonel H F Stephens. The line also used many varieties of second hand locomotives which included two LBSCR Stroudley Terrier Tank engines, which proved to be reliable. The line was also linked to the GWR terminus at Clevedon by a rarely used tight curve, and later a goods siding at Portishead. However throughout the line’s life the railway remained as a stand-alone entity. Very little of the railway exits today, however the WCPR Group (formed in 2006) aims to keep the memory alive. This is done via signage and interpretation boards; they are also keen to preserve what items remain – including track bed sections that still can be walked. The Groups website is worth viewing, especially the pictures of trains operating through the middle of Clevedon High Street known as the Triangle. As usual the members gave their vote of thanks in the usual way.


Benefits, Brass and Girtest Grand Days - Phillip Hoyland

Posted on February 19, 2015 

Phillip Hoyland, whose subject, “Benefits, Brass and the Girtest, Grandest Day” was our speaker today. The “benefits” refer to the old village friendly societies which were formed in the early 19th century. They met in the pub, paid a small subscription to a fund which was used to help people off work because of illness, the usual amount being one shilling and sixpence a week. The fund also helped with hardship in old age and also with burial costs. The “brass” was the club emblem, a wonderful piece, usually depicting the name of the pub somewhere in the design. On show were a few from Phillip’s collection.

Some clubs had banners with the emblem on the top and these were carried with great pride on the annual Girtest, Grandest Day, a day where all villagers “walked”, feasted and played games.

Clubs had strict rules – two being expulsion for cracking nuts or playing shove ha’penny in church!

Eventually universal sick benefit was introduced by the Government, which eventually became the NHS.

Mr Hoyland was thanked by the members who said it had been a most amusing and informative talk.

Weston-super-Mayors - Geoff Mallam

Posted on February 5, 2015 

A warm welcome was extended to Geoff Mallam who gave an interesting talk on past Mayors of Weston super Mare.

Geoff used to own a chauffeur business and a ‘past’ fare happened to become a Mayor.

As a result, Geoff’s business was awarded the job of ferrying the Mayor to and from events for a trial period. This trial period was to last fifteen years!

Each Mayor’s term of office being one year, amounted to fifteen Mayors that Geoff had come in close contact with.

After a vote of thanks, the members responded in the usual way.

Oxfam - Alison Byron

Posted on January 22, 2015 

Our first speaker of 2015 was Alison Byron who is the Senior Fund Raising Manager for Oxfam.

Alison gave an informative insight into the various catagories that Oxfam provides support for.

Visual slides and videos were used to demonstrate these.

Of those categories discussed were ‘The Impact of Our Work, ‘Emergency Response’, Issues We Work On’ and ‘Countries We Work In’.

‘Lifting lives’ is a crucial vision that Oxfam has adopted.

“When we give one person a lift so they can help themselves, they will lift others in their families and communities. We call this chain reaction lifting lives for good”.

Alison also stated that for every £1 donated, 44p is used for development work, 32p is used for emergency response, 9p goes to fundraising costs, 9p is for support and running costs and 6p is for the campaign for change.

Further information on the work that Oxfam is involved with can be found here: http://www.oxfam.org.uk/what-we-do