Cheshunt

A summary of next months guest speaker

NOVEMBER 2018

Andy Thomas
ANDY THOMAS who is one of the UKs leading speakers on Mysteries/Histories. His talk is entitled “THE STORY OF ENGLISH FREEDOM” From the rebellions of Boudicca against Roman invaders to the Peasants’ Revolt and the modern Poll Tax riots, from the truly revolutionary ideas put forward in Cromwellian times to influential movers and shakers such as Thomas Paine, the Suffragettes and George Orwell, ‘Freedom’ has always been a key issue in English history. Andy shines a captivating light on some of the most significant leaps of the centuries and sees how they still resonate today.

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October 2018

Phil Holt Phil HOLT who will be speaking on High Flying Tales - The Red Arrows Phil is an accomplished and experienced speaker with very interesting tales to tell about this legendry group.

Phil began his career in 1972 since then he has given over five hundred presentations to audiences from twenty to over 1500 formal and informal audiences. He joined National Air Traffic Services (NATS) in 1972 as an Air Traffic Controller, a career spanning almost 40 years serving at seven locations including London Herathrow the busiest airport in the west.

He has served as a reservist in the RAF as a flying instructor and in Maritime Air Region operations. Phil involved with airshow organising continues as an active pilot and can count amongst his flying achievements parachute dropping and flying for the St. John’s Ambulance air wing. He is marrried to Diane with two sons Matthew and Alex. Matthew is an Airline Pilot and Alex works for Aerospace and Defence firm Cobham plc.

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September 2018

Carol and Steve ROBSON will be illustrating and musically presenting songs that have a fascinating story to tell

STORMY STORIES AND TRAGIC TALES
The new show for 2018 is currently being performed all over the UK. We've been delighted with the response to 'Stories, Waters, and Beat The Drum' shows (all still available), and decided to develop the idea further for an all new show for 2018.

The theme is 'Stormy Stores & Tragic Tales'. All the songs fit the theme, but there will be unexpected twists along the way!

There will be a mix of songs, the stories and tales, the images and movies and of course the fun and audience engagement.

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August 2018

Roy Smart will explore the life of Admiral of the Fleet, David Beatty, 1st Earl Beatty (1871-1936) and his naval career, particularly in regard to his involvement with the Battle of Jutland in 1916.
Admiral David Beatty – the last naval hero, a local man

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July 2018
Andrew WAITE is a qualified Teacher (Degree in Education & Masters level Degree in Education Centre Leadership) working with adults, children & in the Early Years; he has many years of experience in creating an exciting experience for an audience of any age range.
The talks he gives are about the properties and history of gemstones and are a fun relaxing way to share time with your group.

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June 2018

GLEN OWEN is from the INSTITUTION OF CIVIL ENGINEERS who will present an illustrated talk on the LARGEST, MOST COMPLEX ENGINEERING WORKS AROUND THE WORLD. He will explain how and why such works are built, some of the challenges that had to be overcome and how those schemes have transformed peoples’ lives.

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May 2018

Laurence Summers is a fully qualified Blue Badge tour guide and a Londoner born and bred. He knows its streets, alleyways and squares and has enjoyed the history, magic and anecdotes which still echo through this magnificent city.
His talk today is from the accession of Queen Victoria up until the death of Albert and incorporates the Hungry Forties, social reforms, population growth, rise of Middle Classes, Chartism, the Great Stink, Crimea, Indian Mutiny and the Great Exhibition

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April 2018

Brad ASHTON has recently retired as an international TV comedy writer and during his career he has written series for Tommy Cooper, Dick Emery, Les Dawson, Bruce Forsyth, Frankie Howerd, Bob Monkhouse and David Frost, among others.
He is a regular guest enrichment lecturer on board cruise ships, averaging five cruises a year. On those fortnight-long cruises he usually gives between four and six highly entertaining 55-minute talks. He talks about the stars he has worked with and how comedy is created. He also include lots of backstage gossip about the audience’s favourite TV shows and their famous (and sometimes infamous), stars.
Brad has had three very successful books published on comedy writing and has just completed a new gag book containing over 4,000 gags.

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March 2018

Making a welcome return is young photographer Tom MASON. His talk is entitled “THE BEAR NECESSITIES” and takes us behind the scenes on his photography trip to Finland to photograph brown bears, showcasing his images and close encounters!!

Throughout Tom MASON’s life he has always been a little different. Growing up, games consoles were never much interest to him and he didn’t claim to know a lot about football… Instead, he had a huge passion for exploration, the world and the wild, capturing photographs and telling stories.
He had the pleasure to work in some awesome locations, with some incredible people. Not a day went past when he isn’t thankful for what he does. He made a shedload of images, yet is constantly pushing the boundaries to learn new things.
Life’s all about the journey, meeting people and sharing what we love. So let’s travel, explore or better still…we could always shoot some pictures and of course give talks which is why we are glad to welcome him to Cheshunt U3A as October’s guest speaker.
Check out the Tom Mason website.

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February 2018 Patrick BARKHAM
Patrick Barkham

Patrick Barkham was born in 1975 in Norfolk and was educated at Cambridge University. He is a National History writer for the Guardian where he has worked for the last 10 years, reporting on everything from the Iraq War to climate change.
His first book, The Butterfly Isles, was shortlisted for the 2011 Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje prize. His next book Badgerlands, was hailed by Chris Packham as "a must read for all Britain's naturalists" and was shortlisted for both the 2014 RSL Ondaatje Prize and the inaugural Wainwright Prize for Nature and Travel Writing.
His book Coastlines was published by Granta Books in April 2015, to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the National Trust's campaign to save the British coast.

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January 2018 - Fran SANDHAM

Fran SANDHAM “DR LIVINGSTONE, I PRESUME?” Critically acclaimed author and public speaker Fran Sandham tells the remarkable story behind the famous meeting in Africa in 1871 between the two explorers Dr David Livingstone and Henry Morton Stanley; how their meeting proved to be literally the journalistic scoop of the century; the curious surrogate father-son relationship between Stanley and Livingstone, the widespread controversy and hostility Stanley faced on his return to Europe after finding Livingstone; why the meeting was such a sensational news story, and why Stanley's words became the most famous greeting in history.

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Speaker for November

We welcome back Andy Thomas, author of the acclaimed The Truth Agenda, and Conspiracies, is one of the UK’s best-known authors and lecturers on unexplained mysteries and global cover-ups. He speaks extensively in Britain and abroad at both ‘alternative’ and mainstream events, and his books have been widely praised as the finest available overviews of their subjects.
For twenty-five years, Andy has investigated many enduring enigmas, including crop circles, UFOs, ancient prophecies, and a multitude of classic conspiracy theories, always finding tantalising middle-ground to evoke animated discussion. He has appeared on many popular radio and TV shows including major UK spots on Richard and Judy, Esther, GMTV, The One Show and Sky TV's hit series Pineapple Dance Studios Media. Andy also guested numerous times on Sky 200’s Edge Media TV, and has featured in programmes around the globe, as well as in the US theatrically-released documentary Crop Circles: Quest For Truth.
Andy's fullest investigation into the mystery realms, The Truth Agenda: Making Sense of Unexplained Mysteries, Global Cover-Ups and Visions for a New Era, was first published in 2009, revised and updated in 2011, and is now available as a 2013 updated and expanded edition. A US edition is due in 2015. The book has been a hit in both ‘fringe’ and mainstream circles, and was adopted as a sociology textbook at Canada's Vancouver Island University. His latest book, Conspiracies: The Facts - The Theories - The Evidence was published by Watkins Publishing in the UK, USA and Australia in 2013. Other global editions, including Chinese and Czech, were published in 2014.
Andy is author of seven other books exploring the unexplained, including the highly praised Vital Signs: A Complete Guide to the Crop Circle Mystery, which has been described by many as the definitive guide to the circle controversy and was nominated for Kindred Spirit magazine's 2002 Best Book award. Andy is also author of four books on Sussex history.
Andy has written for many journals and magazines, including Kindred Spirit and New Dawn, and he regularly contributes to the popular alternative journal Nexus Magazine. Andy is the founder of Vital Signs Publishing, which in 2005 produced Geoff Stray's celebrated and influential book Beyond 2012: Catastrophe or Ecstasy (which Andy edited), exploring the many prophecies, ancient and modern, predicted for these years following the end of 2012.
A very busy lecturer, Andy is renowned for his striking and persuasive presentations on the unexplained, alternative views and conspiracy theories. He speaks extensively across England and has also presented in other parts of the world, including America, Australia, Brazil, Peru, Denmark and several other European countries. Andy has given more than 1,300 lectures over twenty-five years and has addressed many thousands of people in that time.
Andy’s presentations have brought often marginalised subjects into public venues to great success, and he regularly addresses both alternative groups and also established organisations such as Mensa, The National Trust, U3A, the Women’s Institute, Rotary, Round Table and Probus, to name but a few. Andy speaks for audiences of all sizes, from intimate events to large conferences of 1500 people or more (including the pictured 2009 Rotarian conference at Eastbourne's prestigious Congress Theatre).
Andy is founder of the Changing Times truth and mysteries group in East Sussex and is also co-presenter of the celebrated Glastonbury Symposium, one of the UK’s longest-running alternative events. He is also an experienced keyboard player and plays live with guitarist Phil Light.
Andy’s always balanced and perceptive views on unusual subjects have become widely respected for giving credibility to areas not generally given the coverage they truly deserve.

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Speaker for October

Mick Casson
Military Service & Rank: 25 years in the army as a musician as percussionist and drummer.
Yeoman at the Tower Since: 1988
Interests & Hobbies: Art, Afternoon Tower talks, Travelling
Mick Casson's life as a Yeoman Warder and resident of the Tower of London began on the 4th March 1988. Running parallel with many of his colleagues at the Tower, Mick's 25 years of military service took him to the four corners of the globe. One difference is that Mick was armed with a set of percussive musical instruments and was literally playing drums around the world, much the same as I have done only under different circumstances of course.
In his own words he explains. "Well, my army career really was as a musician and I have to say, I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. As well as having played in a multitude of military bands I have also worked in several private outfits playing a variety of musical styles. Since being here though, I very rarely seem to get the opportunity to pick up a pair of sticks although I do still get a yearning to play".
Mick may not be picking up drum-sticks much these days but sticks and skins have now actually been replaced by artist's paint-brushes and canvas. As with his uncle (Royal College of Art's) Sir Hugh Casson, Mick is a highly accomplished artist and spends much of his spare time at the easel.
"I wouldn't exactly say I'm at an easel as you are more likely to find me with a sketch-pad and crayons" says Mick. "A lot of what I do is based around caricature and landscape imagery". Whether it be on canvas or sketch-pad Mick Casson's talent as an artist certainly shines through as can be seen on the sample of his work he kindly provided us with.
On a final point I would like to mention the fact that Mick Casson is often invited by corporate and private functions as guest after dinner speaker on the Tower of London.

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Speaker for September

MICHAEL BENNING QPM

Mike Benning QPM
Career Summary
Appointed Chief Superintendent in 1992 as Divisional Commander for Southend Division, Essex Police. Mike Benning spent most of his operational duties with Essex Police working along the north bank of the Thames from Grays Thurrock and Basildon through to Southend on Sea.
Served from 1969 to 2000 as a police officer and then a further 10 years in different roles. His career also encompassed some time at Police Headquarters including spells as Staff Officer to the Chief Constable and as an Instructor at the Essex Police College
He was responsible for policing a number of major incidents and events including the Operational Commander role at two of the Stansted Airport hijackings. Has also commanded many Royal Visits to the county, including HM The Queen in addition to a couple of Prime Ministerial visits. Directing many public order and firearms incidents he has policed too many football matches to remember.

As Senior Investigating Officer following the killing of two young mothers, in a hit and run incident, he led a protracted and complex investigation, from nothing more than some broken headlamp glass and paint samples as the initial evidence. Numerous enquiries eventually led to the arrest and conviction of the driver responsible.

Was awarded the Queens Police Medal in the New Years Honours list of 2000.

He has lectured upon policing issues to the Joint Services Defence College and the Comparative Justice Institute, American University, Washington DC. Has also lectured and had an article published on Leadership.

Since retiring he has been an assessor of candidates for accelerated promotion on the High Potential Development Course and was also contracted to Essex Police reviewing performance on Basic Command Units.

His interests are mainly sporting having achieved an FA Coaching Certificate many years ago. He has completed 13 marathons and a non-stop relay from John O’Groats to Lands End in less then 5 days, all raising considerable amounts for charity. Confesses to being a very average and inconsistent golfer but is hooked on the game, which is probably an apt description for many of his shots as they fly into trees and lakes whilst he occasionally visits the fairway. A regular traveller to France, (nothing to do with the wine!), whilst he tries to master the language. Has some way to go yet but it’s a good excuse for his trips across the Channel.

Has had his first book Island Joggings published. An amusing and fresh perspective on what it’s like to be a British man coping with middle age and life on a tropical island and his penchant for stumbling into awkward situations. Embracing his impression of the Cayman Islands it’s themed around his early morning jogging adventures and mishaps, including unintended meetings with Machete Man, an airborne telegraph pole and a racing chicken intermingled with some ‘odd’ policing anecdotes. As one review explained, ’the humanity and humour infused will have readers laughing out loud one minute and reaching for a tissue the next.’
The book led to an opportunity to lecture on cruise lines and he now spends his time jumping on and off cruise ships and talking for his supper.

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SPEAKER FOR AUGUST 2017

Roy SMART is a professional speaker and on this occasion he will present a great pioneer, Amy Johnson, the inspirational darling of the nation in the 1930s who disappeared mysteriously while in the service of her country. This is a story of extraordinary and uplifting achievement, given added colour with music, poetry and rich illustration and an insight into her calamitous marriage to ‘The Flying Scotman’.

SPEAKER FOR JULY 2017

Malcolm Nelson About Malcolm Nelson

Malcolm Nelson worked for 40 years for HM Customs, most of that time catching smugglers at Heathrow Airport in London. Since retirement in 2005 he has developed a series of talks. The groups he talks to vary from Womens Institutes to after dinner talks for Rugby Clubs and Wine Tasting Circles. He also “lectures” on board cruise ships.

SAMPLE LIST OF TALKS

An Introduction to HM Customs
Outlining a very brief history of Customs from the 8th Century to the present day. Then explaining the organisation and strategies used by HM Customs to maximise the effect of their limited resources. This is taken down to a very basic level and includes many of my own experiences both as a working officer and as a senior manager of officers.

Class A drugs. How and where do we find them
An insight into just why an officer decides to stop a particular person. Having stopped them what might make them decide to go on and search them and their baggage. If they do search the baggage where are they likely to find drugs. Using many of my own experiences to highlight the bizarre incidents that arise in this role.
Revenue Goods: How and where do we find them
Particular stress being put on the questioning that will indicate a possible offence. What revenue goods are we interested in , jewellery, watches, fur coats etc. Instances of revenue seizures I have made and again the strange circumstances that often accompany them.
Drugs Case Study
Taking a famous drugs offence from its first interception in the Green channel through to the verdict in the Crown Court at Isleworth. The case involved two offenders. One with 300 packages of cocaine concealed internally. The other, the minder, with nothing but a piece of a blue balloon in his pocket. The audience are invited to come to a verdict and a sentence.
Slide Show and Open Forum
The first part is a slide show showing many drug concealments and giving the story behind them. The second part is an open forum. I do this because I find that I am asked many questions outside of my talks, in the bar etc, and it is an opportunity to bring these questions to the whole of the audience.

The History of Smuggling
This talk/lecture takes us from 742 when King Ethelbald of Mercia introduced the first form of taxes through to the 10th century when Athelred introduced the first import duties at Billingsgate and we have evidence of the first smuggler. Then on to the first organised smuggling which was exports of wool and further on to the massive smuggling industry in the 18th and 19th centuries. The various draconian Acts of Parliament and the social and economic reasons behind the smuggling epidemic.

Famous/infamous smugglers of the past and present
This talk takes a look at famous smugglers of the past and present. It tries to separate the fact from the fiction and brings up names that are still famous today in certain areas. Each one is unique in their own way and they vary from the barbaric to the romantic.
Smuggling Gangs of the 18th and 19th century
Gangs as large as 500 men dominated large parts of the countryside especially in the South East. They are possibly the first example of organised crime. They provided solicitors for those who were caught, doctors for those who were wounded, and paid families silence money when their menfolk were incarcerated. They also collected protection money and perpetrated horrendous murder on those who stood in their way. This talk concentrates on two of these crimes as they are now seen as the catalyst for the change in public opinion against the smuggler.

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SPEAKER FOR APRIL 2017

Paul Whittle Our speaker in April will be Paul Whittle, a retired Major in the Royal Corps of Signals TA and now Vice Chairman of the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway Society. His talk is entitled TOY TRAIN TO THE CLOUDS. It’s an illustrated talk about the British-built railway that climbs 7,000 feet to Darjeeling and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. He is pictured here on the left receiving the Heritage Railway Association Steam Railway Readers Award. Further info can be attained at http://www.dhrs.org

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SPEAKER FOR MARCH 2017

Damien O’DELL – has been a full-time paranormal investigator since 2002, as well as a historian and author on all things ghoulish – So Damien how did it all begin?
“I first saw a ghost when I was 10 years old,” he said.
“I saw a person moving in the garden, gliding rather than walking.
“I wasn’t on my own, I was with my friend, and we both looked at each other and realised we had seen our first ghost.”
His first taste of the paranormal had Damien hooked and he hasn’t looked back since. He formed his group APIS – the Anglia Paranormal Investigation Society – in 2002 and the team regularly investigate haunted sites. Damien also invites others into the group who share his spooky passion and for those want to find out more about the haunted history of Royston he runs local tours. With warm coats and high spirits, brave folk walk the streets on his regular winter ghost walks, and he said he always gets a good response.
Damien – who has written books Paranormal Hertfordshire and Paranormal Cambridgeshire – has also been busy penning his next book, due out soon. His second book was reviewed at the following site http://www.ghostclub.org.uk/book_reviews

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FEBRUARY 2017

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF....... A THAMES TUG by Richard THOMAS

Thames Tug Boat A close look at the work done by the Cory tug General VIII, which is one of a fleet of seven vessels engaged in the movement of refuse lighters for the Western Riverside Waste Authority. The talk features a voyage from Wandsworth to the aptly named Mucking in Essex. It gives an insight to one of the remaining commercial operations on the tidal Thames and how this has changed since the closure of the dumping ground at Mucking in 2010.
Richard has a website with details of many other lectures he gives and his tour dates for 2017
http://www.alltalkthomas.co.uk

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JANUARY 2017

----- Keef Jackman is a highly talented, original singer songwriter, with a reputation for holding the audience in the palm of his hand, with his self-penned and heart-wrenching tunes, with blues being his preferred genre.

For ten years Keef ran the highly successful Acoustic Club at the Half Moon in Bishops Stortford, which he started as he had a desire to play blues music acoustically but had no stage to do so!

After picking up the ukulele in 2007 he admits to becoming a Ukaholic and now runs several Ukulele Groups, the main one being BSUS (Bishops Stortford Ukulele Society) on a Wednesday evening at the British Legion where 25+ other ukoholics gather each week. BSUS has supported Boom Town Rats (honest, but it was at the other end of the day), played Festivals and weddings as well as gigging locally. www.bsus.co.uk. Last year BSUS had the privilege of playing the same stage as The Ukulele Society of Great Britain.

Attached is a video of a show Keef Jackman did with fellow enthusiasts at an Essex Summer Festival.

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DECEMBER 2015 - CHRISTMAS ENTERTAINER

Franz Black Franz Black is an accomplished songwriter, singer and keyboard player. Influenced by the likes of Santana and the Police, his concept of song writing has evolved into a new product that combines the timeless sound of sweet music and electronic sounds of the modern day. Franz who has written and produced three complete albums, has attained wide recognition from a mixture of audiences with one of his albums album titled 'Sunshine girl' being featured on several radio stations including the BBC.
Check out his website at http://www.franzblack.com/

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NOVEMBER 2016

----- Alan Haines is an experienced guest speaker whose unique presentations are guaranteed to add that extra sparkle. He uses archive film footage, animations, technology, music, magic, humour and lots of audience engagement to bring his presentations to life.

----- A KICK UP THE SIXTIES
Is a whimsical excursion back to the 1960s. This is purely and simply a quirky look at a decade which, for many, holds such fond memories. Prepare yourself for a swinging experience. It’s side splittingly funny - so strap yourselves in and be ready to be fired back in time.
Alan is a very busy man, so busy that if we want to book him again for one of his other fascinating talks we will have to wait until 2018!! Check out his website Alan Haines

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OCTOBER 2016

Tom Mason Throughout Tom MASON’s life he has always been a little different. Growing up, games consoles were never much interest to him and he didn’t claim to know a lot about football… Instead, he had a huge passion for exploration, the world and the wild, capturing photographs and telling stories.

He had the pleasure to work in some awesome locations, with some incredible people. Not a day went past when he isn’t thankful for what he does. He made a shedload of images, yet is constantly pushing the boundaries to learn new things.

Life’s all about the journey, meeting people and sharing what we love. So let’s travel, explore or better still…we could always shoot some pictures and of course give talks which is why we are glad to welcome him to Cheshunt U3A as October’s guest speaker.

Check out the Tom Mason website.

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SEPTEMBER 2016

Dr. Alan WISE who will be talking about “ACHIEVE THE HAPPINESS AND GOOD HEALTH YOU DESERVE” This will include “how to cope with stressful events in the Autumn of our lives!”

With more than four decades of experience, Alan Wise is a Psychotherapist and a Motivational Speaker in the industry. His specialised knowledge makes his talks both, fascinating and enlightening. Informative in their content, lively in their spirit, and life changing in their outcome. He is also an Expert Witness for the Court, and he has worked for many years in the medical/legal field reporting on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders (PTSD) for accident victims.

There are great advantages for employers who look after their employees’ mental health. The term ‘prevention is better than cure’, has never been more true. Every day, someone faces a new challenge – be it positive or negative, it can have an impact on a person’s state of mind. By investing a little time and money into your employees’ mind set, could mean the difference between an employee that strives forward to success, or an employee that signs off sick for six months.

Alan’s talks allow employees to voice their concerns in a confidential and safe environment where they won’t feel pressured or judged. With Alan’s knowledge and experience in dealing with Psychological issues, audiences can learn how to process their world in a positive way. Learning to relax, compartmentalise and feel a new confidence to cope with the tasks in hand. Finding a new ‘lease of life’ and a motivation they may have felt like they’d lost.

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AUGUST 2016

Mark LEWIS is an artist and designer by profession, trained originally as a jeweller and silversmith but now specialising in landscape painting, using digital technologies. He has spent much of his later career as a university lecturer teaching art and design. However, he has had a longstanding interest in folklore. Mark has been an active member of the Folklore Society since 1987 and regularly gives papers at their conferences. He has a particular interest in calendar customs and traditions and has written a book - Days & Rites: Popular Customs of the Church, which was published in 2013. His talk will explore customs, beliefs and traditions, including stories of witchcraft, giants, secret tunnels and paranormal phenomena associated with Hertfordshire.

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JULY 2016

Malcolm Nelson About Malcolm Nelson

Malcolm Nelson worked for 40 years for HM Customs, most of that time catching smugglers at Heathrow Airport in London. Since retirement in 2005 he has developed a series of talks. The groups he talks to vary from Womens Institutes to after dinner talks for Rugby Clubs and Wine Tasting Circles. He also “lectures” on board cruise ships.

SAMPLE LIST OF TALKS
An Introduction to HM Customs
Outlining a very brief history of Customs from the 8th Century to the present day. Then explaining the organisation and strategies used by HM Customs to maximise the effect of their limited resources. This is taken down to a very basic level and includes many of my own experiences both as a working officer and as a senior manager of officers.
Class A drugs. How and where do we find them
An insight into just why an officer decides to stop a particular person. Having stopped them what might make them decide to go on and search them and their baggage. If they do search the baggage where are they likely to find drugs. Using many of my own experiences to highlight the bizarre incidents that arise in this role.
Revenue Goods: How and where do we find them
Particular stress being put on the questioning that will indicate a possible offence. What revenue goods are we interested in , jewellery, watches, fur coats etc. Instances of revenue seizures I have made and again the strange circumstances that often accompany them.
Drugs Case Study
Taking a famous drugs offence from its first interception in the Green channel through to the verdict in the Crown Court at Isleworth. The case involved two offenders. One with 300 packages of cocaine concealed internally. The other, the minder, with nothing but a piece of a blue balloon in his pocket. The audience are invited to come to a verdict and a sentence.
Slide Show and Open Forum
The first part is a slide show showing many drug concealments and giving the story behind them. The second part is an open forum. I do this because I find that I am asked many questions outside of my talks, in the bar etc, and it is an opportunity to bring these questions to the whole of the audience.
The History of Smuggling
This talk/lecture takes us from 742 when King Ethelbald of Mercia introduced the first form of taxes through to the 10th century when Athelred introduced the first import duties at Billingsgate and we have evidence of the first smuggler. Then on to the first organised smuggling which was exports of wool and further on to the massive smuggling industry in the 18th and 19th centuries. The various draconian Acts of Parliament and the social and economic reasons behind the smuggling epidemic.
Famous/infamous smugglers of the past and present
This talk takes a look at famous smugglers of the past and present. It tries to separate the fact from the fiction and brings up names that are still famous today in certain areas. Each one is unique in their own way and they vary from the barbaric to the romantic.
Smuggling Gangs of the 18th and 19th century
Gangs as large as 500 men dominated large parts of the countryside especially in the South East. They are possibly the first example of organised crime. They provided solicitors for those who were caught, doctors for those  who were wounded, and paid families silence money when their menfolk were incarcerated. They also collected protection money and perpetrated horrendous murder on those who stood in their way. This talk concentrates on two of these crimes as they are now seen as the catalyst for the change in public opinion against the smuggler.

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JUNE 2016
----- BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND

Andy Thomas, author of the acclaimed The Truth Agenda, and Conspiracies, is one of the UK’s best-known authors and lecturers on unexplained mysteries and global cover-ups. He speaks extensively in Britain and abroad at both ‘alternative’ and mainstream events, and his books have been widely praised as the finest available overviews of their subjects.
For twenty-five years, Andy has investigated many enduring enigmas, including crop circles, UFOs, ancient prophecies, and a multitude of classic conspiracy theories, always finding tantalising middle-ground to evoke animated discussion. He has appeared on many popular radio and TV shows including major UK spots on Richard and Judy, Esther, GMTV, The One Show and Sky TV's hit series Pineapple Dance Studios Media. Andy also guested numerous times on Sky 200’s Edge Media TV, and has featured in programmes around the globe, as well as in the US theatrically-released documentary Crop Circles: Quest For Truth.
Andy's fullest investigation into the mystery realms, The Truth Agenda: Making Sense of Unexplained Mysteries, Global Cover-Ups and Visions for a New Era, was first published in 2009, revised and updated in 2011, and is now available as a 2013 updated and expanded edition. A US edition is due in 2015. The book has been a hit in both ‘fringe’ and mainstream circles, and was adopted as a sociology textbook at Canada's Vancouver Island University. His latest book, Conspiracies: The Facts - The Theories - The Evidence was published by Watkins Publishing in the UK, USA and Australia in 2013. Other global editions, including Chinese and Czech, were published in 2014.
Andy is author of seven other books exploring the unexplained, including the highly praised Vital Signs: A Complete Guide to the Crop Circle Mystery, which has been described by many as the definitive guide to the circle controversy and was nominated for Kindred Spirit magazine's 2002 Best Book award. Andy is also author of four books on Sussex history.
Andy has written for many journals and magazines, including Kindred Spirit and New Dawn, and he regularly contributes to the popular alternative journal Nexus Magazine. Andy is the founder of Vital Signs Publishing, which in 2005 produced Geoff Stray's celebrated and influential book Beyond 2012: Catastrophe or Ecstasy (which Andy edited), exploring the many prophecies, ancient and modern, predicted for these years following the end of 2012.
A very busy lecturer, Andy is renowned for his striking and persuasive presentations on the unexplained, alternative views and conspiracy theories. He speaks extensively across England and has also presented in other parts of the world, including America, Australia, Brazil, Peru, Denmark and several other European countries. Andy has given more than 1,300 lectures over twenty-five years and has addressed many thousands of people in that time.
Andy’s presentations have brought often marginalised subjects into public venues to great success, and he regularly addresses both alternative groups and also established organisations such as Mensa, The National Trust, U3A, the Women’s Institute, Rotary, Round Table and Probus, to name but a few. Andy speaks for audiences of all sizes, from intimate events to large conferences of 1500 people or more (including the pictured 2009 Rotarian conference at Eastbourne's prestigious Congress Theatre).
Andy is founder of the Changing Times truth and mysteries group in East Sussex and is also co-presenter of the celebrated Glastonbury Symposium, one of the UK’s longest-running alternative events. He is also an experienced keyboard player and plays live with guitarist Phil Light.
Andy’s always balanced and perceptive views on unusual subjects have become widely respected for giving credibility to areas not generally given the coverage they truly deserve.
For more information on Andy's media work, and to watch some interviews and presentations, click here.

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MAY

----- ALAN GOLDSMITH
Producing rock concerts, theatre shows, outdoor events, as well as Mountfitchet Castle and Norman Village of 1066 Plus the House on the Hill Toy Museum.
Summary:
Alan’s history, as a rock ‘n’ roll promoter from the 1960′s to the present day, lends a unique understanding and experience of this particular field, as well as specialising in early tinplate toys.
Biography:
Alan Goldsmith is a rock n roll producer and promoter with over 50 years experience producing rock shows, air shows, stunt shows, theatre shows, and exhibitions. He is the creator and owner of Mountfitchet castle and Norman Village of 1066, a major tourist attraction with over 2 million visitors, he is also the owner of the largest toy museum in the world the House on the Hill, creator and founder member of the National Outdoor Events Association, creator of the children’s characters the Dollops, a regular contributor and guest speaker on BBC Radio and television shows, Trustee of The Bocking Arts Theatre, skilled at Gorilla Advertising and publicity author of six books and the oldest rebel in town!
Subjects Happy to Speak About:
• 50 Years of Rock n Roll and the 1960’s Social Revolution including the Air Shows, Concerts and the Changing Role of Women in Work
• Creating a Major Tourist Attraction in the Face of Adversity
• Creating & Maintaining the Largest Toy Museum and Artefacts Collection in the World

Publications List:
• The Dollops go to the Seaside
• The Dollops and The Fox Hunt
• The Dollops and The Bird Trap
• The Dollops and the Cheesey Gang
• Price Guide to Vintage Board Games
• Autobiography ‘Giving It Both Barrels’
• Currently writing a new book In the Footsteps of William the Conqueror

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APRIL 2016

History of Pantomime
Leanne Walters, Group Sales Representative from Ambassador Theatres, which includes MK Theatre and Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, will take us on a jaunt through the history of pantomime.
There's no other art form quite like pantomime, it is uniquely British, you won't find it anywhere else, unless in a corner of the globe where Brits have set up home. We've grown up with pantomime, we know what it's all about but pantomime is a complete mystery to people from elsewhere.

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MARCH 2016

----- Dundee-born Bill Hamilton has faith in his passions, journalism and football.
He believes in the family, indeed all the values in life that nail us into the human race and I bet this book will be part of the Hamilton hearth and home for generations to come.
His spectacular professional success includes exposing the horrors of Albanian orphanages and meeting both the Brighton bomber and Mother Teresa.
At just over 300 pages, the author's non-stop headlining and the book's brevity leave a breathless impression of serious name-dropping.
Starting at the top with Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, the list races by with head-spinning speed including, among many others, Nelson Mandela, Muhammad Ali, Margaret Thatcher, Wilfred Pickles and Wayne Rooney.
Hamilton admits that, at 67, his legs are a little "heavy" when it comes to refereeing but he insists: "Man On The Spot is a story of a journalist who is not growing old, just growing up."
It is the best we can all only hope for.

Home Affairs Correspondent
March 1979 – December 1996 (17 years 10 months) London, United Kingdom
Started as cub reporter on Fife Herald in 1962. Became Sports Editior of The Northern Daily Mail in Hartlepool the following year. From 1966-70 reporter with Tyne Tees Television. Sports News Reporter/Producer BBC National Radio 1970-72. Presenter Border Television News & Lookaround and then in 1973 moved back to Scotland as Reporter/Presenter of BBC TV's Reporting Scotland.
News Editor Radio Tees 1975-77. Correspondent BBC Scotland 1977-79. Home Affairs Correspondent, BBC TV News (National) and Special Correspondent BBC TV News 1979-96.
Freelance Broadcaster & Journalist 1996-present.

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FEBRUARY 2016

----- Ian Keable is acknowledged as an expert on Charles Dickens's magic and spiritualism. He has spoken on the subject to the Dickens Fellowship and also at the prestigious International Conferences Dickens Online Journal and The Other Dickens. In 2012 he presented a paper on Dickens and Spiritualism to the Dickens 200 - Text and Beyond at the University of Pécs in Hungary.

When Ralph Fiennes was directing and starring in The Invisible Woman (a BBC film about Dickens' mistress Ellen Ternan) it was Ian Keable he first turned to for magical advice about the project.

He is an accredited lecturer for NADFAS where amongst his other talks he does one on Charles Dickens Conjuror: The Playbills of Victorian Showmen. In 2014 he wrote Charles Dickens Magician: Conjuring in Life, Letters & Literature. To find out more visit Ian's website at www.iankeable.co.uk/

----- Unmasking the Cock Lane Ghost: precursor to Victorian Spiritualism

In 1762 William Kent was accused of poisoning his partner with arsenic: amazingly the accusation was made by a ghost. Whether or not the Cock Lane Ghost was telling the truth became a media sensation, in graphic print as well as journals and pamphlets. The Mayor of London set up a committee to investigate and the resulting report was written by Samuel Johnson. Because the ghost communicated by ‘rappings’ or knockings, she became the forerunner to the Victorian fascination in communicating with the dead through séances: ninety years after the Cock Lane Ghost, mediums were speaking to the spirits in a similar fashion. One vehement non-believer in Spiritualism was Charles Dickens, who used the tomfoolery of the Cock Lane Ghost to mock some of his more gullible contemporaries.

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JANUARY 2016

The Two Johns

OUT AND ABOUT WITH THE TWO JOHNS

They are back John Astin and John Parkes having entertained us in April 2015 with – “The Two Johns” – they now present OUT & ABOUT. They are both members of Potters Bar FilmMakers, and so have a wealth of individual members’ and club videos to choose from for their shows.
There are local interest videos, documentaries, travelogues, dramas and comedies, and “Out and About with The Two Johns” is a varied programme of different types of short movies chosen with the interests of the particular audience in mind.
Though non-professionally made, many of the videos have won major awards in regional & international competitions.
“The Two Johns” have been giving their ever-changing video shows to community groups since the 1990s, and with the quality & variety of their films much appreciated, have been welcomed back many times to local U3A, TWG, WI, Ladies’, Probus & Rotary Clubs.
John Astin is a member of the Lea Valley U3A, and produced a promotional DVD which is given to all new members on joining.
You can see some of their work on the following Potters Bar Filmmakers site

DECEMBER 2015 - CHRISTMAS ENTERTAINER

Franz Black Franz Black is an accomplished songwriter, singer and keyboard player. Influenced by the likes of Santana and the Police, his concept of song writing has evolved into a new product that combines the timeless sound of sweet music and electronic sounds of the modern day. Franz who has written and produced three complete albums, has attained wide recognition from a mixture of audiences with one of his albums album titled 'Sunshine girl' being featured on several radio stations including the BBC.
Check out his website at http://www.franzblack.com/

NOVEMBER 2015

Ian James McCannah Ian James McCANNAH spent his formative years in Manchester before moving south to study at London University. In his time he has founded London Walks and still arranges walks for U3A members. His time with U3A began in 2002 when he joined Potters Bar then in 2007 he co-founded neighbouring Barnet. Because of his interest in British history he formed an interest group and has now been appointed National U3A Subject Advisor. His interests include golf, gardening, walking, lecturing on London and Manchester United (we won’t hold that against him).
A frequent lecturer at local U3A monthly meetings on a variety of subjects it is our good fortune to have him at Cheshunt as our guest speaker talking about The Royal Parks.

OCTOBER 2015

Nick R Thomas - Professional speaker Nick R Thomas

I am a radio comedy scriptwriter, speechwriter, public speaker and presentation skills coach based in Bournemouth, Dorset but working nationally in the United Kingdom.

I have been writing humour for broadcast, publication and live performance since 1982. My credits include 23 series of BBC Radio 2's News Huddlines and 8 years for BBC Radio 4's Week Ending and, in 2013, BBC Radio 4 Extra's Newsjack. My highly praised speechwriting and radio presenters' show prep services have been running since 1994. Further writing successes include a BBC Radio 2 music documentary, fringe theatre (London, Brighton and Edinburgh), scripts for live performers of all kinds, corporate video, PR for small businesses, and my regular column in the Radio Magazine plus many other magazines and newsapapers.

Since 1996, I have delivered more than 900 humorous speeches, talks and workshops for corporate functions, literary festivals, clubs and societies all over the UK. I love public speaking, whether this is for a large, corporate audience at a conference or a small club in a church hall.

Clients for my coaching in presentation skills have included the Home Office, Fujitsu Siemens and numerous local authorities. For 7 years, I taught evening classes and workshops in public speaking and humorous writing for Bournemouth Adult Learning and Bournemouth and Poole College.

The blog on this site gives me the opportunity to pass on some of the know-how that I have gained from such a wide variety of speaking engagements and scriptwriting commissions. I never post any article unless I have at least one related Public Speaking Tip to feature. Whether you are an established speaker with regular bookings or someone who is nervously preparing to 'say a few words' at a one-off function (for example, in a best man's speech), you should find something in these blog entries that will be of use.

For more information on our quest speaker check out his website at Nick R Thomas - Professional speaker

SEPTEMBER 2015

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Andy Thomas, author of the acclaimed The Truth Agenda, and Conspiracies, is one of the UK’s best-known authors and lecturers on unexplained mysteries and global cover-ups. He speaks extensively in Britain and abroad at both ‘alternative’ and mainstream events, and his books have been widely praised as the finest available overviews of their subjects.
For twenty-five years, Andy has investigated many enduring enigmas, including crop circles, UFOs, ancient prophecies, and a multitude of classic conspiracy theories, always finding tantalising middle-ground to evoke animated discussion. He has appeared on many popular radio and TV shows including major UK spots on Richard and Judy, Esther, GMTV, The One Show and Sky TV's hit series Pineapple Dance Studios Media. Andy also guested numerous times on Sky 200’s Edge Media TV, and has featured in programmes around the globe, as well as in the US theatrically-released documentary Crop Circles: Quest For Truth.
Andy's fullest investigation into the mystery realms, The Truth Agenda: Making Sense of Unexplained Mysteries, Global Cover-Ups and Visions for a New Era, was first published in 2009, revised and updated in 2011, and is now available as a 2013 updated and expanded edition. A US edition is due in 2015. The book has been a hit in both ‘fringe’ and mainstream circles, and was adopted as a sociology textbook at Canada's Vancouver Island University. His latest book, Conspiracies: The Facts - The Theories - The Evidence was published by Watkins Publishing in the UK, USA and Australia in 2013. Other global editions, including Chinese and Czech, were published in 2014.
Andy is author of seven other books exploring the unexplained, including the highly praised Vital Signs: A Complete Guide to the Crop Circle Mystery, which has been described by many as the definitive guide to the circle controversy and was nominated for Kindred Spirit magazine's 2002 Best Book award. Andy is also author of four books on Sussex history.
Andy has written for many journals and magazines, including Kindred Spirit and New Dawn, and he regularly contributes to the popular alternative journal Nexus Magazine. Andy is the founder of Vital Signs Publishing, which in 2005 produced Geoff Stray's celebrated and influential book Beyond 2012: Catastrophe or Ecstasy (which Andy edited), exploring the many prophecies, ancient and modern, predicted for these years following the end of 2012.
A very busy lecturer, Andy is renowned for his striking and persuasive presentations on the unexplained, alternative views and conspiracy theories. He speaks extensively across England and has also presented in other parts of the world, including America, Australia, Brazil, Peru, Denmark and several other European countries. Andy has given more than 1,300 lectures over twenty-five years and has addressed many thousands of people in that time.
Andy’s presentations have brought often marginalised subjects into public venues to great success, and he regularly addresses both alternative groups and also established organisations such as Mensa, The National Trust, U3A, the Women’s Institute, Rotary, Round Table and Probus, to name but a few. Andy speaks for audiences of all sizes, from intimate events to large conferences of 1500 people or more (including the pictured 2009 Rotarian conference at Eastbourne's prestigious Congress Theatre).
Andy is founder of the Changing Times truth and mysteries group in East Sussex and is also co-presenter of the celebrated Glastonbury Symposium, one of the UK’s longest-running alternative events. He is also an experienced keyboard player and plays live with guitarist Phil Light.
Andy’s always balanced and perceptive views on unusual subjects have become widely respected for giving credibility to areas not generally given the coverage they truly deserve.
For more information on Andy's media work, and to watch some interviews and presentations, click here.

AUGUST 2015

Herts. Air Ambulance

About Herts Air Ambulance

The Herts Air Ambulance, unlike NHS emergency services, is a Charity providing a free life-saving Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) for your County. Accidents & illnesses happen and when they do, patients, whatever their age, circumstances or location need specialist treatment fast.

The speed with which our Air Ambulance Doctors & Paramedics can reach a patient, identify and administer processes to slow, halt or even reverse the effects of life threatening injury, is crucial in helping to save the patient and return them to full health. Patients can be airlifted to the most appropriate hospital quickly, maximising the aircrafts unique advantage of speed and versatility when minutes can make all the difference between life and death.

A large proportion of Herts Air Ambulance missions are trauma victims. Trauma is a leading cause of death among children and young adults and a major cause of disability. Our highly skilled teams of Doctors and Paramedics play an integral role in reducing disability and death from Trauma. It costs in the region of £480,000 per month to keep both helicopters flying and cover all charitable costs, that’s £5.8 million a year. We hope you or your loved ones never need us but thanks to the generosity and goodwill of the people and businesses of the County the service remains operational...working together funded by you!

You can get more information on their website at http://www.hertsairambulance.uk.com/

JULY 2015

Piers Storie Pugh

Colonel Piers Storie-Pugh, OBE
Piers Storie-Pugh was at Malvern (9.63-67) as was his father. He is currently the Chief Executive of The Not Forgotten Association, a tri service National Charity for the wounded. For many years he has taken groups of relatives, veterans and students around the war cemeteries and battlefields from Belgium to Burma, and The Somme to Singapore and he is one of the few qualified guides (No 12 with The Guild of Battlefield Guides). Piers is Co-Chairman of The Thiepval Educational Project on The Somme, took the first groups to the Chindit area of Operations and to Arakan, both in Burma and to Kohima in NE Assam. He spent many years taking war widows to their husband’s grave, worldwide, under a MoD scheme and wrote the blueprint for Heroes Return, a Big Lottery initiative.
He served in the 1st Battalion The Queen’s Regiment, whose forbear Regiment fought, amongst many other places, at The Battle of Gheluvelt near Ypres; he commanded the 6th/7th Battalion The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment (Territorial Army) and was Dep Comd 2nd Infantry Bde.

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His father Colonel Peter Storie-Pugh was a long term PoW in Colditz Castle and devised a code, based on Mr Hooper (Housemaster of No 9), that was never broken.

JUNE 2015

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Mick Casson
Military Service & Rank: 25 years in the army as a musician as percussionist and drummer.
Yeoman at the Tower Since: 1988
Interests & Hobbies: Art, Afternoon Tower talks, Travelling
Mick Casson's life as a Yeoman Warder and resident of the Tower of London began on the 4th March 1988. Running parallel with many of his colleagues at the Tower, Mick's 25 years of military service took him to the four corners of the globe. One difference is that Mick was armed with a set of percussive musical instruments and was literally playing drums around the world, much the same as I have done only under different circumstances of course.
In his own words he explains. "Well, my army career really was as a musician and I have to say, I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. As well as having played in a multitude of military bands I have also worked in several private outfits playing a variety of musical styles. Since being here though, I very rarely seem to get the opportunity to pick up a pair of sticks although I do still get a yearning to play".
Mick may not be picking up drum-sticks much these days but sticks and skins have now actually been replaced by artist's paint-brushes and canvas. As with his uncle (Royal College of Art's) Sir Hugh Casson, Mick is a highly accomplished artist and spends much of his spare time at the easel.
"I wouldn't exactly say I'm at an easel as you are more likely to find me with a sketch-pad and crayons" says Mick. "A lot of what I do is based around caricature and landscape imagery". Whether it be on canvas or sketch-pad Mick Casson's talent as an artist certainly shines through as can be seen on the sample of his work he kindly provided us with.
On a final point I would like to mention the fact that Mick Casson is often invited by corporate and private functions as guest after dinner speaker on the Tower of London.

MAY 2015

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Colin LOMAS a retired University Lecture will be giving a talk entitled THE V AND A - ALBERTS DREAM - would he be pleased. Colin has given talks to a variety of groups including Historical Societies and NT groups. He is an Official guide to the Victoria and Albert museum and also does guided tours to all the major London galleries.

APRIL 2015

The Two Johns

OUT AND ABOUT WITH THE TWO JOHNS

John Astin and John Parkes – “The Two Johns” – are both members of Potters Bar FilmMakers, and so have a wealth of individual members’ and club videos to choose from for their shows.
There are local interest videos, documentaries, travelogues, dramas and comedies, and “Out and About with The Two Johns” is a varied programme of different types of short movies chosen with the interests of the particular audience in mind.
Though non-professionally made, many of the videos have won major awards in regional & international competitions.
“The Two Johns” have been giving their ever-changing video shows to community groups since the 1990s, and with the quality & variety of their films much appreciated, have been welcomed back many times to local U3A, TWG, WI, Ladies’, Probus & Rotary Clubs.
John Astin is a member of the Lea Valley U3A, and produced a promotional DVD which is given to all new members on joining.
You can see some of their work on the following Potters Bar Filmmakers site

MARCH 2015

About Maggie Radcliffe:

I was a professional photographer and had many opportunities to meet and photograph such stars as Marilyn Monroe. My own photographs are used in my talks when possible.
I have given talks to U3A, Probus, Rorary, Women's Institutes, Towns Womens Guilds, Historical Societies, church, retirement groups and many types of social clubs.

All talks are slide shows using a projector and each show has at least 70 slides and lasts for approx 60 minutes. All equipment is supplied for the presentation when necessary.

Click on a picture below to see it full-size with more details.