Colin Brown: Ordnance Survey Ancient and Modern

27th March 2014
Colin Brown gave a talk on Ordnance Survey, and how they became world leaders in mapping. The story took us through Tudor times to the nineteenth century realisation of the dream to create good maps of the whole country. We heard how from then on, larger and larger scale maps were developed and played such a crucial part in our becoming the leading industrialised nation in the world. The importance of maps in war was also featured. At the end, Colin told a little of his work with maps now and about his colleague’s story of multiple strokes suffered recently whilst still in her forties.

David Brake speaking about Scouting

30th January 2014
Councillor David Brake was our speaker today and he told us about how Scouting had influenced his life. He joined as a Wolf Cub aged 8 years in 1955 and progressed until he was an Assistant Scout Master aged 18 years in 1965. He held various positions and is currently Chairman of Medway District Scouts. Whilst undertaking Voluntary Services Overseas he was sent to Ecuador to work with the Ecuadorian Scout Association where he met his wife.
David informed us that the aim of Scouts is to support young people and that it was founded in 1907 by Lieutenant General Robert Stephenson Smythe Baden-Powell, who became Lord Baden Powell. He has the grand title of ‘Chief Scout of the World’ His sister Agnes founded the Girl Guides in 1910. Activities include camping, and outdoor pursuits and the highlight is often the campfires. Fun and friendship is valued in the Scout movement.
There have been many changes over the years including that of the uniform, badges, policy, and promise and now girls can join the Scouts! From 1907 until 1966 the uniform remained the same but in 1966 it changed and this included the introduction long trousers.
Today there is Scouting in 216 countries, 41 million members across the world, and 476.000 in the UK, 22.000 being in Kent and over 4.000 in Medway alone.

Radio Broadcasting by Clive Laurence

10th October 2013
The speaker, Clive Laurence introduced himself and talked about his previous role within Radio Kent. He told us of some of the background to the programmes and their presenters, some of whom are still broadcasting.
He talked about the problems from years ago before modern technology, of the large cumbersome equipment and reporters having to telephone stories in from public telephone boxes. All of this was interspersed with amusing anecdotes.
He also played clips from previous radio shows and news reports highlighting the problems and mistakes they made. Our very own bloopers show.

All of our members found it very amusing we rounded off the afternoon talking about the forthcoming DAB medium which is not without its problems.

Talk from Kent Fire and Rescue Service

12th September 2013
Today our speaker was Simon Berton who is a Community Engagement Officer, and represented the Kent Fire and Rescue Service.
All to often we think we know all about fire safety, but not only did Simon remind us of the basic rules, he gave us new good advice, answered questions, left all members with a very useful booklet and informed the group of the Free Home Safety Advice and Services, for the over 65s. 0800 923 7000
Simon gave a presentation, and explained that those living alone, had a lack of mobility, ill health, had eye sight or health problems or suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia could be some of the people especially at risk. He explained how they could be helped, and the equipment that might be useful. These could include an ordinary smoke alarm or a Wi Safe smoke alarm, some having a strobe alarm and there is also a vibrating alarm that at night can be put under the pillow of someone who is deaf.
The fire risks are cooking and fires in the kitchen at 65%, which could be caused by such things at tea cloths and kitchen roll being too close to the cooker and catching fire, other risks are heating, smoking and general lifestyles.
Simon said… that in the case of a fire shout FIRE and not help. To remain calm and dial 999. To also have an escape plan.
Often fires are started by faulty electrical equipment, and to check items that have been recalled the web site to visit is
Its great to be out and about, such as at the theatre or on holiday but again it is important to check where the fire doors are, and to familiarize yourself with your surroundings.
We were advised to close doors at night and unplug sockets…however this does not include the fridge or freezer!!!!
Simons talked to the group with enthusiasm, and was clear and concise, and members were keen to get home and put all they had learnt into practice.

My Family and other Set backs by Mel Rees

July 25th 2013
Our speaker today was Mel Rees whose subject was ‘My Family and other Set backs’ This was a very loose title for a talk as he spoke for an hour on everyday humorous events and ideas.
The members spent the whole time laughing as he told stories.
He found most people secret snobs, such as, people who don’t admit to living in Brighton (unless they over look the marina) but instead say Hove. So much so that now the place has become the double barrelled name of ‘Hove Actually’ He explained that from birth he has been a disappointment to his mother as she had planned to give birth in Kensington, but as he was overdue she had to go to Lime House, Mile End in Battersea. He has never been forgiven!
He continued that the large fence round his house wasn’t to keep the dog in, but to keep the children who had once left home from coming back.
The anecdotes continued none stop but when he had finished, members were keen to talk to Mel about their experiences and to buy his books and CD which he kindly signed to each individual.
Mel can be contacted on 01252 314585, e mail and he can be found on the web @ as this is the pseudonym under which he writes.
As Mel gives a variety of talks I’m sure it wont be long before we welcome him back to cheer us up again.

Being a Magistrate by Mrs Margaret Wood

24th January 2013
Our speaker today was Mrs Margaret Wood, a magistrate from the North Kent Bench of magistrates who gave a presentation to club members on her role of “Being a Magistrate” as part of the Magistrates in the Community aspect of the magistracy. The talk together with a powerpoint presentation and audience participation covered a variety of aspects from the procedure for appointment to some historical facts concerning the magistracy. Margaret also spoke of some amusing cases and work she had encountered during her sittings over the eight years that she has been a magistrate.

Some facts we learnt were there are over 28.000 magistrates in the country, who can be aged between 18 and 70 years old. No qualifications are needed to be a magistrate as training is giving, there is no pay but personal expenses are reimbursed.
There are 3 magistrates on The Bench; the main person is ‘the chair’ and the remaining 2 ‘wingers’
Magistrates deal with criminal, not civil crime, and 95% of cases stay with the Magistrates court. However more serious crimes are sent to the Crown Court as often heavier sentencing is needed which the magistrates cannot give. Magistrates deal with crimes such as driving offences, shop lifting, assault, problems related to football and the railways, cruelty to animals, environment cases, internet scams, and Margaret also stated ‘boring’ cases of dealing with unpaid TV licences!

Margaret informed the group that she can be on the Bench up to 50 times a year and that no two days are ever the same.