Browse our Catalogue
of Online Talks

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All talks cost £50, without a Q&A.

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History

A Line in the Sand

(33 minutes)

In 1836 a small group of Texans were besieged then wiped out by the Mexican army at a mission station in San Antonio Texas. For Americans the Alamo has assumed a mythical status and the John Wayne film of the 1960s tells it all. But what did happen in those 13 days? With illustrations based on my own research and visits to the Alamo let’s go to Texas and meet Davy Crockett, Jim Bowie and William Travis.

Speaker: David Skillen

David is an engaging and animated professional speaker on a variety of historical subjects. During his 35 years in the Civil Service he ran training programmes on public speaking and spoke to audiences from 5 to 500 people. Since retiring five years ago David has travelled extensively across the UK giving fully illustrated talks to a variety of groups such as, Probus, WI, National Trust, Local History Groups and U3A.

Zeppelin - Ship of Dreams (29 minutes)

Count Zeppelin always saw his airships as a means of transport as well as a weapon. In this talk we look at the heyday of travel in these huge craft. We will see how the Graf Zeppelin and the Hindenburg provided luxurious travel across the Atlantic. How they were built and flown and what it was like to fly on the magnificent but dangerous craft.

Speaker: David Skillen

David is an engaging and animated professional speaker on a variety of historical subjects. During his 35 years in the Civil Service he ran training programmes on public speaking and spoke to audiences from 5 to 500 people. Since retiring five years ago David has travelled extensively across the UK giving fully illustrated talks to a variety of groups such as, Probus, WI, National Trust, Local History Groups and U3A.

A few appropriate remarks (27 minutes)

In November 1863, just outside Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, President Abraham Lincoln gave a short speech at the dedication of a cemetery for soldiers killed at the Battle of Gettysburg. What did Lincoln say and why is the Gettysburg address still relevant to the modern United States and the issues it faces? In this fully illustrated talk David looks at the battle, its significance in the American Civil War, and the commemorative event that led to those “few appropriate remarks”.

Speaker: David Skillen

David is an engaging and animated professional speaker on a variety of historical subjects. During his 35 years in the Civil Service he ran training programmes on public speaking and spoke to audiences from 5 to 500 people. Since retiring five years ago David has travelled extensively across the UK giving fully illustrated talks to a variety of groups such as, Probus, WI, National Trust, Local History Groups and U3A.

The Maturing of Mankind (27 minutes)

The story of our development from the time when our distant ancestors just started to walk upright, to when we dominated the world is both unique and fascinating. This Talk briefly describes our biological evolution from five million years ago. It goes on to consider the maturing of our brain and the initial stages of our cultural development.

Speaker: Neil Meldrum

Neil has been a lawyer for 40 years. Now retired, Neil has the opportunity of indulging his fascination in all things to do with ancient history and the cultural evolution of mankind. Although an amateur, these are compelling subjects which have been undergoing considerable re-appraisal in recent years.

Neil's talks range from the development and the cultural evolution of early man to the Maya and Aztecs of Ancient Mexico and the Incas of Peru, areas that he has visited extensively. More recently he has been focusing on early culture in Ancient China, India, Egypt and Mesopotamia and in particular looking at early religions in these regions.

D-Day

(36 minutes)

Just what was D-Day like for the people at home? How did they hear of it? How did they react to it? They must have rejoiced that we were taking the war to Germany of course. However, what about the concern over friends and family in the forces?This is the story of one family's experience, based around that of Simon's grandparents.

Speaker: Simon Waterfield

Simon is a historical writer and performer of acted monologues covering subjects of a historical nature from the C7 to WW2. These are usually delivered in appropriate costume. Simon also writes and tells short stories on a variety of modern subjects.
He has performed these stories for The Oddfellows, The WI, Probus, Freemasons, various museums around the country, various Art Organisations, CADW and National Trust, to name a few.

V E Day

(34 minutes)

Meet Harry Kay, a veteran of WW1, now a civilian and living at home with his family. He is dealing with the privations of a different sort of war, the air raids and rationing. Listen how he and his family experienced V-E Day. There are period newspapers, ration books and identity cards to show you.


Speaker: Simon Waterfield

Simon is a historical writer and performer of acted monologues covering subjects of a historical nature from the C7 to WW2. These are usually delivered in appropriate costume. Simon also writes and tells short stories on a variety of modern subjects.
He has performed these stories for The Oddfellows, The WI, Probus, Freemasons, various museums around the country, various Art Organisations, CADW and National Trust, to name a few.

Battlefield Essex

(32 minutes)

It’s is not all blood and gore! We explore conflicts on Essex soil over a 2,000 year time frame. In many cases battles have been hyped in contemporary media as ‘battles’ and the term has stuck. The ‘Essex’ area includes the part of the county now absorbed onto Greater London, in what is loosely termed ‘Metropolitan Essex’.


Speaker: Andrew Summers

Andrew's dad, a Polish national, spent two years in a Soviet Labour Camp before escaping to the UK on the return leg of an Artic convoy. His mother worked at Bletchley park, but never told him a thing about it. Andrew was born within the sound of Bow Bells but now live in Hadleigh, Essex. He now runs a publishing business which specialises in local history books. Most of his talks are ‘Powerpoint’ focused.

The History of Witches

(41 minutes)

Behind the stereotypical image of the witch flying on a broomstick wearing a back pointy hat lies a long history of trials, persecution & torture that claimed the lives of hundreds of women & men. A belief in witches goes back a long time. Anglo Saxon kings made laws about their punishment. Henry VIII brought in the first English Statute in 1542 when no one was safe from the accusation of witchcraft. But things got far worse when James I's came to the throne and the witchcraft craze really took hold. 

Speaker: Sandy Leong

Sandy Leong is an historian, passionate about bringing history to life and is a lively and entertaining speaker. She has a popular series of entertaining, light hearted talks on general historical subjects. However she specialises in the Tudors, an exciting time in the country as it was changing fast; and in the Viking period, who are much more than the stereotype of raiders in horned helmets.

She is an international, professional speaker, and published author.

The Kilted Tommy

(37 minutes)

The story of Simon's grandfather’s exploits in WW1 as a Seaforth Highlander.









Speaker: Simon Waterfield

Simon is a historical writer and performer of acted monologues covering subjects of a historical nature from the C7 to WW2. These are usually delivered in appropriate costume. Simon also writes and tells short stories on a variety of modern subjects.
He has performed these stories for The Oddfellows, The WI, Probus, Freemasons, various museums around the country, various Art Organisations, CADW and National Trust, to name a few.

Lock, Stock & Barrel (Part 1) (37 minutes)

This talk presents a history of military small arms, from the 14th to the 21st century. There are two stories to be told here: the evolution of the weapons themselves, from crude black powder tubes to the sophisticated automatic weapons of today – and the changes in battlefield tactics, that were driven by improvements in small arms. This offers a dynamic and wide-ranging overview.

Speaker: Tim Barney

Tim is fascinated by military history and technology, and has always wanted to share his passion. Following a career in the IT industry, Tim now has the opportunity to pass on some of the fascinating facts and stories he has absorbed over the years. All Tim's talks are designed for non-specialist audiences, and will appeal to men and women from every walk of life.

Lock, Stock & Barrel (Part 2) (37 minutes)

Part Two of this talk picks up the narrative in the mid-nineteenth century, and explores how the
smoothbore muskets used at Waterloo, evolved into the assault rifles carried by soldiers today.







Speaker: Tim Barney

Tim is fascinated by military history and technology, and has always wanted to share his passion. Following a career in the IT industry, Tim now has the opportunity to pass on some of the fascinating facts and stories he has absorbed over the years. All Tim's talks are designed for non-specialist audiences, and will appeal to men and women from every walk of life.

Destroyer of Worlds (Part 1) (37 minutes)

This talk is all about nuclear weapons: the physics behind them, and the design and operation of the weapons themselves. For such a high profile and emotive subject, there is a surprising lack of knowledge about how these weapons actually work, and what their effects would be in the real world. ‘Destroyer of Worlds’ is designed to fill in some of those gaps.

Speaker: Tim Barney

Tim is fascinated by military history and technology, and has always wanted to share his passion. Following a career in the IT industry, Tim now has the opportunity to pass on some of the fascinating facts and stories he has absorbed over the years. All Tim's talks are designed for non-specialist audiences, and will appeal to men and women from every walk of life.

Destroyer of Worlds (Part 2) (42 minutes)

In Part Two of this talk, we’ll discuss how nuclear weapons are guided and delivered to their targets, and last but not least, explore what’s likely to happen at the receiving end.








Speaker: Tim Barney

Tim is fascinated by military history and technology, and has always wanted to share his passion. Following a career in the IT industry, Tim now has the opportunity to pass on some of the fascinating facts and stories he has absorbed over the years. All Tim's talks are designed for non-specialist audiences, and will appeal to men and women from every walk of life.

Warrior Nation (Part 1)

(40 minutes)

This talk discusses a number of memorable British battles, at home and abroad. The narrative adopts a novel approach, by presenting the battles in complimentary pairs ‘two by two’, exploring the relationships between them, and offering fresh perspectives on some familiar events. ‘Warrior Nation’ will be
appreciated by anyone who is interested in the ups and downs of British history, or just enjoys an exciting story.

Speaker: Tim Barney

Tim is fascinated by military history and technology, and has always wanted to share his passion. Following a career in the IT industry, Tim now has the opportunity to pass on some of the fascinating facts and stories he has absorbed over the years. All Tim's talks are designed for non-specialist audiences, and will appeal to men and women from every walk of life.

Mad, Bad & Dangerous (Part 1) (37 minutes)

This talk is about military ideas, inventions and operations that in one way or another, failed to make the grade. Incompetence, haste and wishful thinking have all played their part, in some of the most scandalous failures in military history. Broad in scope, ‘Mad, Bad & Dangerous’ discusses a variety of blunders and breakdowns on land, at sea and in the air.



Speaker: Tim Barney

Tim is fascinated by military history and technology, and has always wanted to share his passion. Following a career in the IT industry, Tim now has the opportunity to pass on some of the fascinating facts and stories he has absorbed over the years. All Tim's talks are designed for non-specialist audiences, and will appeal to men and women from every walk of life.

Mad, Bad & Dangerous (Part 2) (41 minutes)

Part Two of this talk features another collection of military brainwaves that didn’t perform as advertised, including dreams that sometimes turn into nightmares, and some of the maddest, baddest and most
dangerous inventions of all..!

Speaker: Tim Barney

Tim is fascinated by military history and technology, and has always wanted to share his passion. Following a career in the IT industry, Tim now has the opportunity to pass on some of the fascinating facts and stories he has absorbed over the years. All Tim's talks are designed for non-specialist audiences, and will appeal to men and women from every walk of life.

Explore Georgian London (23 minutes)

Explore with Andrew Warde the London of Samuel Johnson and Georg Handel. What was London like in their day and what remains?





Speaker: Andrew Warde

Andrew has more than 40 years experience as a London Blue Badge guide, with additional guide qualifications for the City of London and for Windsor & Eton. He presents illustrated talks and walks in and around London, telling all about historic buildings, curious survivals from times past, or special areas of London life and the Thames riverside. These talks reveal fascinating aspects of London’s past and the people who lived there.

Queen Victoria

(40 minutes)

Her Majesty will visit your town and remind you about the events that have occurred during her long reign.






Speaker: Georgette Vale

In semi-retirement from her profession as a tutor and manager in the field of Sensory Impairment, Georgette is now combining her hobbies of history, drama and craft and would love to share this with you. On the Live History side Georgette has created a series of one woman shows about notable Norfolk women in history.

The God of War (Part 1)

(37 minutes)

A companion piece to ‘Lock, Stock & Barrel’, this talk explores the history of artillery weapons and tactics.
The narrative describes how the rock-throwing siege engines of the medieval world, were eventually
developed into the long range guns and multiple rocket systems that we see today. Some time is also spent
looking at siege warfare and changes in castle design.

Speaker: Tim Barney

Tim is fascinated by military history and technology, and has always wanted to share his passion. Following a career in the IT industry, Tim now has the opportunity to pass on some of the fascinating facts and stories he has absorbed over the years. All Tim's talks are designed for non-specialist audiences, and will appeal to men and women from every walk of life.

The God of War (Part 2)

(43 minutes)

In Part Two of this talk, we’ll continue the story of artillery, exploring the mysteries of indirect fire, and learning how and why the guns came to dominate the battlefields of the twentieth century.






Speaker: Tim Barney

Tim is fascinated by military history and technology, and has always wanted to share his passion. Following a career in the IT industry, Tim now has the opportunity to pass on some of the fascinating facts and stories he has absorbed over the years. All Tim's talks are designed for non-specialist audiences, and will appeal to men and women from every walk of life.

Brink's-Mat Gold Bullion Robbery (38 minutes)

This talk takes you through the planning, execution and the elaborate criminal chain that converted £26 million gold bullion into cash. The biggest robbery in UK history which ended with the tragic killing of PC John Fordham at the hands of Kenneth Noye.




Speaker: Ian Brown

Having presented his talks on over 60 Cruises for Cunard, P&O, Fred Olsen and other Cruise Lines, this is your chance to listen and enjoy without sailing the seas. Ian has recently published a book telling these and many more tales.

Sentenced to 'Beyond the Seas' (46 minutes)

The true story of eight Worcestershire women sentenced to death or transportation in the 1780s who all ended up on the first fleet of convicts to Australia. One came back a rich woman, another became the progenitor of the largest living family of descendants living in Australia today.


Speaker: David Clark

Born and raised in London David has lived and worked in Germany and Australia but returned to the UK in 1970 to live in Worcestershire where he is now retired. David has worked in shipping, been a rep for foreign newspapers and magazines. He's worked in theatre management, had two shops and ended up working for Age Concern. He was also a City councillor for 20 years and served as Mayor of Worcester!

The Life and Times of Edith Cavell (47 minutes)

edith cavell

Exploring the story of the British heroine who died in Brussels in 1915. Presenting the experience of regular visits to Brussels to research the hospitals and homes where Edith would have worked as well as the place of her execution - a humbling experience. The Life and Times of Edith Cavell talk tells her story supported by photographs of existing artifacts of her life.

Speaker: Melanie Gibson-Barton

From being an enjoyable part-time ‘hobby’ the repeat bookings for Melanie's talks grew to such an extent that she gave up her 'day job' to become a full-time speaker. Many of her talks have been commissioned by previous audiences for commemorative occasions. You can be confident of a high quality presentation. Melanie's website features just some of the lovely testimonials that she has gratefully received - www.toonstelling.com

The Devil’s Daughter and Me (37 minutes)

Having discovered his own family history, it’s been very enlightening to find out that he is in very good company. Allow Ben to show you the underside of Victorian respectability through the eyes of some of his ancestors who had a devilish streak. There’s Aaron who broke with his religion and his community to be with the woman he loved. And Caroline whose passions for a dashing Parisian left her in total disgrace. Then we’ll travel to Mexico City in 1596 and see what the Inquisitors make of his non-conforming ancestors there. And finally, we’ll meet Melusine herself…

Speaker: Ben Nicholls

Ben has been researching his own family history since 2001. His paternal grandfather was a shadowy figure who died long before his birth and one day Ben realised that he represented a quarter of him that he knew nothing about. Ben's journey started with his grandfather’s birth certificate. He has have been on many journeys back through the centuries to the middle ages, travelled on a tide of documents and stories across Europe, and traced pioneers across far flung exotic lands. Ben has met some truly wonderful characters in his personal history journey, from war heroes to Jewish millionaires, divorcees to lunatics, skilled artisans to adventurers, and artists to socialites.

Bellflowers, Bananas and the Battle of Basing House (48 minutes)

Thomas Johnson (1640 - 44) deserves greater recognition. A prominent 17th century botanist, he formally recorded the flora of England with verve and flourish, as the image and description of the tomato ('apple of love') from his 1633 masterwork shows. An inquisitive scientist, he was the first person in England to offer samples of Musa (banana) for sale. In the Civil War, Johnson fought and died for the King at Basing (Hampshire). This presentation delves in detail into Johnson's life.

Speaker: David Lewis

David Lewis is a local historian living in Selby, North Yorkshire. A chemist by training, and a teacher by profession, a decade ago he left the lab to concentrate on his love of local history. He spent the last decade investigating the Hidden Heritage of Selby, including working for 3 years on a project largely funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, and setting up a ‘pop-up’ town museum.

John Dudley and the Nine Days Queen (45 minutes)

Was John Dudley Duke of Northumberland the acquisitive tactician that historians have made him out to be?  A man who put the unfortunate, tragic and undoubtedly unwilling sixteen year old Lady Jane Grey on the throne of England for nine days back in the 16th century. It all ended in tears and lost heads, but was John Dudley the power crazy, grasping schemer that historians would have us believe. 


Speaker: Dianne Mannering

Dianne's original talks were based round the royal and noble characters in her two history books. Dianne is a very popular and well respected speaker.

Show Business

Fifty Years in TV Soaps

(29 minutes)

Jim Whelan talk

Appearing in Coronation Street in every Decade that it has existed, Jim Whelan has worked with luminaries as Rod Steiger, Anthony Perkins, David Tennant, David Morrissey, Ray Winstone and more recently Samantha Bond, Francesca Annis and Ed Stoppard during his fascinating career.

Speaker: Jim Whelan

Jim has been an actor for 50 years working with many of the top stars of Television and Film. Over the years, he has appeared in some of the biggest storylines in Coronation Street, Emmerdale, The Royle Family and recently Home Fires.
The highlight of this year has been working with American superstar Rob Lowe in Wild Bill for ITV, closely followed by being accepted by Cunard and P&O as a Cruise Ship Speaker.
Having worked in clubs and theatres as a stand-up comic, Jim's talks are put over with humour and panache.

The Magical Mystery of Houdini (40 minutes)

A presentation on the amazing life of one of the greatest, perhaps the greatest, magician that ever lived. The presentation from Joe Mendell includes some magical secrets.





Speaker: Joe Mendell

Born in the US, lived in the UK since 1978. Votes in both countries so the governments are both his fault. Has always been an active official in sports; qualified to officiate American Football, baseball, ice hockey, association football and basketball and has even umpired cricket matches. Worked in the computer industry for 30 plus years and retired as a truck driver in 2012. Is very much involved in local amateur dramatics as an actor and director and has even attempted to write 2 plays and 2 books; both yet to be published.

We Can't Let You Broadcast That! (29 minutes)

I’m sure the heads at the BBC said that many times in order to protect us from lewd, crude and offensive tracks, and I’m sure we are grateful for their protection. But all is not as it would seem David Clark will explain. Literally thousands of tracks have been banned - some for the most bizarre reasons. So sit back, let’s reminisce, and enjoy.

Speaker: David Clark

Born and raised in London David has lived and worked in Germany and Australia but returned to the UK in 1970 to live in Worcestershire where he is now retired. David has worked in shipping, been a rep for foreign newspapers and magazines. He's worked in theatre management, had two shops and ended up working for Age Concern. He was also a City councillor for 20 years and served as Mayor of Worcester!

Morecambe & Wise

(31 minutes)

Steve brings to life the story of how a young Eric Morecambe met a young Ernie Wise with photos and clips. Steve tells his audience the journey they had to become Britain’s best ever double act. In a partnership that lasted from 1941 until 1984, Eric and Ernie were regarded as Britain’s best loved double act. Their career together began when they were booked separately to appear on the Jack Hylton revue ‘Youth Takes a Bow’. From then on Eric and Ernie appeared in a series of shows over the next 20-years. The duo also starred in four feature films. In 1976 Eric and Ernie were both awarded the OBE. This entertaining presentation will bring back many memories of a much loved comedy partnership.

Speaker: Steve Short

Steve has been a full time professional entertainer and speaker for more than 30-years and have entertained on cruise ships and appeared on television and radio.
He has given talks and entertained audiences of all types and spoken at many venues and for various functions including after-dinner engagements, charity events, National Trust, Rotary, PROBUS, TWG, WI, U3A.

You're Never Too Old To Rock 'N' Roll (44 minutes)

What a roller-coaster life Vince Eager has enjoyed. The story starts with Vince singing in the church choir as a six year old and takes us to his early teen years when he discovered skiffle. By his late teens Vince is beginning to mix with BIG NAMES - but he still has to go home to Grantham and ask his parents before he can move to London to take up the contract that would help put him on the map. Spangled with name dropping – a great talk.

Speaker: Vince Eager

During his 60 years in showbiz and cruise directing, Vince has collected a wealth of stories, anecdotes, tales, call them what you will, that he enjoys talking and writing about. His on-stage popularity over the years has recently spun off into the success he’s enjoyed with his book, “Vince Eager’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Files” and his presentations. Along with his performing and writing, Vince is becoming more and more in demand for his talks and visual media presentations. Such is the wealth of material at his fingertips that he has three presentations. Two are based on his early years of recording popular music, television shows, concerts and cabaret shows he appeared on, and the third talk covers his performing overseas and fourteen years as a Cruise Director on-board luxury American cruise liners.

Songs of War 

(46 minutes)

The Bob and Dot Show: Songs of War – let Bob and Dot, (aka Graham and Bronwen of Sun Jester), entertain you with a classy touch of nostalgia. With Dot’s fabulous voice singing live, Bob’s anecdotes and the aid of a working 1934 wind up gramophone, they revisit the popular music of the Second World War and tell often amusing stories about the artistes who entertained the troops and those left at home. Guaranteed entertainment for those who remember and for those who do not.

Speaker: The Bob and Dot Show

Sun Jester have been working in history and heritage education for more than 20 years, delivering fun and informative talks and entertainments for all ages.

Music and Theatre

A Christmas Miscellany

(28 minutes)

Suitable for your November or December meeting, this selection of seasonal readings includes an 8-minute potted pantomime. The poems and prose pieces are mainly humorous, and most will probably be new to most listeners. Add in some Betjeman and T. S. Eliot’s Journey of the Magi for a fun filled and meaningful recital.


Speaker: Mike Brook

Mike is a recently retired Chief Librarian who enjoys playing a bit of sport and doing “Am Dram”. He started public speaking in 2009 and now on speaker lists for WI Federations for four counties and have given over a hundred talks. Mike's talks aim to entertain and make you laugh.

London's Theatreland

(18 minutes)

Explore with us the evolution of the theatre in London with a talk illustrating histories of playhouses and stories about actors who have performed in them. We find out about some of the West End theatres and go backstage to see how the wonderful shows are created. As Alfred Hitchcock said, “Theatre is Life with the dull bits cut out.”

Speaker: Andrew Warde

Andrew has more than 40 years experience as a London Blue Badge guide, with additional guide qualifications for the City of London and for Windsor & Eton. He presents illustrated talks and walks in and around London, telling all about historic buildings, curious survivals from times past, or special areas of London life and the Thames riverside. These talks reveal fascinating aspects of London’s past and the people who lived there.

Musings from the amateur stage (25 minutes)

This talk includes anecdotes about some of the plays and shows Mike has been involved with during his 30+ years with Drama Groups in York and West Berkshire. Mike also give 2 or 3 actual performances of short comic pieces originally written and performed by some heroes of comedy, like Alan Bennett and Peter Cook.


Speaker: Mike Brook

Mike is a recently retired Chief Librarian who enjoys playing a bit of sport and doing “Am Dram”. He started public speaking in 2009 and now on speaker lists for WI Federations for four counties and have given over a hundred talks. Mike's talks aim to entertain and make you laugh.

Travel

Trials and Tribulations of working in Africa (22 minutes)

Jenny Bowen runs a business that creates tailor-made holidays to southern Africa. She is amazed at how things work, or don’t, in the countries she operates in. Jenny will go through her highs and lows of operating in Africa with amusing and anecdotal stories including being chased by a hippo which she was trying to feed.






Speaker: Jenny Bowen

Jenny's first job after graduating as an ecologist was in Africa – little did she know the importance of this on her life. As the permanent ecologist for Raleigh International in Zimbabwe she set up numerous conservation projects, managed hundreds of volunteers, collated scientific data and wrote many reports. Since Zimbabwe Jenny has led expeditions to Africa as well as other far flung places, worked for a game capture unit in South Africa and set up conservation and community projects in Swaziland.

Bruges - it's more than just chocolate! (35 minutes)

Although famous for its chocolate, Melanie sets out to prove that the Gothic city represents more than just this popular delicacy. In this talk, she gives insight into another culture, encompassing the history and geography, together with all the modern aspects of the attractive city.






Speaker: Melanie Gibson-Barton

From being an enjoyable part-time ‘hobby’ the repeat bookings for Melanie's talks grew to such an extent that she gave up her 'day job' to become a full-time speaker. Many of her talks have been commissioned by previous audiences for commemorative occasions. You can be confident of a high quality presentation. Melanie's website features just some of the lovely testimonials that she has gratefully received - www.toonstelling.com

California Dreaming

(36 minutes)

This illustrated talk by Neil Sadler is about a road trip across western USA…..with some difficulties along the way ! Including:

- Some fascinating facts about Golden Gate bridge, the earthquake of 1906 in San Francisco and more.

- “Get your kicks on Route 66”; the Mother Road which crosses almost 2,500 miles of the USA.

- The Grand Canyon; a true marvel of the world.

- The Pony Express recruitment criteria (you will never see a poster like it again !)

Speaker: Neil Sadler

Neil is a retired senior police officer who can provide talks on a range of subjects. Equipment and photographs will illustrate his cases. Neil spent much of his 30 years service as an operational officer in various ranks across Sussex, working briefly in Hong Kong, Trinidad and Abu Dhabi….he even survived Bognor Regis, Haywards Heath and Crawley!

Motion of the Ocean

(28 minutes)

Hazel talks about her life as a speaker on cruise ships - how did she get into this and where have her travels taken her?










Speaker: Hazel Griffiths

Hazel has worked as a cruise ship speaker for a decade - providing interesting talks that help guests have an enjoyable time ashore. Considered to be one of the best at sea, she has now expanded her portfolio to speak on land too.

A small slice of the Big Apple (30 minutes)

Many districts and landmarks in New York city have become well known through films and TV. 60m tourists flock there annually. This talk looks at some true, some quirky and some downright unusual aspects of the “city that never sleeps”. You will hear about the woman who jumped off the 86th floor of the Empire State building (yes, it has a happy ending) and why a young Bob Hope arrived in NYC wearing three shirts at the age of four! It combines facts, humour...oh yes, and a picture of Mae West, who famously quipped, “I used to be Snow White, but I drifted!" And many, many more fascinating and quirky facts from Neil Sadler.

Speaker: Neil Sadler

Neil is a retired senior police officer who can provide talks on a range of subjects. Equipment and photographs will illustrate his cases. Neil spent much of his 30 years service as an operational officer in various ranks across Sussex, working briefly in Hong Kong, Trinidad and Abu Dhabi….he even survived Bognor Regis, Haywards Heath and Crawley!

Travels with a penguin to Antartica (31 minutes)

Pen describes a trip to the Southern continent that includes stunning scenery, wonderful wildlife, a trip to the post office and a penguin called Scott.









Speaker: Pen Turner

Pen spent the first fifty years of her life living in London, where she had pursued careers as varied as a librarian and a remedial massage therapist, until she made the decision to walk away from her old life, travel around the world and achieve some of the things on her ‘wish list’. Now happily settled in Shropshire, she give talks to try and persuade other people that they should go out and fulfil their own dreams too.

Travels with a Penguin

(30 minutes)

This is not a talk about penguins. It's not exactly a talk about travels either - at least it's not the standard 'where I went on my holidays' type of talk. It's the story of how an ordinary woman in her fifties, walked away from her comfortable life, gave up her job, sold her home, and set off to travel all around the world to do some of the things on her 'wish list' - all with a small stuffed penguin for company.

Speaker: Pen Turner

Pen spent the first fifty years of her life living in London, where she had pursued careers as varied as a librarian and a remedial massage therapist, until she made the decision to walk away from her old life, travel around the world and achieve some of the things on her ‘wish list’. Now happily settled in Shropshire, she give talks to try and persuade other people that they should go out and fulfil their own dreams too.

Wandering in Flanders Fields (41 minutes)

Melanie Gibson-Barton brings to life the well known and certainly the less well known First World War sites in a themed way that will appeal to all elements of the audience.






Speaker: Melanie Gibson-Barton

From being an enjoyable part-time ‘hobby’ the repeat bookings for Melanie's talks grew to such an extent that she gave up her 'day job' to become a full-time speaker. Many of her talks have been commissioned by previous audiences for commemorative occasions. You can be confident of a high quality presentation. Melanie's website features just some of the lovely testimonials that she has gratefully received - www.toonstelling.com

The King and his 14 Wives (34 minutes)

Jenny spent a lot of time in Eswatini (formerly known as Swaziland) and she is the representative in the UK for The Kingdom. Eswatini is a little known country and people seem to pass through rather than stay. Let Jenny take you through the history and the highlights of Eswatini incorporating amusing anecdotal stories, bird and animal impersonations and why the King has so few wives (in comparison to his father).

Speaker: Jenny Bowen

Jenny's first job after graduating as an ecologist was in Africa – little did she know the importance of this on her life. As the permanent ecologist for Raleigh International in Zimbabwe she set up numerous conservation projects, managed hundreds of volunteers, collated scientific data and wrote many reports. Since Zimbabwe Jenny has led expeditions to Africa as well as other far flung places, worked for a game capture unit in South Africa and set up conservation and community projects in Swaziland.

Tibetan Journey

(44 minutes)

After working with the Tibet Society for many years and now Vice President, the speaker gives a brief outline of Tibetan history, religion and culture. His trip to Tibet in 1994 is highlighted with his own photographs and tales of his experiences.







Speaker: Alan Clements

A speaker on Gardening subjects and travels in Tibet.

Vice President of the Tibet Society and Relief Fund working on charity projects in India. Always a keen gardener having developed Cascades Gardens, the Meditation garden in Bonsall, Matlock,Derbyshire. Open to the public see www.cascadesgardens.com and blog www.gardenforwellbeing.com

Parks and Gardens in Flanders (34 minutes)

A wide-ranging talk appealing to garden lovers and walkers - and arm-chair gardeners! See the distinctive style of Flemish gardening - and lots more - in this colourfully illustrated talk.







Speaker: Melanie Gibson-Barton

From being an enjoyable part-time ‘hobby’ the repeat bookings for Melanie's talks grew to such an extent that she gave up her 'day job' to become a full-time speaker. Many of her talks have been commissioned by previous audiences for commemorative occasions. You can be confident of a high quality presentation. Melanie's website features just some of the lovely testimonials that she has gratefully received - www.toonstelling.com

Backpacking on a pension book (part 1) - Australia (39 minutes)

At 60 after a difficult divorce Pamela retired and decided to go back packing around Australia on her own. She bought a rucksack and a return Airline ticket and kept going until the money ran out. Listen to how Pamela got her dive certificate on the Barrier Reef, watched a Corroboree by Aborigines, watched Ayres Rock change magical colours at sunrise, camped across the outback in a swag under a bush, fossicked for sapphires and nursed an injured wallaby.

Speaker: Pamela McLellan

Pamela says she is so lucky, having 5 or 6 lives all rolled into one. In 1960, on leaving the Civil Service, she bought a Hardware shop in Crawley.
From this, as a result of a joke and the BBC’s Nationwide programme in 1970, she started a business manufacturing kits for model railways and which is still going strong.
The next part of her life included Back packing round the world on her own at 60, hang gliding, white water rafting, learning to dive on the Barrier Reef, climbing through a glacier and walking 17k over Mount Doom from the ‘Lord of the Rings’ film.
She then bought a smallholding, with no previous knowledge of farming, and raised cows, sheep, pigs, goats and chickens and sold the produce at Farmers markets and Country shows.

A Passage Through India (42 minutes)

Hazel's normal mode of travel is on cruise ships where she works as a speaker. This adventure was different - a bespoke Land Tour of the Golden Triangle of India with a few extras. This is not just a collection of holiday snaps - Hazel includes historical and cultural insights to give a deeper understanding of  this fascinating country.

Speaker: Hazel Griffiths

Hazel has worked as a cruise ship speaker for a decade - providing interesting talks that help guests have an enjoyable time ashore. Considered to be one of the best at sea, she has now expanded her portfolio to speak on land too.

Thirty Years of Travel in China (55 minutes)

Former long-time Hong Kong resident Chris Forse has travelled widely in China since 1978 when only one city was open to foreigners. His travels have taken him beyond the standard tourist itineraries, to the country’s remote regions of Yunnan, Xinjiang and Tibet and across distant borders, accumulating a bank of memories and impressions and spectacular photographs. In the process he witnessed the astonishing transformation of China from an insular peasant society to global economic super-power in just one generation.

Speaker: Chris Forse

Chris Forse is a retired teacher and administrator who spent 33 years in Hong Kong where he was also a sometime columnist and radio panel guest. He has travelled widely and globally and enjoys travel photography and self-publishing. He is chairman of a large U3A in the Midlands.

Travels with a Penguin to Japan (33 minutes)

Join Pen and her travel companion Scott-the-penguin as they journey around Japan, encountering bullet trains, bentos, volcanic disruptions and a palace with squeaky floors





Speaker: Pen Turner

Pen spent the first fifty years of her life living in London, where she had pursued careers as varied as a librarian and a remedial massage therapist, until she made the decision to walk away from her old life, travel around the world and achieve some of the things on her ‘wish list’. Now happily settled in Shropshire, she give talks to try and persuade other people that they should go out and fulfil their own dreams too.

Hobbies

Gongoozling for beginners (42 minutes)

After 30 years as a police officer in Sussex, Neil thought this sounded just the tonic for retirement; relaxing, stress free and with the chance to grow his beard and hair. This is a light hearted journey around some of the 2000 miles of navigable waterways in a 58 foot canal narrow boat across Britain, with just a small dose of history, lots of humour, a rather wet puppy and only one broken arm …….so far !


Speaker: Neil Sadler

Neil is a retired senior police officer who can provide talks on a range of subjects. Equipment and photographs will illustrate his cases. Neil spent much of his 30 years service as an operational officer in various ranks across Sussex, working briefly in Hong Kong, Trinidad and Abu Dhabi….he even survived Bognor Regis, Haywards Heath and Crawley!

Playing Out

(36 minutes)

It's the school holidays. You would knock on your friends' doors to see if they were coming out to play. Most of us played in the street. You might have had a ball, a few marbles, some conkers or, if you were very lucky, a bike! We played outside whatever the weather and often came home filthy. Dirt was good - it built up your immunity and was a sign that you had had fun! The day ended with the usual plea for "Five More Minutes!"

Speaker: Kath Reynolds

My library role allowed me the opportunity to develop my passion for reminiscence work both in terms of delivering sessions and training others. Together with a colleague from Stoke-on-Trent Museums, I wrote an OCN accredited course, "Delivering Reminiscence". This course was very successful and was delivered by myself for more than six years.

I am keenly interested in people; their lives and their communities - my talks and reminiscence sessions reflect a great many years of collecting stories, memories and musings from the people of Staffordshire and surrounding counties.

I am always vigilant to research and verify "facts" which are presented to me - although I often share the "facts" which are clearly fiction... purely because they are entertaining!

Cascades Gardens: From Jungle to Paradise (47 minutes)

This talk describes the 22 year development of Cascades Gardens, a beautiful four acre garden in Bonsall, Derbyshire. Inspired by Japanese gardens, Alan Clements discusses the construction and planting of the garden in his attempt to create a natural garden for peace and relaxation. Photos of the wild landscape 40 years ago and other before and after pictures are shown. Gardening issues are discussed and there are pictures of the cascades, the nursery and flowers throughout the seasons.

Speaker: Alan Clements

A speaker on Gardening subjects and travels in Tibet.

Vice President of the Tibet Society and Relief Fund working on charity projects in India. Always a keen gardener having developed Cascades Gardens, the Meditation garden in Bonsall, Matlock,Derbyshire. Open to the public see www.cascadesgardens.com and blog www.gardenforwellbeing.com

Health and Wellbeing

Inside Story

(47 minutes)

Part 1: Taking you on a fantastic journey of discovery inside and around your body. 100,000 heartbeats every day, bones stronger than concrete, nerve signals faster than a racing car, muscles that shake a leg, why colour is only skin deep, eyes that see everything upside down, a brain that forecasts your future, amazing medical cures and the germs that defeated science. You can’t live without it, so discover the amazing facts and surprising stories of your body.

Speaker: Alan Jones

Alan has been fortunate to enjoy a variety of careers, each bringing their own unique experiences and events. A trained nurse, hypnotherapist, BBC journalist and more, they now all provide a wealth of anecdote to fill his talks with fun, entertainment and discovery.

Alan is a Stand Alone speaker.

History and Mystery of Hypnosis (47 minutes)

hypnotherapy

Look into my eyes! Alan Jones will unravel the history and mystery of hypnosis which dates back to the dawn of civilisation, and the modern day benefits of Hypnotherapy. And you can all sit back and relax because he promises that none of you will become a chicken!







Speaker: Alan Jones

Alan has been fortunate to enjoy a variety of careers, each bringing their own unique experiences and events. A trained nurse, hypnotherapist, BBC journalist and more, they now all provide a wealth of anecdote to fill his talks with fun, entertainment and discovery.

Alan is a Stand Alone speaker.

It's Not What You Say

(46 minutes)

Ever wondered why you feel attracted to some people and avoid others? Most of us form an opinion about someone in just 90 seconds and rarely change our mind. But it is not based on the way people speak, or even what they say. Discover how Body Language speaks louder then words when we communicate with each other.





Speaker: Alan Jones

Alan has been fortunate to enjoy a variety of careers, each bringing their own unique experiences and events. A trained nurse, hypnotherapist, BBC journalist and more, they now all provide a wealth of anecdote to fill his talks with fun, entertainment and discovery.

Alan is a Stand Alone speaker.

Somebody Like You

(53 minutes)

Part 2: Taking you on a fantastic journey of discovery inside and around your body. 100,000 heartbeats every day, bones stronger than concrete, nerve signals faster than a racing car, muscles that shake a leg, why colour is only skin deep, eyes that see everything upside down, a brain that forecasts your future, amazing medical cures and the germs that defeated science. You can’t live without it, so discover the amazing facts and surprising stories of your body.

Speaker: Alan Jones

Alan has been fortunate to enjoy a variety of careers, each bringing their own unique experiences and events. A trained nurse, hypnotherapist, BBC journalist and more, they now all provide a wealth of anecdote to fill his talks with fun, entertainment and discovery.

Alan is a Stand Alone speaker.

Art and Literature

William Morris & the Arts & Crafts Movement (32 minutes)

Mark Lewis celebrates the life and work of this illustrious poet, artist and social reformer, who pioneered a movement that reacted against the soulless machine production of the Industrial Revolution. Morris attempted to promote joyful labour, the enjoyment of fine craftsmanship and simplicity of expression.



Speaker: Mark lewis

Mark is a freelance artist, designer-silversmith and semi-retired university lecturer. Until the summer of 2009, he was a Principal Lecturer in the Sir John Cass Department of Art, Media and Design at London Met University. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Horners. Mark has a particular interest in unusual local customs and rituals and in 2013 he published a book on the folklore and popular customs of the church.

The Accidental Author

(33 minutes)

In this talk we find out how Sue Medcalf became an accidental author! Her series of books came from a conversation with her sister, who had badgers digging up her back garden and she asked if she knew how to discourage them from digging!! After a lot of research on badgers Sue became hooked on them and the Itchybald Scratchet character was born!

Speaker: Sue Medcalf

Sue is an accidental author of a series of books about a badger called Itchybald Scratchet. At 57 she never expected to write a book and now I has seven books.

The series of books came from a telephone conversation with her sister, who had badgers digging up her back garden. She asked Sue what she could do to stop the digging.  So Sue did some research on their habitat and was hooked!

General Interest

A Nice Cup of Tea

(42 minutes)

The British answer to any problem or crisis is often a cup of tea! If you have had a shock or an upset someone will make you a nice cup of tea. But how did the British love affair with tea start? It is a fascinating tale of adventure, taxes, criminality, temperance, rationing and a morale booster in World War I and II. You'll also find out how a hungry Duchess with a taste for a 'cuppa' established the ritual of afternoon tea.

Speaker: Sandy Leong

Sandy Leong is an historian, passionate about bringing history to life and is a lively and entertaining speaker. She has a popular series of entertaining, light hearted talks on general historical subjects. However she specialises in the Tudors, an exciting time in the country as it was changing fast; and in the Viking period, who are much more than the stereotype of raiders in horned helmets.

She is an international, professional speaker, and published author.

Mad as a Hatter – Origins & Meanings of Sayings (35 minutes)

Some people could say that Sandy is as mad as a hatter because she is fascinated by the origins of the sayings we use in everyday conversation. There are more sayings than you can shake a stick at. For any doubting Thomas' out there Sandy will let the cat out of the bag and pull out all the stops to entertain you, with stories of how the sayings we use all the time, came about.

Speaker: Sandy Leong

Sandy Leong is an historian, passionate about bringing history to life and is a lively and entertaining speaker. She has a popular series of entertaining, light hearted talks on general historical subjects. However she specialises in the Tudors, an exciting time in the country as it was changing fast; and in the Viking period, who are much more than the stereotype of raiders in horned helmets.

She is an international, professional speaker, and published author.

Food of the Gods – A History of Our Love Affair with Chocolate (36 minutes)

The Aztecs believed cocoa seeds were a gift from the god of wisdom. The Spanish took the bean back to Spain in 1528. By the1550's chocolate had arrived in England and the first Chocolate House opened in1657. The Quakers were instrumental in making it popular, the Swiss refined it; and now we can’t seem to do without it! The god of wisdom gave us chocolate – I’m not sure if it was a wise move!

Speaker: Sandy Leong

Sandy Leong is an historian, passionate about bringing history to life and is a lively and entertaining speaker. She has a popular series of entertaining, light hearted talks on general historical subjects. However she specialises in the Tudors, an exciting time in the country as it was changing fast; and in the Viking period, who are much more than the stereotype of raiders in horned helmets.

She is an international, professional speaker, and published author.

Hair

(53 minutes)

Straight, wavy, long, natural or dyed! Wigs, extensions, beards and eye brows. Smuggling, politics, religion, and fashion collide in a billion dollar trade. Discover the secretive and lucrative international world of Hair that is guaranteed to grip you by the long, short or curly.


Speaker: Alan Jones

Alan has been fortunate to enjoy a variety of careers, each bringing their own unique experiences and events. A trained nurse, hypnotherapist, BBC journalist and more, they now all provide a wealth of anecdote to fill his talks with fun, entertainment and discovery.

Alan is a Stand Alone speaker.

Blessed are the cheesemakers (20 minutes)

John is an international cheese judge and is a contributor to the Oxford Companion of cheese. In 2011 he was appointed Cheese Personality of the Year by the British Cheese Board. His talk “Blessed are the Cheesemakers” will describe some of his encounters with suppliers and impossible customers.

Speaker: John Pearson

John has spent all his working life in the Food Industry, primarily with Marks & Spencer. Since retiring in 2008 he has consulted for number of suppliers and retailers.

He is an international cheese judge having travelled throughout Europe visiting dairies selecting dairy products for M & S. He also judges for Which? Magazine and is a contributor to the Oxford Companion of cheese.

In 2011 he was appointed Cheese Personality of the Year by the British Cheese Board

US Presidents in bits and pieces (49 minutes)

Joe Mendell looks at some interesting and amazing facts about America's 44 presidents. This is not a biographical study of these men, but you might be fascinated to learn something special about these leaders of the world.



Speaker: Joe Mendell

Born in the US, lived in the UK since 1978. Votes in both countries so the governments are both his fault. Has always been an active official in sports; qualified to officiate American Football, baseball, ice hockey, association football and basketball and has even umpired cricket matches. Worked in the computer industry for 30 plus years and retired as a truck driver in 2012. Is very much involved in local amateur dramatics as an actor and director and has even attempted to write 2 plays and 2 books; both yet to be published.

Tea with Mrs Cox

(26 minutes)

“Tea With Mrs Cox” is a theatrical talk about the history of tea drinking and is presented in character by actress Jane Glennie. Set in the early 1950s you are invited to tea with housewife and etiquette expert Mrs Cox. Sit back with a cuppa and enjoy the fascinating stories of our favourite drink along with etiquette advice and the entertaining company of Mrs Cox.

Speaker: Jane Glennie

An actor and historian delivering school sessions in Southampton local museums.
Jane has been a public speaker since 2011 and has entertained many groups including WIs, TWGs, U3As, Probus as well as Care Homes. Her talks are engaging theatrical monologues based on stories, people or moments in history.

The London no-one tells you about (40 minutes)

…… is just that, the London no-one tells you about. The Necropolis railway, the lost rivers and why the Americans don’t own their embassy are just a few of the not so well known details brought to life.







Speaker: Geoff Harris

Geoff started working as a teacher and taught in a variety of secondary schools all over the UK for ten tears before giving it all up and becoming a clown. Really, that is what he did. The clowning led onto other performance areas and he has been seen on a variety of stages and screens ever since.
Ten plus years ago he started to train as a Toastmaster and is now a Fellow of the National Association of Toastmasters, working in some of the grandest hotels and houses in the country.

Arsenic - The Victorian Housewife's Friend (38 minutes)

From a ballroom gown that floored the dancers, to wallpaper that rendered Queen Victoria's guest at Buckingham Palace unconscious; no wonder Arsenic has such a bad press. This talk reveals how, in the 19th century, this substance (which could be sold freely to children), was the culprit in countless careless deaths and also many sinister and sometimes systematic murders. Interesting and amusing.

Speaker: Graham Harrison

Sun Jester have been working in history and heritage education for more than 20 years, delivering fun and informative talks and entertainments for all ages.

Stories from the Clink

(43 minutes)

- Which country has a quarter of all the world’s prisoners locked up?

- Why did the prisoner lock his own cell door from outside on the jail landing?

- The real escape from Alcatraz .... and one that didn't quite make it !

- Did George Best ever play for the prison football team?

All this and more from a former police officer who visited many UK prisons and met many colourful characters. Their stories might well surprise you. Approached with his customary humour, let Neil guide you in (and luckily, out) of a few well known prisons.

Speaker: Neil Sadler

Neil is a retired senior police officer who can provide talks on a range of subjects. Equipment and photographs will illustrate his cases. Neil spent much of his 30 years service as an operational officer in various ranks across Sussex, working briefly in Hong Kong, Trinidad and Abu Dhabi….he even survived Bognor Regis, Haywards Heath and Crawley!

Poisons for Medicine

(41 minutes)

A darkly humorous look at medicine in the 19th Century. The reign of Victoria saw the development of chemical medicine from medieval-style alchemy to modern pharmacy. Chemists lent their ingenuity to attempt to provide any cure their customers wanted. Some made fortunes, some made disastrous mistakes. As the speaker points out, our recent forebears must have had incredibly strong constitutions to have survived the lethal doses of over-the-counter poisons blatantly advertised as cure-alls. The talk leaves you amused and stunned in equal measure.

Speaker: Graham Harrison

Sun Jester have been working in history and heritage education for more than 20 years, delivering fun and informative talks and entertainments for all ages.

A Policeman's Lot

(40 minutes)

Neil Sadler spent 30 years as a police officer. Starting “on the beat” in the exotic holiday resort of Bognor Regis in the 1970s, he retired from a post in national and international police training.

You may be amazed to hear who he met on his first solo night shift at 3am. Changes in police uniform and equipment and why not to be squirted with pepper spray.

Also, where not to try and escape the traffic cops in one European country and a novel use for a policeman’s helmet.

Speaker: Neil Sadler

Neil is a retired senior police officer who can provide talks on a range of subjects. Equipment and photographs will illustrate his cases. Neil spent much of his 30 years service as an operational officer in various ranks across Sussex, working briefly in Hong Kong, Trinidad and Abu Dhabi….he even survived Bognor Regis, Haywards Heath and Crawley!

Horses and Carriages in London (23 minutes)

For centuries horses were vital for any kind of travel or transport, either by carriage or on horseback. Andrew Warde tells us how these wonderful animals have served Londoners over past centuries. Hear about the ‘Quicksilver’ mail coach, how to climb onto an early omnibus and discover where, even today, you can find horses in London.


Speaker: Andrew Warde

Andrew has more than 40 years experience as a London Blue Badge guide, with additional guide qualifications for the City of London and for Windsor & Eton. He presents illustrated talks and walks in and around London, telling all about historic buildings, curious survivals from times past, or special areas of London life and the Thames riverside. These talks reveal fascinating aspects of London’s past and the people who lived there.

William Shakespeare in London (23 minutes)

This incomer came to London to join the lowest level of society, so how did a glover’s son become the national poet of England? Discover with Andrew Warde, Will’s life while he made his reputation.






Speaker: Andrew Warde

Andrew has more than 40 years experience as a London Blue Badge guide, with additional guide qualifications for the City of London and for Windsor & Eton. He presents illustrated talks and walks in and around London, telling all about historic buildings, curious survivals from times past, or special areas of London life and the Thames riverside. These talks reveal fascinating aspects of London’s past and the people who lived there.

Sunday Tea at Grandma's (30 minutes)

Step back in time, Sunday was the day of rest...except for Grandma. The family would all troop around the granny's for their tea on Sunday. Best china, freshly laundered (starched) tablecloth and a good strong cup of tea. You could almost predict what would be served each week! Join us to reminisce on those traditional Sundays. Bring your own brew, best china please!

Speaker: Kath Reynolds

My library role allowed me the opportunity to develop my passion for reminiscence work both in terms of delivering sessions and training others. Together with a colleague from Stoke-on-Trent Museums, I wrote an OCN accredited course, "Delivering Reminiscence". This course was very successful and was delivered by myself for more than six years.

I am keenly interested in people; their lives and their communities - my talks and reminiscence sessions reflect a great many years of collecting stories, memories and musings from the people of Staffordshire and surrounding counties.

I am always vigilant to research and verify "facts" which are presented to me - although I often share the "facts" which are clearly fiction... purely because they are entertaining!

Life of a lighterman

(34 minutes)

Life of a Lighterman is a presentation by David Lewis. It describes how bulk loads of cargo were transported from cargo ships in the Docks in Hull, along the River Ouse and into the seed-crushing mills in Selby. The presentation is enlivened by audio testimony from 96-year-old Laurie Dews who worked in the trade from the 1930s to the 1980s. David sets the historical context, and Laurie 'tells it like it was' explaining, in his inimitable Selby brogue, the intricacies of the lost arts of singling out barges, unloading onto a board and the use of a warping line.

Speaker: David Lewis

David Lewis is a local historian living in Selby, North Yorkshire. A chemist by training, and a teacher by profession, a decade ago he left the lab to concentrate on his love of local history. He spent the last decade investigating the Hidden Heritage of Selby, including working for 3 years on a project largely funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, and setting up a ‘pop-up’ town museum.

Are You Descended From a Viking (48 minutes)

Adverts for DNA testing kits are constantly on the TV-but what do you actually get? This talk covers areas such as understanding how the test works in very general terms, getting the most from the test (what the results mean) and how to use your results to overcome brick walls such as illegitimacy and validating paper resources. It also highlights the range and pitfalls of using DNA testing, particularly finding out where your family came from- Can you really be a Viking? I have tested autosomal DNA with several companies and used any of my family who stood still long enough!

Speaker: Karen Evans

After completing a History degree Karen taught in Primary schools before retiring in 2015. She has written two ‘Grim Almanac’ books for the History Press and currently write for Family Tree Magazine on all things genealogical! Karen's love and enthusiasm for history was the impetus for all her talks, be it Regency dancing or using DNA in her own research.

My Mysterious Grandmas (33 minutes)

My Mysterious Grandmas is a genealogy talk with a difference. If you are hoping for a lot of serious information on the hows and the whys and the wherefores of tracing your family tree, David isn't your best port of call. What he's done in his usual laid back style is to weave a fascinating story that reveals the mysteries of his two obscure Victorian grandmothers - both women, in their day, had much to be mysterious about.

Speaker: David Clark

Born and raised in London David has lived and worked in Germany and Australia but returned to the UK in 1970 to live in Worcestershire where he is now retired. David has worked in shipping, been a rep for foreign newspapers and magazines. He's worked in theatre management, had two shops and ended up working for Age Concern. He was also a City councillor for 20 years and served as Mayor of Worcester!