Photo: Sunset Trees
by David Chandler

Speakers' Biographies

Speaker for December - Dean Powell

Dean's lecture will celebrate the history of the male voice choir movement in Wales which has its origins in religious nonconformity and was accelerated by the growth of the coal mining industry. He will describe how the male voice choirs took Wales by storm during the mid-Victorian era, creating world famous music institutions that created the universal image of the “Land of Song”.

With almost 30 years’ experience as a chorister, Dean has extensively researched why Wales developed its love of singing and how the fierce competitiveness of choirs occurred with a backdrop of gambling, rivalries and royal commands!

An award-winning journalist, with years of experience as a newspaper editor and broadcaster, Dean is also an accomplished author and Welsh historian. For more than twenty years Dean has regularly appeared on all manner of radio and television programmes, from documentaries and religious shows to news bulletins and chat shows. Dean is based in Llantrisant, South Wales, but travels extensively as a guest speaker.

Dean previously gave a lecture to Llandrindod U3A in October 2017 about the famed Welsh surgeon Dr William Price.

Speaker for November - Kevin Russell

In his talk, entitled "The Beatles: were they over-rated or were they pop music pioneers?", Kevin will talk about the Beatles, concentrating on the period when they were together as a group during the 1960s. Although he is not a recognised authority on the Beatles, he is a serious collector of their music and has been a follower and fan for many years. Kevin will focus on their body of work, discussing particular songs to show how the group developed from their beginnings in Liverpool to their breakup as worldwide rockstars. His talk will not be a detailed critique of the band and their music. Kevin hopes to illustrate, even to those non-fans, the influence the group had on the development of modern popular music and modern culture through the heady days of the 1960s.

Kevin Russell was born in Salford, Greater Manchester in 1960. Blind since birth, he has led a full and active life, never allowing his disability to impair his desire to live a fulfilling life. He spent his formative years being educated in special schools for the blind in Liverpool and Worcester. He then went on to study French and German at university, obtained a post graduate teaching certificate, but then changed direction and studied Computing at Bradford University. He spent 29 years working for IBM's UK development laboratory, based at Hursley, near Winchester in Hampshire in a rewarding and varied career. As a totally blind person, he has met life's challenges with determination and a strong desire to succeed and enjoy life to the full. Kevin’s main interests are music and radio. He presents a weekly pop music radio show every Tuesday evening, called Flashback Gold on The Phoenix internet radio station.

Speakers for October - Annette and John Christophers

Annette and John of Albrighton Pottery will talk on the history of potting. The session begins with the earliest urban settlements and ends with the Industrial Revolution in Stoke on Trent. The talk is light-hearted and there is a hands- on component which has been known to cause hilarity.  Members will all be able to put an embelm or small design of their choosing onto a piece of clay.  All the pieces will then go to make up two bowls which the Christophers will take away to fire and will in due course be raffled.

Annette and John Christophers have been making pots for over 50 years. Both were trained to ‘throw’ on the potters wheel which even today would take a 5-7 year apprenticeship in a company. Annette came from Kenya to study at Hornsey College of Art in London and John trained with Nora Braden at the University of West Sussex. They still make pots but now spend more time travelling and talking to interested groups about the delights of their craft.

Speaker for September - Dr Sian Nicholas

Everybody is always complaining about the BBC. They can, because it belongs to us. They ought to because it always needs to be better.

The BBC has never faced larger or better resourced competitors nor more aggressive opponents on both the left and the right, and especially commercially motivated lobby groups. Yet in a period of ‘fake’ news, when politics is more angry and divisive than ever before, when both domestically and internationally the UK is anxious and uncertain, and when social media produce silos – when people only talk to others they agree with (and behave intimidatingly to those they do not agree with) the BBC may be more relevant than ever: how can it help to make us listen to each other and how can its obligation to represent us all to ourselves and each other be developed?

Dr Sian Nicholas is Reader in Modern British History at Aberystwyth University. She studied History at the University of Cambridge and Political Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, before completing her DPhil thesis (on the BBC's role on the home front during the Second World War) at the University of Oxford under the supervision of Lord (Asa) Briggs, and has taught at Aberystwyth since 1992, specialising in modern British history (in particular the British home fronts in the two world wars) and the history of the mass media. Her research interests include the social role of broadcasting, the British media at war, and the institutional, personal and creative links between different mass media in the first half of the twentieth century. Her publications include The Echo of War: Home Front Propaganda and the Wartime BBC 1939-45 (1996) and Reconstructing the Past: History in the Mass Media 1890-2005 (ed. with Tom O’Malley and Kevin Williams, 2008). She is currently writing a history of the British press in the Second World War (with Tom O’Malley), and is project lead on the Heritage Lottery Fund-sponsored community history project "Aberystwyth at War 1914-1919: Experience, Impact, Legacy".

Note: This lecture was originally to have been presented by Professor Jean Seaton, and we are very grateful for Dr Nicholas for stepping in at short notice

Jean Seaton is Professor of Media History, Director of a unique Foreign Office Programme – that brings together Indian and Pakistani journalists - and Director of The Orwell Foundation. This uses the work of George Orwell to give a voice to the less powerful and confront uncomfortable truths, and which runs the most prestigious prizes for political writing and journalism. She has written widely on the role of the media in conflicts, politics and a wide range of social and political history. She has been involved in policy making and discussion and is on the boards of Full Fact (the UK’s premier fact checker) and the Reuteur’s Institute. Her volume of the official History of the BBC ‘Pinkoes and Traitors: the BBC and the Nation 1974 -1987’ was published in an updated and expanded paperback in 2016. She broadcasts regularly.

Speaker for July - David Mitchell

David's talk is part historical but essentially shows how basic living needs developed with wealth into domestic, governmental and commercial architecture that became a medium for vanity and/or control. David will also show how that architecture reflected the personalities and regimes that spawned it. The talk will be fully illustrated by relevant examples.

Born in London and educated at St. Benedict's, Ealing, David qualified as teacher with hons. degree in geography and geology.   He retired as Senior Lecturer from The Henley College and moved to Llangors in 2001. Former hobbies include sea kayaking, sailing, painting, the Territorial Army and mountain walking. Now, due to poor eyesight, he spends his time gardening and furthering his own education. He joined Brecon U3A in 2002 and served on committee for many years including spell as chairman. He is married to Suzette with two daughters and five grandchildren.

Speaker for June 2018 - Dr Brenda Davies

Despite comprehensive international legislation around the preservation of human rights, abuse of such rights continues on a daily basis. In the Southern States of America in the 1990s, in the wake of the Ku Klux Klan, Afro-Americans continued to live in constant fear of persecution, while Afro-American women had the highest rate of infant and maternal mortality in the so-called developed world. Twenty years later, the United States remains the only country in the western world that continues to use the death penalty, more than a third of the national total of executions taking place in Texas.

The heart of her work, not only in USA but also in Russia, Israel, Cambodia, Cyprus, Ireland, Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa and elsewhere always focuses on improving communication, understanding, cooperation, acceptance and the celebration of our differences at grassroots level, promoting empowerment and changing attitudes so as to create unity rather than division. Peace is not the province of politicians but the potential of every human heart. Only in healing our own hearts can we heal the divisions that make racism a possibility and the taking of a human life acceptable.

Dr Davies has lived in Zambia where she had a farm that was the home of many orphans; and in South Carolina and Texas where she worked on human rights and abolishing racism and the death penalty. She's been a pharmacist, a doctor, a consultant psychiatrist (just retiring at 75). She teaches psychotherapy and the role of spirituality in maintaining our health and longevity and has an international school in eight countries on five continents with hundreds of students.

She's worked actively for peace in Cyprus, Ireland, Germany, Cambodia and elsewhere. She is the author of seven books on health and spirituality and has just completed her first novel and is writing a screenplay. She is a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother and loves her life and all that’s in it, including dancing in which she indulges daily.

Speaker for May 2018 - Professor Richard Rathbone

In November this year we will remember the ending of the First World War, the Great War, the war to end all wars. We know it best through the remarkable artistic reaction to its brutality. From school onwards most of us have read the vivid poetry and prose of writers like Robert Graves, Siegfried Sassoon and of course David Jones and Hedd Wyn. We have seen plays like 'Journeys End' and films like 'All Quiet on the Western Front'.

Most of us think of the Great War in terms of the mud and blood of the western front. We tend to forget another campaign that took place over huge tracts of land and water in equatorial eastern Africa. Maybe we forget because it was a campaign whose artistic memorials are fewer and less forgivably, perhaps, we forget it because the majority of its victims both military and civilian were African.

In his talk Richard will be looking at that campaign not as a sideshow of the terrible slaughter on Flanders Fields but as another quite distinctive human disaster. To the relief of some and at the risk of disappointing others, his focus will not be much concerned with military detail but with the scale and nature of that disaster.

Richard was born in war-time London. His mother and father worked for the BBC. However, his father was an RAF pilot and was killed soon after Richard’s birth. His childhood and education were spent in and around London. In 1964 he began his research career at the School of Oriental African Studies where he worked under a pioneer historian of Africa, Roland Oliver. He was appointed to teach history there in 1969. He worked there until his early retirement in 2003. During that time he served as Chairman of the University of London’s Centre for African Studies and Dean of Postgraduate Studies and was promoted to chair in Modern African History in 1994. London life was episodically interrupted by a series of long research trips to Ghana which he had become excited by as an exchange student in the University of Ghana, Legon in 1963. A variety of fellowships took him for long attachments to universities in CapeTown , Johannesburg , Harvard and Princeton as well as for shorter periods to Bordeaux, Lesotho and Toronto.

He has been married to the writer Frances Thomas for many years and since he retired they have divided their time between London and rural mid-Wales. This is reflected in his current appointments as Emeritus Professor and professorial research associate at SOAS and as honorary professor in history at Aberystwyth University. He has served on the Council of the Royal Historical Society, most recently as one of its vice-presidents. In 2017 he was elected a Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales.

Speaker for April 2018 - Tamsin Westhorpe

Tamsin will give an insight into what makes a good feature and how gardens are selected to be in magazines. You'll discover how a magazine is put together and she will share the latest in gardening trends and tell entertaining stories of life as a green-fingered journalist.

Tamsin Westhorpe started her gardening career at the age of 16 when she trained under her great-uncle John Treasure of Burford House Gardens, Worcestershire.

She went on to study decorative horticulture at Sparsholt College in Winchester and later worked as a parks gardener in Bournemouth. During this time she became Dorset’s first female greenkeeper on the bowling greens and perfected the art of planting bedding in straight lines! She then went on to work at garden centres and later found work with the IPC Media as a junior sub-editor for The Gardener Magazine.

Since then her career has seen her writing for many national gardening magazines, running a small garden shop and lecturing on practical horticulture at Kingston Maurwood College in Dorset. The highlights of her journalism career have been working as deputy editor for Amateur Gardening Magazine and being editor for The English Garden magazine for five years.

Tamsin is now a director and gardener at her family garden, Stockton Bury in Herefordshire, and a freelance garden writer.

Speaker for March 2018 - Rod Evans

Rod's talk will be based upon the life of LLewelyn Morris Humphries, also know as "Murray the Hump". He was an American Gangster whose parents came from within the Powys Area. His father was from Carno and his mother was from Staylittle. Born in Chicago, he left school at an early age and became a member of one of the local Chicago street gangs and progressed to becoming one of America's most notorious gangsters.

Rod Evans worked at a number of Technical Colleges both in the UK and in the Arabic World. His last job was as a member of staff at Coleg Powys, where his title was Head of Vehicle Engineering and Construction with responsibility for the MV staff at the Brecon Campus.

He enjoys walking and regularly visits the ELan Valley. He is trying to master the art of photography. He also enjoys researching and then giving presentations on subjects that he finds interesting.

Speaker for February 2018 - Chris Matchett

In this talk Chris cover some of the technical problems involved in the conservation of oil paintings illustrated with examples of conservation and restoration work he has accomplished. He will also touch on the dark arts of fakes and forgeries and go on to examine the relationship between restorers and forgers in the art world.

Chris has been brought up in the world of art since a child. His grandfather worked alongside Augustus John when in London.

Chris and his wife Saffron have initiated several art projects including an art materials warehouse, gallery and studios. He has focused on the restoration and conservation of oil paintings for the past 20 years. His business, Whistler Studios, is based in Llanwrytd Wells.

Speaker for January 2018 - Jan Swindale

Jan writes: "My lovely Mum always used to say that she never knew what I was going to do next! I thought I would share with you a little of my life of Mischief and Mayhem, of getting into Trouble and causing Chaos involving friends and relations in my eccentric exploits, leading up to becoming Llandrindod Wells' Town Crier. The role is an honour for me to represent our town and gives me a chance to show I can be dignified!"

Jan was born in Bedford in 1946, parents being in the Forces during WWII. Dad was in the Royal Engineers, a turbine expert in civilian life, was rescued at Dunkirk, and later seconded to the Navy on a Port Repair Ship ready for D Day at Arromanches and helped build the Mulberry Harbour under heavy fire. Mum was born in India, brought over to UK at aged 11 with her sister and Mother, and lived with guardians, boarding school and then nursing in the WRAFs, a very sheltered, gentle lady.

She was encouraged to start ballet at aged 4, but gave up aged 6 with painful legs. After Secondary School she went to the local Further Education College studying the ubiquitous secretarial course which led to a job with a national insurance company where she eventually became Head of the Motor Department. Jan joined Kays Theatre Group who put on their pantomime performances at the brand new Swan Theatre and spent five happy years growing in confidence.

David and Jan were married in 1969 after 6 years of courting, and moved to Llandrindod Wells in 1972 where they had two sons. She joined Llandrindod Wells Theatre Company performing pantomimes, plays, Music Hall and as Assistant Wardrobe Mistress making many costumes. In time she became the Wardrobe Mistress.

She worked for 3 years with a local estate agent, then 12 years with local solicitors, running the Criminal Department single handed, travelling most weeks to the Crown and Magistrate Courts all over Wales, preparing the Barrister's briefs and sitting in Court taking notes, also taking some clients with her. She moved to another local solicitor for three years which was slightly less stressful, and finally spent 3 years with a mental health clinic working with Social Workers and CPN's before retiring.

Jan wholeheartedly supports the Victorian Festival and has directed many events to entertain the visitors to the town since the festival's inception. Spotted by the local Mayor dressed as a Trainee Town Crier in one of the many parades she organises, the Town Council re-established the role of Town Crier, there not having been one for 10 years. After providing a CV and a 1 1/4 hour interview with the Town Council, she was given the honour of the role of Town Crier in 2013 for a probation year, giving her maiden cry at the Transition Town's May Fayre. She has not drawn breath since!

Speaker for December 2017 - Susan Marshfield

Susan's talk is based around memories of Christmas from the 1930's and onward compared to Christmas today in the 21st century. There will be a selection of her family memories mixed with presents, food and Father Christmas. From some of the preparations, through Christmas Day, the kings speech to Granpa's Christmas cigar. It is meant to be entertaining with some humour and suitable for mixed audiences.

Born in Northamptonshire Susan moved with her parents to the Devon and Somerset borders when she was 15 where she remained until marriage brought about a move to the Bristol area. Susan took root there, enjoyed life in a large village, joined the Women’s Institute and settled into bringing up the children.

When the children went to school she joined the executive of Gloucestershire WI an later became an Avon Federation Executive when that was formed, becoming the first Treasurer. She became a local Councillor and served with both the District and County Council, where she held a number of chairmanships as well as 10 years as chairman of Governors at a local Technical College.

Susan was awarded an MBE in 2015 for her services to the community in Bristol and South Gloucestershire, a fact she attributes to those with whom she worked during the 40 years covered by this honour. Planning to retire from speaking at the end of 2017, she thinks she will still have plenty to do!

Speaker for November 2017 - Christopher Hartley FIH, FCFA (SG)

Born July 1944, Chris joined the Merchant Navy in 1962, seeing service as an Assistant Purser, and Chief Purser until 1976. 1976 saw him in Egypt where he was Port Catering Superintendent for oil rigs and shore establishments. The late seventies saw Chris working in Saudi Arabia, and the early eighties in the Sudan as General Manager for Institutional and Industrial catering companies. Chris joined Channel Island Ferries as Chief Purser onboard the MV Corbiere in 1984.

Chris then came ashore as General Manager of the St. Mellion Golf Hotel & Country Club in Cornwall. In1991 Chris joined Safir International Hotel Management as Project Director for the upcoming Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit at Bayan Palace. This was followed by stints as the GM of Safir Nile Cruises and Safir Hotel Hurghada in Egypt.

In 1996 the call of the Caribbean saw Chris working in St. Lucia and Jamaica as General Manager at two of the top resorts in the World. In 2004 Chris was back again in Kuwait at Failaka Island as Island General Manager working with the Kuwait Royal Family. Chris spent eight years on Failaka Island creating and managing the Heritage Village, the only resort of its kind in the Gulf region.

Chris is a Fellow of the Institute of Hospitality (FIH) and was the Regional Ambassador MENA Region for the Institute of Hospitality until mid February 2012 when he retired after leaving Kuwait.

In late 2013 he set up ‘Dickens’ in Llandrindod Wells.  Chris is also the Festival Director of the Llandrindod Wells Victorian Festival and was also a Community Councilor for Disserth & Trecoed for 3 years.  He married his wife Denise in April 1974.

The title of the talk is "A Life Well Lived" encompassing the period from 1962 until his retirement in 2012.

Speaker for October 2017 - Dean Powell

Dr William Price was a Chartist, surgeon, heretic, archdruid and pioneer of cremation in the British Isles. Poverty stricken in his youth, the young man became a surgeon at the age of 21. He created an embryonic national health service, masterminded the first Museum of Welsh Life, launched Wales’s first cooperative society and was exiled to France as a political activist. He fathered illegitimate children with a housekeeper sixty years his junior and died sipping a glass of champagne at the age of ninety two. A remarkable story of an incredible Welshman!

Dean Powell is a widely acclaimed guest speaker, journalist, author, broadcaster and vocalist. As a master of ceremonies he has compered engagements for the likes of Katherine Jenkins, Elaine Paige and Dame Vera Lynn and in such diverse venues as the Sydney Opera House and Monte Carlo’s Hotel de Paris. He has toured USA, Canada, Germany, Switzerland, New Zealand and Australia as soloist and Master of Ceremonies for several Welsh male voice choirs. He joined a star studded line up at the Royal Variety Performance where he was presented to her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

Dean is also well known as a lecturer on Victorian Welsh history and his work in the fields of journalism and public relations have been prolific. He is the author of thirteen history books including the biography of Dr William Price and the memoirs of actor Glyn Houston. As a former BBC journalist and award-winning newspaper editor, his anecdotes of interviews given with the likes of Hollywood greats Gregory Peck and Joan Fontaine have made him a firm favourite as a guest speaker.

Speaker for September 2017 - Rosemary Kennedy

In her talk Rosemary will take us on a tour around the outside Westminster Abbey and explain how and why the Abbey was built. She will then show pictures of many special things inside the Abbey and talk about the daily life of the Abbey including the many special services held there.

The daughter of an Australian clergyman, Rosemary was brought up in her Mother's home county of Herefordshire. Her grandfather was the Rector of Ross-on-Wye and Archdeacon of Hereford.

Rosemary trained as a Secretary and her first job was at the Heralds' College, having had a keen interest in Heraldry and Genealogy since childhood. She later worked at the Royal Geographical Society. Returning to work when her children were older she worked at London University, first in the Institute of Education and then at the Warburg Institute. She has worked for 30 years as a volunteer Bereavement Counsellor at her local Hospice in Clapham.

In 1994 she started volunteering at Westminster Abbey. This brought together so many of her interests, in church affairs, history, heraldry, art, and meeting people. As well as answering general questions from visitors to the Abbey she and her husband also lead specialist tours for groups which have included the Army, the RAF, clergy (often from abroad), the Blind, the Deaf, and specialist historians. She loves the work and every week has interesting encounters with those she meets.

Speaker for July 2017 - Rev Eldon Phillips

Revd Phillips has titled his talk "God in the Community  -  the Road to Parc Y Scarlets!"  His talk will cover his role as Honarary Chaplain, Scarlets Rugby and Llanelli RFC as well as drawing on his varied experience.

Revd Phillips has had a long and varied career, much of it involved with teaching.  This included a period teaching at Llandrindod Wells High School.  He was ordained in Brecon Cathedral in 1988 and was Advisory Teacher for RE in Powys from 1988 to 1992. He joined Trintity Colege, Carmarthen in 1992 as a Senior Lecturer and member of the Chaplaincy Team.  He was the Anglican Chaplain at Singleton Hospital, Swansea from 2006 to 2015.

His career includes broadcasting with BBC Radio Wales, Radio Pembrokeshire, Radio Ceredigion and Radio Carmarthenshire and he is a Macmillan Cancer Care Ambassador.

Speaker for June 2017 - Nick Talbott

In this talk Nick will be talking about the concepts of "PassivHaus" - an approach to building design that emphasises energy efficiency to the point where a conventional central heating system is no longer required.

Passivhaus principles can also be applied to upgrade the performance of existing buildings. Nick will describe the work done to "Trosnant", a bungalow originally built in the 1970s, to bring it as close as practical to Passivhaus standards. He will also talk about the importance of this approach in the context of global climate change and show that this is a case where what is good for the environment is also good for your bank balance.

Nick's first career was in planning and economic development. He began working for Powys County Council in 1975 having previously worked in West Sussex. With the advent of affordable personal computing that began in around 1980 he became increasingly involved in "information technology". Nick was involved during the 1990s in regional development work in conjunction with the Training and Enterprise Council and the Development Board for Rural Wales and worked on a number of schemes to promote new technology to business. He was heavily involved in lobbying for upgrade of rural exchanges to support broadband, and you may have seen him championing this cause on "The Money Programme" on a couple of occasions.

Having made a full career transition into computing, Nick went on to become IT Manager for Powys before taking early retirement in 2013, allowing him to work full time on the project to upgrade "Trosnant".

Nick has always been an adventurous DiY type. He self-built a house in Nantmel over a three-year period starting in 1978. This experience together with a later project to rennovate an Edwardian town house gave him the confidence to take on the extensive work that would be needed to tackle the Passivhaus conversion for "Trosnant".

Speaker for May 2017 - Melanie L. Williams MA (Cantab) MA (Sussex) PGCE (Sussex) Fellow HEA

Melanie will be talking to us about ‘Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the d’Urbervilles – law and seduction, rape and murder’, exploring criminal history and current disputes in law relevant to the text.

A copy of the handout for the lecture is available to download.

A copy of the slides accompanying the lecture is also available to download.

Melanie is Emeritus Professor of Law, formerly Head of Department at the University of Exeter, prior to that working at Swansea University Law School, Aberystwyth University Law Department and the University of London. She has taught a range of subjects in Law, from Criminal Law to the Anthropology of Law.

Melanie has a somewhat unconventional educational history, she was a ‘school failure’ gaining only a few O’ levels at Grammar School and working after school for some years as a typist, but always reading and enjoying classical literature. In her twenties she married her GP husband Dr John Williams and took the Cambridge University Entrance Exam for Law as an independent candidate and was admitted to study Law with two children under three years old. After graduating and with a third baby she studied for an MA in English Literature at Sussex University and later began her career as a university lecturer. With her husband John Melanie lives near Lampeter and since retirement has enjoyed offering lectures on a casual basis and reading and writing poetry.

Melanie has published articles predominantly in the fields of Medical Law and Ethics and of Law, Literature and Philosophy. Her two books, Empty Justice and Secrets and Law, examine a range of philosophical questions concerning human nature, morality and law.

Speaker for April 2017 - Jill Loyd DipCFHP, MPSPract

Jill will be talking about the importance of taking care of your feet from basic foot care, common foot conditions and highlighting the implications that diabetes can have on the feet.

After having difficulties in finding someone to treat her elderly Aunts feet, Jill felt there was a desperate need for foot health in Powys so did some research and trained to become a Foot Health Practitioner at the College of Foot Health in Birmingham. She qualified in 2011 and is currently studying for a Diploma in Diabetes Mellitus. Jill holds a weekly clinic in Builth and Llandovery and a monthly clinic in Ystradgynlais and offers a mobile service on other days.

Speaker for March 2017 - Berwyn Woolnough

Berwyn was born in Dolgellau but brought up in Surrey. He studied German, French and Japanese and, having no clear idea what to do with himself, took a job with ICI, didn't like it, stuck it out for a while and then moved into teaching. In the early 70s he went to teach English in Germany for a year and stayed for three, after which he got a post back home in a boys' grammar school which soon became independent and co-educational. He stayed there for 24 years, narrowly missing the gold watch, but did come away with a very elegant decanter!

Berwyn started learning the clarinet at the age of twelve and, in later life, played regularly in symphony orchestras and chamber groups. But it was in theatre bands that he came across the music of George Gershwin …  In this talk Berwyn will tell Gershwin's story and illustrate its highlights with music - performed live!

Speaker for February 2017 - Stephen Ashley

T'ai chi is a form of exercise based on softness and awareness instead of force and resistance, T'ai chi movements are widely acknowledged to help calm the emotions, focus the mind, and strengthen the immune system. Practised at a slow and even speed, T'ai chi promotes relaxation, straight posture, and balance.

Stephen will go through the often controversial development of this exercise technique and show how it works. He will also show some of the surprising, and sometimes amusing, applications of T'ai Chi in our modern world.

Stephen first became interested in T'ai chi in the late 1970s. He studied for many years under the UK's leading T'ai chi master.

Of Welsh and Canadian as well as English extraction, Stephen grew up in the Vale of Evesham. He trained and practised as a chartered surveyor before going walkabout for a while in Italy. He then found, somewhat to his surprise, that he had become a specialist journalist in the construction industry press where he stayed for 15 years. After a number of years as the founding editor of a journal involved with energy use in buildings he was promoted to be an editorial director in the industry's leading publishing house.

Seeking a better work-life balance, Stephen brought his family back to Mid-Wales where he went back to working as a general practice building surveyor for 25 years until his retirement. Somewhat to his surprise, he finds himself just as busy as before!

Speaker for January 2017 - Andrew Wyton

The turn of the twentieth century saw the birth of the Edwardian garden, regarded by many as the pinnacle of British gardening. This was the moment when garden style threw off the rigidity of high Victorian shackles and replaced it with the dream of a rural idyll, crafted around the house, making best use of natural materials, formal design and ebullient planting. Given the brevity of its presence an indelible imprint was left on how Britain gardened.

Andrew Wyton was born into a predominantly farming community in very rural Gloucestershire.  Agriculture and horticulture proved to be foundational in both his upbringing and later years.  In-between times, however, life took a different turn as he pursued a vocational call to Christian ministry serving as a Baptist pastor in Southwell, and then West Bridgford, Nottinghamshire.

After 20+ years of church leadership the opportunity arose in 2004 for a complete change of direction and Andrew went back to university to study International Horticulture followed by an MA in Garden History at the University of Bristol. Alongside the studies, Andrew set up his own horticulture business, firstly in Nottingham and then here in Mid-Wales when he and his wife Helen moved to Gwystre in September 2012.

Sadly, arthritic knees brought his days of gardening on Welsh hillsides to an untimely conclusion – the result he supposes of following two professions in life that involve a lot of kneeling!  But Andrew is again drawing on his ministry experience and has recently been appointed by the Baptist Union of Wales as the Superintendent for Radnorshire and Montgomeryshire.

Speaker for December 2016 - Helen Pruett

Helen's talk will be about the Wales Air Ambulance - the national air ambulance charity for Wales, providing emergency air cover for those who face life-threatening illness or injuries.

Helen's background is in education. She taught modern foreign languages in South Wales for many years, before relocating to Powys. She joined the Wales Air Ambulance fundraising team as the Community Co-ordinator for South Powys in November 2011, following the emergency airlifting of her brother-in-law. This is a part time rôle with varied responsibilities. She promotes the charity within the community by giving talks to schools, clubs and social groups. She engages with local businesses and corporations in order to attract sponsorship, and supports members of the public who wish to undertake fundraising activities on behalf of the Air Ambulance service. You will often see her in the press attending cheque presentations after such events. She co-ordinates a team of volunteers who can be found manning the Air Ambulance stand at local shows and events throughout the year, whatever the weather!

Speakers for November 2016 - Mike Watkins and Wilma Hayes

Two Ships in the Night: This is the story of two Atlantic ships, one you’ve never heard of and one you most definitely have. Sinking two years apart, more passengers were lost on the Empress of Ireland than the Titanic. But why has the Titanic story endured? We tell the story and why you have heard of one but not the other.

Married and living in a 17th century cottage on the borders of Shropshire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire and the Marches Mike & Wilma have been speaking to clubs, societies and groups for nearly 15 years. Both are interested in history and greatly enjoy the research that goes into preparing and creating a talk. Wilma’s talks on the Empress of Ireland and WW1 War Diary have their origins in family history. A particular interest of Wilma’s, the Empress, also plays a part in one of the Titanic stories. Mike, as well as being chairman of his local history society, has an interest in canals and is chairman of the Friends of the Leominster Canal.

Speaker for October 2016 - Nick Marchmont

This presentation tells of humanity's most distant past and is a journey from ancient Africa to the brick-lined burial pits of the world's most ancient cities. As this story unfolds we encounter an ice-age pottery in prehistoric Europe, a megalithic temple deliberately buried 10 000 years ago and the Earth's most massive platform on which rest stone blocks weighing up to 1000 tonnes.

The decisions made by our ancestors throughout the ages have resulted in the mind, attitudes and physique of modern humans. This grand tale is at once a vast sweep through history and our own personal story.

Nick Marchmont is an independent researcher with a lifelong interest in ancient cultures, vanished civilisations and old knowledge. His Healing History presentations use a wide range of illustrations to cast an engaging and colourful light on the skills of our ancestors. From the birth of Earth to the Age of Prophecy, Nick makes clear connections between the genius of earlier ages and contemporary ideas whilst questioning the modern interpretation of humanity's past.

Planned Speaker for October 2016 - Jen Green

Unfortunately, Jen was unable to give this talk for health reasons.

In 1999 Jen Green received a package from her 83 year old aunt living in Bolton; it was not to be opened until after her death. Three months later, the aunt died and Jen Green, her trustee had to make the “arrangements” Before leaving for the North she recalled the package and discovered an address book of her aunt’s life time of lovers 27 in all and she wanted them all contacted. It was a hilarious event, leading to a life of a woman who loved but never lost and turned out to be LS Lowey’s missing life model.

Of the 27 lovers 18 were contactable some had passed on and others turned up at the funeral neither knowing the other. This is the story of a wonderfully amusing woman who could still pull at 80, but for most of the latter part of her life she lived quietly (So we thought) in a sheltered housing scheme.

From Mill Girl to Life Model and so much in between, Aunty May’s experiences range through wartime relationships with allied forces to fronting up for gay men in important positions. She was an aunt for all Seasons her remarkable, well lived life is delivered by Jen Green in her own amusing style full of promise for what ever the occasion.

For more information on Jen, please visit her website.

Speaker for September 2016 - Joe Botting

Llandrindod sits on the edge of one of the most extraordinary areas for fossils in the world. Between here, Builth and Llandegley is an patch of rock known as the Builth Inlier, where rocks of Ordovician age form the rugged, lumpy hills that all the main roads go around. This sequence of rocks reveals the remains of an ancient volcanic island, from a time when Wales belonged to the micro-continent Avalonia, drifting north through the southern temperate latitudes. Because of the conditions around this island, with violent earthquakes and eruptions, and a sinking sea floor, fossils were preserved throughout the succession, and often in huge abundance. The area is world-famous for trilobites, but in recent years we have been discovering that this is the tip of the iceberg; there are sites nearby with truly exceptional preservation, where we find fossils of creatures that simply aren't preserved under normal conditions. They may not be the most spectacular things to look at, but the extraordinary array of sponges, echinoderms, hydroids and many other creatures are slowly changing our understanding of what life in the Ordovician was all about.

Come along to discover what should arguably be Radnorshire's most celebrated feature: a globally unique fossil history that reveals a past so remote that to understand it, we need to discard the modern world completely and look only at the rocks.

Joe started academic life at Cambridge University, getting a first in natural sciences that was underpinned by a geological mapping project around Llandrindod. That led to a PhD in Birmingham, studying the effects of volcanic ash falls on Ordovician ecology, during which time he got to know the extraordinary sponges of Llandegley Rocks. The sponges would become a major focus of the research, and he headed back to Cambridge for a four-year research fellowship. After that, life took him to the Natural History Museum in London, Leeds Museum, the Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology in China (for two years) and all over the world for research trips. He and his wife Lucy Muir (they met in the geology lectures in Cambridge!) have now settled in Llandrindod, and they've decided to to stay and carry on their research from here.

Joe is currently a Guest Scientist at the Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology, and an Honorary Research Fellow at the National Museum Wales. He has published over 50 academic papers (including in major international journals like Nature), and is widely regarded as the foremost authority on early sponge evolution, as we as (with Lucy) discovering numerous sites with extraordinary fossils in Wales that are putting the country back onto the world geological map. He has appeared on ITV Wales' Coast and Country, and has been an adviser for the BBC Natural History Unit (including David Attenborough's First Life), and for Fortey's Fossil Wonderlands.

He mainly makes a living from teaching geology and palaeontology, doing insect surveys, and playing the harp, and is heavily involved in local community sustainability.

Speaker for July 2016 - Jim Saunders

Jim was for 18 years Offa's Dyke Path Officer, working along the whole 177 mile length of the path from Chepstow to Prestatyn. In 2006 he worked as Adviser on the BBC Wales TV series "Border Country with Iolo Williams". His first book, "Offa's Dyke – a journey on words and pictures", was a spin-off from and was this published in the same year by Gomer Press with BBC Wales

Jim continues his connection with Offa's Dyke through the Offa's Dyke Association, for whom he makes occasional appearances on radio and television. His most recent book is "Hay - Landscape, Literature and the Town of Books", published in 2014.

Speaker for June 2016 - Lawrence Matthew

In the last century, Lawrence and his wife Alison were university lecturers and statisticians in the oil and transport industries. In this one, they wrote a best-selling book on Chinese characters before turning to epidemiology, the Bowen Technique and the psychology of climate change.

Recently Laurence has been Chairman of a climate policy NGO and has given evidence to Select Committees of the UK House of Commons.

They live near Hay-on-Wye with far too many books (most of which are Laurence's)

Their book "Framespotting" (2014) is an informal, upbeat, punchy and jargon-free introduction to 'framing': how our view of life is often zoomed in to focus on a small area; and how to take control of this process and see the bigger picture. Sometimes a frame around a topic doesn't just restrict what you see but it also influences how you see it: what you think is 'good' and what's 'bad'. And often we don’t notice this is happening.

Having spent time researching, campaigning and debating responses to climate change, Laurence became increasingly interested in the deep reasons why we're doing so little to tackle something so serious. There are all sorts of technical, political and economic issues and debates, but there’s something deeper going on too. When he looked, Laurence was surprised how pervasive this framing effect was in all sorts of other areas of life too, and how strongly it influences us.

For more information, please visit the Framespotting web site.

Speaker for May 2016 - Kevin Russell

Kevin Russell was born in Salford, Greater Manchester in 1960. Blind since birth, he has led a full and active life, never allowing his disability to impair his desire to live a fulfilling life.

He spent his formative years being educated in special schools for the blind in Liverpool and Worcester. He then went on to study French and German at university, obtained a post graduate teaching certificate, but then changed direction and studied Computing at Bradford University.

He spent 29 years working for IBM's UK development laboratory, based at Hursley, near Winchester in Hampshire in a rewarding and varied career.

As a totally blind person, he has met life's challenges with determination and a strong desire to succeed and enjoy life to the full.

In his talk, entitled "Blindness: Fearlessly living with the most feared disability" He will talk candidly about what it's like to be totally blind, living in the modern world, outlining some of the challenges and explaining how technology has transformed his life in so many ways.

Speaker for April 2016 - Phil Bowen

Phil’s professional career started at Leatherhead in Puss in Boots playing the back end of the donkey. Seasons in rep followed as well as television, radio and some film work in Hollywood. Foreign touring for the British Council, including three years with Sir Michael Redgrave coupled playing Hamlet at the Young Vic, developed a love for Shakespeare.

He met his wife, Sue Best, while they were touring with the English Shakespeare Company and together they set up the Charity Shakespeare Link. Their vision was to access Shakespeare beyond the confines of theatre or academe, as a stimulus for communication and debate. They worked in the community, with therapists, with young people and senior citizens as well as in hospitals and prisons. Teaching, directing and performing took them to Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Beirut, the Philippines, Tunisia, Mauritius, Indonesia, Malaysia, the US and Canada.

Now settled on the family smallholding in the Upper Wye Valley they have been translating Shakespeare into British Sign Language (BSL), working with local schools and groups and running ‘Have-a-go Shakespeare’ sessions with all comers.

In 2006 they headed up a team to plant the magical Willow Globe, woven of living willow and open to the sky, which they run both as a producing and a receiving house. Such is the success of The Willow Globe Community Company under Phil’s guidance that it has been invited to play CADW heritage sites and by the Royal Shakespeare Company‎ to perform at Stratford.

Speaker for March 2016 - Fran Sandham

Critically acclaimed author and public speaker Fran Sandham took on the challenge of a lifetime, by walking across Africa, completely alone: no backup, no support team, no one to carry his gear, no sponsors, no film crew, no journalists, no fuss, no cheering crowds, and no strings attached.

He walked from Namibia's Skeleton Coast to the Indian Ocean near Zanzibar, a 3,000-mile trek taking nearly a year. Above all, it was on a one-way ticket: no safety nets, no get-out clauses and nothing to fall back on ...

'I found myself increasingly gripped'  THE OBSERVER

'A lively and engaging speaker whose journey on foot across Africa needs to be heard to be believed'  BBC LONDON

Speaker for February 2016 - Richard Davies

Richard Davies was born in Aberystwyth during the Second World War and at the age of 5 travelled by train to London to join his family.

He spent 35 years with Barclays Bank, serving in 23 branches and departments in the London area.  During his career banking chanegd beyond recognition, which is why his talk in February is entitles "Banking - Fings Aint What They User To Be"!

In retirement, he has enjoyed 20 years as a smallholder in Mid Wales having many local interests including being a very active Rotarian and now a supportive U3A member.

Speaker for December 2015 - Christine Stockton

"I was the mainstay of the University Library until I discovered flamenco!"

I started learning flamenco dancing as a stress - buster.  Chester City Council 's Arts officer arranged a 10 week "taster course" in 1997.  When the course ended, he gave me £200 to start a voluntary community group to continue.  Deva Flamenco has been offering weekly classes and occasional workshops with visiting professional dancers ever since.

My talk is based on a course I did in Granada on the history of flamenco.  The story starts with the Romans, covers the Moorish occupation of Spain and the Reconquest and expulsion of Jews and Muslims, and the development of flamenco within Andalusian Gypsy communities.

Our lecturer gave us copies of his archival recordings illustrating how flamenco had changed since it first emerged into the public area in the late eighteenth century.  In the talk I use these tracks to illustrate how the style of the singing and dancing has changed since then.

Speakers for November 2015 - Ann Harman and Vic EverillAnn and Vic met at a long distance walking group when they took part in an annual challenge walk of 40 miles to be completed in one day. Vic had gained his love of walking through scouting, Ann through walkin with her family.

They spent their working lives in Birmingham, Ann in teaching after her own children grew older, Vic in the paper and packaging industry.

They retired to Llandrindod 11 years ago and decided to walk from Lands End to John 'O Groats but their plans were interrupted by Ann having meningitis and the walk was postponed for a year.

Many of you will remember them coming talk about this but this year's talk is about the walking pilgrimage route from St Jean Pied de Port to Santiago, 500 miles through Northern Spain.

Speaker for September 2015 - Dr Mark Baldwin, MA MSc PhD

After graduating from Cambridge University in Mechanical Sciences, Mark Baldwin worked for a consulting civil engineering firm on a variety of projects, including London's Victoria Line. He later enrolled as a post-graduate student at Imperial College, London, and obtained a Master's Degree in Soil Mechanics (with Distinction).

Accepting the offer of a lectureship at Imperial, he spent 15 years on the Civil Engineering Department staff, before moving to Shropshire in 1986 to develop the bookselling and publishing business which he and his wife had established as a part-time venture in 1978. The Baldwins' bookshop (soon to close) is largely second-hand, holding a general stock. However, one important speciality is WW2 Intelligence & Codebreaking, and they have published eight books on this subject. 

For nearly twenty years, Dr Baldwin has spoken widely on various aspects of 'The Secret War', focussing particularly on the story of the Enigma machine and Bletchley Park. His presentations have been warmly received at venues from Ullapool and Pitlochry to Ipswich, Hastings, Falmouth, Belfast, and the Channel Islands, Belgium, Germany and Poland, by a variety of audiences including professional and educational, and the general public in theatres and festivals. He is a regular speaker aboard cruise ships - and was commissoned to supply a genuine U-Boat Enigma machine for the film 'The Imitation Game'. He is one of Britain's most experienced speakers on 'Secret War' topics, having delivered over 500 presentations, and his forthcoming programme includes not only lecturing but also directing several residential courses as well.

Speakers for July 2015 - Jim Deacon and Patrick Rees

Jim Deacon - Head of Emergency Planning, NHS England (Cheshire and Merseyside)

Jim started work with the NH5 in Newcastle as a nurse; this is his 40th year in the health service. He has worked in a variety of clinical areas in both Hospital and Community settings in Newcastle, North and East Yorkshire, Manchester, Cheshire, Merseyside and Derbyshire. He has several clinical qualifications, a managerial qualification as well as a specialist clinical degree and an emergency planning diploma.

Jim's career has moved from direct patient care in both general and psychiatric services through to running and coordinating hospital and community NHS services as an operational manager at
Assistant Director level. He has specialised in Emergency Planning for the last 15 years and was part of the national guidance team that wrote ‘Responding to Emergencies’ at the Department of Health.

Patrick Rees

Patrick joined the NHS Ambulance Service in South Wales in 1990, commencing front line emergency duties following completion of basic training. He qualified as a paramedic in November 1993 and was promoted in February 1994 to Paramedic Supervisor in charge of his first station.

He was one of the first operational paramedics in South West Wales to successfully complete the Royal College of Surgeons Pre Hospital Trauma Life Support (PHTLS) Course in 1995.

During his operational career, he has attended a number of high profile incidents and performed command and support roles. He has also undertaken secondments in Clinical Support and Operational Locality Management roles throughout his career. He was appointed Resilience Manager in 2002 and has gained wide experience in the role in operational, tactical and strategic command roles.

Patrick has a particular interest in staff development and is the lead for Major Incident Training and Exercising in his service. He holds a Ce rtificate in Professional Development, Education and Training and has been teaching since 1997.

In his role as Resilience Manager, Patrick has been involved in planning and delivering major incident live and desktop exercises for many years and has been instrumental in designing and delivering internal training packages as well as being responsible for maintaining the Trust Major Incident Plan.

Patrick undertook a co-ordinating role in relation to delivering the Joint Emergency Services Interoperability Programme (JESIP) training and was the operational delivery lead for his service.
He holds a Diploma in Health Emergency Planning and is a qualified CBRN Gold, Silver and Bronze Commander, a certified Gold Commander and a National Interagency Liaison Officer (NILO). He was a Tactical Advisor for the Ambulance Gold Commander in the NATO summit in 2014.

Speaker for June 2015

Dr Fred Slater,


A  Blackcountryman by birth, Dr Fred Slater has lived and worked in Wales for the last 40 years.

After going to university in Aberystwyth, he then taught in Walsall before returning to Wales to study peatlands for his PhD.  He worked until retirement for what is now Cardiff University  as Director of its former Field Centre at Llysdinam, Newbridge-on-Wye, from 1974 - 2010.

Currently Dr Slater is an Honorary Senior Research Fellow at Cardiff University; a part-time tutor at Aberystwyth University; Chairman of the RWAS Spring Festival and Asst Honorary Director of the Royal Welsh Show - and an ecological consultant in his spare time!

Speaker for May 2015 Meeting - 

Peter Coleridge

Peter Coleridge studied Arabic and Middle East history at Oxford, and spent 12 years as a teacher in Palestine, the Sudan, Lebanon, and at Atlantic College in South Wales. He then became Oxfam's regional director for the Middle East from 1981-1994. He worked for the UN in Afghanistan under the Taliban for eight years and in East Africa, also for the UN, for two years.

 He has done extensive research on development and disability in poor countries, on which he has published two books and many articles. He continues to be a writer, researcher and consultant on development, focusing on community development, disability, and environmental issues. In this role he has travelled widely in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.  He is also engaged in research on the colonial period in Tanzania and the Congo.

Locally he is involved in the Llandrindod Transition Town initiative, and sings in Cantorion and the Pales Peace Choir. He lives with his wife Angela in a valley on the other side of Rogo Hill towards Builth Wells.

Speaker for April 2015 Meeting - Dr John H. Davies

Dr John H. Davies, was born in Liverpool and educated in Ystrad Mynach, in the Rhymni Valley and Cardiff. He studied geology at Chelsea College London from where he graduated in 1971.

He  married and moved to Llanwrtyd to make the first detailed geological map of North Breconshire for a PhD at London University – 1982. He received his PhD in 1982. In Llanwyrtyd he opened a Welsh book shop in 1984.

Having learned Welsh on an Wlpan Course at University of Cardiff and his wife also having learned Welsh, the whole family changed thier language to Welsh.  In 1987 he stood for Parliament in the bi-election for Plaid Cymru. 

Dr Davies was elected Chairman of the Abbey Cwm Hir Working Party in 1987 and the Abbey Cwm Hir Trust in 1993 where he has been chairman ever since. 

He worked as representative for the Welsh Books Council in South Wales.

In 1989 he moved with his family to Llandysul in Ceredigion. In 1991 joined the Countryside Council For Wales as regional geologist for East Wales, from the Mouth of the Tywi to the Severn Bridge and the Pistyll Rhaeadr in northern Montgomeryshire.

He retired in 2009. 

Other positions held include:  Chairman of the Welsh Stone Forum, Vice President of the South Wales Geologists’ Association, Promotions Officer for the Welsh History Forum and the Welsh Battlefields Society.

Speaker for February 2015 Meeting -  Nick Marchmont 

Nick Marchmont is an independent researcher with a lifelong interest in ancient cultures, vanished civilisations and old knowledge. His Healing History presentations use a wide range of illustrations to cast an engaging and colourful light on the skills of our ancestors.  These presentations aim to investigate, celebrate and propagate the genius of our predecessors, and to encourage a confident and resilient approach to our future.

Nick has a particular interest in sacred geometry and has been developing his presentation on the subject for the last six years. His Illustrated Introduction to Sacred Geometry has been delivered at open air events, science festivals and talk venues and has been enthusiastically received by a wide variety of age groups and by amateurs and specialists alike.

Chris Pegrum - speaker for January 2015 Meeting

Chris grew up in Bedfordshire where he played a lot of rugby, basketball and ran the hurdles for his county.

 He moved to London in 1974 where he became a youthleader and studied Education at Goldsmiths' College. For a while he taught science in Docklands and started attending classes at the London Buddhist Centre, Bethnal Green where he was very impressed with the people I met there.

 An opportunity to live and study with The Ven Sangharakshita, a senior English Buddhist monk, arose and he found myself living in Rural Norfolk for the next seven years, studying the Sutras, meditating, doing devotional practices and earning his keep by making candles in a co-operative.

 He was ordained into The Western Buddhist Order in 1983 and remained a member for 25 years. His work was mostly teaching meditation and Buddhist literature, but he also helped build a retreat in the mountains of Alicante and started Buddhist activities in Athens. From time to time he returned to schoolteaching to keep his eye in and to top up the bank balance.

 Nowadays Chris lives in peace and tranquility at Llanwrthwl where he teaches maths and science to a few private students and tends his greenhouse.

Dr Colin P F Hughes - speaker for December Meeting -  is a graduate of Aberystwyth and Swansea universities and has a doctorate in the history of education. He was the long-serving Head of History and Humanities at Builth Wells High School and he also lectured in the Education Department at Aberystwyth University. The cattle drovers in Mid Wales, the Rebecca Riots in Radnorshire, the elementary schools of Radnorshire and the development of Llandrindod Wells as a spa town are among his special local interests. He was a Chief Examiner for GCSE History from 2003 to 2012 with the Welsh Examination Board, the WJEC. In this role he was responsible for writing eight different examination papers. He is an author, and co-author, of several GCSE History textbooks – including The changing role and status of women in the C20th. He is currently Secretary of the Radnorshire Society. He has lived in Llandrindod since 1974.

Eric Rees - speaker for November meeting

Eric Rees was born in South Wales. He completed an engineering apprenticeship in the opencast mining industry and then worked as an engineer all over the UK, Europe, Africa, America, India and Pakistan.

In 1980 Eric moved to Mid-Wales where he ran a small farm and started his own agricultural machinery and Land Rover repair business.

He returned to full-time education in 1994 and completed courses in Economics, Business Studies, History, Philosophy, Medieval Welsh and Celtic Literature.

Later he returned to his original occupation in 2001 until retirement in 2007.

He has read widely in history and Welsh since his early 20's. 

David White - Speaker for October Meeting

David studied at Durham, Birmingham and Oxford and, latterly, at Lampeter University.  He has conducted choirs since a teenager at his father's Methodist Church in Northampton, through 20 years as head of a music department at a large comprehensive school in Wiltshire (Calne Choral Society and the Circle Singers) and leading up to retirement after fifteen years as Director of Music at Rendcombe college in Gloucestershire and conductor of Cirencester Choral Society.  David was very fortunate to have been taught piano by two teachers who were themselves pupils of the great English pianist, Solomon.  He retired to Powys nine years ago and, in addition to conducting Cantorion, he founded the Irfon Singers and also sings regularly as a Lay Clerk in Brecon Cathedral.

Nick Burton - Speaker for July Meeting

Nick Burton is a Senior Lubricants Deployment Technologist at Infineum, one of the world leaders in the formulation, manufacture and marketing of petroleum additives for fuels and lubricants.

After completing his studies at Llandrindod High School in the year 2000 with A levels at grade A in Maths, Physics and Chemistry, he studied at t