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TME’s write-up for Wednesday 8th October 2014

We had an eclectic mix of 21 characters participating, including 12 members, 8 guests and our Founding member, Yiorgos – all the way from Aberdeen via Greece!

Toastmaster of the Evening was Becky, who set the meeting theme of ‘The Muppets’ – taking inspiration from the Facebook post of a fellow member the previous week. We began by taking a minute to pay homage to ‘Mahna Mahna’, which reached out to the ears and soul of our audience via Bluetooth speaker:

Our Grammarian, Steve, tied into the Muppets theme, by introducing ‘Jump’ as the frog-like word of the day. Some excellent examples were used as we jumped – seamlessly – from speaker to speaker.Allison confidently multi-tasked by doing anything beginning with T: Timing, Telling us a joke (involving Bill Gates and arranged marriages) and Topics evaluating. Maria did a great job backing up our Evaluation team as General Evaluator.

Our Topics session, led so capably by Minjie, saw Atma transforming into Kermit the Frog, explaining to Miss Piggy that he was off to do a PhD and she would have to wait to marry him. Maria continued the session by transforming into Miss Piggy and responding to this news. She decided she was going to look at developing her own career and perhaps look into doing a Master’s. Paul W took over as Kermit and decided to do a U-turn and marry Miss Piggy right now – especially as they had managed to survive Ikea together. Yiorgos rounded off the topics session by transforming into a thieving Kermit – travelling all the way from Scotland to steal the Queen’s prized Toastmasters Best Speech trophy, under guard at the Tower of London.

Daniel, evaluated by Atma, gave us 70 Reasons Why Mum (@70) is Special – a speech developed to propose the toast for his mother’s 70th birthday gathering at Longleat (Centre Parcs) last weekend. The audience was his mother, his three children, their three spouses, and the ten grandchildren. They were also joined by his Mother’s sister and his late father’s brother and his family. Daniel relayed some touching family memories and gave us all food for thought.

Matt, evaluated by Paul W, gave us a speech with an ironic twist: ‘Positivity is for Muppets’, where he made some astute observations (involving the sofa) and treating us to some of his unique sense of humour. This was Matt’s 3rd speech – How to Say It. You can read more about Matt’s journey where he explores positivity here:

Our newest (and multilingual) member Gustavo, evaluated by Jim, heard about our club from the Internet and joined the club before he even touched down on the plane in the UK! He joins us from Neuchâtel Toastmasters Club in Switzerland and delivered the final speech from his Competent Communicator manual – Life is hard… Or is it? Where he highlighted that achieving success is dependent on your mindset when making decisions. Cracking speech, your Cranfield CC badge is on order, Gustavo!Gustavo also counted Ahs for us.

Yiorgos gave us a heartwarming speech at the end of the meeting and was presented -by his Co-Founder Jim -with the gift of a Cranfield memory stick with a top secret file loaded up on it! Atma, as President, reminded us all of our special

Demonstration event next meeting (to include a viewing of the afore-mentioned top secret file), which will be held in the Cranfield Management Research Institute (Building 38) – more info here:

  • Best Speaker Award: Matt
  • Best Table Topics Award: Maria & Paul W
  • Best Evaluator Award: Jim
  • Best Humour Award: Matt
  • Smooth Talker Award: Jim
  • GE Award: Allison for his expert multi-tasking skills

Lively night of nine topics speakers discussing the seasons led by Table-topics Master Josie. We heard about Sue’s experience of being flat on her back sucking a lollipop in preparation for her honeymoon Egypt and coming to fear the rumours of zombie dogs. Well done guest Tony who swept the board as best topics speaker and best use of humour. Guest Alex took the General Evaluators Award for creative thinking in his debut table topics speech.

In the table topics the final tally was Dave and Mark favouring Autumn, Winnie and Tony favouring Summer, Alex favouring the football season, Julie and Keith favouring Winter, and Sarah and Lynda favouring Spring.

The crew were Dave as General Evaluator, Lynda as Grammarian, Vice President of Education, and Sergeant at Arms, Sue as President, Craig as Time keeper, Tony as Grunt counter, and Daniel as Toastmaster of the meeting. Anne and Julie deputed as evaluators and did a smashing (word of the day) job.

Every seat at the boardroom table was taken by eight members and five guests. The five meetings running up to Xmas will take on themes for Halloween (Oct 20th), Bonfire night (Nov 3rd), and Xmas (Dec 18th). We have yet to decide if we want tall tales, impromptu theatre or thematic table topics.

A round up of comments!

An Excellent lively meeting, despite only having one speech. I should say it was smashing as this was the word of the day. Dave

I enjoyed giving my speech and got some really good feedback from everyone. It’s great to be back. Sue

It was an excellent meeting with guests participating fearlessly, promising to return next meeting. We look forward to seeing you all again. Lynda

The conkers theme plays off Northamptonshire hosting the World Championship of Conkers on the 2nd Sunday in October. It began, in the modern era, in 1965 in the village of Ashton, but has since moved to Southwick. in 2004 500 competitors were watched by 5000 people and there are now championships held in Ireland and North America. The sport itself dates a long way back, but is documented in 1848 in the Isle of Wight. It is also known in various regions as obblyonkers, cheggies, or cheesers. Although a cheeser has a flat side, being one of a twin or triplet:

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Hey Dan. I was told the TME had to do a meeting write up. Here it is buddy… Thanks [Paul Wright] Cranfield Speakers Meeting. 24.9.2014

It was another great meeting for the Cranfield Speakers. We had our usual regulars that came to support and we also had a few new faces, which was great to see.

Paul Wright was our Toastmaster and he set the theme for the meeting which was “Being United’. This was inspired by Scotland voting to still be part of the UK. Becky Piper, the Grammarian and Ah Counter, jumped on the theme Bandwagon and made the Word Of The Day ‘United’. One guest was especially pleased about this as it gave him the opportunity to talk about Manchester United’s recent football performances. I say no more.

The Timekeeper for the evening was Matt Lambert. His role was more practical and didn’t involve a lot of speaking however, he managed to use the Word Of the Day which was sneaky, brilliant and deserved a pat on the back.

Just before the Topics Master came up Atma the Joke Master delivered his joke but unfortunately forgot the punch line! Atma later that evening explained what went wrong and then hit us with the correct punch line. I don’t think that has ever happened in a meeting and I’m sure the guests enjoyed it

Maria was next up being the Topics Master. She gave us all a challenging topic to speak about and it was a well thought out and great concept. A volunteer had to persuade a Movie Director why their chosen job would be great in a given movie.

John was up first being a plumber in a Jurassic Park movie.
Alex blew us away with his knowledge on StarWars.
Atma was a captain in a Harrry Potter film.
And Becky was hanging out flower pots on the Titanic Ship.

Next were the Speakers! 3 Speeches in total.

First up was Alex and he delivered a great speech. He showed class and great presence on the stage.
Second up was Sunday. Great volume and a fascinating subject on Energy.
Third up was John. A very entertaining speech on the history of the Mercedes Benz.

After the speeches and a quick break we then had the evaluations. These evaluations were delivered by Becky Piper, Minjie and Atma. All very thorough which gave the speakers excellent feedback.

Daniel the General Evaluator evaluated the Evaluators and the meeting as a whole. He made a very good point about putting more enthusiasm into the applause when welcoming a speaker or anyone that comes up to the stage. Dan the man made his voice heard because afterwards the following applause had volume and festival whistles.

The last part of the meeting were the Awards.


Alex delivered a great speech and topics so he had two awards to take home.

Becky taking best Evaluation

John taking best humour.
[Paul took General Evaluators award for his début night as Toastmaster of the Evening[

A lovely evening held by all. My one recommendation is to not allow Becky to draw the table layout on the white board but apart from that, it was a great meeting!

Thanks to all. Paul
[Editing and social media pitch Daniel 30/9/2014]

[Well done Alex for Sweeping Best Speaker and Best Topics Speaker. Fab job Becky taking Best Evaluator. Fantastic improvised speech and Humour Award for Area Governor John. Paul did a great debut job as Toastmaster of the Evening and won the General Evaluators Award. Everything was about ‘Being United’ We were joined by four guests and returning guests. Daniel]

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Deep into the holiday season we were delighted to see two new guests, three returning guests, and seven members virtually taking every seat in the boardroom at 53 Billing Road.


Josie débuted as Evaluator and promptly take the award for the best evaluator! Well done!


First time guest Julie storms in with a joint share of best Table Topics speaker with Derek and goes on to get best use of Humour as well as the General Evaluators award. Brilliant simple brilliant Julie and well done Derek as well!

Sue opened the meeting with by asking everyone to introduce themselves and comment on summer festival that hey would love to attend. We leaned a lot about everyone ranging from music, to dance and from food to farming, etc. The word of the day was chosen a festive or festival.



1) Izzy delivered her Icebreaker entitled “fears”, such as the fear of public speaking and explored her fear of spiders.

Competent Communication Manual #1 – The Ice Breaker(4:00-6:00 min)
Speak before an audience; Use existing speaking skills; Introduce self to fellow club members.

Izzy has a propensity to do the crazy lady escape the spider dance if one of the wee beasties gets remotely close. As a mathematics trained scientist she graphed her fear against leg count and concluded that eight legs was the worst of all invertebrates by a significant margin. Lovely hand drawn visual aids showing an artistic flair inherited from her mother.

Josie evaluated Izzy and picked out the great content and story and then recommended that Izzy develop her delivery to include more use of the stage area and body language.

2) Lynda came to the recue, on the spur of the moment, with a speech entitled “Eek” based on the Competent Communicator manual project 5 “Your body speaks”. 

Competent Communication Manual #5 – Your Body Speaks(5:00-7:00 min)
Use stance, movement, gestures, facial expressions, and eye contact to express the message and achieve the speech’s purpose; Make body language smooth and natural; Focus on methods of delivery as well as speech content.

Lynda described how one drizzly day in the dark predawn stillness she heard a sudden demonic screeching. Jumping to the conclusion that her Guinea pigs were under attack she leaped out of bed in total darkness and made her way out across the cold and sodden lawn. All was well, but Lynda was as wet as a drowned rat with her pyjamas doing justice to any wet t-shirt contest. Making her way back towards her front door she was horrified to see looming out of the darkness the silhouette of a strange man standing inside the open door of her home. In an instant the stranger spotted her and both screamed in shock and fled. It transpired that it was the milkman on his rounds and he was startled to find the house wide open and dark and he ventured over the threshold to see if anyone needed help.

Derek bravely came forward as a debut evaluator and did very well picking out a lot of strengths and made several intelligent recommendations.

Table Topics

Ganesh was débuting as Table Topics master and adopted the approach of providing a series of slightly obscure words and inviting speakers to come forth an hazard a definition for each word

  1. Adumbrate –Sue described her overshadowing festival –fairy light enhanced -shelter to prevent excess sunburn
  2. Hackneyed –Derek described the well hackneyed banter of hackney cab drivers
  3. Malediction –Kodi described how any of his addictions always seemed to be bad for him and thus maledictions (and thus presumably the search goes on for a good a one, i.e a benediction?)
  4. Pugnacious –Lynda described how her son had managed to turn her car into a pungent pugnacious mobile when he did the oil change…eventually she narrowed it down to him leaving his hamburger under the bonnet on a very hot pipe.
  5. Parsimony –Julie developed a definition from the old French of an elegant way of describing a woman who chooses not to marry.
  6. Vicarious – Reena spoke of the vicarious vicars who are privy to all the best gossip in town during the confessional.

Daniel evaluated the session and commended the way Ganesh was able to creatively manage the time and extend the session to include more people and compensate for the late loss of one of the planned speeches. In time, as Ganesh gets more familiar with the role, it will be easier to set up a good introduction and then summarise before asking for votes. It was also a tough test of impromptu speaking and Ganesh handled it well allowing people to say NO, but in the longer term other approaches will make sessions more accessible to novices. One recommended approach is the familiar set of questions…If you could go to any point in time when would that be and why? If you ruled the world what would you do?…If you had a super power of you choice what would it be and why?

The Motley Crew

Sue starred as President and Toastmaster of the Evening. Lynda was General & Meeting Evaluator and minded us all to keep tidy handovers with hand shakes. Daniel doubled up as time keeper and Kodi counted the grunts.

Next Meeting

18th August 14 at 19:15 at 53 Billing Road, Northampton

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Note the club aims to be present with a stall at the Umbrella Fair 16 & 17 August at Northampton racecourse ( All welcome to volunteer to man the stand. Liaise with Sue Savage please.

The Awards

Best speaker award goes to Sunday for his Icebreaker

Amaia takes the best Table Topics Speaker Award


Daniel (right) and Atma (left) share the honours as best Evaluators


Sunday comes back to accept the best use of humour


Amani crowns the Awards with the Silver Cranfield Toastmaster of the Year 2013-2014 Award

TME Report

It was a summer evening at Cranfield Speakers club with Allison as Toastmaster of the Evening. He set the theme ‘Enjoy Ice Cream this Summer’ for the meeting, reiterating that as we enjoy the heat of the summer, we all are happy when the ice cream van comes along; adults and children alike scamper around the van to enjoy copious portions of ice cream from beautiful CONES! He informed members that Charles E Menches is credited with the invention of the ICE CREAM CONE on 23rd July 1904, a particularly hot day, when he bought up his neighbor’s wafer pastries and rolled them into cones to serve ice cream.

Jim was Jokemaster while Matt was the Time Keeper! Eva, the Grammarian gave us ‘Euphoric’ as the word of the day, counted the grunts, and handled the Table Topics, giving out alphabets and phrases to talk about. Daniel picked D’ and spoke about Dangerous Cellulitis; Amani picked ‘A’ and talked about the need for Air-conditioning in her home Mediterranean climate; Atma who grabbed an ‘L’ told us a Love story he heard from a fish. Amaia, speaking about Every Last Straw, informed us of how some people save energy by switching off light, while others save water by not having their bath.

The joke was the story of Bill Clinton, Al Gore and Bill Gate reaching Heaven on the same day. When asked why they should enter Heaven Bill Clinton said he tried to represent the people, Al Gore tried to save the environment, but Bill Gates wondered why God was sitting in his chair.

In the prepared speech segment; Alex, who was introduced by his Evaluator Amaia, spoke on,‘There’s Method in the Madness’. He cautioned Toastmasters not to always focus on ourselves, as there are needy people all around us. He recommended unused cloths to be sent to charity shops, excessive food to be given to the hungry and for everyone to strive to do things for other people.

Maria, who was introduced by her Evaluator, Stephen, demonstrated how to Get to the Point with her speech entitled, ‘Don’t Just Sit There’. She pointed out that the body metabolism slows down and does not process sugars and that leads to all manners of health challenges, when one just sits there. She recommended what to do about it, which was, to move about.

Daniel introduced Sunday who Break the Ice, with his speech entitled, ‘My Childhood Hero’. Sunday took us down memory lane, a quite emotional speech, of how Sir Emmanuel, a total stranger, saved him from the pangs of alcoholism and illiteracy by providing help at the right time and the right place.

In the awards segment, Sunday took home his Ice Breaker Pin, the trophies for the Best Speech and most Humorous Speech. Daniel and Atma won Best Evaluator (Daniel for the first time)! Best Table Topics was won by Amaia. The General Evaluator’s award went to Eva, while Atma was the Smooth Talker of the evening. Amani was formally presented with her Silver Award for doing so well for Cranfield Speakers in the immediate passed year.

Atma reminded all present about the forth coming Humorous Speech Contest, and encouraged members to participate.

Next meeting will be on 13th August 2014. All welcome.

Prepared by Allison and Edited by Daniel Sandars, 27/07/2014


For the first time in three years Daniel wins Best Evaluator.

See this meeting written up as a Prezi!

A lively highly functional night. We had six members, four welcome guests, the Area 44 Governor, and a fellow visiting Toastmaster. We had two great icebreakers from new members Josie and Ganesha. Joise went on to earn the smooth talker award. The general evaluator’s award went to first time guest Sara for sheer bravery in attempting her first table topic. With three speeches we were able to hold a contest that Isaiah won. Area Governor John took best evaluator and first time Guest Isabella took best table topics speech.

Sue lead with the roles of President, Sergeant-at-arms, Toastmaster-of-the-Evening and speech evaluator. Lynda was the general, meeting and topics evaluator. The other speech evaluators were John and Dave. Of the remaining roles Isaiah was the grunt counter, Daniel the table-topics master, and Josie made her début as the time keeper.

The new Area 44 Governor, John, paid us a visit. Fortunately, we were not overawed as his two immediate predecessors, Lynda and Sue, are members of Northampton Speakers. He gave heartening feed back that prospective club Northampton Speakers was not just a few people meeting but a fully function club providing the genuine Toastmasters experience to its members and guests.

12 members, including a guest, came together for some midsummer madness, led by Jennifer.

Harsheed told us a suitable joke.

Steve sneaked in as many references to football as he could, such as fixtures, half time, and a game of 2 halves.( I must confess I was curious about the score at the time of the interval)

Cecile introduced topics, with Carmel first up, explaining her madness was not confined to midsummer.

Barbara talked about her nights out in Milton Keynes , based around the ley lines.

It was Jims creativity that won us over, as he explained a Midsummers wedding, winning best topics and humour.

Emma’s third speech was a magical story of being lost at sea. She drew us in with salty sea tales, and had us singing a sea shanty.

Maggie’s evaluation was, as always, very encouraging, winning her best evaluator.

Musttapha relayed an emotional tale of loss, and family support. Harsheed evaluated sensitively. I was impressed as he had one second’s notice of being an evaluator.

Louise tackled the abstract concept with a tale of modern art. It opened with lights being flicked on and off, to represent Martin Creeds Turner prize. What followed included a piece of blu-tack, loo rolls and abstract art from a child. Topped with the joys of taking a scientist on an artistic journey (which did not compute), and ending with references to a moving modern art theme , which included lovers reuniting.

Jim’s evaluation was informative and humorous, suggesting a powerful ending, with her personal art.

Steve brought everything together with his take on the evaluators and topics. The General evaluator award went to Harsheed for stepping in so promptly.

Carmel headed up the ah counts and grammarian, awarding smooth talker to Maggie.

Barbara timed us.

We welcomed Stephanie as a guest.

The meeting ended on a high, as we are back to President’s distinguished club status, and Carmel handed over to Steve, with a speech of thanks.

Now it’s time to set leadership and speech goals for the next year.

Remember to bring your manuals to the meetings, and please ensure you confirm your attendance prior to the meeting on the D71 website.

Jim is in charge of the next meeting. See you then.

23/7/2014 Election night & meeting

The next meeting will be two days after the return from the Easter break so time will go fast. Yet it is an extra important meeting because:

1) Becky Piper will present her proposals for the next Executive Committee and we will vote on her plans

2) Allison will present his teams plans for Cranfield Speaker’s gala/awards dinner and the proposed new award of Cranfield Speaker’s Toastmaster of the Year

The sooner we each use to sign up the easier it will be for the TME Amani/Karel to ensure the roles are filled and the agenda produced -it avoids their 11th hour panic

Daniel (Cranfield Speaker’s Secretary)
Please click here for details of our next club meeting

‘April Showers’ meeting
April Showers

At Tonight’s ‘April Showers’ meeting eight Toastmasters and three welcome guests witnessed Jim earn his Advanced Communicator Gold and his Distinguished Toastmaster. Prizes were: The Humour Award went to Minjie, The Speech Award was shared between Jim and Minjie, The Tabletopics Award went to Amani, The Evaluator Award went to Karel, and Jim added smooth talker award. The club welcomed Atma back from his two month long wedding (Congratulations Atma) in India, flying in over night to arrive just in time to open up the venue tonight and step into role as president’s deputy, vice president education, and evaluator. The Next meeting is the 23rd of April and Karel/Amani  have kindly offered to be Toastmaster of the Evening.

Advanced Communicator Gold Pin


Jim told a hilarious joke about a guy with a singing frog and an iguana. He could win bets in pubs by getting either of them to sing any named songs. A businessman insisted that he buy the iguana for $3000, which the owner agreed to reluctantly. An other man in the bar approached the guy saying he was a fool and that he could have got far more than $3000. The first guy said the frog that I still own is worth far more that the iguana ever was as he is also a ventriloquist!!


Allison took on the roles of Topicsmaster for the first time and set each contestant a parable to speak about hidden on the wrapper of one of 5 bars of chocolate:

1) Karel had the Bueno bar and “Two wrongs don’t make a right” and spoke about to two negatives are a positive if multiplied,
2) Amani had the Toblerone and “You can’t judge a book by its cover” and spoke of problems of pre-judging other and being judged by others on appearance,
3) Minjie had the KitKat bar and “A train is only as strong as its weakest link” and spoke about how in social networks it is often you further weaker links that prove most influential in making lucky career breaks, and finally
4) Evangelina had the galaxy bar and “Practice makes perfect” and developed an interesting message around Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance(an alliteration that got special praise from the grammarian).
Minjie gave us our first prepared speech entitled “The Chinese Take Away”. She gave us a fun talk that contained three important take-aways about china: 1)there are a vast number of dialects and hers sounds closer to Japanese than most, 2)that her modest home town by the coast is home to 16 million people, and 3) Chinese cuisine is vastly more diverse than that typified by Chinese restaurants in the UK. This speech was the second from the Competent Communicator manual

“What can you do about it?” was the talk given by Jim for his fifth and final speech from the advanced manual “Persuasive Speaking” He gave a staggering review of the statistics of road death in the UK (>5 a day). He put forward the case that the Institute of Advanced Motorists could give drivers, especially young inexperienced drivers they need to stay alive and to keep others alive on the road. Jim has recently retaken their test and gone on to qualify as an observer. The discounts on passing and the quality of the resources to support training make a strong financial case for joining.

Maria was our Grammarian and Ah-counter and set the word shower as word of the day. It was used in many of its guises during the meeting, such as showers of applause. Paul W did a real competent job as Timekeeper on his first appearance in that role. Daniel covered Toastmaster of the Evening, Sergeant at Arms, and Tabletopics evaluator. Atma covered Vice President of Education, President’s deputy, and Speech evaluator. Finally, Jim covered Joke-master and General Evaluator.
 The Next meeting is the 23rd of April and Karel/Amani have kindly offered to be Toastmaster of the Evening.

Prepared by Daniel Sandars (Club Secretary)


The Third Meeting of Northampton Speakers

Our neighbouring prospective club
Newcomer Luke M debuted with a win tabletopics followed by sharing a win for the best use of humour with Cecile W, a North Bucks Toastmaster visiting for the first time. With Dave M as Toastmaster of the Evening and Sue S as President (plus General Evaluator and Tabletopics Master) four guests and six Toastmasters gathered in the offices (third floor) of 53 Billing Road for the Club’s third ever meeting. The next meeting will be on the 28th of April in the boardroom (hopefully) of 53 Billing Road.

There were prepared talks by:

1) Daniel S related some of his yarns from the farm in a bid “To Make them Laugh” as his third project from the advanced manual “The Entertaining Speaker”. He told us of old farmers whose rusty loud trucks threw passengers out and provoked yuppies into road races as well as young farmers who trucks pass MOTs with rusty chassis cut out and go rather fast (very briefly) with a lorry Tubo-charger running in what once was the passenger seat. A rehabilitated hearse was one young lad’s passion wagon, but another lad was excruciatingly and politely left near speechless at his amorata’s rendition of his favourite rhubarb crumble (minus 5 lbs of sugar).

Linda A evaluated Daniel S and picked up of the great anecdotes and memorable images words and phrases, but recommended better pacing and to beware of mumbling

2) Cecile W was doing her 4th “Competent Communicator” manual project “How to Say it” with a speech on her challenges of master English as a second language. On hearing her husband offer to run her to the station, she grabbed her running shoes, but otherwise is happy to say ‘lovely’ with varying intonation when not sure of which of 132 possible meanings a word such as “to run” is taking.

Paul H evaluated Cecile W and marvelled at the peerless vocal variety and body language and suggested that Cecile could make use of her native French exclamations to heighten the contrast and dramatic tension.

The Tabletopics were chaired by Sue S and was worked around a theme of rainbow colours. Orange gave Paul H a chance to talk about his favourite fruit and vegetables as a vegetarian and breakfast time banana eater. Green gave Dave M to relate experiences of Ireland and that it is indeed a ling way to Tipperary if no two people can give you the same directions! Indigo allowed Luke M to talk about his favourite clothing item in the form of a scarf chicly fluttering behind on a windy day in the quad and uniquely perspiration-ally personal. Finally, violet led into luxuries giving Daniel S chance to talk about his love of dark pure chocolate.

Cecile W and Linda A were timekeepers.

The next meeting on the 28th falls outside of the regular 1st and 3rd Monday pattern to prevent Easter Monday and May bank holiday leaving a 6 week gap by knocking out two meetings.

Prepared by Daniel Sandars (7/4/2014)