Talk Catalogue

Online Events Covering Everything From Gardening and Travel to History and Show Business

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Featured Talks

The legacy of Antoni Gaudi

Talk Description and preview

Antoni Gaudi, the architect from Catalonia, Spain, whose work spanned from the late 19th century until 1926 has left a legacy of unique designs, the likes of which are unlikely to ever be repeated.  7 of his creations are in the UNESCO List of World Heritage Sites.  In this talk we travel around Barcelona, look at his creations, including the Basilica de la Sagrada Familia, and discover what inspired him as well as examining other architectural masterpieces and visiting Montserrat, Spain and Palma, Mallorca.


Talk length - 40 minutes.

Christopher Legrand

Christopher Legrand qualified as a Chartered Surveyor 55 years ago and is an Honorary Fellow of the Chartered Association of Building Engineers. Since retiring he devotes his time to giving talks, managing a Community Gospel Choir and running events for those with memory loss and dementia.

He was a Justice of the Peace for 17 years and in 1990 founded the charity 'HyPed' (Project for Homeless Young People in Eastern Dorset) and was its chairman for 6 years during which time it opened and managed supportive houses and helped over 400 young people.

He enjoys travel, photography and sharing his experiences with others.

A Passion for Fashion

Talk Description and preview

From reading Vogue magazines to designing for Jimi Hendrix and Sophia Loren, Rukshana truly had a ‘Passion for Fashion’. She shares her adventures starting with training in the USA at the age of eighteen, to coming to live in England and setting up her very successful fashion business in her own, unusual way. She talks about how fashion has changed – or how it hasn’t - through the years, spanning the 70s, 80s, 90s and indeed right up to 2014 when she retired. Having organised umpteen Fashion Shows for numerous charities, working mainly in beautiful silks and cottons, Rukshana has many a story to share!


Talk length - 41 minutes.

Rukshana masters

Rukshana was born in India and trained as a Fashion Designer in the United States in the late 60s, the days of Mary Quant. She worked at a Haute Couture boutique for a while in New York. She came to live in England in the 70s and furthered her fashion career in a very interesting and unusual way, raising funds for various charities and running a successful fashion boutique right up to 2014. She was also a Cub Scout leader when her children were younger and the family had a ruin they restored in France, which all made for a busy, interesting and fun-filled life.

Wartime and Romance (Part 1) - From Boaters to Anti-Bac!

Talk Description and Preview

Andy shares pithy, real-life perspectives of two world wars, 21st century conflict, and consequent relationships, gleaned from family and friends over several decades. In his two poetic presentations entitled ‘Wartime and Romance’ he weaves humour and history into an entertaining and poignant delivery that stimulates response from listeners who inevitably have their own stories to tell!


Talk length - 35 minutes.

Andy Smith

Andy Smith is a performance poet, author and former business communicator who has two artificial limbs, three fine children, a whippet called Tamba and a tabby called Toby. (He also had two feisty chickens until ‘Basil Brush’ made their acquaintance last year). As well as engaging live and digital audiences with his poetry, humour and a smattering of history, Andy mentors teenage lads in local secondary schools. And once a year, the bionic bard and his long-suffering wife, Hazel, make an annual trip to Sierra Leone in West Africa to support and encourage victims of trauma.

Endangered Wildlife and Conservation

Talk Description and preview

A talk about big cats, endangered wildlife and conservation issues. 

Shelley is passionate about big cats and wildlife and talks about a number of endangered species, along with some interesting animal facts. 

Illustrated with beautiful photographs she’s taken on her travels around the world, this is an interesting, informative and educational talk that raises awareness about some of the world’s most endangered wildlife and the threats they face. 

Shelley shares her journey and experiences, photos and unique video clips of some of the animals she has encountered, rescue shelters she has visited, and projects she has been involved with over the years in her effort to raise awareness and funds for various wildlife charities.


Talk length -  44 minutes.

Shelley Lozano

Shelley Lozano has worked professionally as a cabaret artiste and entertainer for over 30 years which has taken her as far afield as Europe, Kathmandu, India and the Middle East. She is now an author and radio presenter with a weekly wildlife show and through her work, helps raise awareness and funds for endangered wildlife and offers fun and entertaining talks for a variety of functions and events to suit audiences of all ages.

Lake District: A Celebration and a Warning

Talk Description and preview

A celebration of a unique landscape and its place in our national consciousness from William Wordsworth to Alfred Wainwright. It is also a warning of challenges ahead, from climate change to Brexit. It concludes with a 'year' in the Lake District in pictures taken over fifty years!

Talk length - 49 minutes.

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.

Food of the Gods – A History of Our Love Affair with Chocolate

Talk Description and preview

The Aztecs believed cocoa seeds were a gift from the god of wisdom. The Spanish took the bean back to Spain in 1528. By the 1550's chocolate had arrived in England and the first Chocolate House opened in 1657. 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!

Talk length - 36 minutes.

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.

A Very English Dynasty

Talk Description and preview

Many people will know the name D’Oyly Carte in relation to the Gilbert and Sullivan Comic operas.  However, there is so much more to their achievements and legacy than the operas, important as they are to the story.  In a story of success, failure and tragedy we explore four generations from the mid-19th Century to the late-20th Century.  We also get to the bottom of that very unusual name.


Talk length - 51 minutes.

Jim Stebbings

Jim retired after working in a business and commercial environment around the world. He is now developing a series of talks across a broad spectrum of social history for online and live presentation. With a special interest and experience in the musical theatre, some of these have a musical background.

A Toastmaster's Tale 

Talk Description and preview

Geoff is one of the country’s leading Toastmasters, working in venues all over the UK and abroad. However, in this insightful, informative and hilarious talk Geoff lifts the lid off the world of formal events in his own inimitable style. Just what did the Prince of Wales have to do with the introduction of the red coat? How fast did the Alderman’s funeral cortege go? Did the bridegroom really say that? The answer to these questions and many, many more are answered at breakneck speed in this witty, funny, brilliantly presented talk. Not to be missed.

Talk length - 44 minutes.

Geoff Harris

Geoff Harris 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.

Zeppelin - Ship of Dreams

Talk Description and preview

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.

Talk length - 41 minutes.

David Skillen

David Skillen 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.

Big Ben

Talk Description and preview

Tim will describe the background into the building of the Elizabeth Tower – Big Ben – before escorting us up the 334 spiral stairs. As we climb, Tim will take us behind one of those beautiful clock faces; he’ll introduce us to the magnificent example of Victorian engineering that is the clock mechanism; before finally taking us to the belfry where we will stand in front of Big Ben, the most famous bell in the world.

Talk length - 41 minutes.

Tim Redmond

Following his retirement in 2006 from the Metropolitan police, Tim became a personal tour guide, providing day-long tours of London and other popular UK tourism spots. In 2008, he began working within parliament, primarily undertaking tours within the Elizabeth Tower (Big Ben). Before the Elizabeth Tower closed at the end of 2016, Tim took about 135,000 UK residents on tours of the tower, in addition to VIPs such as Michelle Obama and Bill Gates! He has since been a speaker, specialising in PowerPoint virtual tours within Big Ben.

Boobies and Noddies: Birds of Ascension Island

Talk Description and preview

Ascension Island is a remote military base in the tropical Atlantic. On this island, the seabirds are magical with little fear of people. With the aid of stunning images, Dr John Hughes tell stories of the island’s history, its seabirds, the introduced land birds, and the marine environment.


Talk length - 42 minutes.

Dr John Hughes

John was a professional soldier and travelled the world. He has a passion for birds and lifelong learning. He achieved a PhD aged 69. John is married with 5 children and lives in Hampshire.

A Tibetan Journey

Talk Description and preview

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.

Talk length - 44 minutes.

Alan Clements

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

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