Eldergate Toastmasters and North Bucks Speakers – Two Clubs, One Mission
|Club News Archives 2005-2006
|Toastmasters Double For MK Duo – 10th October 2006
Winner Margaret Bollen with Area Governor Roger Crews.
There is just no stopping some people, especially members
of the two Toastmasters International clubs in Milton
Cranfield University marketing specialist Neil Godfrey,
a member of Elder Gate Toastmasters, will be representing
his club, the city, and the rest of Buckinghamshire and
the surrounding area in the East of England final of the
public speaking organisation’s annual humorous speech
competition. Neil fought his way through to the third
round of the prestigious competition on October 8 at the
St John Ambulance Centre in Aylesbury, beating off four
other contenders for the honour. Neil won with a reworked
version of the speech that won him the club round at Elder
Gate Toastmasters in mid-September, a tale based on his
potentially fatal allergy to walnuts and anything derived
from or containing walnut.
Loughton housewife and company secretary Margaret Bollen,
meanwhile, continues to add to her hoard of Toastmasters
International trophies. She took first prize in the improvised
speaking segment of the competition, and now accompanies
Neil to represent the area at the East of England final
in Weeting, in Norfolk, on October 22. Margaret is now
reigning Area champion in two out of four categories contested
annually. “When she joined Toastmasters in early
2005 we couldn’t persuade to stand up and speak out,”
says husband Brian, currently president of Elder Gate
Toastmasters and responsible for public relations at its
sister club, Willen-based North Bucks Speakers. “Now
we can’t get her to sit down and shut up! She is unrecognisable
from the shy, retiring woman who joined. For the first
time in her life she has confidence, and the difference
it has made to her, and to our life together, is nothing
short of life-changing. Toastmasters is responsible for
building that confidence by encouraging her to speak,
|Margaret Bollen Does It Again – 27th September
Contest chair Anthony Crow, flanked
by winners Margaret Bollen and John Schell.
Margaret Bollen continues to take the world of Toastmasters
International by storm, picking up yet another first prize
in the first round of the second of the public speaking
organisations annual competitions.
Margaret beat off fierce competition from a quality field
to win the improvised speaking award at the inaugural
competition held at North Bucks Speakers, the younger
of the two Milton Keynes branches of Toastmasters International.
This adds to Margarets growing hoard of trophies;
in April this year she won the international speech competition
at Elder Gate Toastmasters, then scooped the area award
in competition with the four other clubs in the Bucks
and Beds area, going on to represent the area in the East
of England division final.
John Schell joined Margaret on the podium, winning first
place in the clubs annual humorous speech contest,
with a side-splitting spoof training session. The competition
was held at The Harvester, London Road, Loughton on September
Margaret and John now go on to represent NBS in the area
competition, in Aylesbury on October 8. Lining up against
them will be Neil Godfrey, who won both sections at the
Elder Gate Toastmasters competition a week earlier.
|Double Tops For Eldergate’s Neil – 17th September
Winner Neil Godfrey (right) with
Governor Roger Crews.
Neil Godfrey scored Double Tops at this year’s Humorous
Speech and Table Topics contests, held at The Crown, Market
Square, in Stony Stratford on September 16.
Neil came first in both contests, winning Table Topics
with his thoughts on the conversion of the hard shoulder
on the M42 into usable driving space, and the Humorous
Speech with his tales of life with a fatal allergy to
Brian Bollen, current club president, came second in both
contests, while Esmé Driver, club mentoring guru,
took third place in both, completing a rare one-two-three
Neil’s double success is no mean feat considering the
quality of the opposition on show, with Margaret Bollen
and Phil Chippendale, both highly amusing speakers, failing
to make the podium. Trisha Page deserves a mention too
for making her competitive debut in Table Topics.
Area Governor Roger Crews was on hand to make the awards
and congratulate everyone on a first-class event, held
in the strongest possible spirit.
Dave Minzey aka Lord Kitchener.
Norman & Lena – two of Eldergate’s newest
This is where the real power base of Eldergate
Toastmasters lies – and Margaret is with her husband
& club president Brian Bollen.
Marlon Nolan enjoying a well earned pint.
|All Change At The Top – 3rd July 2006
The Toastmasters year runs from 1st July to 31st June
each year so it’s time for a change at the top for both
Eldergate and North Bucks Speakers.
Outgoing Presidents Danny Moody (Eldergate) and Dave
Minzey (NBS) are replaced by Brian Bollen (Eldergate)
and Roger Crews (NBS). As well as the hand over of presidency, each club has a new
committee for the 2006/2007 Toastmasters year.
Serving on the committee is a great way to get more
involved in Toastmasters, and to develop new skills
along the way.
Eldergate Toastmasters had an extremely successful year
in 2005/2006, finishing as a Presidents Select Distinguished
Club Starred. This is the top honour globally for those
clubs that complete 10/10 of the Toastmaster goals.
NBS also did excellently, achieving 8/10, which was
actually the most they could achieve being a new club
and not having any long standing members as yet to contribute
towards the advanced awards. Both clubs will strive
towards 10/10 again in 2007.
Taking Toastmasters To Bedfordshire
Bedford – Toastmasters’ newest
A new club is forming in Bedford.
There will be a demonstration meeting in Kempston,
Bedford on Thursday 27th April from 19:30 to 20:30,
all welcome. For further details contact Colette Jones
01234 851 087, firstname.lastname@example.org
or Roger Crews 01525 240 794 07946 568 153 email@example.com.
The new club is being started by Roger Crews of the
Eldergate and North Bucks Speakers clubs in Milton Keynes.
The club’s first president will be Colette Jones, also
a member of Eldergate Toastmasters.
|Double Success For Women Toastmasters – 2nd
Contest Chair, Danny Moody,
trophy to contest winner Margaret Bollen.
Maybe they should rename Toastmasters International
as Toastmistresses International, following the results
of the Area 4 final of this year’s international speech
Women took top spot in the two sections, with Eldergate’s
Margaret Bollen taking the prize for best speaker and
Gill Hale, of the Vale Club in Leighton Buzzard, following
her an hour later by taking the award for best speech
Both women triumphed over strong competition. Eldergate
will be well represented in the next round of the competition,
the Division G final, at Hatfield on April 29. Margaret
takes her place by right as winner, while Esmé
Driver, who finished second in the speech evaluation
contest, will automatically go through to the Division
final as Gill Hale will be out of the country at that
Our best wishes go with both Margaret and Esmé.
The competition will take place at the Hertfordshire
speakers club, whose venue is The Red Lion, 88 Great
North Rd, Hatfield, Hertfordshire, England, AL9 5EU,
from 2pm to 5pm. Everyone is welcome to attend what
should be a great afternoon’s entertainment.
|It’s Really Possible With Toastmasters –
3rd February 2006
Jason Johns (left) picks up
from Contest Chair Angus Galbraith
Underlining the strength in depth of speaking skills
in the area, the North Bucks Speakers heat of this year’s
International Speech Contest attracted five high calibre
entries from (in order of speaking) John Schell, Anthony
Crow, Brian Bollen, Leon Welsh and Jason Johns. The
honours in a close run competition went to Jason Johns
for his thoughtful motivational address entitled: Is
It Really Possible?
John Schell was runner-up.
Brian Bollen, to his clear astonishment, won the Speech
Evaluation contest, despite the sterling efforts of
Peter Giesinger, Dave Minzey and Leon Welsh to evaluate
a speech prepared at very short notice by Margaret Bollen.
They say you should never evaluate a speech by
your wife, or partner, but Toastmasters is all about
stepping beyond and therefore extending your comfort
zone, and this was a prime example of that, said
|Make Mine A Double – 1st February 2006
Congratulations to Margaret Bollen, winner of the Eldergate
heat of the 2005-2006 International Speech Competition. Margaret fought off fierce competition from Esmé Driver, Graham Simpkins, and her own husband, Brian, and will go on to represent the club in the next round of the competition at Area Level in April.
Margaret also won the North Bucks Speakers heat of
the Humorous Speech competition last September, giving her two current titles, a huge step forward for someone who less than a year ago refused to even take part in Table Topics.
Ian Haynes won the evaluation contest and will also
now represent Eldergate Toastmasters in the Area contest.
Esmé Driver came second in both the International
Speech and Evaluation contest.
|Would The Contestants Please Step Forward –
20th January 2006 It’s contest time again at Toastmasters. Both
clubs in Milton Keynes (Eldergate and North Bucks Speakers
will be holding the 1st round, club level contests in
the International Speech & Evaluation Contest.Eldergate’s contest takes place on Monday 30th January at Herons Lodge, while NBS hold theirs on Thursday 2nd February at the Well at Willen.For the Speech contest speakers will deliver a five to seven minute speech, which they have pre-prepared. Normally three or four people compete at club level. For the Evaluation contest participants will listen to a speech and then deliver a three minute evaluation of it, outlining the good points and the areas for development.The winners of the club contests progress to the Area contest, and the winners of that progress to the Division contest and thence to the District contest, which covers the whole of the UK and Northern Ireland.For information on any of these contest please see the
|NBS Breaks Attendance Record… Again! –
1st December 2005
L to R: Leon Welsh, Roger Crews
and Dave Minzey
pose with the new NBS banner.
Another week, another record turnout at North Bucks
Speakers, with no fewer than 25 people in attendance
for another vigorous, entertaining and educational evening’s
speaking. Underlining the progress that the club has
made in recent months, and promises to continue making,
Linda Norwood and Mary Legge, guests for the third meeting
in succession, both decided to join. They look certain
to be followed by Phil and Beth Brand, both visiting
for the first time. Competition for speaking slots looks
set to become intense in the weeks and months ahead!
As Toastmaster of the Evening, Jason Johns ran a tight,
efficient ship, without ever losing his sense of humour.
Making her debut as Topics Master (or rather Topics
Mistress) was Louise Mason, setting difficult challenges
in the improvised speaking section of the evening for
Brian Bollen, Rodney Hodge, Anthony Crow and Margaret
Bollen, who was also doing her first stint as general
Prepared speeches came from Brian Bollen, Leone Skears,
Lynne Groves and Derek Pink, who stood in as reserve
speaker at almost literally the last minute, only learning
at around 7.20pm that Phil Sangster felt too unwell
to deliver his first ATM speech. Derek promptly won
a hat-trick of prizes for his piece in praise of cats,
taking the best speaker, best humour, and general evaluator’s
awards. This is the second meeting in a row that one
speaker has won three of the main prizes.
The Bollen dynasty, meanwhile, shared the Table Topics
|Ahhh – Nostalgia Isn’t What It Used To Be –
9th November 2005
Margaret Bollen was rarely
in the dark as
debutante Toastmaster of the Evening
Esmé Driver’s astonishing ability as an improvised
speaker grabbed the attention of this very lively and
enjoyable evening. Called upon by Topics Master Danny
Moody to talk about nostalgia and sound, Esmé
delivered a performance that evoked vivid memories of
her days growing up in the Rhondda Valley (Wales’s answer
to the Alps, apparently), completed with renditions
of songs she used to sing to entertain herself, family
and neighbours, on the stage that was the toilet in
her back garden. In the voting that followed for best
Topics Speaker, Esmé won with a landslide vote,
Adrian Yardley (nostalgia and smell), Graham Simpkins
(nostalgia and sight) and Brian Bollen (nostalgia and
taste) all performed creditably in their own improvisations,
but were swept away by the force that is Esmé.
Brian, though, took the honours for Best Speaker and
Best Humour with his fourth speech from The Entertaining
Speaker manual. Challenged to produce a speech that
was dramatic as well as entertaining, Brian dredged
his memory banks for graphic and even scatological details
of the stomach ulcer he contracted at the tender age
of 15, which culminated in a fortnight’s stay in the
Glasgow Royal Infirmary.
Sarinder Gidda resumed his progress through the Basic
Manual with an interesting and well illustrated talk
on how the Greeks moved from mythology to cosmology,
while YY Tsang took on the challenge of explaining why
Chinese people speak English backwards. As Danny Moody
noted in his evaluation of YY’s speech, it is very possibly
the first time that Toastmasters has experienced a speech
in English, on Chinese, delivered in a Scottish accent.
YY’s efforts won him the special General Evaluator’s
award for the evening, while Danny yet again was voted
best evaluator, beating off competition from Ian Haynes
and Roger Crews. Never work with children, animals,
or Danny Moody, is sound advice.
Margaret Bollen made her debut as Toastmaster of the
Evening with a calmness and assurance that we have come
to expect of her. Topping off an excellent evening,
Parveena Gidda, after several visits as a guest, indicated
her intention to join her dad, Sarinder, as a member.
In attendance: Danny Moody, Margaret Bollen, Roger
Crews, Adrian Yardley, Graham Simpkins, Dave Minzey,
Brian Bollen, Ian Haynes, Elizabeth Hyde-Englefield,
Sarinder Gidda, YY Tsang, Esmé Driver, Abi Adefisan,
Michael Adefisan, Parveena Gidda.
Next meeting: December. Elizabeth Hyde-Englefield is
scheduled to deliver her Icebreaker speech. Ian Haynes
is preparing to share his long awaited ninth speech,
in which he is challenged to Persuade With Power. Abi
Adefisan will be giving her second speech, which we
are all looking forward to, after her accomplished debut
a few meetings ago, while Susanne Hall, only just transferred
to North Bucks Speakers, has booked a special guest
|Record Numbers At North Bucks Speakers – 17th
November 2005 This was nothing less than a new benchmark
for North Bucks Speakers, with a new record turnout for
a normal club meeting. No fewer than 23 people, including
three guests, participated in a lively, entertaining and
thought-provoking meeting. The impetus that the club has
built up since the spring, when the big push began to
charter the club before the end of the Toastmasters year
on June 30, continues to drive the club along. The atmosphere
developing at this friendly club is surely unique even
in the history of Toastmasters for its relaxed, welcoming
warmth.At least two of the guests on Thursday night have already said they will join in January, further swelling the membership roster. The list has also just been boosted by the transfer from Eldergate of Susanne Hall and Leone Skears, who found it increasingly difficult to get to Eldergate meetings
and be active Toastmasters.Making her debut as Topics Master at club level was Lynn Groves, who filled the role at the area heat of the Humorous Speech competition a few weeks back. Lynn took Christmas as her broad theme, inviting Margaret Bollen, Brian Catchpole, Jason Johns and John Olds.Prepared speeches came from John Olds, Rodney Hodge, George Drewett and Sam Bourton, whose icebreaker proved an enormous hit. Continuing the club’s growing tradition for an unusually high standard of speaking, Sam won the best speaker, best humour and general evaluator awards. Peter Giesinger took the grunt ‘honours’, while Jason Johns walked off with the Table Topics trophy and Phil Sangster won the vote for best evaluator.
|New Venue Makes Better Meetings At Eldergate –
15th November 2005
The theatrical side of Toastmasters
came out during the Topics session!
Another great night for speaking with a number of top-notch
highlights and more good news on the membership front.
Stepping in at the last minute as Topics Master, Adrian
Yardley produced an unusual, challenging and very enjoyable
Topics session, based on the Cluedo detection board
game. Each of the speakers rose to the challenge, but
a special mention goes to Graham Simpkins for delivering
his best performance yet since joining Toastmasters.
Witty, composed, inventive. What more could an audience
A special mention goes too to Parveena Gidda. Accompanying
her Dad, Sarinder, Parveena took to the floor with aplomb
when invited to play a role in Adrian’s murder mystery
game. Ian Haynes, however, took the best topics speaker
award for his very convincing portrayal of a very modern
Colonel Mustard. Margaret Bollen, Sarah Evans and Sarinder
entertainingly filled the supporting roles in this extended
The extension followed a list of last minute call-offs
that would not have disgraced an unattractive Scotland
football friendly, leading to late reshuffling and some
degree of cursing from Dave Minzey, Toastmaster of the
As an agenda that originally featured four prepared
speeches shrank to just the one, Dave’s howls of anguish
could be heard echoing across the town. Huge thanks
go to Margaret Bollen for stepping into the breach at
virtually the last minute, putting together a speech
from scratch, and delivering it before she had even
formally joined the club.
At the committee meeting immediately following, Margaret
was formally elected as the new Sergeant-at-Arms, a
role she has been filling for the past few weeks. She
promises a new strictness and tight discipline, and
exemplary punishment for anyone who doesn’t switch off
their mobile phones and/or blackberries.
Ian Haynes also took the evening’s best humour award,
and deservedly so, while Danny Moody walked away with
the honours for best evaluator.
Recruitment continues to be healthy, with the average
running at one new member per meeting since the relocation
to Herons Lodge. The subtle change in atmosphere that
is taking place at the new venue is well worth sampling
on a regular basis.
& Players – 9th November 2005
Brian and Margaret Bollen at
Gala Banquet on the Saturday
The Toastmasters District 71 Autumn Conference, with
the theme All the Worlds a Stage took
place over the weekend of 5th & 6th November at
the Chesford Grange Hotel in Royal Leamington Spa.
Representing Toastmasters in Milton Keynes were Dave
& Carol Minzey, Roger Crews & Chris Mitchell,
and Brian & Margaret Bollen.
The conference included the District Humourous Speech
and Table Topics contests and, according to those present,
the standard was superb.
District conferences are a great opportunity to get
together with other Toastmasters, learn a bit in the
educational sessions, and see what standards it is possible
to aspire to through the Toastmasters programme. And
not forgetting that it is also a great opportunity to
meet up with old friends and prop up the bar in to the
wee small hours!
A couple more photos…
Humorous Speech Competition
winner Gerry French,
with the spoils of success!
Dave and Carol Minzey. Honesh,
we didn’t tush a drop!
Brian and Margaret Bollen dressed
Dudley, the Earl of Leicester, and Queen Elizabeth
for the Tudor Fancy Dress evening
“Dave’s New Club” Charter Dinner
– 14th October 2005
NBS Club President Dave Minzey
receives the Charter from District
President Lynda Molloy
North Bucks Speakers, the newest Toastmasters Club
in Division G held its Charter Dinner on Friday 14th
October 2005 with thirty Toastmasters present.
The prestigious event took place at the Shenley Church
Inn in Milton Keynes and the illustrious guest list
included the Immediate Past District Governor, David
Thompson, the current District Governor, Lynda Molloy,
Club Mentor, Angus Galbraith, District PR Officer, Gary
Sander, Area (25) Governor Sue Sander and Division Governor Teresa Dukes.
The three-course dinner was followed, of course, by
after dinner speeches that hailed the efforts of key
founder members Dave Minzey and Roger Crews. North Bucks
Speakers is the fifth club in Area 4, which includes
sister club Eldergate Toastmasters, based in Loughton
Lodge, Milton Keynes, of which Dave and Roger are also
“As Eldergate grew it was time to seed another
club” says Dave Minzey, “we felt there was
a need for another club, meeting on a different day
at a different time, and we felt Milton Keynes could
support it”. Roger added “All we needed was
a venue and some members – how hard could it be to start
a new club? We soon found out!”
North Bucks Speakers now has an active membership of
twenty five and growing, and the club made a good showing
in the recent Area Humorous Speech & Table Topics
Contest, the first contest it has been able to take
part in. It proves the club is here to stay and has
a bright future in the Toastmasters family.
More Photos of the Charter Dinner
|Scottish Eyes Are Smiling – 3rd September 2005
Eldergate President Danny Moody
presents Brian Bollen (left) with 1st prize.
Scottish eyes are smiling, as Loughton-based journalist
and novelist Brian Bollen prepares to represent Milton
Keynes in the next round of the annual humorous speech
competition held by Toastmasters International.
Brian won the local heat of this year’s event, which
was held at The Cock Hotel in Stony Stratford on the
evening of Friday, September 2. His speech told the
tale of an incident dating back to his teenage years
in the summer of 1974, relating the chaos that can ensue
when Swiss logic comes up against a lethal combination
of lateral thinking, stubbornness, and downright naivety.
Esmé Driver, meanwhile, a Stony Stratford-based
life coach, also took honours in her first attempt at
competition level speaking. Esmé won the award
for best improvised speech of the evening on the subject
of ID cards in Britain, finishing ahead of club president
Danny Moody (second place) and Brian Bollen (third).
The next stage of the competition, the area heat, is
scheduled to take place at The Well, Willen, on the
afternoon of October 9. It will feature contestants
from a total of five clubs.
Toastmasters On The Move – 23rd August
Eldergate President Danny Moody
bids farewell to Stone & Webster.
Eldergate Toastmasters is on the move. Marking a new
stage in the development and maturity of the public
speaking and leadership skills development club, Eldergate
Toastmasters is moving to a new home, the Heron’s Lodge
Guide Centre in Loughton.
“After almost 20 years camping out in the local
headquarters of our original sponsoring company, Stone
& Webster, the time has come for a change,”
said club president Danny Moody as he closed the club’s
last meeting on the Stone & Webster Witan Gate premises
on August 22. “The club has grown significantly
in recent years into a vibrant forum for the development
of the speaking skills of all its members. It has proved
awkward for Stone & Webster to continue providing
us with the accommodation we need, particularly as its
own business continues to grow strongly.”
“We would like to thank Stone & Webster formally
and publicly for their hospitality, patience and forebearance
and wish them as bright a future as we envisage for
ourselves in our new home, going from strength to strength.”
The first meeting of Eldergate Toastmasters at the
Heron’s Lodge Guide Centre in Loughton will be on September 12. The club name will remain unchanged, as will the starting time of 5.45pm for its vigorous, enjoyable
and educational meetings.
“Guests will also continue to be welcomed, as
warmly as before,” said Danny Moody, after the
emotion of the farewell meeting had subsided. “We
firmly believe there is no faster-acting or cost-effective
self-development programme as the Toastmasters International model. Virtually every single member I have seen join during my own time as a member has grown quickly and significantly in confidence and ability, both in public
speaking and in taking charge of a meeting. At Eldergate
Toastmasters, as with other Toastmasters clubs, you
learn by doing. You want to speak in public? We’ll have
you on your feet speaking in public. Guaranteed.”
For further details on the move and other upcoming
Toastmasters events, including the annual Humorous Speech
competition scheduled for The Cock Hotel on September
2, contact Danny Moody on 01295 768090, or Brian Bollen
on 01908 234952.
|Club Hands Over With 31 Members – 4th July
Eldergate has finished the year with a very healthy membership of 31.
The Toastmasters year runs from 1st July to 30th June
and outgoing President Mr Roger Crews has enjoyed a very
19 new members have been recruited and the club is to
be recognised as a President’s Distinguished Club by Toastmasters International, the highest honour bestowed on individual
clubs in recognition of the achievements throughout 04/05.
|Talk Up Toastmasters Award Achieved – 11th
The Eldergate Club successfully met the targets of the Talk Up Toastmasters Award by recruiting 4 new members between 1st January and 31st March 2005. This brings the official club membership to 24.
The award encourages clubs in their membership drives
and provides a target to aim for. Recruiting activities
included advertising, leafleting at MK train station and
having several articles printed in local newspapers.
|Moira Anderson Beats Drugs
– 3rd February 2005Moira Anderson beat drugs in the first round of this year’s Toastmasters International speaking competition
held locally on Monday, January 31. Though in this case
the Moira Anderson in question is not Scotland’s best-known
tartan-clad shortbread-eating singer, and the drugs
in question are strictly tea and coffee.Milton Keynes-based freelance journalist Brian Bollen won the title of Eldergate Toastmasters speaker 2004-05 with his story about the death of the age of innocence, which he says happened on the day after he was born.The story is based on the disappearance and presumed
murder of an 11-year-old girl called Moira Anderson
from outside her home in Coatbridge, a small town in
Scotland, in February 1957. His moving tale beat off
the challenge of fellow Toastmaster Julian Edwards,
delivering a wry, informative talk on the unsuspected
dangers lurking in the daily cuppa. Brian now moves
on to represent Eldergate Toastmasters in the area heat,
to be held in Leighton Buzzard on March 10.Mark Harrison, reigning humorous champion at Eldergate, took the honours in the speech evaluation competition that took place the same night, and will be hoping to repeat the feat in the area final come March 10.Further information on this and other upcoming Toastmasters events is available from any committee