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General information
Arrangements for Speakers
Past talks & presentations

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Technical Support for Speakers


As with most if not all other Probus Clubs, the main responsibility associated with being a Member of the Club is the promise to take your turn to be SPEAKER'S FRIEND at one of the Monthly Meetings.
The Speaker's Friend is responsible for EITHER giving a talk or presentation at a specified Monthly Meeting OR arranging for a Guest Speaker to give the talk/presentation in his stead. The talks/presentations should last from 45 to 60 minutes (a little less in October to give time for the AGM). Over the years, most Members give at least one talk/presentation themselves but there is no pressure on any Member to do so. The responsibility is to give or arrange a talk/presentation - and help can be offered with this. Any Speaker's Friend who has difficulty in arranging a talk or presentation is welcome to contact the Club Secretary (or any other member of the Committee) for advice & assistance but please do not leave this too late for it can take several weeks to find a replacement speaker.

The role of Speaker's Friend is so much a recognised part of being a Member of a Probus Club that some people offer their services to Probus Clubs as Guest Speakers, offering to provide a talk or presentation about subjects that have been appreciated at other clubs. [Some of them are identified in the seasonal Probus Magazine, a copy of each issue of which is given to every Club Member and which is available at, and various web sites (see our Links page).] Some Guest Speakers charge a fee for their services whilst others do not, though most would at least like to have their expenses covered. Speakers' Friends normally invite their Guest Speakers to stay for lunch at the Club after the talk, as their Guests.
If you are having problems finding a Guest Speaker, don't forget that other local social groups - such as the Women's Institute, Women's Guild & U3A - use Guest Speakers on a regular basis. If you know people who are members of one or more of those groups then they may be able to recommend a Guest Speaker to you.

The Club Secretary maintains a list of Members in alphabetical order and, once a year, goes down the list identifying who is next in turn to be the Speakers Friend for each Monthly Meeting in the next year. The result is reported in the Club Diary (for the relevant calendar year) and on the Notices page. With the current number of Members, and with there being 11 Monthly Meetings a year, this 'duty' comes around once every 4 years or so. It is possible for any Member who is particularly elderly or unwell to avoid this but normally every member is expected to take his turn. Speakers' Friends who cannot make the date which they have been set are requested to advise the Club Secretary accordingly, with as much notice as possible, and he will arrange a swap with another Member.

A few months before his due date, a Speaker's Friend will normally be contacted by the Club Secretary (or another Committee Member) to check that he is making due preparations to act as Speaker's Friend.
As mentioned above, help with carrying out that responsibility can be provided but, if this applies to you, please remember that the earlier a Committee Member is advised of this the more likely it is that help will be forthcoming.

As reported on the Contact page, the Committee includes a Member who is responsible for 'Technical Support'. He is aware of (most of) the facilities available for Speakers and is responsible for keeping the Club's projector and making it available to Speakers. Every forthcoming Speaker is strongly advised to read Technical Support for Speakers well in advance of the relevant Meeting.


The Club has been blessed with having had many good Speakers, both from amongst its Membership and through the introduction of Guest Speakers. The Probus Tradition of having monthly talks has proved itself of great value to our Club, providing a meaningful focus for our Monthly Meetings and interest & entertainment for our Members.

The subjects covered have been truly wide-ranging. The only constraint we keep to is that political & religious topics are to be avoided. Some Speakers have talked about aspects of their own careers & knowledge gained whilst others have looked outside of their own experience. Career-based talks have included different types of engineering (some in remote places around the world), marketing (from animal feed to lingerie), and sundry consultancy or advisory roles. Travel has proved a popular source of inspiration, for both general information on a country and for more esoteric experiences. There have been talks about Historical Matters & Events, both ancient and modern. The talk in November 2014, which covered Spanish wines and involved the tasting of 12 different wines and a quiz (including 'Which one was not Spanish?'), was particularly well attended even though it is rare for Members to find out what the topic is until the day!

Talks in 2022: 'Rhodesia', 'The Great Exhibition 1851', 'Transporting commercial liquids & dangerous agrochemicals', 'Growing vines' and 'Being a Vet'.
Talks in 2021: [Meetings recommenced in July 2021 following relaxation of the regulations concerning the pandemic.] 'Agricultural Consultancy wordwide', 'Newport's Medieval Ship', 'TV & film extracts about our region', 'Iceland', 'Fair Oak cider mill' and 'The City of Hereford Revealed'.
Talks in 2020: 'Coffee' and 'The March of Ewyas (The Longtown Castles Project)'. [The meetings from March onwards were cancelled because of the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.]
Talks in 2019: 'Farmers First: exporting sheep and operating abattoirs', 'Training racehorses', 'Refurbishing tools in Tanzania', 'London Underground signalling systems', 'From PC to CI with the Met', 'Places to visit - Iron to Iron', 'Conserving Herefordshire's Kettle Holes (Ice Age Pools)', 'A465 Heads of the Valley Road (Section 2: Gilwern to Brynmawr)', 'Herefordshire Talking News (for the Blind)', 'Metal Detecting' and 'Art Installation commemorating The Royal Charter shipwreck of 1859'.
Talks in 2018: 'Heart Start (first aid after a heart attack)', 'Kosovo in 1999 (Real News)', 'Eight stringed instruments: Celtic harp, hammered dulcimer, tenor guitar, bouzouki, Appalachian mountain dulcimer, mandolin, tenor ukulele, and a koto-tampura-monochord hybrid', 'Bolivia', 'Electronics in Space', 'The Ten Pound Tourists who worked their way around Australia', 'Using my computer', 'Global strategic trends', 'A (Church of England) Priest in Portugal', 'A Life of Crime (experiences as an 'at the scene' police officer)' and 'Sainsbury's supermarket revolution'.
Talks in 2017: 'Rowland Vaughan (who drowned the meadows)', 'Harness Racing', 'Rally Driving', 'Knee Replacement', 'Scot's Expedition to Antarctica', 'A cruise along the coast of Norway', 'Pre-history of The Black Mountains', 'Crossing the Isthmus by wet and dry canal', 'The Brecon Beacons National Park', 'Dr. Henry Graves Bull (a polymath in Victorian Hereford)' and 'Supporting Health & Well Being outside of normal NHS procedures'.
Talks in 2016: 'Working with the Naval & Air Force Intelligence Services', 'Fundraising for St. Michael's Hospice', 'The 1942 raids on Bruneval & St. Nazaire', 'HMS Hood', 'A life of adventure through mountaineering', 'Farming in Zambia', 'The Wye & Usk Foundation & farming's effects on rivers', 'Inheritance issues in a study of Genealogy', 'From Kashgar to the base camps of K2', 'Investigating motor vehicle fires' and 'Working in Antarctica'.
Talks in 2015: 'Oil & Gas Exploration & Production in the North Sea', 'A Career in the Buildings Services Sector', 'A Photographic History of The Herefordshire Regiment up to and including Gallipoli', 'Working as a Musical Director', 'Living with Arabs - a woman's experiences in Jordan', 'Tales of an
undercover Customs officer', 'Diseases & pests affecting British trees', 'Constructing the Power Storage Station at Dinorwig', 'Dore Community Transport', 'Bees & bee-keeping' and 'The Restoration & Maintenance of Dore Abbey'.
Talks in 2014 included: 'The development of the Panama Canal', 'Participating in the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant', 'Living in Finland', 'From The City to Tajikistan' and 'Spanish wine'.


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