4th April 2019 – Richard Griffin – My life as a personal bodyguard to HM Queen and HRH Duke of Edinburgh

Richard Griffin was, in 1981, selected to be a Personal Protection Officer and was sent to Cambridge University to protect HRH The Prince Edward. He made the most of this and gained a Bachelor of Arts Degree from The Open University.

In 1986 he was promoted to Chief Inspector and moved to the Household of The Duke of Edinburgh for whom he worked for 13 very enjoyable years, the highlight of which was being attacked by a giant panda whilst on a visit to China. In 1999 he became a Personal Protection Officer to Her Majesty the Queen for whom he worked for 14 years. This period was the pinnacle of his career as he travelled throughout the world with Her Majesty. In 2010 he was promoted to Superintendent and held the position known as “The Queen’s Police Officer “until he retired in April 2013 when he was honoured by being made a Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order, a personal decoration from Her Majesty. During his career as a Royalty Protection Officer he visited over 150 different countries.

2nd May 2019 - NO MEETING

The hall is unavailable this month so there will be no monthly meeting. We will reconvene on June 6th for our next meeting which will also include the AGM

6th June 2019 – James Salter – The Mysterious Bee Hive and Honey.. This meeting will include the AGM

James Salter is a leading member  of the Yalding and District Beekeeping Association.  He will talk about the mysterious art of bee keeping and will bring an observation hive with him.  He will have some of the honey for sale.

The Annual General Meeting will be held at this meeting. we will start at 1.45pm.

4th July 2019 - Guy Bartlett, The Iranian Embassy Siege

The SAS assault, codenamed "Operation Nimrod", was broadcast live at peak time on the 5th May 1980. It was viewed by millions of people, mostly in the UK, making it a defining moment in British history. Both the BBC and ITV interrupted their scheduled programming to show the end of the siege. Now discover the inside story of what lead up to the raid, how it almost went tragically wrong, and how it cemented the Special Air Services as one of the elite Special Forces.

1st August 2019 - Janie Ramsay – Antiques – Are they worth what we think?

Janie Ramsay takes us through her experiences in the antique trade. Janie has been many years in the trade, both owning her own shops in Tunbridge Wells and later working for a large London Auctioneers. She can give us an insight into the tricks of the trade and can talk knowledgeably about both sides of the auctioneering trade from the point of view of the sellers and the buyers. She will bring t a selection of items to be passed around the audience for valuations and opinions about their age. What are best ways to buy and how to sell and realistically what we should take into consideration when selling and buying items in an auction. Never forget the auctioneers cut and the VAT!!! Get an an insight into what is genuine, what had been restored and what was fake and how to tell the difference.

5th September 2019 – Ian Keable – Charles Dickens the Conjurer

Charles Dickens was an amateur conjurer for around seven years of his life, from the time he wrote A Christmas Carol to David Copperfield. His best-known performance was on the Isle of Wight in 1849; he wrote a highly amusing, and informative playbill to promote this show. This playbill, where Dickens called himself the 'Unparalleled Necromancer', provides the focus to talk about how Dickens was inspired to take up magic, which other conjurers influenced him, whether he was any good as a conjurer and how he depicted, and wrote about, magic in his own books, articles and letters. The talk includes a description of some of Dickens' tricks from his own repertoire, plus some performances by Ian. Any questions are allowed - apart from 'how do you do it!?'

3rd October 2019 – Meet the Conveners Meeting

At this meeting you can take the opportunity to find out more about our interest groups and speak to the conveners.

7th November 2019 – Bob Horner – Bletchley Park: Britain’s Espionage Factory

 By VE Day 1945, in a small Buckinghamshire town 45 miles from London, nine thousand people were attacking the codes and ciphers of the Axis forces with remarkable success. This talk describes the wartime history of The Government Code & Cypher School and the people who worked there, and at its outstations. I outline the story of how the Enigma and Lorenz machines were broken. Finally, I give an insight into the lives and working conditions of the people who worked there.

5th December 2019 – Bertie Pierce – Wonder Workers, the Art of Illusion

From the beginning of time the fascination with magic and the impossible has been widespread. Egypt was the cradle of magic. Sorcerer Priests used scientific principles to create illusions for the edification of worship and to hold power over the people. Where there was power there was magic. Then there is the age-old skill of sleight of hand, which proves that ‘the hand is quicker than the eye’. Magicians were known as ‘Jongleurs’ lest they be sentenced to death for ‘witchcraft and conjuration’ under the edicts of Henry V111

2nd January 2020 - Brian Laverick-Smith - 30 years of bovver on the Hover

Brian Laverick-Smith - 30 years of bovver on the Hover

The title is a rather tongue in cheek description of my life driving the worlds largest Hovercraft across the channel. Set mainly against its history in Dover from 1998 till its demise in 2000, it focuses on the people that I have met and the experiences that have occurred erring to the more lighter side of life. Fully illustrated with slides and videos.

6th February 2020 - David Barry - Actors behaving badly

David Barry - Actors behaving badly

An actor for more than sixty years, David began his career at the age of 12, working in plays with Sir Laurence Olivier, Vivien Leigh and Paul Scofield, and played Frankie Abbott in the popular seventies sitcoms Please Sir! and Fenn Street Gang, and many other television shows and touring theatre productions. He also became a novelist in the new millennium and published eight crime novels and a children’s book