The Final Meeting of the Toastmasters Year – 18th June 2020

The final meeting of the Toastmasters year, before the handover to the new committee, was opened by our Zoommaster David Henson, who then handed the meeting over to our President, Christine Morrell.

Christine, who was wearing the President’s chain, gave an inspiring introduction to the group. When Christine joined Bromley Speakers, around three years ago, she had no idea that she would be fronting the club as our President. With the encouragement of her mentor she took on the role and in those three years she has climbed completely out of her comfort zone and taken on challenges above and beyond what she ever expected.

As Christine’s term of office comes to an end, she told us how she has expanded her horizons way beyond learning to speak in public. She has learned a lot about resilience and about her own strengths and weaknesses. She has made great friends, not only at Bromley Speakers but with the Presidents of other Toastmasters clubs.

Christine has probably had one of the most challenging years as President since the club started. Because of the lockdown she was tasked with taking the meetings online and with the help of the committee (mostly David Henson to be fair) the online meetings were up and running in just a few days. Christine has continued to boost morale at the club with her enthusiasm and energy and the club has benefitted greatly from her unwavering loyalty and input.

It has been an absolute pleasure to serve on the committee with Christine at the helm and I am sorry that her year in office has come to an end. However, she will continue to support the new President, Margot Glover, in her role as Past President in the coming year.


Our Toastmaster for the evening was Susan Rayner. Susan has been incredibly busy this year helping members to achieve their goals and objectives as well as taking on other busy roles in Toastmasters. I really don’t know how she does it all!

As it was our last meeting of the Toastmasters year, Susan gave the evening the theme of ‘flowers’, assigning a flower to each speaker, giving us clues as to what the flowers might be.

David Henson fully embracing the flower theme


The warm-up was led by Neil Pettigrew, with the topical subject of walking. Most of us are going for a daily walk whilst being in lockdown and working (or not working) from home. Neil wanted to know where our favourite local place to walk was.

It turns out that most of us are lucky enough to have a beautiful green space quite close by to our homes. And thankfully, Ade and David Henson are within walking distance of a different kind of wood – One In The Wood! (That’s a local bar that does take-aways for those who don’t know.)

Hot Tip

Robert Parker presented his Hot Tip with professional expertise. He talked about how to overcome the need to use ‘ahs and ums’ when speaking. He suggested that we use pauses – as it shows that we are thinking – and to believe in what we are saying. He also suggested keeping a log of our ‘ahs and ums’ for a few weeks and to note the changes to enable us to trim them down in future talks.

Prepared Speeches

Our first prepared speech was from John Vickers who delivered a speech entitled ‘Running to Toastmasters’. John told us how he discovered his love for running at 12 years old and how he went from training three times a week to completely losing interest. Thankfully John’s running bug was reignited after going to watch the London Marathon and he went on to complete the Brighton Marathon 18 years after first starting to run.

John used a clever comparison between his running and his Toastmasters’ journey. He told us that being VP of Mentoring was his 100m race and that Pathways was his Marathon. He completed his speech by asking us ….

What is going to be your next 100m race and when are you going to do your marathon?

Evaluator Sue Shaw said that this was an engaging speech with great structure and a good conclusion. The subject connected with the audience and we are pleased that John stuck with his Toastmasters’ journey!

The second prepared speech was from John Cross entitled ‘I promise it won’t be boring’. John used slides to get his message across to us and it worked really well on Zoom.

John opened with this quote from David Bowie.

I don’t know where we’re going but I promise that it won’t be boring.

He talked about ways in which to be creative and gave us three examples of creative people who lived locally to Bromley. The first was William Morris who was, John said, a champion of diversity and an experimental artist. The second was singer Siouxsie Sioux, and the third was David Bowie – both very creative and unique individuals.

Evaluating John was Margot Glover, who told us that John had some good examples of famous local people.

Our third speaker was David Hampton with a hilarious speech entitled ‘A Stitch in Time’. David told us about a delicate operation he had undergone and it was such a shame that we had our mics turned off because the laughter would have been great to hear. 

In Richard Green’s evaluation of David, he said that the speech was a masterpiece of comedy. There were some very funny moments with double-entendres and it was full of suggestion and wit.

Table Topics

The Table Topics session was run by Caroline Jeffery and was as entertaining as ever with some very unusual and clever questions. As Richard moved away from the toilet to a more ‘convenient’ location, Eddie managed to avoid getting arrested. Rajesh told us a moving story about his hero and Cecilia held the world’s attention for 60 seconds. These were just a few of the answers to a whole list of topics from Caroline.

Well done to the deserving award winners who will receive their certificates in the post.

Best Speaker, David Hampton
Best Evaluator, Richard Green
Best Table Topic, Rajesh Deshmukh

Other Roles

Table Topics Evaluator, David Wilson
General Evaluator, Cecillia Mbullah
Timekeeper, Ben Lopez
Ah counter, Rajesh Deshmukh
Grammarian, David Henson

VPPR’s Note

As the Toastmasters year comes to a close, this will be my final blog as VPPR. I hope that you have enjoyed reading them as much as I have loved writing them.

I have worked alongside the best team possible and I shall miss being part of that team (Christine Morrell, David Henson, Susan Rayner, Vinu Madhavan, John Vickers, Susan Shaw and James Kirkby). I would like to thank them all for their support, encouragement and help throughout the year, particularly Christine Morrell and David Henson. I could not have done it without them. They are true Champions.

Being on the committee is extremely rewarding and it has been a wonderful experience. The whole committee has pulled together and worked extremely hard this year to ensure that the club runs as smoothly and efficiently as possible, especially through these difficult times. 

The club members have also been extremely supportive and it is a joy to know them.

The New Committee

At the beginning of July we will welcome the new committee, who I am sure will do just as good a job, and I wish them all the very best.

President, Margot Glover
Vice President Education, Susan Shaw
Vice President Membership, John Vickers
Vice President Public Relations, Vacant
Secretary, John Cross
Treasurer, James Kirkby
Sargeant at Arms, Ben Lopez
Mentoring, Adrian Clay

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