by Steve Cann
A fun night was had by all at MSC at Burnham Park Hall as members and special guests enjoyed an evening of dining, Tall Tales and the celebration of 30 years of the club (since chartering back in April 1984). Special guests included Division Governor Vanessa King, and not to mention our very own Chris Boden, fresh from victory earlier in the day at the Division International Speech Contest in Capel – well done Chris.
Club President Jacqui Hogan kicked off proceedings by listing some key events that took place during the year of 1984, including the birth of Prince Harry, Torville & Dean’s Olympic triumph, and the demise of the pound note!
After our yummy 3-course dinner, Jacqui then presented Norman Rhodes with a certificate and engraved pen to commemorate all his work over the past thirty years since he formed Maidenhead Speakers back in 1983 (with the club officially chartering in April 1984).
We then moved on to the Tall Tales Competition – an annual fixture at the MSC Dinner.
First speaker Monica‘s tale ‘Napoleon & Brandy’ cleverly used the names of famous alcoholic drinks brands as character names as she wove a story of lawyers & courtroom intrigue, and Mr Brandy cleverly won his case!
Next speaker Mary‘s tale ‘Imagine’ concerned a trip with fellow-Toastmaster Doreen to a conference at London’s Albert Hall ‘Imagining the Future of Medicine’. On being called up onstage at this event to voice her opinion, Mary was uncharacteristically speechless… until she broke out of her dreamlike state and came round to the voice of Doreen imploring her to ‘wake up – we’re in Maidenhead’!
Next was Ian‘s ‘Ale Tale’. He spoke of MSC’s birthday being during the same week as Shakespeare’s 450th, before imploring us all to ‘Drink British’ (as that was surely what The Bard would want), from Rebellion to Spitfire, and Doombar to Tanglefoot. And reminding us that alcohol is good for you… it kills off the least-productive brain cells!
Fourth speaker was Tony, with his ‘Tall Tale with No Name’ (later christened ‘My Little Tortoise’ by Jacqui!). He spoke of Mary – a 9-year-old girl – and her pet tortoise called Norman, whom she took everywhere with her to the point of obsession. This all sadly ended one day when Norman suddenly died and went to Tortoise-Heaven… or did it?!
Penultimate Tall-Taler Doreen spoke about her father’s motorbike – his pride and joy – and a joyride with her cousin when they decided to secretly take it for a spin as early-teens in Limerick, with the police soon in hot pursuit! Doreen completed the look with a helmet prop and some expressive body language, as she finished her tale by telling us that the policeman who eventually confiscated the bike ended up crashing into a ditch!
Final speaker Eric‘s talk ‘The Latecomer’ was an ingenious story of how an habitually-late-for-work employee came up with a tall tale of his own of alien abduction in order to placate his long-suffering foreman. But after his whirlwind galactic trip was over, the aliens returned him to Earth an hour too late (not realizing the clocks had gone forward), and, despite a mad scramble to get to work on time, his boss didn’t believe a word of this extremely tall tale… of how he could’ve possibly got out of bed and ready for work in ten minutes flat!
Eric was voted Best Tall Tales Speaker, and was presented with the much-prized trophy by Jacqui. Well done Eric!
Norman returned to the stage to finish off the evening, telling us all about his MSC experiences over the past 30 years as the club moved to various venues. He mentioned proudly that 13 of our members have gone on to be Area Governors, 3 have been District Governors, and 1 has received the prestigious President Citation. MSC throughout its life has also twice organized the Spring Conference, and he also mentioned key long-standing members such as tonight’s winner Eric Elliott (who joined the club in 1984), and David McLeod and Joyce Jackson who joined in 1993 – Joyce later to become his wife when they married 17 years ago.
That concluded what turned out to be a most enjoyable and celebratory evening! A special mention must go to Nick Bailey for all his hard work in organizing the dinner so efficiently; Sergeant at Arms Doreen Gowing who presided over the evening; and Paul Aherne, who did an excellent job as Timer during the Tall Tales Contest.
Hope to see you all tomorrow (April 28th) for our next regular club night at St Luke’s Hall!