What an EPIC party we had last Wednesday! Impeccably organised by Angie, it was a fabulous send off for our outgoing committee and a brilliantly warm welcome for the new team that formally takes office at midnight tonight as we transition into the new Toastmaster year.  We were delighted to see Brana and meet 3-month old Max for a short while before the proceedings got going, and to welcome 18 of our members (including our latest recruit, Marianna) as well as familiar faces: Sayara, Beth and Katri, and new faces Ingrid, Addy and Joyce.

Our Toastmaster for the evening was Aileen, who exercised fantastic voice projection to make herself heard above the music and general hubbub of the restaurant just outside our private dining area; Aileen’s theme for the meeting was CUSP, looking back or forward to particular achievements or plans at the turn of this Toastmaster year; Aileen was assisted by Esmé as grammarian, who set us the task of avoiding use of ‘good’ and ‘great’ as adjectives, and gave us a long list of more exciting substitutes, some of which I’m using in this summary! Angie was our efficient timekeeper, and kept us in order throughout the speeches and evaluations, despite numerous distractions and general high spirits!

Our first prepared speech was from Jane, who stepped in at the last minute to tell us why justice in this country is under threat; this was her 7th speech from the Competent Communicator manual in which she had to demonstrate her research on a topic. Jane is certainly a fount of information on this subject, and used some graphic images to bring home some of the statistics to the audience.  Our second speaker was Nadine, who gave her 5th speech from the advanced manual ‘The Entertaining Speaker’; this project is an after-dinner talk on a specific theme; Nadine based her speech on her experiences of Toastmasters in a very engaging way, vividly remembering her first meeting, and taking us through the high points of her speaking projects as well as the different roles she’s held both at club and committee level.

Our evaluators were Carrie and Maria, evaluating Jane and Nadine respectively.

After a break for delicious Spanish food, we resumed with our third speech from me entitled Muchas Gracias (courtesy of Carrie); I chose to give the 5th project in the Special Occasion Speeches manual on the subject of accepting an award.  I outlined the background to Toastmasters International’s recognition of WiBF as sponsor of 2 Toastmaster clubs, commending their support of TMI’s communication and leadership programmes. You may remember that I accepted this award from Mike Storkey the International President of TMI in May this year when he was in London, and it was lovely to have the opportunity to share with you all a little more about what went into TMI’s decision as well as the history of the relationship between WiBF and TMI; also to show off the trophy to the club once again.

Following my speech, I briefly summarised the past year as your president, thanked the outgoing committee, and introduced the new committee to you all – I will send round a separate email to you all with the full list very shortly.

Susan was our Table Topics master; she had prepared some highly amusing party games for us to play, and everyone entered into the spirit with enthusiasm!  Following games, we had a piñata made by Angie which I (blindfolded) had to find and destroy, much to everyone’s amusement, and we then tackled an amazingly beautiful cake made by one of Angie’s colleagues, resplendently decorated with the Toastmasters logo!

I believe lots of photos were taken during the evening, so if you have some publishable ones, could you send them to Carrie (carriegow.toastmasters@gmail.com) please so we can put a collection of them on our website? We’re hoping this will be done in the course of next week, and we’ll send round a link when it’s ready.

Finally we departed for home rather later than usual after further feasting, drinking and general partying, all agreed that we’d had a wonderful evening strengthening friendships and meeting new ones, with plenty of exciting events to look forward to in the year ahead.

Thanks to everyone for all your efforts over the past year which have enabled us to once again achieve the highest commendation of Presidents Distinguished Club, and best wishes for success in the 2017-18 Toastmasters year.

Kind regards



On 25th July, we’ll be hosting Simon Bucknall of Excalibur club, who won the UK & Ireland International Speech Championship recently. He will be representing our District at the World Championships in Vancouver in August, so will be practising both his prepared speeches at our meeting, with a view to gaining as much constructive feedback as possible before he sets off. Please aim to attend this meeting if you possibly can as it will be a wonderful opportunity for us to hear him in person, and to support him ahead of his trip to Vancouver.