Great finish to “outstanding” season

Muriel Smith was presented with her certificate by Bill Walker.
Muriel Smith was presented with her certificate by Bill Walker.

Strathmore Speakers Club rounded off the 2013/14 season with their usual flurry of activity.

President Alex Rae welcomed the members to the last regular meeting for a packed programme of speeches in the Training Session chaired by Iain Orr, assisted by Muriel Smith as timekeeper.

First to speak was Ron Harrow, giving the second part of his speech about the difficulties he and his group encountered on a cycling holiday in Kyrgyzstan. The nine-hour flight arriving at 4 am, poor infrastructure, altitude sickness and a dearth of shops, eating facilities and places to stay along the route all had to be overcome. Despite all that and several nights spent rough camping in the wild, it was an unforgettable experience.

His evaluator, Jim Gibb, gave Ron a pass for his well constructed and presented speech.

Speaker number two was Hannah Williams with a gestures speech called ‘How does your garden grow?’ describing her pet likes and hates about gardens and gardening from Victorian times to the present day. David Affleck awarded a pass, observing excellent use of hand, arm, body, and, particularly, facial gestures.

The last two speeches were rehearsals for the Tartan Week ‘Speaking of Scotland’ event, on aspects of the First World War, both incorporating power point pictures. Bob Stewart talked about the proud war record of Forfar in general and went on to describe his family’s contribution, with seven great-uncles serving in the Army and Air Force, six of whom survived. Douglas Wares told the moving story of ‘The Unknown Warrior’; how the idea was brought to fruition of having one unidentified body brought home from Europe and buried in Westminster Abbey to represent the many hundreds of thousands of casualties with no known grave.

Evaluators Bill Walker and Jim Smith congratulated both speakers and gave only minor advice on how their performances might be improved for public consumption.

The Topics Session was chaired by Andrew Thomson. He provided six members with a number of badges pinned on a card, inviting them to speak for two minutes each at short notice and make a plea to support the company or good cause they represented Muriel Smith gave little help to Tesco; Jim Gibb got animated over World Wildlife; Andrew Brewster admitted to being a founder member of the Dennis the Menace Fan Club; Helen Fleming rejected McDonalds; Edwin Petrie was a devotee of the Ford Motor Company; and David Affleck campaigned for Children in Need.

General Evaluator Eric Summers said it had been an enormously enjoyable evening and a great way to finish an outstanding season.

At the club’s end of season dinner, vice-president Muriel Smith was presented with a Certificate of Achievement from the Association of Speakers Clubs.