London Cardinals Speech Mark

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Posted by | April 23rd, 2012 | Leave a comment

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Gilly’s Roast!

Posted by | August 23rd, 2011 | Leave a comment

Didn’t Gilly just dazzle with her red nails perfectly manicured?  If you were not able to make the Roast of Gilly Cutts then you missed a treat.  In attendance and lined up ready were some of London Cardinal’s finest Toastmasters who jumped at the chance to give Gilly a good roasting.  And what a night it was.  The scene was set, the venue sublime – whilst all around us London burned….literally!  But did we care?  No!  Because we were here to for a very special and dare I say ‘riotous’ occasion.


Paul Walsh – “The Conspiracy’

“Gilly is not who she seems to be.  I will leave no stone unturned, no voice mail unhacked, until I get to the depths of this conspiracy….how does Gilly keep her nails so red and so perfect?”

Laura McCracken – ‘Mini Ralph Smedley’

“Gilly never comes to a meeting without instilling the virtues of Ralph Smedley and she carries a picture of him around in her wallet”

Jenny Cutler – ‘Camp Gilly’ (Poem)

“Our Gilly Cutts is our special godmother, cardinally hooded – the star of the show.  She is the gaiest and glitziest camp mother hen.  She is the heart and soul of this club to the core.”

James Gilpin – ‘Gilly Cutts’ Earrings

“I asked to borrow Gilly’s earrings to improve my speech making but instead they have given me short term memory loss!”

James Marshall – ‘Hacking the Truth’

“I am going to make tall tales walk the plank.  Come over from the dark side Gilly, because your act is a dead parrot!”

Kristie West – ‘Thank You’

“It would be lovely to thank all of the things that Gilly has done for us.  Gilly is the epitome of what Toastmasters is all about.”

Gilly’s right of reply

Gilly on Paul: “Wear that yellow wig – put it on and wear it like the man you are.  We all know who the real conspiracy theorist is.”

Gilly on Laura: “We all know that Laura is the spy.  Let it be known that I know Laura’s real passion is my husband!”

Gilly on Jenny: “The overwhelmed poet laureate of London Cardinals.  I will cherish that poem forever.”

Gilly on James Gilpin: “He thought borrowing my earrings was the thing.  It doesn’t matter what you do – borrowing my earrings will not give you style!”

Gilly on James Marshall: “Apparently the speech was meant to be funny.  If you own gay shirts you might as well go the whole hog.”

Gilly on Kristie: “A beautiful speech.  I just loved it.  We love Kristie – the rebel.”

There are more photos of the evening here:


Newsletter 18.07.11 – What’s in a name?

Posted by | July 24th, 2011 | Leave a comment


“Is this really summer?”

The newest and proudest President of London Cardinals, Jessie ‘Anne’ Macneil-Brown, challenged us to do something that inspires us.  Jessie spent the weekend ankle deep in mud at a festival in the pouring rain, but was inspired by the love and the warmth of the people surrounding her – despite the depressing and glum weather we have been having of late.

It was thrilling to welcome our immediate past president Gilly Cutts back on to the programme again.  Gill set the theme of the evening: Middle Names “Tell me if you have a middle name, and what would it be if you don’t have one?”

Our rookie Timekeeper and new member, Dara ‘Subola Oluwadara Lanlehin’ did a sterling job of keeping us on time and wasn’t afraid to use the horn: “I can’t grab you out of your seat but I can toot this horn!” Harkmaster, Monica ‘Frances’ Chong, explained all about the new role of Harkmaster and asked us all to “sharpen our ears” and listen out to the words of speeches.

Nigel ‘James’ Cutts, Table Topics Master, set the theme of ‘newspapers and newspaper headlines’ for the Table Topics.  Stephan Von Posern: “donating just works.”  “Murdoch seemed to be ruling the world!” Maggie Etheridge.  Paul Walsh: What Power Point has not done for him – “we should not rely on the power of Power Point.”  Jessie Macneil-Brown: “English men are so much better than Aussie men.”  Jason Chan: A teacher who encouraged him to try everything at least once.  Sally Maier-Yip: What to do to combat a phobia.  Alex Hancock: “Communication is 90% non-verbal – so meeting face to face is the key.”  Jenny Cutler: “I’m for proper speaking.” Andrew Addison: How to get inspiration to go out and work every day.  Gilly Cutts: No desire to see all the other Harry Potter films – the first one is the best.  Laura McCracken: Favourite place is South Africa, “South Africa is like heaven to me.”   Rachel ‘Ann’ Luft gave a very thorough and humorous Table Topics evaluation of 11 table topics, professionally completed well within the time available.

Sergeant at Arms – Alexander Hancock – introduced 5 guests expertly remembering all their names “guests are the lifeblood of Toastmasters and London Cardinals.”  Sally Maier-Yip was our camera operator manning the video recorder to record the prepared speeches.

Saket ‘Asaf’ Modi, Speech No. 5 – ‘The joys of fatherhood’ “Two’s company, three’s family”

“Really brought in to the room the warmth and joy he feels from fatherhood” –Andrew ‘Simon’ Addison                                                                                                                                         

Jessica Forster, Speech No. 5 – ‘Those pesky little pests’ “Wasps are the devil’s seed”

“A learned and entertaining treatise on the fear of wasps” – Paul ‘Adrian’ Walsh

‘Sarah’ Jane Chambers, Speech No. 7 – ‘It’s epic’ “Be inspired by the huge canvas of stories online that inspired me and hopefully will inspire you”

“A very enlightening speech, a perfect number seven” – Lady Laura ‘Christine’ McCracken

Bryant Yates, Speech No. 10 – ‘The Big C’ “An amazing individual decimated by this disease”

“I learnt so much from this speech.  Brilliant and well thought out” – Saint Jenny ‘Genevieve’ Cutler

Our General Evaluator – Anne Craven – gave some great feedback to the club as well as those who had not been evaluated during the meeting. “How can I not feel welcomed at this club?”



Best Table Topic: Jenny Cutler

Best Evaluator:     Laura McCracken

Best Speech:        Bryant Yates

 01.08.11 – Our next meeting

Hope to see you at the next London Cardinals meeting on Monday 1st August, where the Toastmaster will be James ‘Rocks-the-stage’ Barnett.  We have a great line up of speakers delivering a range of speeches from the Competent Communicator manual… including an Ice Breaker from Dara Lanlehin and a Number 10 speech from Deborah Henley!

Upcoming Meetings

Monday 15th August 2011

Monday 5th September 2011


Don’t forget Gilly Cutts’ RoastMonday 8th August.  Please let us know by emailing as soon as possible if you can make it – or catch Monica Chong at the next meeting.  The venue for the Roast will be About Thyme, Victoria. More details to follow.  There are lots of things planned to ‘roast’ Gilly so hope you can make it!

The Humorous Speech and Table Topics Contest is coming up in September – more details to follow.

Finally, please remember to let our VPE, Laura McCracken, know about when you want to do your next speech, and also about any roles you want to fulfil (e.g. Toastmaster, Timekeeper, Grammarian, TT Master, TT Evaluator, and Speech Evaluator).  You may email Laura at or catch her at the next meeting.


Newsletter 04.07.11 When did you first feel independent?

Posted by | July 12th, 2011 | Leave a comment

“87 years after Ralph Smedley founded Toastmasters; 38 years after women were allowed in to Toastmasters, and 6 years after London Cardinals started: what does Ralph think of a crazy Aussie running the club?”  Our very own Aussie, Jessie Macneil-Brown, was simply buzzing and inspiring in her first meeting as the new ‘Proudest President’ of London Cardinals.

With a skip and a ‘yippee!’ Toastmaster, Maggie Etheridge – clad in red, white and blue – set the theme of the evening: ‘Independence Day:  when did you first feel independent?

“ We have a lot to say ‘thank you’ to Americans for.  Not least for producing the founder of Toastmasters.”

Our Timekeeper, James Gilpin, warned us that the power of the horn was a deterrent, and the Grammarian, Jessica Forster, set the challenging word of the day: ‘ubiquitous’

Matt Davis set the theme of ‘summer’ for the Table Topics.  Kevin Sullivan: a special event he wants to go to this summer.  Jo Holmes: wanted to run, and run, and keep on running!  Danny Callaghan: “Let us suffer no more from this curse of orange traffic cones!”  Gilly Cutts: summer on a ‘no alcohol’ diet.  Alex Hood: serene skiing in the Alps.  Alex Hancock: beer is manna from heaven and pale ale is sublime.  Sinead Gilpin: described her favourite tennis player.  Finally Sally Maier: advice for treatment of sun burn.  James Barnett gave a very informative Table Topics evaluation, professionally completed in the time available.

Our new Sergeant at Arms – the nonchalant Alex Hancock – introduced 3 guests and told us how he is always humbled by our guests.  Kevin Sullivan stepped in to do a marvellous job manning the video recorder to record the prepared speeches.

Craig Haffey, Speech No. 2 – ‘A brief history of time according to me’

“He effortlessly achieved his objectives” –Bryant Yates

Simon O’Mahony, Impromptu Speech– ‘Independence’

“A well-rounded speech; lots of well-timed pauses giving Simon fantastic poise” – Andrew Chuks

Jenny Cutler, Advance Speech, Story Telling Manual – “The third Biggest Country in the World”

“Like Pimms to Cowes Week” – Stephan von Posern

Monica Chong, Speech No. 10 – “On top of the world”

“A very special Number 10 that walked along the raw edge of emotion” – Glenn Jones

Our General Evaluator was Gary Cooke who gave some great feedback to the club as well as those who had not been evaluated during the meeting. “For me it’s all about the people”

…and the winners are:


Best Table Topic: Jo Holmes

Best Evaluator:     Glen Jones

Best Speech: Monica Chong

Our next meeting – 18.07.11

The next London Cardinals meeting has some treats for you – we’re very lucky to have our sparkling Past President, Gilly Cutts, as our Toastmaster for the first time in over a year!!!  Also, we have a great line up of speakers delivering a range of speeches from the Competent Communicator manual… culminating in a Number 10 speech from Bryant Yates!

Upcoming Meetings

Monday 18th July 2011

Monday 1st August 2011

Monday 15th August 2011


Please remember to let our VPE, Laura McCracken, know about when you want to do your next speech, and also about any roles you want to fulfil (e.g. Toastmaster, Timekeeper, Grammarian, TT Master, TT Evaluator, and Speech Evaluator).  You may email Laura at or catch her at the next meeting.



20.06.2011 The Best of Gilly Cutts…

Posted by | July 2nd, 2011 | Leave a comment

Best of Gilly Cutts

Gilly Cutts opened the meeting with her trademark sizzle one last time as our club President. Toastmaster Jane Chambers dedicated the meeting to favourite Gilly moments. Craig Haffey was our apt Timekeeper, while Grammarian Jason Belne stepped in to  “enchant” us.

Camilla Graham continued the enchanted theme during our table topic session. Laura McCracken– the power of pause. Nigel Cutts – swearing at bad drivers. Jason Belne – smile your way to success and happiness. Simon O’Mahony – winning £100 million gracefully. Jo Holmes – the perfect first date. Triang Li –best way to say good-bye is with friends. Richard McMurrray – best way to start your day … at 5:30am. Stephan von Posren – on being slow to adopt a mobile phone. Monica Chong – begging her way across Europe. Maggie Etheridge – love your children for what they are. Claire Webb– spilling gravy on her dress on her first day of school. Jenny Cutler – inspiration from a relative. Gary Cooke deftly evaluated all the Table Topic speaker with humour and insight.

Sergeant-at-Arms Laura McCracken gave a warm welcome to our guests, while Claire Webb manned the camera.


Alex Hood #3 – “Reaching New Heights”
“Great narrative with emotion.” –Danny Callaghan

Rachel Luft #6 – “Hobbies”
“Cluster of childhood stories brought to life with humour.” –Deborah Henley

Minna Sellman advance –“Two Words”
“Touching inspiration worthy of her silver pin.” –James Barnett

Andrew Chuks advance –“Moving on Stage”
“His charisma and energy had the audience in the palm of his hand.” –Cole McInnes

Paul Walsh was a praising General Evaluator without notes, and Gilly closed the meeting handing over the President medallion to Jessie MacNeil Brown, our new club President.
Don’t miss Jessie’s debut this Monday, July 4th!


Table Topic: Jenny Cutler

Best Evaluator: James Barnett

Best Speech: Rachel Luft


Early May Newsletter

Posted by | May 11th, 2011 | Leave a comment

Club President, Gilly Cutts, had reason to be even prouder as she announced that Andrew Chuks, placed 2nd in the UK and Ireland International Speech conference. Our evening was sure to be in “safe hands” with Toastmaster, Glenn Jones, who asked us where in time we would visit. Statuesque Rachel Luft made sure “time didn’t happen all at once,” while Andrew Addison chose “insensate” as the word of the day.

Maggie Etheridge led a pithy table topics session, themed, “the last time you…” Julia Shilo–“angry” with a Gatwick train delay. Danny Callaghan “fell over” when he traveled by stilts to LA and heard the horn. Alex Hancock– has never “taken a Red Bus.” Jo Holmes– “cried laughing” with accomplices at a flashing 80s dance floor. Stephan von Poersn – does bribing children count as “telling a white lie.” Kevin Sullivan’s wife gets suspicious when he “gives flowers.” Andrew Chuks “told someone he really cared” to his late uncle in his head. Caroline Watson can’t remember forgetting an “important date.” Jenny Cutler– after kids forgetting and “saying something stupid” is understandable. Andrew Smith about the last time he had Fish and chips. Simon O’Mahony was Lost for words. James Barnett wants to “swim in the sea” in Margate. Monica Chong – was “aware of surroundings” climbing Snowdonia. Jane Chambers gave 14 insightful Evaluations by the yellow light.

Lovely Laura McCracken was our Sergeant-At-Arms and introduced 3 guests. Craig Haffey was our cameraman.

Alex Hood #2- The “Wright Triplets”
“Insight expert knowledge, clear upfront signposting” – Matt Davis

Clare Webb #3- “Living with a Genetic Disorder”
“Touching, well researched knowledge.” – Denise Tyrell

Jess Forster #4- “How Liam sees it”
“We got to know Jess when she put a face to a disease.” – Jesie MacNeil-Brown

Bryant Yates #9- “There and back again”
“Infectious enthusiasm for pubs and nature.” –Cole McInnes

General Evaluator Nigel Cutts –“Even with a rocky start, the wonderful Cardinals starts bang on time.”


Best TT: Julia Shilo
Best Evaluator: Jane Chambers
Best Speech: Jess Forster

Next meeting: 23rd May at The Thistle Wesminister. 7.15 for 7.30 start.

Congratulations Andrew Chuks!

Posted by | May 9th, 2011 | Leave a comment

I couldn’t resist sending this beaming photo of the Awesome Andrew Chuks with International Toastmasters President, Pat Johnson, after Andrew placed 2nd in the UK & Ireland International Speech contest. While Andrew was representing Excalibur club at the Spring Odyssey, we are immensely proud of a member that “grew up” in our club.

Late April Newsletter

Posted by | May 5th, 2011 | Leave a comment

Our proud President, Gilly Cutts, announced that we placed in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in the Division Contest. Charming Toastmaster, Jo Holmes ran a smooth evening and asked what our special place was. Mutli-tasking Brad Currin, was spot on as timekeeper; while Grammarian, Rachel Luft, featured “zest” as the word of the day.

Stuart Lewis treated us to a Royal Wedding table topic session. Stephan von Posern– give you Air miles to charities. Danny Callaghan – would use Will & Kate’s image to endorse his website. Tim Wright– fluffed reciting the Rosary in Catholic boarding school. Craig Haffey– his wow factor Venice proposal to his fiancée. A Queen Laura McCracken – create gift cards for “panhandlers” (beggars)  so money could be used effectively. Gilly Cutts– Off with Red Ken’s head! Monica Chong – forget McVities wedding cake, carrot cake is a crowd pleaser. Andrew Smith’s irrational fear of spontaneous marriage proposals. Nigel Cutts is a Royalist through in and out. Jess Forster – does my husband count as a creature of comfort? A King Andrew Chuks would enjoy ownering of all his lands. Brad Currin –will be as far as possible from the Royal wedding. Bryant Yates -a valiant 12 table topics evaluation.

Effervescent Sergeant-at-Arms, Laura McCracken, introduced four guests, while Tim Wright, was our capable cameraman filming the speeches.

Alex Hancock, Icebreaker- “All About Me”

“Great confidence, use of imagery and language” – Caroline Watson

Camilla Graham #7- “Not Just a Day Off”

“Rigourous research speckled with facts and anecdotes. “ – Andrew Smith

Jessie Macneil-Brown, # 8– “A Royal Briefing”

“Fun visual aids got us going, and tremendous vocal variety.” – Minna Sellman

Julia Shilo, Advanced – “3 Words and Final Never”

“Amazing presence, use of stage, storytelling, & dialogue.” – Andrew Chuks

Simon O’Mahony gave a brilliant general evaluation.


Best TT: Gary Cooke

Best Evaluator: Andrew Chuks

Best Speech: Glenn Jones

Next meeting: 09 May at The Thistle Wesminister. 7.15 for 7.30 start.

Early April Newsletter

Posted by | April 21st, 2011 | Leave a comment

At our April 4th meeting, Proud President, Gilly Cutts, beamed with club pride with our Area 6 contest victory. Suave Toastmaster, James Gilpin, asked what would you protest about. Andrew Addison kept time succinct, while Clare Webb wasn’t being “facetious” when she challenged us with the word of the day.

Allison O’Mahony’s Table Topics session centred around “four”. James Barnett – celebrate “rare”qualities of people. Jo Holmes –the 5th element: sugar. Saket Modi– 4 cornerstones of his life. Stuart Lewis -leave winter out of the 4 seasons. Julia Shilo– build a bridge between France and England. Gilly Cutts– addiction to Radio 4. Klaus Rasmussen– Numbers aren’t superstitious. Gary Cooke – on marrying twice to the same woman. Alex Hood– 4 things that balance his life. Jessie MacNeil-Brown’s gift to baby Jesus, would be a computer with internet, given by a woman. Deborah Henley– being 4 years old again. Nigel Cutts– connecting with your dog. Alex Hancock – 4 wheel drive. Maggie Etheridge: alone at tea time. Kristie West: cats are great pets. Monica Chong – following your heart is a noble truth. Andrew Chuks– having a cat. Laura McCracken gave insightful Table Topic evaluations.

Sergeant-at-arms Laura McCracken introduced 7 gracious guests, while Klaus Rasmussen was our capable cameraman filming the prepared speeches.

Danny Callaghan #5- “Office Life”. Great characters and dialogue entertained us”- Andrew Smith

Camilla Graham #6- “Holy Grail of Gillette”. “Vocal variety, humour, and friendly smile”- Julia Shilo

Glenn Jones Advance – “Money Talks”. “Superb opening, rapport, and powerful message”-Paul Walsh

Simon Bucknall –“First 100 Seconds”. “Clear message, important advice, and amazing voice”- Jenny Cutler

Jenny Crossly (MLP London Bridge), gave a brilliantly insightful general evaluation.


Best TT: Gary Cooke

Best Evaluator: Andrew Smith

Best Speech: Glenn Jones

Late March Newsletter

Posted by | March 25th, 2011 | Leave a comment

Our Proud President, Gilly Cutts, energized the meeting and encouraged us to get over our nerves in order to grow our confidence with public speaking. Toastmaster, Monica Chong, set a sweet tone, by asking us what flavour of ice cream we would be. Tim Wright, our timekeeper, compared the lights to the colours of the tube lines, and Stephan Von Posern challenged us with the word of the day, “Zeitgeist.”

Camilla Graham led a “sweet treat” table topic session. Saket Modi– my son’s birthday cake. Food Purist, Andrew Smith, advocates traditional British food. Jenny Cutler – has salty taste buds rather than a sweet tooth. Jo Holmes – don’t deprive your kids of sweets or they’ll end up like me. Tarry Whitehead-Patey– helped carry her friends out of a club, but split her chin. Clare Webb– weird recommendations: marmite & apples, and a bled butty (ketchup butter). Maggie Etheridge– rediscover great British beaches. Deborah Henley gave a marvelous TT evaluation in the allotted time.

The congenial Laura McCracken was our Sergeant-at-Arms, and introduced all of our guests.  While Claire Webb documented all the speeches on video.

Bryant Yates #8 – “Dress for Success”

“Great revelations, visual aid usage, & well researched” –Jessie Macneil-Brown

Andrew Chuks, Advance Speech– “Science of Change”

“Simple Structure, beautifully told personal stories” – Laura McCracken

Tory Craddock, Advance Speech – “It’s Up to You”

“Massively entertaining storytelling” – Kristie West

Nigel Cutts, Advance Speech – “Ask not what your country can do for you”

“He owned JFK’s powerful words” – Jo Holmes

Our charismatic General Evaluator, Simon Bucknall, gave some insightful feedback to the club as well as those who had not been evaluated during the meeting.