News

Evaluation and Topics contests

Saturday, February 3rd, 2024

Jeff Denton gave the target speech for the club Evaluation contest on 18th January entitled “Cheers”, an informative and humorous look at the prohibition era. There were three entrants with judge Peter Wilson declaring Neil Wilson the winner. He and runner up John Holian will represent the club at the Yorkshire & North East area contests on 11th February in York.

The same three entered the Topics contest with John Holian coming out on top and Howard Herbert runner up.

Here is the club line up for the area contests:

Speech:          Neil Wilson and John Holian

Evaluation:     Neil Wilson and John Holian

Topics:           John Holian and Howard Herbert

Neil’s fourth win on the bounce

Sunday, November 26th, 2023

Neil Wilson won the club speech contest for the fourth consecutive time on Thursday 16th November with a speech entitled “Live to Work or Work to Live” as he took stock of his career and his plans for an active and fulfilling retirement.

John Holian was runner up with a speech entitled “A Good Night” and Howard Herbert completed the contest with “Fitzroy”, the title derived from the shipping forecast area. The judge was Niki Boersma.

Neil and John will represent the club at the Area contests, likely to be in February 2024.

National Conference, Cardiff

Friday, April 28th, 2023

The Cardiff Masonic Hall was the venue for the ASC National Conference on 21st and 22nd April.

Chris Clissitt was runner up in the topics contest on Friday evening. The subject was “Quality or Quantity”. The winner was Rob Waldron of Stourbridge – the same winner as 2019 in Edinburgh when John Holian secured 3rd place.

Chris took 3rd place in the evaluation contest on Saturday morning when the target speaker was Ian Brown of our newly formed Newcastle Club who delivered a speech entitled “Land”.

Anne Todd of Halifax & Huddersfield delivered a marvellous speech on Saturday afternoon, “Wainwright or Wainwrong” and secured 3rd place (behind winner Diana Douglas of Garstang and runner up Grace Hendry Nash of Glasgow.) This is the 3rd consecutive year in which Halifax & Huddersfield have been placed in the speech contest after Anne’s 2nd in 2021 and Kathryn Loftus’s 3rd in 2022. Next time….

So a second and two thirds for Eastern – no golds, but we did win more trophies than any other region.

Certificate for Jan

Sunday, April 23rd, 2023

Jan Seymour received her Foundation Certficate of Achievement from our Club President, John Holian, in April. The certificate is awarded for completing the first five assignments in the Speakers Guide, which Jan has achieved with some aplomb, delivering several entertaining and memorable speeches

Regional two timer

Monday, March 20th, 2023

At the Eastern Regional contests in Bramhope on Saturday 11th March Chris Clissitt won the evaluation and topics contests. The speech contest was won by Anne Todd of Halifax & Huddersfield with “The Wave”. Neil Wilson represented Wetherby in this contest and gave a fine rendition of his speech, “Sink or Swim.”

The runners up were; speech Jayaraj Nambiar (Craven); evaluation Anne Todd (H&H); topics Jonathan Millar (H&H).

Four clubs took part (Craven, Halifax & Huddersfield, Wetherby and York) and the winners will represent the region at the national contests in Cardiff on 21st and 22nd April. The judges, Tom Scott (national vice president) and Tony Scott (past national president) travelled down from Edinburgh for the day and helped to make the day a success with an excellent suimming up and some great pieces of advice.

Winners, runners up and judges (Tom and Tony Scott, back row).

Bill Mitchell

Sunday, February 12th, 2023

We were saddened to learn of the death of Bill Mitchell on the 23rd January at the age of 87.

Bill at a Wetherby SC dinner

He was a talented speaker and contributed a great deal to the ASC over many years. He was a great supporter of our club too, attending our dinners, judging our competitions, delivering educational sessions and taking part in many an inter club visit.

Bill was a founder member of Wharfedale SC in 1979, helped to establish York RI SC and served as National President 1987-88. He was the instigator of ‘speaking to a declared purpose’, originally known as prescription speaking, but which now comes under the heading ‘Applied Speaking’ and can be found in the Speakers Guide. He spent his final years devoted to his wife, Margaret, following her stroke.

Joe James, past national president, wrote: “My  memories of Bill are that at first meeting he seemed rather severe and forbidding, but as one got to know him his wonderful dry sense of humour became an absolute delight. What at first appeared to be severity gradually revealed itself to be truly a meticulous sense of what was right and appropriate, and a manifestation of the highest standards of speaking and organisation which he set for himself and encouraged others to set for themselves. When you knew Bill was in the audience, you would not dare to deliver anything less than your best performance.”

And this from Denise Adlard: “His stern rather formal demeanour disguised a generosity of spirit, a willingness to help,  guide and support and most of all a wicked dry sense of humour.”

Evaluation and Topic Contests

Saturday, January 21st, 2023

Peter Wilson gave the target speech for the club Evaluation contest on 19th January entitled “Apocalypse Fatigue”. There were three entrants with judge Jeff Denton declaring Chris Clissitt the winner. He will represent the club at the regional contests in March.

The same three entered the Topics contest with Chris Clissitt selected as the winner by judge Jan Seymour.

As for last year, there will be no Area contests this year. There are only four clubs in the region entering contests (Wetherby, York, Craven and Halifax & Huddersfield) and all will progress directly to the Eastern Regional contests on 11th March in Bramhope.

Here is the club line up for the regional contests:

Speech:          Neil Wilson

Evaluation:     Chris Clissitt

Topics:           Chris Clissitt

Club Speech Contest 2022/23

Friday, November 18th, 2022

Neil Wilson made it a hat trick as he retained the club speech trophy on Thursday 17th November with a speech entitled “Cup of Dreams” about the joy and excitement of the forthcoming World Cup.

Jan Seymour was runner up with a speech entitled “Roots” which explored where we feel that we truly have our roots, appropriately enough!

There were four competitors in all with Niki Boersma and Howard Herbert also delivering fine speeches. The judge was Peter Wilson. Neil will represent the club at the next stage which will be at the Area or Regional contests. Jan may also represent the next stage depending on the number of clubs in the region who choose to participate.

National Conference St Anne’s On Sea

Wednesday, May 4th, 2022

The Dalmeny Hotelm, St Anne’s On Sea hosted the 2022 National Conference on Friday 29th and Saturday 30th April.

All three Eastern Region contestants were from Halifax & Huddersfield – Jan Millar in topics, Anne Todd in evaluation and Kathryn Loftus in the the speech contest.

Kathryn took third place in the speech contest with “The Humble Potato”, a most entertaining and superbly delivered speech. A remarkable achievement when you consider that Kathryn only joined the ASC last November! The winner was Jill Finney of Leamington SC and Chris Clissitt was chief judge.

A report on the event can be found here on the main ASC website.

Kathryn in action at St Anne’s On Sea

Treble silver at regional contests

Friday, April 8th, 2022

John Holian made it a hat trick of silver medals at the Eastern Regional contests at Bramhope on Saturday 26th March. With unerring consistency John took the runners up spot in the speech, evaluation and topics contests, a very fine achievement tinged with the frustration of missing out so narrowly three times. John’s speech was entitled “A Place In The Sun”, while Neil Wilson also represented the club with his speech, “I’ve Got A Little List.” Here’s to next year!

Halifax & Huddersfield supplied the winners of all three contests, Kathryn Loftus in the speech contest (“The Curious Monocle”), Anne Todd in evaluation and Jan Millar in topics.

Congratulations to all three who will represent Eastern Region in the National Contests on 29th and 30th April in St Anne’s on Sea.

Evaluation and topics contests

Friday, January 21st, 2022

Jan Seymour gave the target speech for the club Evaluation contest on 20th January, an intriguing piece entitled “The Importance of the Fronted Adverbial.” There were just two entrants with judge Jeff Denton declaring John Holian the winner and Neil Wilson runner up. Both will represent the club at the regional contests in March.

There were a few more entrants for the Topics contest, five in all, with the result decided by audience vote rather than by a judge. Chris Clissitt was the winner with John Holian runner up.

There will be no Area contests this year. There are only three clubs in the region entering contests (Wetherby, York and Halifax & Huddersfield) and all three will progress directly to the Eastern Regional contests in March.

Here is the club line up for the regional contests:

Speech:          Neil Wilson & John Holian

Evaluation:     John Holian & Neil Wilson

Topics:           Chris Clissitt & John Holian

Club Speech Contest 2021/22

Friday, November 5th, 2021

Neil Wilson retained the club speech trophy on Thursday 4th November with a speech entitled “Playing the Game”, in which he extolled the virtues and benefits of participating in sport. He previously won the trophy in 2019, with 2020 being a fallow year owing to lockdown restrictions.

John Holian was runner up with a speech entitled “Who do you think you are?” which explored the premise that you can anything you want to be.

The judge was Chris Clissitt. Neil and John will represent the club at the Vale of York Area Speech Contest on 6th February 2022 in York.

The evening also featured a debut from our newest member, Jan Seymour,  who delivered a most entertaining speech entitled “This is me.”

Face to face at last….followed by the National Conference

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2021

Thursday 16th September saw the return of Wetherby Speakers Club to Linton Memorial Hall for our first face to face meeting since February 2020 and what a welcome relief it was! Zoom was invaluable through the Covid interregnum, keeping us in touch and in practice, but nothing beats speaking to a live audience. Being able to see the audience reaction, the immediacy of the feedback, the “feel” of  the venue, the shared humour, the tangible bonhomie…..much missed over the last 19 months, and so good to be back!

We were treated to two excellent speeches, all the better for the “live” setting. Niki Boersma spoke on “Camping or Caribbean” and Lisa Duffield delivered “The Circus.”

Two days later on Saturday 18th September the National Conference took place at Birmingham Repertory Theatre, the first attended conference since April 2019. A report on the event can be found here on the main ASC website.

Chris Clissitt acted as a judge in both the Speech and Topics contests and took part in the Evaluation contest, finishing in 3rd place. Anne Todd of Halifax & Huddersfield SC did our region proud with a fascinating and entertaining speech entitled “Long Live Language” which secured 2nd pace and some deserved silverware.

Committee roll over for 2021/22

Sunday, May 23rd, 2021

At the club AGM on 20th May it was a case of “as you were” when incumbents in every position were re-elected. The position of Education Director had already changed last September when Peter Wilson took over from Jocelyn Brooks.

 

The new season will kick off on Thursday 16th September at Linton Memorial Hall assuming it is open and available. There will also be a series of three or four Zoom meetings in June and July – dates TBA.

This is the full committee:

President: John Holian

Immediate past President: Peter Wilson

Treasurer: Howard Herbert

Education Director: Peter Wilson

Social Secretary: Niki Boersma

Publicity Officer: Neil Wilson

Secretary & Webmaster: Chris Clissitt

Sandra Barton

Friday, May 7th, 2021

We were saddened to learn of the death of Sandra Barton on 9th April.Sandra Barton 2003 (2)

Sandra was a great friend to Wetherby Speakers Club. Over the years she regularly attended our dinners, judged our contests and was a constant source of advice, wisdom and humour.  She was a member of Leeds SC and when the club folded she joined Wharfedale SC.

Sandra was probably the first lady to visit Wetherby Speakers Club when we became a mixed club many years ago.

She was a great servant to the ASC and was National President in 2002-3, only the second lady to hold that office. The picture is from her presidential year handing the Speaker of the Year trophy to Simon Weston in Cardiff in January 2003.

Meeting date changes for 2021

Friday, February 12th, 2021

A few changes to our dates for the rest of the season to avoid clashes with York. This will allow members of both clubs to join each others’ meetings.

Here are the dates for the remainder of the season (all dates are Thursdays):

18-Feb-21 York
25-Feb-21  Wetherby
04-Mar-21  York
11-Mar-21  Wetherby
18-Mar-21  York
25-Mar-21  Wetherby
01-Apr-21  York
08-Apr-21  Wetherby
15-Apr-21  York
22-Apr-21  Wetherby
29-Apr-21 York AGM
06-May-21 Wetherby
13-May-21
20-May-21 Wetherby AGM

2020/21 Committee

Wednesday, June 17th, 2020

At the club AGM held on Zoom on 3rd June there were some changes to the committee for 2020/21  including a new committee role of Social Media Co-ordinator.

John Holian took over from Peter Wilson as President, Howard Herbert stepped in as Treasurer and Lisa Duffield was appointed Social Media Co-ordinator. The new role came about following the National Secretary’s request for committee details including “Social Media”, a new position not defined in the current guide which combines the social media responsibilities of several existing roles.  Successful clubs often attribute membership growth to their use of social media and it was agreed that our club would benefit from co-ordinating activity across all channels including Facebook, LinkedIn, Meetup, local websites, links on our own website and any other channels deemed appropriate. Lisa Duffield offered her services, already familiar with using social media to promote her business, and was enthusiastically and unanimously voted in! Members can continue to contribute as they do now within the overall strategy for social media set by our new office holder.

 

Dates were agreed on the assumption that we will be able to meet in person from September and that Linton Memorial Hall is open and available. The new season is scheduled to kick off on Thursday 17th September at 8pm.

This is the full committee:

President: John Holian

Immediate past President: Peter Wilson

Treasurer: Howard Herbert

Education Director: Jocelyn Brooks

Social Media Co-ordinator: Lisa Duffield

Social Secretary: Niki Boersma

Publicity Officer: Neil Wilson

Secretary & Webmaster: Chris Clissitt

The season continues online

Saturday, May 16th, 2020

The club have now conducted 4 meetings using Zoom video conferencing – on 2nd, 16th & 30th April and 14th May.

With cameras in place and technology mastered, meetings have featured speeches and evaluations followed by a “chain” topics session where one member gives a topic to another member, who gives a topic to the next member, and so on until all have spoken. Then each evaluates the topic  by the member to whom they had given a topic.  The sessions have all been good fun and enjoyed by all.

The feel might be different from speaking to an audience in the same room but is far better than not speaking and it provides the opportunity to learn both new technology and a different technique.

The next meeting will be our AGM on Thursday 28th May commencing 8.05 pm (to allow time for the applause for the NHS at 8 pm.)

Peter Ryans shines on club visit to York

Wednesday, April 1st, 2020

In what turned out to be the last meeting before the season was suspended, five members of Wetherby SC visited York RISC on Thursday 12th March for our biannual joint meeting.

Peter Ryans with the InterCity trophy

Peter Ryans with the InterCity trophy

Peter Ryans won the Inter City Trophy for the best speech of the night, his topical and witty piece entitled “Just Do It” ably evaluated by Sarah Daniel.  The name of the trophy provides a clue to the era in which the prize originated! The meeting was evaluated by Peter Wilson of Wetherby SC.

District AGM and the future of the ASC (and another trophy for Wetherby!)

Saturday, March 7th, 2020

The National Education Director, Tom Scott, travelled from Edinburgh to speak at the Eastern District AGM on Sunday 1st March at The Bridge Inn, Walshford. He spoke eloquently about the need for change if the ASC is to survive long term. The current structure was designed for a membership of 3-4000 whereas our numbers have fallen to approximately 1100.

Tom Scott at The Bridge Inn

Tom Scott at The Bridge Inn

He facilitated a productive discussion about the motions proposed at the national AGM in April, namely: one member one vote; two year terms for certain national officers (including the president); the 6 region model (to replace 8 districts); the adoption of the new constitution to reflect these changes.

Tom’s session also featured a lively conversation about the new evaluation guideline not to pass or ask to repeat any of the first five assignments. This is about retaining new members. The risk of losing someone is much lower after completing the first five assignments, and in any case we can expect to see substantial improvement during that stage through practice and constructive feedback.

The district contests preceded the AGM. Chris Clissitt won the evaluation contest and will represent Eastern District on 26th April in Manchester. Halifax & Huddersfield provided the winners of both of the other contests: Trevor Millar in the topics and Anne Todd in the speech contest with her excellent and very much of the moment piece entitled “Post Truth.”

 

Vale of York Area Contests and AGM

Sunday, February 2nd, 2020

Wetherby retained the Area evaluation trophy at the Vale of York Area contests on Sunday 2nd February. Chris Clissitt won the contest with John Holian runner-up.

Chris Clissitt receives the evaluation trophy from chief judge Denise Adlard

Chris Clissitt receives the evaluation trophy from chief judge Denise Adlard

Clive Dawson of York RI Speakers Club won both the speech and topics contests. Neil Wilson was runner up in the former with his speech “They Go Low, We Go High” and Chris Clissitt in the latter.

Neil Wilson agreed to stay on as Area President for a second term in 2020/21.

Evaluation and Topics contests

Saturday, January 18th, 2020

John Holian retained the club topics crown on Thursday 16th January with Chris Clissitt runner up. Unfortunately John is barred from further progress in the topics contests as he came third in the national final last year, but this gives a great opportunity to Lisa Duffield who came a highly commendable third to enter the Vale of York Area Contests on 2nd February.

As last year, the decision was made by judges rather than audience vote. Philip Solity and Catriona Webb obliged as adjudicators.

Jeff Denton gave the target speech for the Evaluation contest, a discourse on Superman  entitled “Man of Steel”. In a repeat of last year’s result, Chris Clissitt was the winner with John Holian runner up.

The Vale of York Area contests take place at York RI Bowls Club on Sunday 2nd February 2020. Howard Herbert is unable to attend and John Holian will take his place. Here is the club line up for the area contests:

Speech:          Neil Wilson & John Holian

Evaluation:     Chris Clissitt & John Holian

Topics:           Chris Clissitt & Lisa Duffield

Club Speech Contest 2019/20

Tuesday, December 24th, 2019

Neil Wilson won the club speech trophy on Thursday 5th December with a speech entitled “They Go Low, We Go High”, in which he paid tribute to three prominent politicians of the last century.

Howard Herbert was runner up with a speech entitled  “Extinction”, a look at some of the science behind climate change and what we can do about it.

The judge was Catriona Webb from Bradford Speakers Club. Neil and Howard will represent the club at the Vale of York Area Speech Contest on 2nd February 2020 in York.

The evening also featured a debut speech from our youngest member, Ruby Latham, who delivered a persuasive, humorous and well constructed piece entitled “Teenage Dreams.”

2019/20 Committee

Sunday, June 23rd, 2019

At the club AGM on 9th May there were only two changes to the committee. Niki Boersma moved to Social Secretary after two years as Education Director, a role which will be filled by Jocelyn Brooks. Peter Wilson will continue as President for a second year.

Neil Wilson will be Vale of York Area President in 2019/20 in addition to his role as club Publicity Officer.

The new season will kick off on Thursday 19th September at Linton Memorial Hall.

This is the full committee:

President: Peter Wilson

Vice President: Rachel Kato

Treasurer: John Holian

Education Director: Jocelyn Brooks

Secretary: Chris Clissitt

Social Secretary: Niki Boersma

Publicity Officer: Neil Wilson

Webmaster: Chris Clissitt

Silverware at National Finals in Edinburgh

Tuesday, April 30th, 2019

Ramana, Chris and 3rd placed Lucy Pitts with speech contest trophies

Ramana, Chris and 3rd placed Lucy Pitts with speech contest trophies

Chris Clissitt won the National Speech Contest for the third time in Edinburgh on Saturday 27th April with a speech about customer satisfaction surveys entitled “How was it for you?” The runner up was Ramana Sundara, known to us as Eastern District President and a member of York RI SC, but this time representing Midlands District through his membership of Newark SC. Both are past national winners, Ramana in 2016 and Chris in 2013 and 2015, becoming the first person to win three times.

There was more silverware for Wetherby SC in the Topics Contest where John Holian gained third place speaking on the subject “Mistakes.”  John delivered an excellent topic, well worthy of the honour in a high standard competition.