Speaker Notes - JANUARY & FEBRUARY 2019
Speaker names marked with an asterisk * are Dorridge U3A members
Date: Thursday 3rd January
Topic: Tanzania revisited
Speaker: Mike Wilkes
Mike has been photographing wildlife for the past 40 years. He has taken wildlife photographic trips to Tanzania, Galapagos, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Gambia. and has also run photographic schools on Wildlife photography
Date: Thursday 17th January
Topic: Neil Roberts
Speaker: The end of the end of the pier show
Neil has an extensive theatrical background covering most areas of the business. He developed an early interest and talent for magic and illusion that has continued throughout life.
Neil is often to be found behind the scenes devising and directing shows, but he is also an accomplished stage and cabaret performer. He has worked with many of today’s top magicians as advisor/producer; helping to design and develop new and original routines which have resulted in a number of prize winning acts, and commercial routines. He is also able to devise routines suitable to be incorporated into stage performances and can teach actors and non-magicians to present convincing magical sequences. Award-winning appearances in the 1980s on major magic competitions have lead to appearances on Gala Shows at magical conventions in Britain and Europe.
Neil was magical advisor to Blackpool Tower Circus, summer season 1992, helping to devise illusions for the "Magical Water Spectacular" show and he is regarded as Britain's top magical Stage Director, able to combine his vast magical knowledge with extensive experience in all branches of the theatre and showbusiness. He spent 1997/8 Christmas season as company stage manager on "Wizard's World of Wonder" nation-wide tour. Having co-written the show he was responsible for sound, lighting and effects and made several on-stage character appearances. He has also held the office of Stage Director to the British Ring of the International Brotherhood of Magicians since 1995 to the present day; where he is responsible for staging all the shows at their annual convention, working with both top international stars of magic and neophyte performers, often making their first stage appearance.
Date: Wednesday 23rd January
Topic: The Craft of the Master Thatcher
Speaker: David Wood
David has been thatching for 41 years and has had his own business since 1983. He started thatching straight after leaving school, beginning a seven year apprenticeship with Derbyshire Master Thatcher, George Mellor. He works with traditional methods and materials, and thatching takes him all over the country but predominantly he works in the Midlands. As a member and Chairman of The North of England & Scotland Master Thatcher's Association, he works hard to ensure a high quality and standard of workmanship. He loves what he does and takes great pride in doing the best job he can for his customers.
David Humphries had a career in telecommunications and after 30 years at the GPO & BT started his own telecoms company. Pam joined him in the business after careers as a nursery nurse, in retailing and then in recruitment management.
But what happens when you sell the business? Live the life of the idle rich? No such luck. In 2011 they arranged historic bus tours, mainly around Birmingham’s Outer Circle bus route giving them an interest in the history and heritage of the Second City. Then they both became volunteer tour guides at the National Trust Back to Backs in Hurst Street and at the Coffin Works in Fleet Street, Birmingham. Together, they are now delivering talks supporting these two heritage attractions and have created a talk entitled “A ‘Virtual’ Tour of the Outer Circle”. For anyone who wants to ride the Outer Circle the full tour is available on line. Not content with this, they are also now conducting guided tours at The Hippodrome Theatre and have added “A Brief History of The Hippodrome” to their repertoire of heritage talks. There’s nothing like retirement to keep you busy