Sunday 16 June 2019

Quick-witted Pat takes silver in Norwich Toastmasters finals

'No man is an island', the poet John Donne wrote, and neither are Toastmasters Clubs and their members.

This was very much in evidence at the District 71 Irish and British Conference which took place in Norwich last weekend. Toastmasters members from all over the UK and Ireland mixed and mingled in an exhilarating and intoxicating weekend of competition, workshops, keynote speakers and fun.

It was a global village for Toastmasters. It was a weekend when old friendships were renewed and new ones were made. It was a weekend that was crammed with eight Semi finals and four Finals spread across three memorable days and Speakeasy were at the heart of it.

In the District Final of the Humorous Speech Competition, Dermot Carey of Dublin emerged victorious with a hugely enjoyable speech - "PBC". It was not about a certain Secondary School in Cork but was a hilarious commentary on the boring, grey and dull world of accountants, auditors and actuaries, delivered by an accountant.

Among the other participants in this Final was Laura Mehigan of Douglas Toastmasters with her wonderfully entertaining speech on the terror of snoring - "My New Product". Laura presented a top class presentation but finished outside the top three placings.

In the International Speech Contest Final, Philip Khan - Pani of Society Toastmasters in Dublin took First Prize with his uplifting speech - "Forever Second?" This is Philip's fourth time to achieve the top prize in this competition and previously finished second in the World Championship Final in 1995. Second place was taken by Gerry Dunn of Glasgow Toastmasters with a thoughtful and hilarious account of his teaching days in a tough neighbourhood.

Speakeasy Toastmasters were represented in two contests by Pat Sexton. In the Speech Evaluation Contest, Pat battled his way through the Semi Final on Friday to take his place in the District Final on Sunday where he attempted to retain the prize he won at last year's Cork Conference. On this occasion victory eluded him as the main prize went to Simon May of Leeds City Toastmasters, with Vinette Hoffman Jackson of Bedford Speakers in runner - up place.

Among the other contestants in this competition was Margaret O'Flynn of the Talking Heads Toastmasters in Garryvoe.

In the Table Topics Contest, Pat emerged as a Semi Final winner with his unconventional answer to the question - "What is your favourite food and why?" In the District Final, without any preparation, participants had to answer - "In a movie about your life, which actor would play the lead role and would it be a comedy, love story, tragedy or thriller?" In an exciting and hilarious verbal joust, Pat was narrowly beaten into second place by Vinette Hoffman Jackson of Bedford Speakers.

This is the sixth occasion that Pat has achieved second place in this competition, as well as winning it on three other occasions.

All journeys in Toastmasters begin at the Club and Speakeasy will hold their next club meeting on tonight Thursday, May 16 in the Hibernian Hotel commencing at 8pm. Even though the evenings are lengthening, it is still a great time to sample the Toastmasters experience.

For more information on this Club, please check out their website or on Facebook.