MICKLETON SOCIETY: President John Atherton welcomed Marian Canning, Lady Toastmaster, who spoke of her duties and experiences in 'An unusual job for a Lady'. Marian had a strong speaking voice as a child, and encouraged by her mother, gained a diploma in the art of public speaking. She worked first with the GPO, and then hearing toastmaster gaffes at a dinner thought she could do better, and trained with David Tilt who tested her voice power by making her do announcements on top of the Malvern Hills before taking her on. Marian is one of 15 lady toastmasters. She meets people and travels all over the country. She works at events and functions for celebrities, charities, companies and weddings. Toastmasters relieve the hosts of anxieties as to timings, introductions and announcements, and liase with other staff beforehand. They learn names and protocol, so as to correctly address those present who are in the Services, Church, Peerage, or are Academics, Mayors or JPs. There is a need to cope with people, seating hundreds on time for presentation dinners, and deal with inappropriate smokers, tearful brides and even a groom! Weddings can be great fun, from palatial marquees to civil weddings where anything goes from animals being present to bands and poetry readings.

Marian carries her gavels and supplies that she has previously been asked for to deal with different emergencies from braces, stockings, Selotape for hems, to a cigar trimmer. She now also carries a spare uniform, since a male colleague gallantly stepping aside for the bride to be photographed, had an unfortunate fall into a garden pond! Jean Ware gave the vote of thanks. The AGM is on April 2 followed by a talk on 'The Bells of Chipping Campden'.