Our meeting on 8 July was the first of the new Toastmasters year. The event was marked by last year’s president, Trisha Page, handing over the presidential chain of office to her successor, John Dale.
In what could well become a ‘new precedent’, our new President then delivered the first speech of the year: the true story of John Hooton, a young stable lad from Stony Stratford who was found guilty of stealing and transported to Australia.
Now some of us would pay good money to be transported to Australia, but apparently it wasn’t nearly as much fun 200 years ago!
John also kicks off a new series of profiles of Eldergate members (see below)
John Dale: In His Own Words
When and why did you join Toastmasters?
July 2011. I attended as a guest and then joined at my second meeting. I had been speaking in public for years but never had any real training. I wanted to improve and my daughter (already a member) suggested Toastmasters.
What do you like most about the Eldergate club?
The ‘formal informality’ of the club and the way all the members pull together to make a very lively, humorous and entertaining evening.
If you could give one piece of advice to a new member, what would it be?
Be yourself and come as you are. We do not stand on formality although meetings are structured.
What achievement are you most proud of outside Toastmasters?
Recognising the potential of NHS Direct (a 24 hour telephone advice line staffed by nurses) and starting the first pilot site.
As well as Toastmasters, what do like to do in your spare time?
I am the secretary of Milton Keynes Executives Action, a voluntary organisation that helps unemployed managers and executives back to work or to start their own business.
Describe your approach to life in 3 words
Try not to take anything too seriously, step back and think when something untoward hits you, and try to be happy in all you do. Happiness is like jam; you can’t spread it without getting some on yourself!! (More like 30 words than 3, but that’s the President’s prerogative! – Ed)