Page 1




See page 6

Going veggie: should we all try it?

Make the most of a good night’s sleep

Set up your own film club

PLUS: Mike Harding • Postbag • Entertainment • Tea Break

contents 4 FRONT DESK News, information and updates from Fellowship Office

editor’s letter

17 THE COLLECTORS The collection craze that gripped the early British colonial administrators in Fiji

Welcome to the Winter edition of avanti.


We’ve focused on some practical advice in this i ssue. On page 28 we’ve tackled an issue that’s of growing concern to many CSRF members: how to deal with scam phone calls, letters or emails, and how to guard against having your personal details used in identity fraud. On page 36 we look at something rather different: how to get a good night’s sleep, and the science that underpins our nightly time out. Finally, on page 32 there’s a look at a group of retired people who have set up a highly successful film club, with tips for how you might do the same thing yourself. Elsewhere, we look back at the early British public servants who collected art and artefacts from Fiji, we ask whether it would be in everyone’s interests to make voting compulsory, and we tackle the pros and cons of vegetarianism. We’ve also packed out our popular letters page! Have a thoroughly happy Christmas and New Year, from all of us at avanti.

Meat-free eating is increasingly popular these days. Would it be a good idea if we all took it up?

26 THE BIG DEBATE Should voting be compulsory, asks Adrian Monti

28 DON’T LET THEM CHEAT YOU Our practical guide to protecting yourself against fraud

32 SHOW AND TELL Victoria Neumark reports on a group that has set up its own film club

36 THE SCIENCE OF SLEEP How and why we sleep, and how to sleep better!

40 ENTERTAINMENT Staying in or going out, our top picks

44 TEA BREAK Jokes, puzzles, top tips and our ever popular prize crossword

48 POSTBAG Your letters, stories and views



Group reports and news from around the country




published by Square7 Media Ltd, 3 More London Riverside, London SE1 2RE t: 020 3283 4055 e:

Find out what your local group is up to

62 MY FAVOURITE THINGS Mike Harding’s top choices

The Civil Service Retirement Fellowship Unit 11, Pepys House, Greenwich Quay, Clarence Road, LONDON SE8 3EY e: w: A charity registered in England and Wales No 255465 and in Scotland No SC039049 and a company limited by guarantee in England and Wales No 6297479

Publisher: Gaynor Garton e: Advertising: t: 020 3283 4055 e: Editor: Radhika Holmström Contact the Editor: Use the CSRF address above e: t: 020 8691 7411 Contributors: Adrian Monti, Victoria Neumark, Kate Wheal Designer: Charlotte Morgan ©2016. avanti Magazine is published by Square7 Media Ltd on behalf of the Civil Service Retirement Fellowship (CSRF). All rights reserved. The CSRF and the publishers declare that any publication of any advertisement does not carry their endorsement or sponsorship of the advertiser or their products unless so indicated. Contributions are invited and, whether or not accepted, submissions will be returned only is accompanied by a stamped addressed envelope. No responsibility can be taken for drawings, photographs or literary contributions during transmission or while in the publisher’s hands. Proof of receipt is no guarantee of appearance. In the absence of an agreement, the copyright of all contributions, literary, photographic or artistic belongs to The CSRF. This publication (or any part thereof) may not be reproduced, transmitted or stored in print or electronic format (including, but not limited to, any online service, database or part of the internet), or in any other format in any media whatsoever, without the prior written permission of Square7 Media Ltd. The CSRF and Square7 Media accept no liability for the accuracy of the contents or any other opinions expressed herein. The views expressed in this magazine do not necessarily reflect the official views of The CSRF. WINTER 2016



The latest news from Fellowship Office

Planning for our future Chief Executive David Tickner outlines current and future plans for the Fellowship


hope many of you read John Barker’s article in the last issue that gave an update on the work being done to look at the Fellowship’s future. As we approach the end of 2016 I am pleased to be able to expand on that article with a more detailed look at the changes that have already been implemented and some of our plans for the year ahead.

New structure for Fellowship Office We completed our office relocation at the end of September, moving into new premises in the Greenwich area that are far more appropriate and costefficient for our purposes. We have a smaller and more compact office unit but one that will enable us to maintain all our existing services. The relocation has also enabled us to look carefully at our staffing requirements and reshuffle roles and responsibilities. Belinda Stalker will become our new Office Manager and be responsible for the day-to-day administration of the office, as well as maintaining her link with branches and groups. Duncan Packer, who has been responsible for running our National Visitors Network and Phone Buddy Schemes, will become Befriending Services Support Manager. We will also be appointing a new part-time Fundraising Support Officer who will be working directly with me to introduce a targeted fundraising strategy for 2017-2018. Sadly we have had to bid farewell to two members of staff as part of this



process and I want to say a personal thank you to Sophia Hill and Yvonne Scott, who have both worked very hard on behalf of the Fellowship throughout their time with us. They take with them all our very best wishes for the future when they leave in December.

Fundraising At the beginning of September a small walking team made up of Fellowship Office staff, volunteers and our Vice Chairman completed our Walk for Friendship to raise funds for our befriending services. We walked round all eight London Royal Parks in a day and were joined by a team from the Department for Transport, who walked with us around some of the central parks. We have raised more than £6,000 so far and if you’d like to make a donation then you still can (fill out the form on page 7). My thanks to both the Civil Service Insurance Society and CSSC Sports & Leisure, who sponsored the activity. As we had such a positive response to this type of activity, we will be looking at more targeted initiatives as part of our new fundraising strategy in 2017.

Services in 2017 We will continue to maintain our existing level of services throughout 2017. Beneficiaries will continue to be

We will strengthen our partnerships with other organisations

able to access both the National Visitors Network and Phone Buddy Scheme, and to contact us for advice, information and signposting. Our branch and group network will continue to operate, although we will no longer be funding the business side of running the group network. Our Carers Support Scheme pilot, which identified the extremely important issue of support for older carers, will finish at the end of this year and has been able to provide some respite days for our beneficiaries who are carers. Although the pilot finishes, we will be engaging with The Charity for Civil Servants to see how we can more effectively promote their care services in the future. I would like to thank the Civil Service Insurance Society Charity Fund, which funded the pilot, and for the help received from both Carers Trust and the Charity for Civil Servants in delivering it.

Partnerships One particularly key area in our plans for the next couple of years is the strengthening of our relationships with other organisations whilst at the same time building new partnerships to provide additional services to our beneficiaries. As John mentioned in his article in the last issue, one of our principal dialogues in this field will be with The Charity for Civil Servants. Both our Board of Directors and the Trustees of The Charity for Civil Servants are committed to establishing a more collaborative working partnership. To that end I will be working closely with their Chief

NEW HOME FOR FELLOWSHIP OFFICE We now have a new postal address so please update your records accordingly:

The Civil Service Retirement Fellowship Unit 11, Pepys House Greenwich Quay Clarence Road LONDON SE8 3EY All our telephone numbers and email addresses will remain the same.

Executive Graham Hooper to see what shape this might take. But a starting point for discussions will be working together on areas of shared interest in terms of services to retired civil servants, better signposting by each charity to the services of the other and joint attendance at certain events. In addition to The Charity we will also be expanding our engagement with the NHS Retirement Fellowship, BT Benevolent Fund and Rowland Hill and establishing new partnerships with other organisations. One of these already is a new mutually supportive working partnership with Contact the Elderly, which I visited a few months ago. Their hosted tea parties are a perfect synergy to our existing services in the arena of loneliness and social isolation and you can find out how to get involved by reading their article in our community noticeboard section on pages 10-11 of this issue. We will also be maintaining our signposting to both Independent Age and AgeUK, whose guides on a whole range of subjects have proved very popular with beneficiaries.

Changes to the magazine The Board of Directors reduced the frequency of the magazine this year from four to three issues and these cost efficiencies will be expanded further in 2017. From next year we will publish two 16 page newsletters that will be focused only on news and information directly linked to the Fellowship. This is part of our need to make savings to ensure we are able to operate within our budget. The new format will continue to

We have challenges, but I am confident we can meet them include the group news and listings whilst at the same time focusing on new services to beneficiaries, fundraising initiatives and new partnerships. I am very grateful to Square7 Media for their advice and help with implementing this and I would also like to extend my thanks to our current Editor Radhika Holmström for her superb guardianship of avanti over the past few years.

New structure for our Board of Directors At this year’s Annual General Meeting in July the Company Members unanimously approved a whole raft of changes to our Articles of Association that have resulted in a new structure for our Board of Directors. The number of Elected Board Directors has been reduced from nine to three posts, which has meant we have bid farewell to Tony Hazeldine, Sylvia Edgell and John Cook. They stood down with effect from the Board meeting at the end of September. We have also said goodbye to both our Cabinet Office nominated Director Liz Gill and Trade Union nominated Director Ian Albert. I am extremely grateful to all of them for their support and service to the Fellowship over many years. There will be three new Associate Directors who will join the Board before our next Annual General

Meeting. They will be appointed according to the skills they bring to our organisation. We are working with the Office for Civil Society to identify suitable candidates with skills and knowledge particularly in the arena of marketing, fundraising, legal issues and communications.

Looking ahead to 2017 Whilst consolidating and securing our current range of services is important, so too is identifying new areas for growth and development. In 2017 we will be reintroducing the 50% discount on subscriptions for the first year and also a new supporter category to appeal to those serving civil servants who wish to make a regular donation to support the work we do. We will also be exploring new services in the arena of education and training that we hope will strengthen our engagement with Civil Service HR and more specifically offer help to those civil servants who are in a career transition as they approach retirement or early exit. The year has been an extremely busy one for me since taking over as Chief Executive. I am extremely grateful to the Officers, members of the Board, Fellowship Office staff and beneficiaries for all the support you continue to give me. We have some challenges in the year ahead to build on the changes we’ve made so far but I am confident that we will be able to meet these head on and do everything we can to strengthen our future.


fundraising Thank you to our friends at CSSC Sport & Leisure and the Civil Service Insurance Society who supported the walk as official sponsors and to the following groups for their donations:

Support our

Walk for Friendship 1 Day 8 Royal Parks 15 Miles 34,000 Steps

Staff from Fellowship Office, members of the Board of Directors, Departmental Ambassadors and volunteers completed their fundraising Walk For Friendship on 2 September. The Walk for Friendship saw the team cover all eight London Royal Parks in one day. Pictured below, the walk started at Bushy Park (1) in South West London, moving to Richmond Park (2), Kensington Gardens (3), Hyde Park (4), Regent’s Park (5), Green Park (6) and St James’s Park (7) before taking the river boat down river to finish at Greenwich Park (8). We were joined mid-way through

our walk by a team of supporters from the Department for Transport, who walked with us in Hyde Park, Regent’s Park, Green Park and St James’s Park. So far we have raised over £6,000 with all funds going to the National Visitors Network and Phone Buddy schemes, which deliver companionship for any socially isolated beneficiary. We’d like to hit £10,000 so if you can help us with a donation please use the form opposite to post in your contribution. Alternatively you can donate via the CSRF website, or via our Just Giving page,

Ascot & Sunningdale Attleborough Banbridge Basingstoke Bedford Bexhill-on-Sea Bury St Edmunds Chandlers Ford Chippenham Croydon, Dulwich & Norwood Dorchester Dumfries & Kirkcudbright Leatherhead Lincoln City Lisburn Liskeard & Pensilva London E & SW Essex Maidstone Neath & Port Talbot Norwich Oswestry Princetown Sleaford & Ancaster Sutton Swaffham Swansea Tadley Westbury Weston Super Mare Yate & District

1 2




5 6

7 WINTER 2016


Support our Walk For Friendship Your donation will help support our befriending services Return the completed form including your donation to: The CSRF, Unit 11, Pepys House, Greenwich Quay, Clarence Road, LONDON SE8 3EY Cheques should be made payable to ‘The CSRF’. Alternatively, you can make a donation to support the Walk for Friendship online at

Please accept my gift of:







Other £

How would you like us to acknowledge your donation? By Post By Email I do not wish to receive an acknowledgement We are extremely grateful for all donations we receive; you can help us save money by ticking the box to opt not to receive an acknowledgment

Name: Address:

Post Code: Tel Number: Email:

Alternatively you could sign up to make a regular donation to support our ongoing work via direct debit. Please pay: each month/year (delete as appropriate) Starting on (date)

The sum of £



until further notice

Name of account holder Account No

Sort Code



Name and address of your bank/building society (BLOCK CAPITALS please) To the manager

Signature Date



For office use only (Bank, please quote reference)

Originator’s Identification Number

6 3 0 6 7 0

Instruction to your Bank or Building Society Please pay The CSRF Direct Debits from the account detailed in this instruction subject to the safeguards assured by the Direct Debit Guarantee. I understand that this Instruction may remain with The CSRF and if so, details will be passed electronically to my Bank/Building Society

Make your gift worth a quarter more at no extra cost to you! If you are a UK taxpayer The CSRF can reclaim the tax you’ve paid on your donation. Please tick the Gift Aid declaration box below I want to Gift Aid this donation and any donations I make in the future or have made in the past 4 years. I am a UK taxpayer and understand that if I pay less Income Tax and/or Capital Gains Tax than the amount of Gift Aid claimed on all my donations in that tax year it is my responsibility to pay any difference. If you pay Income Tax at the higher or additional rate and want to receive the additional tax relief due to you, you must include all your Gift Aid donations on your Self-Assessment tax return or ask HM Revenue and Customs to adjust your tax code. Please notify us if you want to cancel this declaration, change your name or home address or no longer pay sufficient tax on your income and/or capital gains.



Community noticeboard News and information from other organisations of interest

Tea, cake and conversation Celebrating telecoms history The BT Benevolent Fund has produced a fascinating calendar for 2017 featuring images from telecommunications history kindly donated by the BT Archives. They cost just £7.50 each and can be ordered from the Fund’s website at: bf/calendar/index.htm, with payment by Paypal, card or cheque

Contact the Elderly is a national charity which organises free, monthly Sunday afternoon tea parties for people aged 75 or over who live alone. The tea parties are a great way for people to socialise, make friends and feel part of the community. The tea parties take place across England, Scotland and Wales and there are currently 655 active groups. Each group consists of six to eight older guests and a small group of volunteers. These friendly and dedicated volunteers host the tea parties in their homes, which are

both comfortable and accessible. Volunteer drivers also collect the older guests from their homes and drive them safely to the tea parties, and then escort them back home again afterwards. The groups are small and the people stay the same, which means friendships blossom and everyone gets to know each other very well. The tea parties are free to attend and take place once a month on Sunday afternoons. They are perfect for anyone who finds Sundays particularly long and would like to make friends in their area.

If you are aged 75 or over and live alone and would like to come along to a tea party, you can ask for more information by calling Freephone 0800 716 543 or visit If you are interested in volunteering, Contact the Elderly is always looking for friendly, organised people to become group coordinators. Find out more at



The CSRF has benefited from the support received from the Civil Service Insurance Society Charity Fund for many years. The CSIS Charity Fund has provided funds in the past to support the publishing of avanti, and more recently has helped us build and maintain the services we offer to our beneficiaries. This support, and the financial help for the National Visitors Network, has enabled us to really make a significant difference in alleviating loneliness in later life. We are very grateful to them for confirming support to the Network, and for kindly supporting our Carers Support Scheme pilot as well. What many of you may not know is that the financial support given by the CSIS Charity Fund originates from the Civil Service Insurance Society (CSIS), which donates its annual profits to the Fund to help support projects all over the UK in many different fields. In 2016 these included grants to the Northern Ireland Retired Prison Officers Central Benevolent Fund, contributing to the cost of installing a lift for members with disabilities at one of its holiday properties; to the Ministry of Defence’s Families Activity Breaks scheme for their camp on the South Downs for bereaved children of Armed Forces personnel; to the Canterbury Oast Trust to create a new specialised training kitchen area, which will enable more students with disabilities to join their catering programme; to the Civil Service Sports Council for bursaries for athletes with disabilities; and to Hospice UK to fund a project or projects in hospices in the south west of England. The CSIS Charity Fund set aside over £800,000 for grants in 2016.

Take Some Time Out Our Carers Support Scheme pilot will be finishing at the end of 2016 so if you are eligible to take advantage of its services then please do give us a call on 020 8469 9192 no later than Friday November 25th or email: We can cover the cost of every aspect of your day including a carer support worker if you need some extra support for the person you care for. It’s easy to sign up and the day will be completely tailored to your preferences. If you’re interested, why not just pick up the phone and give us a call? Or drop us an email using the contact information at the bottom of the page. The Carers Support Scheme pilot is funded by the Civil Service Insurance Society Charity Fund and has support from Carers Trust.

Matt Chung Photography

Maintaining the Virtuous Circle

CSIS CEO Kevin Holliday and Grahame Morris MP at the CSIS 125th Anniversary event at the House of Commons

So by taking out home or motor insurance with CSIS you are actually directly helping many charities and organisations. CSIS celebrated its 125th anniversary last year and it was evident from the sentiments expressed by those who attended the special event held to celebrate this at the House of Commons just how much respect and trust it has within civil and public sector circles. As we develop our future plans for the Fellowship the circle of engagement created by those who receive support from the CSIS Charity Fund will form an integral part in our future partnerships and in our plans to work more closely with organisations such as The Charity for Civil Servants, BT Benevolent Fund, Rowland Hill and the NHS Retirement Fellowship. If you have motor or home insurance then why not give CSIS a call for a quote on 01622 766960 or visit For more information on the CSIS Charity Fund and the projects they support visit

Grace’s Day Grace had been caring for her husband for quite some time when she received the Carers Support Scheme registration form. She decided that she’d like to simply relax in a garden and have lunch with her daughter. After deciding on Sissinghurst Castle Garden in Kent and picking a date, we organised and prepaid her transport well before she set off. After a relaxing day out, all that was left to do was return the expense claim form so that the day didn’t cost her a penny. Grace told us: “We had a lovely day at Sissinghurst. The weather was hot and the gardens were beautiful, especially the rows of sunflowers. The taxi picked us up and dropped us back on time so there was nothing to worry about”. Grace’s daughter, Ann, added: “It was nice to spend some time with mum free from worry and stress. We’d love to go on another day given the chance.”


Help for many causes Rowland Hill Fund is now in its 135th year and is still going strong in its efforts to provide help and assistance to Royal Mail Group and Post Office workers, retirees and their families. “We offer a varied service,” says Fund manager Mary Jeffrey. “It ranges from help with budgeting to housing and other issues and there is a free confidential helpline available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.” Giving us examples of two people the Fund has been able to help recently, Mary cites two delivery workers – David Salter from Blackheath (London) and Sarah Phillips from Bath. “David had two surgery dates cancelled and was unable to work whilst he was awaiting a hip operation and as a result of the delay to his surgery, he was reduced to half pay,” Mary explains. As a further result, he fell into rent arrears. “Rowland Hill Fund was able to award a grant of £2,500 to assist him and he is now back at work and thankful for the support he received at a critical time.” Sarah was struggling to pay her bills after a diagnosis of breast cancer, operation and chemotherapy sharply changed her life. “We were able to pay £1,300 towards her household arrears and give her a regular grant of £100 for 12 months,” says Mary. “To all Royal Mail and Post Office workers past and present, in hardship and in need, we say – please contact us and we’ll do our very best to help you if we can.” For confidential help call 0800 6888 777, option 1 then option 4



Volunteer for this and end up behind bars Think of a volunteer and it’s a fair bet you’ll picture somebody rattling a tin on the high street or beavering away at the local charity shop. But there’s another breed of volunteer whose task is a bit more adventurous and one which will ensure you end up in jail: the members of the Independent Monitoring Board (IMB). The IMB is attached to each prison and Immigration Removal Centre in England and Wales. Its prime role is to ensure that the rules are

properly applied and that the highest standards of care and decency are maintained. “If anybody is looking for something very much out of the ordinary, which is really beneficial, then I can recommend they look at becoming a member of their local IMB. I am not saying the role is for everybody, but if you are up for a challenge, then this type of volunteering could well be for you,” says John Thornhill, the IMB President. You need to be enthusiastic, open minded, have good communication skills and have the ability to exercise sound, objective judgement. You do not need any special qualifications or experience as we will provide all the necessary training and support. The role would typically take up about three days a month. Opportunities arise regularly across England and Wales, and there is also an immigration IMB in Scotland. To find out more, go to, email or call 0203 334 3265

Coping with Winter Fuel Bills Help and advice available from The Charity for Civil Servants As we move into Winter and the temperatures begin to drop, it’s only a matter of time before we think about switching on the heating more often. For some people, though, having a warm home pushes their finances to the limits. Each year The Charity for Civil Servants supports hundreds of people with their energy bills. To help tackle this difficult issue for the civil service community, the charity has pulled together key information relating to fuel and energy, including advice on managing fuel bills and debts and how

to ensure you’re getting best value for money, and helpful information on fuel specialist benefits you, or someone you know, may be entitled to. This is all available on the website, To find out more about how to manage your fuel bills, visit, or for help and advice please call the Charity direct on 0800 056 2424.

befriending schemes

Bring a ray of sunshine to a lonely person

Question: How can you bring Summer sunshine to someone in the midst of Winter? Answer: Volunteer for one of our befriending schemes! Can you spare an hour a fortnight? Do you like to chat over a cup of tea? If the answer is yes then you would make a great volunteer for our National Visitors Network (NVN). Volunteering to be an NVN visitor provides an opportunity to make a real difference to beneficiaries who are lonely and seek more company. You will meet them in their own home for a chat and cup of tea. This helps them feel less lonely and more socially connected. We aim to match volunteers and beneficiaries in their local area but a number of current volunteers

travel much further and visit several beneficiaries. It is up to you. We find that volunteers get as much enjoyment, if not more, than those receiving visits, so what are you waiting for? We provide initial training and continuous support. With Christmas coming wouldn’t volunteering make a great present for a lonely person? We have people wanting visits across the country but would particularly welcome more volunteers in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Essex, Kent, Yorkshire and Wales.

Contacting our befriending schemes Call 020 8691 7411 and a member of the Fellowship Office team will call you back for a confidential call. Email or with your name and telephone number. If you have access to the internet, you can find out more in the Befriend section on the CSRF website and if you’re interested in registering you can download the forms directly from the website.

HOW JUST HALF AN HOUR CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE Are you a good listener and enjoy chatting? Could you spare half an hour every week to make a phone call to someone who feels lonely and wants to share experiences and have a general chat? Then why not consider being one of our Phone Buddies and you can do it from your sofa! You will be providing some social connection to your beneficiary, and giving them the immeasurable boost of knowing that someone cares about them. We aim to match you with someone with similar interests to your own, too. Wouldn’t it be great if you made that regular call and helped to reduce someone’s loneliness, especially as Christmas approaches?

Don’t be alone; why not request a visit? Do you live in Cheshire, Gloucestshire, Hereford or London (East and North) and feel lonely? Then we may have visitors waiting to come and have a chat over a cup of tea with you. So why not complete an application form today? We also welcome applications from anyone across the country who feels they would benefit from a visit from one of our National Visitors Network volunteers.

I can’t volunteer but I know someone who might You may not be able to volunteer yourself right now but you might know someone, a work colleague, friend, neighbour or relative, who might be interested in volunteering. Why not pass this page on to them or simply let us know their details and we will take it from there and contact them direct.


news in brief

Civil Service Live 2016 Volunteering opportunities, fundraising and our befriending services were just a few of the areas that proved very popular with delegates attending the annual Civil Service Live event in London’s QEII Exhibition centre in July. The event provides an essential opportunity for the CSRF to talk directly to serving civil servants and help support awareness of our organisation. It also helped encourage donations towards our Walk For Friendship.

INSEEC Intern During August we welcomed our annual intern from the International Business School in Bordeaux. Mathis Azria, who is in his first year of studying marketing and business at the school, worked at Fellowship Office fulfilling a range of general administrative tasks as well as helping at our Annual General Meeting and Civil Service Live. ABOVE: Mathis Azria (2nd from left) with Fellowship Office staff and volunteers on his last day at the office

Bidding Adieu She’s been our longest serving member on the Board of Directors but after ten years Evelyn George decided to stand down at this year’s Annual General Meeting. Vice Chairman Sue Jarvis (pictured left) made a special presentation to Evelyn from the Board, Fellowship Office and Company Members in recognition of her long-standing service to the Fellowship.

Fond Farewell We said goodbye to four Board Directors last month who stood down following the changes approved at this year’s Annual General Meeting. They were presented with cards acknowledging their service and support to the Fellowship. Pictured from left to right: John Cook, Sylvia Edgell, Chairman John Barker CB, Liz Gill and Tony Hazeldine CBE



annual general meeting 2016

1 The ninth Annual General Meeting of the company was held from 1pm on Wednesday 20 July 2016 at the Civil Service Club, 13-15 Great Scotland Yard, London SW1A 2HJ Chairman’s opening remarks The Chairman welcomed all company members and observers, in particular those attending for the first time. He also thanked Fellowship Office staff and volunteers for their hard work in arranging the Annual General Meeting with a particular note of thanks to Belinda Stalker, the AGM organiser. He went on to explain that this year’s Annual General Meeting was a particularly critical one as Company Members were being asked to vote on a number of amendments to the Articles of Association that, if passed, would support the work being undertaken on establishing a clear future direction for the Fellowship. The Chairman highlighted the work that had been carried out by the Future Review group which had undertaken a full review of all the Fellowship’s activities. He thanked Board Director Liz Gill for leading the Review and also commended Belinda Stalker (the nominated staff representative on the group) for her input. The group had presented its findings to the Board at their meeting in April 2016 following which they had voted to action the key recommendations. These were namely to establish a dialogue with the Charity for Civil Servants to explore the opportunities for working closer together, undertake a reform of the Fellowship’s governance structure and establish an operating model that would deliver a breakeven budget. He went on to thank the Civil Service Insurance Society Charity Fund for their ongoing support of the National Visitors Network and the funding they had provided for the pilot of the new Carers Support Scheme. He also highlighted the Walk for Friendship, a sponsored walk that Fellowship Office were doing to help raise funds for the befriending schemes and encouraged all those






8 present to support the activity. The Chairman concluded by also thanking the Acting Chief Executive for his energy and hard work on behalf of the Fellowship following the retirement of Jean Cooper earlier in the year. There were 29 eligible voting members present.

Accounts The Treasurer began her report by explaining that as a result of the work undertaken by the Future Review group the Annual Report & Financial Statements for the year ended 2015 had not yet been signed. This decision had been taken following consultation with the auditors so to enable the most current information on the work going on to be shown in the report. She advised that the 2015 Annual Report & Financial Statements would take into account the changes to the SORP (Statement of Recommended Practice) requirements for charities on how they report and show their accounts and she thanked the auditors, Moore Stephens LLP, for their advice and support throughout this year’s audit

9 process. She also thanked Tracey Darby (the Fellowship’s bookkeeper) for all her hard work to ensure the audit ran smoothly. The Annual Report would be completed and signed in advance of the required filing date of 30th September 2016 and all Company Members would be sent a copy of the final report. During 2015 the Fellowship had benefitted from funds from donation appeals, membership subscriptions and legacies as well as receiving restricted funds from the Civil Service Insurance Society Charity Fund to support the National Visitors Network and research into the Carers Project. Expenditure had exceeded income again despite the fundraising activities that had taken place in the last three years and as a result 2015 would show a net loss although lower than the loss recorded the previous year. The Treasurer went on to report that findings of the Future Review group had identified that the Fellowship would not be able to continue to operate using its existing model and cost efficiencies and changes would need to be introduced

5 6

1: The Fellowship Office team at the AGM 2: (l to r): Sylvia Edgell, Duncan Packer and Margaret Carter. 3: (l to r): Pam Davis and Peter Ferrozznolo. 4: (l to r): Ken Holloway, Rosemary Henderson, Roy German and Jeff Vincent. 5: Anne Guess from Bedfordshire branch. 6: Les Barnett from London, East & SW Essex branch. 7: Vice Chairman Sue Jarvis and Treasurer Jenny Rowe CB. 8: AGM Organiser Belinda Stalker and Mike Smith from Lincolnshire branch. 9: (l to r): Lynn Willan, Vida Pritchard, Margaret Carter, Sylvia Edgell and Doreen Beck. 10: AGM Organiser Belinda Stalker and Peter Hodson from Greater London Surrey branch

to address that as it was important to preserve the current reserves. In conclusion, she reported that the Board of Directors and Acting Chief Executive were currently working on producing a break-even budget for 2017 which should not affect current services provided for beneficiaries.

Auditors It was resolved to appoint Moore Stephens LLP as the auditors of the company and that the Board of Directors be authorised to fix their remuneration. This was proposed by the Chairman and seconded by Liz Gill before being unanimously approved by all those eligible to vote. Resolutions Emergency Special Resolutions 1 Amend Article 1.1.4 as follows: • Insert at end of Line 1, “a branch can only be formed or remain open where there is more than one active group operating within the Branch boundary” Carried 2 Amend Article 13.1 as follows: • Delete ‘100’ and replace with ‘50’



(to denote the maximum number of company members) Carried 3 Delete Article 19.2 and renumber subsequent Articles accordingly “The Cabinet Office and National Trade Union Committee shall also appoint from time to time two further directors” Amend Article 19.4 as follows: • Line 1 delete ‘nine’ and replace with ‘three’ (to denote the maximum number of elected directors) Carried 4 That the following articles be added after current Article 19.10. 19.11 Three Associate Directors shall be appointed based on skills and experience deemed of benefit to the furtherance of the Charity’s aims and objects 19.12 A nominee for Associate Director must be made to the appointments panel which comprises of an Appointed Director, Elected Director and the Chief Executive (or senior member of charity) 19.13 Associate Directors would only be able to serve a period of 3 consecutive years with an opportunity to serve a further

consecutive 3 years. Following this period, the person will not be eligible for further re-election for one year Carried 5 The following article be added after Article 30.1.6 30.1.7 Making any decisions deemed necessary for protecting and safeguarding a future for the Fellowship’s activities Carried 6 That the following new articles be added as 34, 34.1, 34.2 and 34.3 respectively. 34 Dissolution 34.1 The members of the charity may at any time before, and in expectation of, its dissolution resolve that any net assets of the charity after all its debts and liabilities have been paid, or provision has been made for them, shall on or before the dissolution of the charity be applied or transferred in any of the following ways: (a) directly for the Objects; or (b) by transfer to any charity or charities for purposes similar to the Objects; or (c) to any charity or charities for use for particular purposes that fall within the Objects. 34.2 Subject to any such resolution of the members of the charity, the directors of the charity may at any time before and in expectation of its dissolution resolve that any net assets of the charity after all its debts and liabilities have been paid, or provision made for them, shall on or before dissolution of the charity be applied or transferred: (a) directly for the Objects; or (b) by transfer to any charity or charities for purposes similar to the Objects; or (c) to any charity or charities for use for particular purposes that fall within the Objects. 34.3 In no circumstances shall the net assets of the charity be paid to or distributed among the members of the charity Carried The Meeting then formally closed. It was followed by an open session for questions from Company Members and Observers.



The Collectors In the early days of the British colonial administration in Fiji, a collection craze gripped the residents of Government House. We take a closer look at the lives and work of these early public servants


ll kinds of things can be got here,’ wrote Rachel, Lady Gordon in a letter from Fiji to her sister in 1875. ‘All the gentlemen are vying with one another. Arthur has already got quantities of things – many have been presents.’ The ‘Arthur’ to whom Lady Gordon refers was the first resident British Governor of Fiji. The other ‘gentlemen’ included his colleagues and employees at Government House, who made up the small staff of colonial administrators. A new exhibition at the Sainsbury Centre of Visual Arts, Fiji: Art & Life in the Pacific, brings together objects from around the UK, many of which were brought back by colonial officers and their colleagues during the 19th century. Collecting local artefacts and curios quickly became one of their main ways of passing the time and, indeed, competing with each other. It

was also part of a different attitude to government than the one the British government displayed in most other countries.

Fiji and Government “Initially, Fiji wasn’t particularly interesting for the British,” explains Professor Steven Hooper of the University of East Anglia, lead curator of the exhibition. “With a colonial base in New Zealand, they were already feeling overstretched and weren’t looking for strategic anchorages in the area; certainly not in a place which didn’t seem to have particularly promising economic resources.” In fact, Fiji became a British colony not through military conquest, but in response to requests from Fijian chiefs. FROM LEFT: Head, 19th century; Water vessel (saqa moli), mid-19th century; Large decorated pot

Even so, they had to request it twice, first in 1859 and again 14 years later. “By the late 1850s, the chiefs had been dealing with French, American and British expeditions in the region,” says Hooper. “The paramount chief of the most powerful chiefdom in Fiji, Ratu Seru Cakobau, who had converted to Christianity in 1854, was in quite severe debt to American traders and he was under pressure from Tongan incursions from the east and independent tribes in the interior of Viti Levu [the main island of Fiji]. The idea of a strategic alliance with Britain made a lot of sense to him, but the investigative expedition, which was sent out in 1860, concluded that it wasn’t worth the expense.” By the time of Cakobau’s second formal request, the picture in Fiji was even more complicated. With questions asked in the British Parliament about ‘blackbirding’ (slave raiding)


in the region, Britain agreed to the chief’s request and Fiji became a British colony on 10 October 1874. Arriving in 1875, Governor Gordon established a relatively loose form of indirect rule, which suited both the Fijian chiefs and the colonial administration, not least because it only required the British Government to fund a skeleton staff (the colony was supposed to be self supporting). Gordon’s administration brought benefits and difficulties. His system of indirect rule, says Hooper, “froze what had been a much more fluid system, so that the chiefs became much more like European aristocrats”. The Governor did his best to support British interests in the country, not least by building a tax base. But he also alienated the settlers by banning land sales to European planters so that Fijians remained largely in control of their own land. Within the context of the time, though, Gordon’s ‘indirect rule’ was relatively humane. Unlike the colonial administrations in many other parts of the British Empire, he and his colleagues made efforts to engage with the local population. All British colonial officers in Fiji were required to learn Fijian and to familiarise themselves with local customs and traditions, and Fijian chiefs were appointed as



provincial administrators and given the appropriate regalia. Gordon announced that “any useful native customs shall be retained, but improper customs shall be given up”. One of those useful customs was the practice of exchanging gifts.

Collection crazy The Fijians were not naïve about the British presence. They too had their own agenda, and the use of gifts and presentations was as strategic as it was

FROM TOP: Constance Gordon Cumming, View of Tokou, Ovalau, 1870s watercolour July 28th 1876; Pedestal dish used by priests for drinking yaqona (kava); Engraved bamboo nose flute

part of a longstanding tradition of Fijian generosity. In addition, large quantities of traditional weapons were coming onto the curio market, alongside religious artefacts discarded by people converting to Christianity. So, in Government House, artefact collection mania became all the rage. ‘We have an immense collection of these things now between us, increasing every day, and all the others have lent theirs to be hung up,’ Lady Gordon wrote to her sister. Collecting, after all, was one of the main ways to occupy oneself in such a remote posting. The administrators competed (fairly amicably) with each other to bag the best items, and dealers in the main town of Levuka jumped at the chance to take advantage of their fascination with acquiring Fijian objects. Government House was turned into a museum and some objects were sent back to Arthur Franks at the British Museum. “Some artefacts were given to colonial officers as part of ceremonial exchange,” says Hooper. “Others were bought or bartered. Weapons were particularly popular on both sides. Fijian society was a martial, military society, so any self-respecting Fijian man would have a large club and a smaller throwing one for daily use. The British tended to be interested

The legacy

in collecting weapons in any case and Gordon and his wife recreated a mini Scottish baronial hall with Fijian clubs in Government House.”

The main players Gordon had a small but active entourage. Among his staff, other notable collectors included private secretaries Arthur Gordon, the Governor’s cousin; Arthur Maudslay; and chief medical officer William MacGregor. Lady Gordon threw herself enthusiastically into collecting too; as did two other residents of Government House. Constance Gordon Cumming was officially Lady Gordon’s companion, but spent much of her time travelling around the islands, painting the local people and landscapes. ‘Her “tavi” as we say here [duty or task] is to wander around the world and “see things and paint them”,’ wrote Maudslay to his sister. At Government House, she drew and painted many of the objects on display as well, and later published a book about her stay, At Home in Fiji (1881). The only guest at Government House without an official role in the colonial team was in fact one of the most enthusiastic collectors, Baron Anatole von Hügel, whose mother was Scottish

and father Austrian. He arrived aged 20 and ended up staying for more than two years. Von Hugel’s collecting obsession took him on an arduous journey through difficult terrain into the interior of Viti Levu in 1875, after which, Maudslay reported: ‘He was halfstarved on native food, had spent all his money, and had even cut the buttons off his clothes in exchange for native ornaments.’

By the time Gordon left Fiji in 1880, ethnographic collecting had become the established practice for colonial administrators in Fiji, and his successors took up the habit just as keenly. Many of the artefacts they amassed now form the basis of the Fijian collections in the museums of Cambridge, Edinburgh and Aberdeen. In 1884, von Hügel became the first curator of the new Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology in Cambridge, donating his collection and persuading other Government House friends to donate theirs. “Reading the accounts of the colonial administrators of that time, and even of more recent ones, it’s clear that Fiji and Fijians had a massive emotional impact on them, perhaps different from any other colony. The courtesy and graciousness of the Fijian people was remarked on by all,” says Hooper. Von Hügel wrote of his departure in 1877: ‘Perhaps of all the miserable days I have ever had, [this] has been the most miserable. Leaving Fiji means another thorough break-up to me: a new life to begin, of which I know absolutely nothing. Never have I felt so much in my life.’

TOP FROM LEFT: Club in figural form; Club, inlaid with whale ivory, presented by Ratu Seru Cakobau, paramount chief of Bau, to Governor Sir Arthur Gordon, c. 1875-76; Club with flaring head form. LEFT: Constance Gordon Cumming, watercolour showing the kitchen of a Fijian chief

Fiji: Art & Life in the Pacific runs from 15 October to 12 February 2017 at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts at the University of East Anglia, tel: 01603 593199, Tickets are £12.50 full price, £10.50 for visitors over 65 and £6 for Art Fund members.


talking point


vegetarian option

With increasing numbers of people going meat-free at least some of the time, should we all consider vegetarianism?


nce upon a time in the early 20th century, the only vegetarian food you’d find when eating out was in a specialist restaurant. Even a couple of decades ago, it was rare to find a vegetarian option on a mainstream, let alone high end, menu, unless you deliberately chose a cuisine based on a vegetarian tradition.

Today, things are rather different. It’s hard to find somewhere that doesn’t offer some kind of vegetarian choice (though admittedly risotto and puy lentils feature rather too frequently). Vegetarians no longer have to scrabble hopefully through the buffet at parties or weddings in search of something a little more filling than a few crisps. And it’s also

much easier to rustle up a vegetarian meal at home. The National Diet and Nutrition Survey estimates that around one in 50 people in the UK (that’s more than 1.2 million in total) is vegetarian. And many more people who wouldn’t formally define themselves in this way are eating meat-free meals quite regularly.


talking point

There’s a whole host of reasons why: from animal welfare and concerns about the pressure on the planet’s resources, to more self-centred worries about health.

Animal welfare Much of farming today is ‘intensive’. Animal welfare standards vary hugely around the world but even in the UK, which does have stricter welfare rules than many other countries, the RSPCA flags up serious concerns, especially when it comes to pigs and chickens. The charity also takes issue with the treatment of dairy cattle and laying hens, which underlines the fact that going meat-free only addresses part of the animal welfare problem. In the UK, sow stalls have been banned for a long time, but sows are still kept in crates after giving birth, so that they cannot turn round. Sows that live outdoors for much of the time (though the RSPCA estimates that only three per cent of pigs spend their entire lives out of doors) have rings bored through their noses to prevent them rooting in the ground. Some have their tails and/or part of their teeth removed, and the majority of male piglets in Europe are castrated. Chickens are usually kept in notoriously cramped conditions, crammed together so that they cannot move around, leading to problems such as lameness and skin diseases. This is compounded by the fact that meat chickens have been genetically selected to grow at a rate that gives



rise to severe health problems (it can take as little as five weeks for them to reach slaughter weight). There are ways round this, notably by adopting higher welfare and/or organic standards. Yet the basic issue remains. However humanely an animal has been raised, it’s been killed to get onto your plate. To quote the lines that open Anna Thomas’s 1970s veggie bible The Vegetarian Epicure (published in 1972), ‘Good food is a celebration of life, and it seems absurd to me that in celebrating life we should take life. That is why I don’t eat flesh. I see no need for killing.’

The environment Animals aren’t the only ones affected by farming. The environment, and by extension many of the world’s poorer people, also suffer. “The biggest intervention people could make towards reducing their carbon footprint would not be to abandon cars but to eat significantly less red meat,” says Professor Tim Benton of the University of Leeds, who is also the UK Champion for Global Food Security. There are several reasons for this. Conservation charity the World Wildlife Fund points out that the meat industry is responsible for nearly 20 per cent

‘Good food is a celebration of life. That’s why I don’t eat flesh.’

of the world’s greenhouse gases (that’s more than transport). In addition, 40 per cent of all global grain production and 15 per cent of all irrigated water is used for livestock. What’s more, much of the land used for grazing or to grow animal feed is land that’s been cleared from forest (with knock-on effects for other animals, as well as for people living in those areas). Having said this, the longstanding vegetarian choices of soya (which is available in protein rich forms ranging from traditional tofu to milk substitutes) and quinoa (a South American grain that’s become very fashionable in the past few years) both take their own toll on the environment. Large areas of land, including forest, are used to produce these products, and people in Peru and Bolivia for whom these were once a staple source of food can no longer afford them. It’s also worth noting that fish eaters who consider themselves vegetarian often eat many endangered species.

Human health Is red meat bad for us? It is certainly high in iron (which many women lack) along with protein. However, it is also high in saturated fat. And debate rages as to whether this fat raises our blood cholesterol, contributing to heart attacks and/or strokes. A recent report from the National Obesity Forum and the Public Health Collaboration endorsed the view that ‘good fat’ (including that in red meat) is fine to eat; on the other hand some health experts argue strongly against this view, citing the large body of evidence connecting red meat and heart disease. That’s not the only health risk. The World Health Organization (WHO) has gone as far as to classify red meat as ‘probably’ carcinogenic, and processed red meat (meat that has been cured or preserved, including sausages or ham) as carcinogenic. Carcinogenic does not mean it causes cancer but that it makes the body more likely to develop cancer. “In large population studies, though not all of them, greater red meat consumption has been associated with higher risk of colorectal (bowel)

cancer,” explains Kana Wu of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, who was one of the working group that produced the WHO’s advice. It’s worth noting that a population study looks at the numbers, not the reasons why. In this case, the researchers found that people who consumed a large amount of red meat were also likely to develop cancer.

From nut cutlets to fine dining Another key reason why more people are going vegetarian or part vegetarian is that it is a lot easier to do so and much more widely accepted these days. Vegetarianism has a long history in the UK, dating back to the beginning of the 19th century when the marvellously named Reverend William Cowherd made it a condition of joining his Bible Christian Church that people should abandon meat eating. Cowherd’s congregation took up his message after he died, with the publication of the first ‘vegetable diet’ cookbook by Martha Brotherton in 1832. Alongside that, romantic revolutionaries such as Percy Bysshe Shelley (who published his Vindication of a Natural Diet essay in 1813), his wife Mary and his friend Lord Byron were vegetarians too. Yet for much of the century and a half (or even later), vegetarian cooking and eating remained a distinctly fringe activity, one associated with frugal purity or food avoidance. Vegetarians tended to cut out alcohol (and tobacco) as well as meat, and were not usually thought of as people interested in taste. Even as late as the 1960s, when the famous Cranks restaurants opened in London and a new spirit of vegetarianism swept over the land, the food tended towards stodge or salad, without much in between. Meat substitutes such as soya chunks took up a fair amount of room in many vegetarian cookbooks, and outside the big cities, anyone trying to cook foods from countries with a longstanding


tradition of a meat-free cuisine found it virtually impossible to track down the relevant ingredients. All that has changed, hugely. Green coriander and tofu are available on many a supermarket shelf; eating out or ordering in is usually pretty straightforward for meat avoiders; and if meat substitutes are your thing, reasonable products can be picked up from the chilled or frozen cabinets of pretty well any shop. School dinners, hospital menus and sandwich shops all cater for vegetarians as a matter of course. And while a few die-hard restaurateurs and cookery writers continue to fly the flag for carnivores, they’re vastly outnumbered by the likes of Nigel Slater or Yotam Ottolenghi, who offer a wide array of meat-free recipes or indeed an entire cookbook.

Is it for you? It’s a personal decision, of course, as to whether you go completely vegetarian. Many people choose a ‘flexetarian’ route, perhaps starting with the widely recommended Meat Free Mondays (particularly if the weekend has included a Sunday roast). It makes sense to think about personal and planetary health, quite apart from the fate of the animals that end up on our plates. But even if those arguments don’t convince, one thing is for certain: the vegetarian option is certainly easier and more pleasant today than it’s ever been before.

talk to us Would you give up meat? Or have you been a vegetarian for years? Tell us what you think.



“They’re living creatures, not units of protein” Kaye McIntosh has been a vegetarian since she was 18 I grew up in a farming area of Yorkshire, so I could never divorce meat from animals. Some people imagine it all comes shrink-wrapped and blood-free from the supermarket, but I got to know the cows and calves in the field behind my house and on my friend’s farm. The families I knew were responsible farmers, but I was horrified at some of the cruel practices in slaughterhouses and intensive farming, revealed by undercover filming and my mother’s work with Trading Standards. Mechanically recovered meat is disgusting. I lived in a market town with a cattle market and a slaughterhouse, and you could hear the cows bellowing as they were led into the slaughterhouse. They were scared. After all, they are are living creatures, not units of protein. I went veggie as soon as I could, aged 18 (my mother disapproved, so I couldn’t do it when I lived at home). I’ve never wanted to eat meat or fish ever again. I don’t like meat substitutes either, but I’m not a deprived carnivore, I’m a happy vegetarian who enjoys world cuisine. It is funny the way people cross-question you when they realise you’re veggie. In the middle of the restaurant, they ask why, and I wonder if they really want me to go into cruelty just as they are about to tuck in to some pork? It’s as if they think my being vegetarian is a criticism of them. I’d love it if the whole world went veggie. It would be a real step towards limiting climate change as you can feed more people with crops than you can if you feed the crops to animals and then feed the animals to the people. But it’s a decision for each individual. It’s not my job to judge other people.


Should voting be Should the right to vote become the duty to vote? Adrian Monti report In 2016, we saw one election where every single vote counted. Unlike the usual system, whereby the majority of votes swing a constituency and the majority of constituencies swing the eventual result, the EU Referendum was won ballot paper by ballot paper. Yet still millions didn’t vote. As enthusiasm for heading to the polls evaporates year by year, especially among younger people, should voting become compulsory for all so that everyone has a stake in our democracy?



At last year’s General Election, just over 66 per cent of eligible voters bothered to make the trip to the polling station on that Thursday in early May. Even for the EU Referendum in June, the turnout was only 72 per cent. By contrast, when the Australian population is called upon to exercise its democratic right, a whopping 90 per cent plus turn out to put their cross on the ballot paper. The reason why the turnout is about a third higher Down Under is simple: in Australia everyone aged over 18 has to vote by law in federal elections, byelections and referendums. It’s been like that since 1924 and if you fail to do it without giving a valid reason to the authorities, you can expect a penalty of $20 (about £11). Although not always quite as strictly enforced as in Australia, more than 20 other countries around the world have imposed compulsory voting too, including Argentina, Greece, Peru and Singapore, and in recent years there have been calls for a similar change in the law here. For some supporters, this can’t come soon enough. Turnouts dropped five per cent between 1997, when Labour swept to power, and 2015 when the Conservatives were elected. There are many arguments in favour of compulsory voting. For a start, if people have to vote, they might take more interest in politics and become more aware of political issues. This could cut down on the number of people who feel apathetic

about politics. Others argue that voting is something we should do as good citizens, just as we educate our children and make time for jury service. There’s also a belief that if more of us voted because it became compulsory, the voice of the electorate would be heard more clearly by the politicians. It should mean that they would have to carry out more of the wishes of the electorate. That would particularly affect young people, many of whom don’t turn out to the polling booths so that their voice is not heard as much as older people. The Institute for Public Policy Research has even called for young people to be made to vote when they are first eligible to do so after they turn 18. It believes this could kick start a lifetime’s habit of voting, and force politicians to focus on a wider range of issues affecting more diverse areas of society. Labour MP David Winnick wants voting to be a civic duty as well as a civic right. Speaking in the House of Commons last year, he said he felt those eligible to vote should be obliged to do so. And if they really didn’t like any of the choices on offer, they should still actively engage in the vote. Mr Winnick said: “If my Bill became law, if anyone had no wish to vote, so be it. All they would need do is let the electoral authorities know beforehand… or turn up on the day and tell the clerk at the polling station that they do not intend to vote, and that would be the end of it.”


A hard won fight

compulsory? Life’s tick list of ‘must dos’ can seem long enough already. So adding voting as another necessity, along with the likes of getting an MOT for your car and filing your tax returns in time, is just one more law many feel they can live without. Those opposed to changing the current status quo might well question whether other countries that have compulsory voting really have a more politically savvy electorate. Just because a higher percentage of them vote doesn’t mean they have a better grasp of the issues than elsewhere, its critics would say. David Bentley, who is communications director at think tank Civitas, told the BBC two years ago why he didn’t believe compulsory voting would sit easily with the British public. “We need people not simply to tick a box on polling day but to be as engaged as possible with decision making, because that is the only way of ensuring our representatives work for the common good,” he said. Other opponents of compulsory voting believe it’s against our civil liberties to make us vote. In fact, denying us the chance to

abstain can be seen as draconian, especially if we are being asked to make a choice with something we neither care nor feel fully informed about. There appears to be no real political appetite for us to be made to vote, and certainly young people do not seem to feel they should be forced to the polls, even though they stand to lose out by not doing so. A YouGov survey carried out last year showed that while 55 per cent of Brits would support compulsory voting, it’s the people aged between 18 and 24 who are the least enthusiastic for it to happen. The experience of the Netherlands offers a rather sobering footnote to the apparent success stories of Australia and elsewhere. The Netherlands did have compulsory voting in place until 1967, but at the election that followed the repeal of this law, electoral participation fell by 20 per cent. Political commentators concluded that what actually drove the public to vote was not a strong desire to take part in the democratic system, but the fear of being fined for not voting.


The Great Reform Act gives the vote to every man living in a borough and paying than £10 a year in rates or rent. Similar changes are introduced in Scotland and Ireland. The new laws also clamp down on corruption, highlighted in the so-called ‘rotten boroughs’ where wealthy landowners would be returned unopposed to Parliament thanks to a tiny number of voters.


The Ballot Act introduces the secret ballot, and voting by putting a cross on a voting slip. Before this, voters would publicly declare who they supported. This often led to a boisterous (to put it mildly) atmosphere, as well as claims that voters could be bribed or threatened to ensure they voted a particular way.


The Third Reform Act enfranchises about 50 per cent of the British male population aged over 21.


The Representation of the People Act allows practically all men over 21 to vote. Following determined and sometimes bloody campaigning from the Women’s Social and Political Union, it also gives the vote to most married women aged over 30 (with some property restrictions).


All women aged over 21 can vote, regardless of property or marital status.


Harold Wilson’s government drops the UK voting age from 21 to 18.


The Scottish Parliament decides to reduce the voting age in the Scottish Parliament and local elections north of the border from 18 to 16.


talk to us

What do you think? Is voting a duty and one that should be enforced by law? Or is it a right that should be kept optional? Write in and tell us your views.



Don’t Let Them Cheat You

Increasing numbers of CSRF members are reporting scams of some kind. How widespread is the problem and what can you do about it?




t’s something that’s happened to everyone at some time or another. Your phone rings and at the other end someone’s telling you you’re entitled to compensation from a traffic accident you can’t even remember having. Or they’re calling about a problem with your computer that you never knew it was suffering from. Maybe you’ve received a letter out of the blue saying you’ve won thousands of pounds in a foreign lottery: the one you can’t recall ever buying a ticket for. Or there’s an email from someone stranded abroad who appeals to your

better nature to urgently send them some money to help get them back home. Do these tales sound familiar? If you have been duped, or very nearly duped, by such a scam, you can comfort yourself with the fact that you are far from alone. It’s also common to suffer in all sorts of ways as a result. “As well as possible financial losses, fraud can leave people feeling violated, lacking in confidence and ashamed,” says Mark Castle, chief executive of Victim Support. Over the next two pages we look at how you can protect yourself.

Don’t tell without proof Who do you think you are? People are often cheated through identity theft, which means someone has obtained your personal details and used them to steal from your bank account. According to the Home Office, identity theft now affects more than 100,000 people every year. Often you don’t even know it until you receive your bank statement or you’re refused credit you have applied for, or when an unexpected delivery arrives at your home purporting to be from you! Identity theft is thought of as a victimless crime but of course it isn’t. It’s also horribly easy, and probably getting easier, to carry out because it isn’t hard to get someone’s personal details. If you know their name and address, you can get a date of birth from the electoral roll. Then there are websites that give the person’s mother’s maiden name (as well as their own maiden name). With those details, you’re well on the way to setting up a driver’s licence or passport, and thus to opening a bank account in someone else’s name, which will get access to their finances. So make sure your mail gets to you and to nobody else. If you live in a flat with a communal front door, don’t panic, but do be aware that other people have access to it. Keep an eye out for any deliveries you’re expecting and take in your post as soon as you can. And arrange to pick up bank cards and cheque books from a local branch. In any case, consider registering with the Mailing Preference Service (, which will take your name off the vast majority of direct mailing lists. This means you should get far fewer of those application forms that come complete with your details already filled in and can far too easily be sent off in your name. Alongside that, get all mail redirected when you move.

Many of us need to be more vigilant and (unfortunately) less trusting of strangers who want to delve into our finances or have access to them in some shape or form. Next time you receive an unexpected phone call, email or letter about your private financial affairs, stop and ask yourself why you have been contacted. If you’ve any suspicions that this could be a scam, end the suspect dealings there and then. This is especially the case with calls or emails from people purporting to be from your bank. In a bid to clampdown on scamming, the British Bankers’ Association launched its Know Fraud, No Fraud campaign. It reiterated that a bank or similar bona fide organisation would never ask you for your private password or PIN number. Similarly, you may be contacted by people claiming to be from your insurer, utility company or a government body such as HMRC. Again, if in doubt, end the call and say you will call them back after you’ve had time to consider whether what they are asking about is genuine. If you think it is not, simply don’t call them back or reply to an email.


Don’t click It’s now said you’re 20 times more likely to be scammed while sitting at your computer by an overseas criminal than you are to be robbed in the street. The latest figures from the Office of National Statistics make grim reading. An estimated two million cybercrimes (those carried out online via PCs, laptops, tablets and such like) were committed in England and Wales last year alone. Many involve an underhand practice known as ‘phishing’. An unsolicited email is sent, which includes an attachment or link. When the unsuspecting victim clicks on the attachment, they might be taken to an authentic looking site which they believe is their bank or a secure online site. In fact, it’s bogus and is just a way of getting you to hand over your personal data, passwords and usernames. Once they have their hands on such information, the criminals can access your bank accounts, even on secure systems, and steal what’s in them or buy goods using your credit cards.

Rip it up Some attachments to the emails can infect your computer with a virus that allows the fraudsters to take control of your online affairs. Don’t let this put you off computers. They can be a lifeline. But keep your computer protected with a firewall, anti-spyware and anti-virus software, and make sure its security settings are at the highest level. Always use the most recent version of your browser, because fraudsters are constantly looking for any vulnerability. On top of that, when you’re visiting a site, make sure you type in the full address rather than clicking on a link, because criminals do create fake sites that look exactly like the real thing in order to capture your log-in details. If it’s a shopping site, look at the bottom of the screen for a padlock icon, click on this and you should see an ‘encryption certificate’ that validates it.

If it’s already happened If you have been scammed (and you may not realise this until you notice money mysteriously vanishing from your account or savings), the first thing to do is contact your bank which will stop any further thefts.. You should report a scam or attempted scam to Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud and cybercrime reporting centre. You are urged to log your case online, with the hope that this will build up a larger picture of the particular scam you may have suffered. You can seek help from the Citizens Advice Bureau. If you are concerned for yourself or another elderly person, Age UK also offers tips and advice on simple ways to protect yourself from scams on its website. If you think your identity might have been stolen, you can get protective registration from CIFAS ( This establishes you as the victim of identity fraud and means anyone applying in your name must provide more detailed identification. Send off for the basic credit reference check from, and/or And don’t forget to report it to the police. However, it’s up to you to deal directly with any companies that have debts in ‘your’ name.’ Action Fraud: 0300 123 2040 : Age UK: Freephone 0800 169 6565 Citizens Advice: Adviceline 03444 111 444, or 03444 77 20 20 in Wales:



Recycling is marvellous: but don’t just chuck in your paper bank statements whole. Even though sales of shredders are up, more than half of us aren’t actually using them. The advice from the professionals is that if it’s remotely official, it’s worth shredding. After you’ve checked your receipts against your bank statements, shred them; not necessarily the whole thing, just the identifying details like your name and address. Never, ever, just throw out any documentation that gives that magic combination of credit or debit card number, expiry date, issue number and signature. In fact, you could try keeping your bank statements themselves completely online, so that they’re never put in the post at all. As to buying a shredder, get the most savage one you can. A ‘strip cut’ machine will take more sheets of paper in one go, but it just cuts them into long strips, which someone sufficiently diligent could piece back together. A ‘cross cut’ one (which isn’t necessarily more expensive) rips the paper into tiny chips, which is safer. (You can even use moderate quantities of the chips in your compost too.)

talk to us Do you have any hints, tips or warnings you would like to share? Do write in and let us know!


Show and tell Victoria Neumark finds out how you can set up your own film club in retirement


t’s a chilly September night in a north London park; 400 people nestled under blankets around the remains of their picnics cheer as the credits for Ghostbusters roll up on the big screen. It’s another successful night for community cinema venture Talkies, and the finale to the Palmers Green Festival 2015. Currently showing more than 30 films a year around the London borough of Enfield, Talkies has 1,400 people on its mailing list, 50 active volunteers and a popular short film award and festival for young filmmakers. Tickets are always £5. That’s a bargain, especially in London, where an evening at the pictures can set you back four times that. What’s more, the venture is the brainchild of people who set it up while drawing their pensions.

Getting it off the ground Back in 2012, a group of recently retired friends at a coffee morning



were deciding how to use their time and energy. Among them was David Williamson, who’d retired after a varied career, most recently as head of innovation for an inner London education authority. “I’ve always liked everything I’ve done,” he says. “I always want to try something new. I can’t stop just because I’ve retired.” Eleven years earlier, in 2001, David and his partner Sue had set up a local Friends’ Film Club, where a small group of people took turns to host film showings in their houses. Now they had the opportunity to build on it. “David and I had different ideas about what we were going to try,” says Steve Foster, treasurer of the film

The club was set up by people who were drawing their pensions

society. “I thought we were going to show one film a month in Palmers Green, but David was never going to be content with that.” In fact, Steve himself is a lifelong film buff, who relishes seeing 14 films during the 12 days of the London Film Festival. From that initial coffee morning, events moved quickly. After a couple of trial runs proved there was an audience, five friends set up a film society in February 2013, complete with constitution, bank account, board and insurance. “I was absolutely clear that if we were going to do it, we were going to do it properly,” says Steve. Cinema for All, which is the umbrella organisation for film societies, was immensely helpful, as were other local film societies as well as the arts manager of the borough of Enfield. The board also included an accountant with experience of working in the third sector.

The practical details Their first purchase was equipment: projectors, screen and speakers. David lent the money and it was all paid off by the end of the year. Steve devised the financial model. “We wanted the ticket price to be affordable and it’s been £5 since 2012, but with rising costs, we have to keep that under review,” he says. And costs remain crucial throughout the project. Licences may need sourcing well in advance, and venues often cost £100 or more. Labour is free, as are the many introductions by filmmakers and musicians, but printing flyers, insurance premiums and tickets all need planning. The next step was to match films to available venues. Initial market research showed a potential audience of mainly women aged 45 to 65 who loved world cinema and quirky indie films. And while cricket and tennis clubs provided cheap venues, the local

authority arts centre cinema offered raked seating to improve sightlines for audiences watching foreign films with subtitles. A local pub with a theatre offered both a bar and a music venue, which proved popular with couples. The Blues Brothers was an early hit here. Meanwhile, silent films in a local church benefited from organ accompaniment, while big events in the park and at Christmas attracted families to crowd pleasers such as the Grinch and Muppets films. Dressing up is always encouraged. For Steve, the main joy of the film society is sharing films with audiences, but he is also focused on ensuring that each event at least breaks even. Talkies is a non-profit-making organisation and surpluses must be reinvested. Labour of love He is candid that his unpaid work at Talkies can encroach into precious retirement time. “It can take up to 30

hours a week!” he exclaims. Yet he and his wife Moira “love the commitment and the buzz”, he says. “Talkies is a social event around a film. The clue is in the name. Socialising and building communities is very important to me,” says David. Shows are never simply a case of ‘pay and sit’. Depending on the film and venue, there may be live music, Q&As with filmmakers (a recent guest was FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: David (far left) and Steve (third from left) with volunteers at the Talkies Bounds Green Branch; Talkies event; Steve (far left) and David (far right) with the four young film makers which Talkies commissioned to make a short film in 2016; One of Talkies’ regular venues, The Fox pub in Palmers Green. On this occasion Phil Davies, the man behind children’s TV hit Peppa Pig, talks about the work; Founder David with partner Sue


Addresses Asif Kapadia talking about his Oscarwinning Amy, who also paid tribute to his local primary school teachers), personal talks and reminiscences (one local resident is the guiding light behind under-fives’ favourite TV character Peppa) or the opportunity to buy drinks and chat. “It is a safe, local place to see a glorious mix of film with people you live near but have never met. People have told me they are talking for the first time to people they’ve seen for years on the street,” says fellow Talkies organiser Judy McGough. She enjoyed her visits to world cinema events in 2015 so much that she signed up to volunteer on the Talkies website. Soon enough, she had helped organise a meeting for volunteers in the local bowls club. The satellite group snowballed, and as well as setting out chairs and selling tickets, Judy, a project manager in a housing association, is now the admin manager and coordinator for about six local volunteers. They are showing seven films this year to audiences of between 40 and 90, but she says: “We couldn’t do it without Talkies and Steve and David.” There’s always more to explore, too. In 2015, intrigued by the work of his younger daughter, Kate, with Short Sighted Cinema, David set up a short film competition and award, with sponsorship from Film Hub London. “I’m amazed at the talent across the piece,” he says. The Talkies’ Here Film Festival, now

entering its third round, offers £500 to four young filmmakers to make a short film based in the area. Entrants submit scripts; winners are mentored by local film makers, and their final pieces are celebrated at a sell-out evening. As David says: “They strike a chord with our audience. The filmmakers are around the age of all our children. One of our first winners, Jessica Bishopp, has gone on to win more awards with her funny, touching piece about our railway station, Platform One.” “Retirement is a time of opportunity,” David says. “You start to see what is around you and how to use your skills to benefit people.” Steve points out: “It’s no good having a group of just creative people, because it won’t happen, and it’s no good just having admin people, because it will die in a ditch.” But with the collaborative and diverse input of the community, Talkies is set to run and run.

Cinema for All 0114 221 0314 Advice, support and history British Film Institute 21 Stephen Street London W1T 1LN 020 7255 1444 Overarching knowledge, film audience network Film Hub London The Arts Building Morris Place London N4 3JG 020 7613 7676 Grants and funding for projects, information about distributors, networking Short Sighted Cinema Unit E 23, Heneage Street, London E1 5LJ f/ ShortSightedCinema t/ ShortSightedLDN Talkies 30 Broomfield Avenue N13 4JN No phone number talkiescommunitycinema

Thinking of doing it yourself? Dos and don’ts DO: • Gather a trusted group of volunteers and make it clear what their roles are • Create a simple, sustainable financial model and stick to it • Buy the best equipment you can and make sure you have technical expertise • Create partnerships with local organisations such as schools and churches and venues, so that they will work with you

• M  arket: try everything from flyers to email lists to a user friendly website and word of mouth • Assess venues for suitability: acoustics, sightlines, facilities, cost and capacity • Research your audience and its tastes; programme well in advance

• •

• DON’T: • Reinvent the wheel: there’s plenty of help and support available

from the British Film Institute and Cinema For All (see contact details above) Take volunteers for granted; earn their commitment Underestimate the paperwork. You need proper accounts and a constitution, a bank account, insurance Rely solely on word of mouth for marketing Follow your own taste; it’s about what the audience wants



The science of


The whys and wherefores of a good night’s zzzzz


h, sleep. The stuff that knits up the ravell’d sleeve of care, that heals and restores us, that lets us recharge and lets our minds process and deal with the things that have been happening to us during the day. It’s mythologised, romanticised and endlessly sought after (especially by those of us who struggle with getting enough of it). It’s also dismissed as a waste of useful hours for enjoying oneself (at the later end of the day) or getting productive work done (at the beginning). Sleep deprivation is a recognised form of torture, yet world leaders and captains of industry proudly manage on a minimum. Less glamorously but more commonly, so do new parents and people on shift work.

How it works Very simply, sleep is produced by two separate systems in the body; the 24-hour body clock that is driven by our circadian rhythms, and the ‘sleep pressure’ that builds up the longer we go without sleep. Our circadian system depends, in its turn, on bright light to entrain it to a 24-hour cycle, using cells in the eye that have nothing to do with sight but



plug directly into the brain. Without those bright light cues, we end up free running on a cycle that is slightly longer than 24 hours, drifting around the clock in a state that’s directly equivalent to jetlag. In practice, many people in ordinary life find themselves similarly jetlagged during a dark north European winter. Unfortunately, that can particularly apply to older people, who don’t leave the house much, especially in the morning, when we need a shot of natural daylight to cue our bodies into a better sleep cycle. Professor Russell Foster, who has the wonderful title of Professor of Circadian Neuroscience at the University of Oxford, and is also the coauthor of Sleep: A Very Short Introduction, says: “There are two really key regulators of sleep. One is the body clock, which tells our physiology and behaviour when it is a good time to be awake or asleep. “The other is the intuitive part

We need natural daylight to cue our bodies into a better sleep cycle

about sleep, often called sleep pressure. This builds up the longer you’ve been awake and then dissipates when you are asleep. So the clock and sleep pressure act together to determine when we sleep and how long we sleep. “The sleep pressure builds during the day, but we don’t fall asleep because the clock is saying ‘keep awake’. Then in the late evening, when the clock says ‘ok, sleep’, we go off to sleep.” In reality, though, there are a couple of glitches in the system, notably in the middle of the day (see ‘Get happy napping’), and often at that point in the evening when we suddenly just don’t feel like going to sleep. Other factors come into play too, notably core body temperature (the Sleep Council recommends keeping the bedroom between 18ºC and 21ºC) and our secretion of the hormone melatonin, which we also produce in response to light cues. There are misconceptions about melatonin. It is often referred to as a sleep hormone, but in fact it is a hormone that signals the arrival of the night. So while in humans it triggers our urge to go to sleep, in

nocturnal animals it triggers the urge to get up and get going. Many people consider sleep not terribly important; given the choice, they’ll readily swap an hour under the duvet for something they consider more worthwhile. The evidence is starting to pile up, however, that this is not a good idea, and certainly not if it’s eating seriously into your customary sleep ration. “Nobody’s saying how important sleep is to our daily lives,” says sleep specialist Dr Neil Stanley. “It’s one of the most wonderful health-giving things on the planet.” “If you sleep less than six hours per night and have disturbed sleep, you stand a 48 per cent greater chance of developing or dying from heart disease and a 15 per cent greater chance of developing or dying of a stroke,” explains Professor Francesco Cappuccio from the University of Warwick, who has looked into the evidence from more than 470,000 people in eight countries. People who don’t sleep enough, or sleep poorly, are also prone to putting on weight because they release the hunger hormone ghrelin, which makes them crave sugary food (and let’s face it, a comforting sugar boost is

also a way of getting through an exhausting day). It’s also not good for our mental health. When you think about it, it’s not surprising that sleep disorders and mental health disorders overlap. They both involve the brain and indeed hormones as well. So it’s not as simple as ‘lack of sleep contributes to depression’. As Foster says: “Sleep disruption impairs our cognition. People think they can function but they can’t. We think that if we’re not awake we’re not doing anything, but this isn’t simply down time, it’s an important part of our ability to process information. You can do routine repetitive tasks on relatively little sleep but it’s not good for thinking creatively.” So much for the myth of the frenzied artist working through the night. Eight solid hours and a morning walk to reset the body clock isn’t very rock’n’roll, but it could be just the thing to get that novel or painting you’ve always planned off the ground.

Making it work for you There’s a lot of information out there about proper sleep hygiene and it’s all worth a good look. The fact is that good bedtime routines aren’t just

A game of two halves It’s totally normal to wake up in the middle of the night – and stay awake for a good chunk of time, too. In fact we’ve always done it, historian Roger Ekirch explains. “Until the modern age, most households had two distinct intervals of slumber, known as first and second sleep, bridged by an hour or more of quiet wakefulness.” It’s only these days we’ve started to think of this as a problem, but it’s what we’re programmed to do. “Many people wake up at night and panic, but I tell them what they’re experiencing is a throwback to the bimodal sleep pattern,” Foster adds.


Get happy napping

for small children; we can all benefit from them. Aim to go to sleep and get up at roughly the same times each day, though, of course, the odd late night or lie in won’t do you any harm either. Make sure your bedroom is comfortable and at the right sort of temperature. One important tip is to take the TV, as well as any other screens, out of your bedroom, partly because they emit extra light (and the blue light can affect our circadian rhythms) and partly because TV’s often a stimulant at a point in the day when you need to be starting to relax. Even if you’ve been watching it in another room, keep your bedroom as a place of calm.

Eating and drinking On the topic of stimulants, don’t eat too near bedtime either and avoid the temptation to hit a late night nightcap too. “A lot of the symptoms associated with a hangover are a product of sleep deprivation,” says sleep physiologist Dr Guy Meadows. “Alcohol affects our ability to get into what is known as rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, the bulk of



“If you’re not getting enough sleep, make the effort to get more” which occurs in the last two thirds of the night. As a rule of thumb, it takes about an hour to metabolise one unit of alcohol, so if you have a 250ml glass of wine at 7pm it will mostly be out of your system by 10.30pm.” “Be sensitive and alert to how much sleep you really need,” says Foster. “Assess whether you are the sort of person who needs to go to bed early or late or who needs lots of sleep or significantly less than eight hours. “Your sleep pattern at the weekends or when you go on holiday is a good way to unmask your true sleep needs. And if you’re not getting enough sleep, you need to make an effort to get more! It is not a luxury or an indulgence but a fundamental biological need, enhancing creativity, productivity, mood and the ability to interact with others.” “Sleep is one of the greatest pleasures there is. You’ll feel better straight away. There’s just no downside to it,” Stanley concludes.

It’s also normal to have two periods of wakefulness in the day, bridged by a short sleep. Foster and his colleagues have found that many of us are programmed for an after-lunch slump, whatever we’ve eaten (though a boozy lunch won’t help). This is because, even though our body clocks are on full awake mode, we’ve built up a fair bit of sleep pressure and that can knock us out before our systems get back in synch and we perk up again. If you can yield to it, just 20 minutes’ snooze can equate to an hour’s extra night time sleep, says sleep neuroscientist Professor Jim Horne. “We’re designed to have a smaller sleep in the early afternoon. If you’ve had five hours the previous night, and then a short nap now, you’ll wake up refreshed for the rest of the day.”

talk to us What are your top recommendations for a good night’s sleep? Do let us know what works for you.


Our regular mix of books, culture and entertainment

Love of Country: A Hebridean Journey Madeleine Bunting Quercus, 13 October

In Love of Country, Bunting travels through the Hebrides to tell the stories of both how this chain of islands on the fringes of Britain helped shape our nation, and how the rest of the Scottish nation imposed its will on the islands and their inhabitants. This is a story of the writers and artists who have been inspired by the isolation and beauty of Jura, of the dreamers and explorers who journeyed to Staffa to marvel at the dramatic wildness, of the monks who developed their understanding of God on remote Iona and beyond, the wealthy who removed populations, and the philanthropists and developers who believed they could change the way of life on the islands.

Diary of a Wartime Affair Doreen Bates Viking, November

Doreen Mary Bates, the author of this diary, was born on 25 April 1906 and joined the Inland Revenue in 1934. She embarked on an affair with an older married colleague in the same office, and her diary records it all with startling candour: secret midnight walks, countryside escapades and stolen moments of intimacy. This is the story of a young woman forging her own path in a period of turbulence and uncertainty.


70s Dinner Party

Anna Pallai Square Peg, 3 November

Spaghetti in aspic, anyone? Harking back to a simpler era, when the only concern for your dinner party was whether your aspic would set in time, this is a joyful celebration of food that can give you gout just by looking at it. Covering all the essentials, from starters through to desserts, dinner party etiquette (just how does one start to eat a swan fashioned from a hardboiled egg?) and the dreaded ‘foreign’ food, there’s no potato left unturned.



The Apprentice of Split Crow Lane: the story of the Carr’s Hill Murder Jane Housham Riverrun, 3 November

One night in April 1866, five year old Sarah Melvin was walking along Split Crow Lane in Gateshead looking for her father when she disappeared. Her Irish immigrant parents quickly came under suspicion of killing their own child. The true murderer was a misfit whose social awkwardness stopped him ever rising above apprentice. He would eventually make clear exactly why he killed Sarah and the reason would scandalise the whole country, yet to him it had a dreadful logic. This extraordinary story reveals the Victorians as never before.


film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (Warner, 18 November)

The Purple Swamp Hen and Other Stories

The Harry Potter gift just keeps on giving. This new release follows the adventures of writer Newt Scamander in New York’s secret community of witches and wizards, 70 years before Harry Potter reads his book in school. With Eddie Redmayne, Samantha Morton and Colin Farrell.

Penelope Lively Fig Tree, November

A new collection of short stories from Man Booker Prize winning writer Penelope Lively shows that she remains a master of her craft, and one of our finest English writers.

A United Kingdom Fox, 25 November

Based on the true life romance between Seretse Khama, the King of Bechuanaland (modern Botswana), and Ruth Williams, the London office worker he married in 1948.


Warner, 2 December

Directed and co produced by Clint Eastwood, and starring Tom Hanks and Laura Linney, this is the story of Chesley Sullenberger, who became a hero after gliding his plane along the water in the Hudson River, saving all 155 crew and passengers.

The Devil’s Feast MJ Carter Fig Tree, October

London, 1842. Captain William Avery is investigating a mysterious and horrible death at the Reform, London’s newest and grandest gentleman’s club. The latest in Carter’s highly entertaining Blake and Avery series of books.

Rogue One: A Star Wars story Disney, 16 December

Jyn Erso, a Rebellion soldier and criminal, is about to experience her biggest challenge yet. With help from the Rebels, a master swordsman and non-allied forces, Jyn will be in for something bigger than she thinks. MANY OF THE NATIONAL CINEMA CHAINS OFFER SPECIAL DISCOUNTS FOR OLDER PEOPLE. CHECK YOUR LOCAL PRESS FOR FURTHER INFORMATION.


culture theatre The Little Match Girl and Other Happier Tales Globe Theatre, London, 24 November to 22 January

Inspired by the beautiful and devastatingly sad Hans Christian Andersen ‘wonder’ tale, The Little Matchgirl and Other Happier Tales reveals a spellbinding world of magic and mystery. For adults and brave children alike, expect music, puppetry, dark magic and perhaps some modern truths that we would all rather remained hidden.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s On tour

The classic tale of vivacious, good time girl Holly Golightly and her fantastical existence in 1940s. Featuring memorable songs from the era. 26 September to 1 October: Hippodrome, Bristol 10 to 15 October: Festival Theatre, Malvern 17 to 22 October: Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield 25 to 29 October: Theatre Royal, Brighton 31 October to 5 November: Grand Opera House, Belfast 7 to 12 November: New Theatre, Cardiff 14 to 19 November: Theatre Royal, Norwich

The Grinning Man

Bristol Old Vic: 13 October to 13 November

The King is dead, but who cares? A strange new act has arrived at the Stokes Croft fair, a grotesque oasis of entertainment. A brand new tragicomic musical based on The Man Who Laughs by Victor Hugo, with puppetry from the original puppeteers of War Horse.

Beauty and the Beast

Everyman Theatre, Liverpool: 26 November to 21 January

Possibly the best (and noisiest) rock’n’roll panto in the country, with a live band, plenty of belly laughs and more than a few surprises .Dig out your laughing trousers, break out the glitter and wave your flashing wand! As a CSRF member you have access to a whole range of discounted theatre deals that are available via the members’ area of the CSRF website. To access the members’ area enter your membership number and surname (with an upper case first letter) and then select the ‘theatre club’ option from inside the members area. If you have any difficulties logging in call 020 8691 7411 or email:



Power and Protection: Islamic Art and the Supernatural Ashmolean, Oxford: 20 October to 15 January

Showcasing more than 100 spectacular objects from Morocco to China, and from the 12th to the 20th centuries, Power and Protection explores a world in which omens and horoscopes have played a major part. The displays, many of which have never been seen before, include dream books, talismanic clothing and jewel encrusted amulets.

TOP: The Battle between Khusraw Parvis and Bahram Chubina, from an illustrated copy of the Khamsa by Nizami. Made for Shah Tahmasp I Safavi (r.1524-76). © National Museums Scotland. LEFT: Finial in the shape of the ‘Hand of Fatima’. Gold on a lac core with rubies, emeralds, diamonds and pearls. Nasser D. Khalili Collection, London © Nour Foundation. Courtesy of the Khalili Family Trust

Beatrix Potter: Tales of Mischief

Seven Stories, Gateshead: 1 October to 8 January Celebrate 150 years of Beatrix Potter’s timeless illustrations and playful tales in this exhibition of 29 frames on loan from the National Trust. The watercolours and sketches on display include illustrations from The Tale of Two Bad Mice, The Tale of Tom Kitten and The Tale of Mrs Tiggy-Winkle.

Century: 100 Modern British Artists

Jerwood Gallery, Hastings: 23 October to 8 January

A mix of paintings, sculpture and works on paper selected from the Ingram and Jerwood Collections, including works by famous and not so famous names, make use of the gallery’s corridors, corners and changing perspectives to add intrigue and fun.

Christopher Wood, The Bather, c 1925-26. Courtesy Jerwood Collection

You Say You Want a Revolution? Records and Rebels 1966 - 1970 V&A, to 26 February

The late 1960s explored through music, performances, fashion, film, design and political activism. The exhibition considers how the finished and unfinished revolutions of the time changed the way we live today and think about the future.

Fiji: Art & Life in the Pacific

Sainsbury Centre, Norwich, 15 October to 12 February

The largest and most comprehensive exhibition about Fiji ever assembled takes the visitor on a journey through the art and cultural history of Fiji since the late 18th century. More than 270 works of art, including European paintings and historic photographs, are on view. Read more about the extraordinary people who collected them, and the role of the British colonial administration, in our feature ‘The Collectors’ on page 17. James Glen Wilson, Feejeeans Resting, 1856, watercolour & ink

Anti-Vietnam demonstrators at the Pentagon Building, 1967. Photo by Bernie Boston The Washington Post via Getty Images


teabreak Cheesey jokes (sorry!)


What does cheese say to itself in the mirror? Hallou....mi! What cheese do you use to coax a bear out of the woods? Camembert. What cheese can you disguise a small horse with? Mascarpone. What type of cheese is made backwards? Edam. How do you handle dangerous cheese? Caerphilly. What’s a pirate’s favourite cheese? Chedd-AAR. What’s a Cornish pirate’s favourite cheese? YARRRg. There was an explosion at a cheese factory in France… all that was left was de brie. Which cheese is an alcoholic? Livarot. What does cheese like to drink? Morbier.































Going bananas: facts about our favourite fruit • T  he ‘trunk’ of a banana plant is not made of wood, but of tightly overlapping leaves • S  ome horticulturists believe bananas were the first fruit on the planet • The earliest written reference to bananas is in Sanskrit, dating back to 500 BC



• T  he inside of a banana skin can be used to calm an itchy mosquito bite or to polish shoes • The word banana comes from the Arabic word ‘banan’, meaning finger • Bananas grow pointing upwards, not downwards

Explorer tale


It’s the 1930s and a member of the New York explorers’ club is hunting for rare animals in darkest Africa. He comes across the strangest looking beast he has ever seen. It’s a quarter elephant, a quarter monkey, a quarter hippo and a quarter tiger, and with a very sweet disposition. They cage it and ship it to New York to the explorers’ club, where he exhibits the creature, which he’s named a Rarey, and gives a talk on it before the members.

Over a short period of time he notices that the Rarey is growing extremely fast and is soon too large to keep in a cage. He decides to return it to its home in Africa, even though there is not enough food around to keep it alive. They reach the edge of a tall cliff and they both look over, knowing that the Rarey, unable to survive, must go over the edge to his death. To his surprise, the Rarey speaks. “It’s a long way to tip a Rarey,” it says.

WORD SEARCH Amazon Brahmaputra Colorado Congo Danube Elbe Ganges Huang

Hudson Indus Jordan Lena Mekong Murray Niagra Niger

Nile Ob Oder Orange Parana Po Rhine Rhone


Find the hidden rivers in the grid – all words are shown below

Seine Somme Syr Darya Thames Tigris Ubangi Volga

Yangtze Yellow Yenisey Yukon Zambezi


We want YOU for avanti! Whether it’s your career highlights, your hobbies or your group activities, do let us know either by email or by writing to Fellowship Office.


Prize Crossword Congratulations to Pam Hussey from Kidderminster, who was our lucky winner for the Summer crossword. Try your hand at this issue’s prize puzzle and you too could win £25 worth of M&S vouchers. Good luck.

Across 7 Bovine throat skin (6) 8 All there is (8) 9 Tubular pasta (8) 10 Like some humour (6) 11 Surpass (8) 12 Ill will (6) 13 Result of business agreement (11) 18 Former British currency (6) 20 Interjection used to express disbelief (8) 22 Appoint or promote (6) 23 A barren area (8) 24 Mistaken assumption (8) 25 White (6)

Down 1 Reduction in worth (7) 2 Product for washing face (8) 3 Commotion (6) 4 Studious, hard-working (8) 5 To mar the natural shape (6) 6 Vacation souvenirs (1-6) 8 Above suspicion (13) 14 Opposition of solar and lunar forces (4,4) 15 Roadblock (8) 16 Plague or pestilence (7) 17 Receptacle for a fluid or air (7) 19 Hogan dweller (6) 21 Small knot or knob (6)

Solution to Summer Prize Crossword

TO ENTER: Please send the completed crossword, along with your name, address and postcode to: PRIZE CROSSWORD, CSRF, Suite 2, 80A Blackheath Road, London SE10 8DA. The judges’ decision is final. Winners will be notified by post. Closing date: 6 January 2017




EMAIL: Please tick if you do not wish to receive our e-newsletter




POSTbag The National Assistance Board In the Summer avanti we published Les Wood’s reminiscences of his time working for the National Assistance Board (NAB) and asked if any other readers had similar memories. It seems that quite a few do! Dear Postbag I actually missed working in the NAB by three days. I started my civil service career at the Ministry of Social Security (MoSS) in the Llanelli office on 2 October 1966. NAB had ceased to exist on the previous Friday (29 September). However, a member of staff (who shall remain nameless) picked up the phone in the newly formed (and named) MoSS and through a bit of a force of habit and some confusion answered thus: “Hello, Ministry of National Security here”. A great deal of mirth ensued and the poor staff member turned beetroot red. I thought: “Ministry of National Security in Stepney Street, Llanelli? Don’t think so!” Just for completion, I resigned a year later and went to London to university and various other jobs. I was, however, lucky enough to rejoin in 1972 what was then the DHSS, and worked there from June 1972 to June 2014, when I retired at the ripe age of 69! Of the 42 years spent in the civil service, I was employed for the last 37 years as a fraud investigator for the DWP. Graham Phillips



Dear Postbag Aged 17 years two months, I joined the civil service as a clerical officer on 28 February 1949 and was assigned to NAB headquarters at Hinchley Wood, Surrey. The headquarters was split between London (policy) and Hinchley Wood (administration). I worked in Finance Division 1 (statistics) and was responsible for checking, summarising and analysing statistical returns from area officers via regional offices. For this, I was paid £3 per week, from which I had to find £2/6 for lodgings at Walton-onThames, leaving just 18 shillings per week for lunches, bus fares and all other living expenses! Following National Service from May 1950 to May 1952, I returned to Hinchley Wood and worked in F9 division, processing claims from local authorities for administering ‘reception centres’ where the homeless and ‘gentlemen of the road’ were catered for. In December 1953 I was transferred to Devonport area office and later moved to Bristol, where, among other duties, I did a fair stint as a territorial executive officer before the NAB merged with the Ministry of Pensions and National Insurance to become the Ministry of Social Security.

Your letters and stories

Les’s letter made me recall so many memories, good, bad and sometimes quite scary! Peter Way Dear Postbag Like Les Wood, I worked at the NAB. I was sent there on leaving college, which was a total surprise but one I never regretted. I was a Territorial Executive Officer at Southend-on-Sea, and then I applied for a move and went to Eastbourne. The areas there were varied and I had a coastal road (a lot of hill cycling), another in Eastbourne town and another covering all the remote country villages. The weather in winter could be difficult and I often arrived at a cottage, dripping from head to toe with rain, after cycling several miles and perhaps trudging through a wood. A cup of hot sweet tea was often put in front of me and I certainly overlooked the various levels of hygiene in the cups! The old people were so generous and resourceful with the money we gave them. There was also the odd cabbage or bag of apples waiting for me, and though we could not accept gifts, garden produce was allowed because it would cause offence not to accept it. It often put a lot of weight on my simple, no gears bicycle. Life was never dull. I was greeted by one woman who was very relieved by my visit as her husband was standing with a knife, threatening to kill her. Calming him down until he put the knife aside was part of my visit that day. Promotion became due and, as a young female, I did not want to control

Cashmere query Dear Postbag I found the article ‘The way we wore it’ in the Summer edition of avanti very interesting but was rather puzzled by the reference to cashmere. I am sure that in the 1950s cashmere was reserved for the very rich. I know that my mother (who died in

an area office full of elderly men, so I moved to HM Treasury for the rest of my career. What a good career the civil service offers. Sheila Chesterman Dear Postbag I began my civil service careerin the Air Ministry at Newcastle in 1953 and moved to the NAB in 1960, serving at South Shields and Gateshead area offices. As a TEO you visited all kinds of homes. In one house, a man living on his own had a coal fire. Instead of emptying the ashes into a bin, he simply raked them into an ever increasing heap on the bare floorboards. You had to be careful not to sit on soft furniture in dubious houses. On one occasion, I unknowingly carried a flea home and unfortunately it moved onto my father in law, who trapped it. He forgave me. I also remember interviewing a discharged prisoner, who regaled me with tales of his safe-blowing activities. One Saturday morning, I was on indoor duty when a young mother came into the office with her baby. I had to tell her that she did not qualify for a payment, whereupon she dumped her baby on the counter and

International exchange the early 1990s) never wore cashmere garments. I myself (as a pensioner) regard purchasing them these days as a treat, because of the price. Mary McPake

Ed’s note: You are, of course, right in that cashmere was a rich woman’s fibre; and indeed, good cashmere still is.

said I could look after her. I had to call the police, who sent a policewoman to take the child into their care. When the mother returned an hour later, I explained she would have to collect her child at the police station. I later learned they had taken pity on her and given her £1 from the poor box, so that was good. Life in the NAB was never dull! Bill Ellerby Dear Postbag Les Wood’s letter triggered a few memories of NAB, where I worked for a very short time. We were issued with hard towels and soap, and tea and rolls were brought round twice a day on a trolley. Some colleagues travelled long distances, so there was a good demand. I had to index names, file those slips alphabetically (there were rows of hardbacked ring binders) and call for any existing files to link correspondence. A lot of letters were marked N/T (No Trace), meaning this was the start of correspondence and a new file was needed. I suspect many of the letters were appeals, but never had time to read the correspondence and never handled files as such (only new covers) as files were wheeled round the building by Messengers (generally elderly and jealous of their domain). As a result of exams I took, I was promoted but was unable to take up the next posting as I was under 21. The next posting was the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. Cherridah Coppard

Dear Postbag I would be grateful to share something good with those avanti readers who are also members of the London Civil Service Club (CSC). Last year my wife and I paid one of our biennial visits to our daughter in Melbourne, Australia and just before our departure I received the newsletter of the CSC, which let it be known that the London Club has entered into a reciprocal agreement with the Singapore CSC, charging the local rates for food and accommodation; not cheap but certainly not expensive either. We were transported back over 50 years to the earliest days of our marriage when we worked abroad during a different era. Malcolm Lloyd Ed’s note: An excellent tip, thank you!

Have medals had their day? Dear Postbag With the Olympic medals once again in the news, I am wondering what will become of them in the future, when the recipient has died and someone will have the task of disposing of them. Disposing of medals is my problem. I have a Silver Jubilee medal (is it legal to sell it?), my father’s dockyard long service medal (should I send it back?) and his First World War ordinary medal. I think a much better idea would be a nicely decorated citation which can be framed. Shirley Piper


Other civil service memories Dear Postbag I joined the civil service, the DHSS, in the early 1970s and after a very thorough vetting (they went back as far as my grandparents) I was put before a civil service board and confirmed I would be working as a clerical officer and not a clerical assistant. I duly reported to the Stepney area office and was introduced to the manager and all the civil servants there. They were a very friendly bunch and I was soon in the tea room being welcomed. My first duties were very mundane and I was placed in the hands of a seasoned CA, who kept calling me “Duck”. When I pointed this out to her, she insisted it was London terminology. I was then asked to do the stamping of the DHSS address of various forms and letter headings. Then I was introduced to ‘linking’, which involved going through all the unfiled letters and documents and matching them to a case paper and seeing what action was required. I progressed to interviewing claimants, which involved calling them to a booth number, taking all their details and sending off to their last office of claim for their case papers. An assessment was then done to see how much supplementary benefit they were entitled to and all payments were checked by an executive officer. I was then sent to DHSS college to learn the wider skills of benefit claims. When I came back, I was promoted to HCO and was working in the cashiers’ office, where all the giro payments were issued. This was a restricted area. In the end, I stayed in the service for 45 years. Anyone remember Stepney AO, London, or Thames North AO, London, where I also worked? It would be good to hear from you. Christopher Manning



Premium bonds and fraud Dear Postbag When my husband died, he left premium bonds in his name and mine, which were over the sum of £5,000, so a Grant of Probate had to be acquired. I decided to cash in my bonds but have been told there is some doubt about my identity, even though I have lived at this address for over 35 years and am on the electoral roll of my council. It seems you don’t have to produce your bonds to prove you are the owner. Anyone can do it online. This must have caused a great deal of fraudulent claims, so genuine holders who have sent in their bonds are not believed. My husband thought he was protecting his money by putting his ‘lump sum’ into tax-free premium bonds. He cannot be the only civil servant who did this. With hindsight, he would have cashed his bonds while still alive. B Cooper

Ed’s note: It’s a really important point to flag up, so thank you. You may also be interested in our feature ‘Don’t let them scam you’ on page 28

Keep calm and make potato pastry Dear Postbag I have found my school cookery book, published in 1939, which was in use from 1941 to 1943. It covers nutrition and cookery, with many recipes: no long list of ingredients here! Some are marked in pencil where the ingredients were provided by the teacher at the cost of perhaps a penny or tuppence. The rest we brought from home. There is also an appendix on wartime cooking, with suggestions

talk to us

on how to extend the butter ration, conserve every scrap of fat, and make rice bread and potato pastry. Finally, there is a section on how to make a hay box and how to use it. I can remember hay box cooking at Girl Guide camps around that time. As you can see, this book has many memories for me. Olive Thomas

Ed’s note: A terrific glimpse back into food on the ration. Thank you.

We’ve received some great responses so far. Keep them coming! If you have a story or picture to share, write or send it to the Editor using the contact information at the front of the magazine. The Editor regrets it is not possible to enter into correspondence with individual readers. All submissions, unless otherwise indicated, will be considered for publication. It’s lovely to hear from you and we read all of the letters you take the time to write but unfortunately due to space constraints we are often unable to print the full version. In these cases, letters will be edited to fit within the allotted space we give to Postbag.

Wartime schooling Dear Postbag I read with interest readers’ experiences in World War Two, which reminded me of my schooling, or rather the lack of it, during the war. I was seven years old when war broke out and was living near the Oval cricket ground in London. The schools and most of the children were evacuated. After a while, a school was opened. There was only one class of about a dozen pupils, which was in a long, narrow cloakroom with no natural light because the window at the end of the room had sandbags blocking it. The teacher, Miss Vincent, had been retired and was asked to come back to help out. The ages of the children ranged between six and 14 years. We all sat on a bench along one wall. We had no books, paper or pencils. We each had a slate and a piece of chalk and the teacher had a blackboard propped up on coat hangers. We were told that if the siren sounded and we were more than halfway to school, we should continue; under halfway, we should return home. Needless to say we hung around the gate hoping there would be a warning. Eventually, as more children came back home and the day time air raids had almost stopped, we moved into one of the classrooms. The large windows had sticky tape on them in case of flying glass. The number of children increased

Audio avanti is free If you are finding it difficult to read the magazine, then sign up to receive our FREE audio version, which includes all the main features, news and information that are contained in the printed version. It comes on a CD (kindly produced by Kent Association for the Blind) and is posted out to you just after publication of the print version.

and another teacher arrived. The class was divided into two but had to use the same classroom. As time went by, the classes got bigger and another teacher came. Things started to get back to normal, with more schools opening and more teachers available. We all got back into a more formal education, though I now regret missing that period of learning. Robert G Ballard

Dear Postbag My mother and I moved to All Hallows School in 1939 during the war when I was eight years old. You couldn’t live solely on a soldier’s wage so my mother worked in the sewing room there. One day I was walking towards the cliffs when I saw two parachutes falling out of a plane. What made me curious was the plane turned around and headed back to the sea, not crashing or struggling like you would expect! I couldn’t find where they landed so I ran back to school and found the Master, who was head of the Officers Training Corp. I told him what had happened and took him to where I’d spotted them. He told me to run back to the school and find my mother, and he would come back and tell us what happened. The Master took a group of boys with rifles to the bottom of the cliffs, where they surprised two men with radio equipment trying to send messages back to Germany. They surrendered instantly and were later found to be German spies. Holly Thrower, on behalf of Ian HH Crick

Hovercrafts remembered Dear Postbag I read the short article about hovercrafts in the Summer avanti. I took this photograph of the Vickers VA-3 Hovercraft at Foryd Harbour, Rhyl, North Wales in July 1962. This was the first passenger hovercraft to enter service and carried passengers regularly along the North Wales coast from Moreton, Merseyside, to Rhyl. It was powered by two turboprop aeroengines and driven by propellers. I have several diary entries about its visits to Rhyl, including an occasion when it broke down. I would like to have travelled on that hovercraft but costs made it impossible for me at the time and the service was stopped quite soon. Barbara Caddy, Caerphilly

Ed’s note: They were quite something, weren’t they! Dear Postbag About a month before the Summer avanti arrived, my wife and I were down in East Hants/West Sussex looking for a new place to live in our old age. I was driving from Gosport towards Southampton using the coast (more or less) road. As we drove along the sea front at Lee-on-Solent, I glimpsed the nose end of what I was certain was a hovercraft. As there were hundreds of houses and flats there, I thought someone had a hovercraft in their front garden! As we did not have any time to spare, I just drove on but decided we would have another look the next time we were in the area. When the Summer 2016 avanti arrived, imagine my surprise at page 42. I had probably driven past a hovercraft museum, not someone’s front garden! Elfed Wright


group news

GROUPFOCUS A round up of all the news from around our group and branch network



Westonsuper-Mare Celebration of HM The Queen’s birthday and Recruitment event, June Weston-super-Mare members had a full house for their special celebration of HM The Queen’s birthday and group recruitment activity. Working with Fellowship Office, who helped with advice and guidance on how to contact and invite all subscribers in their area, they welcomed a lot of new faces along to their group meeting. Everyone who attended enjoyed a buffet lunch and very impressive raffle and those who had never been along to a meeting before expressed interest in coming again.

Neath Port Talbot receives local grant




Our Neath Port Talbot group received a £100 grant from Neath Town Council. The cheque was presented by Councillor John Warman, the Town Mayor, to Hugh Pattrick MBE, Neath Port Talbot’s treasurer.





in pictures 3 5

1 & 2: Salisbury Plain members had their summer fete in August, also celebrating the Ruby Wedding of Chairman Jeff Vincent and his wife Phyllis 3: Jean Atkinson was joined by CSRF friends at her 90th birthday celebrations at Morecambe Golf Club 4: Coalville & Ashby group enjoying their celebration of HM The Queen’s birthday in June 5: Sleaford & Ancaster group members on a recent visit to Woolsthorpe Manor 6: Sleaford & Ancaster group members on Armed Forces Day 7 & 8: Colchester group enjoying a trip to the Essex Air Ambulance Centre 9: Crawley & District group enjoyed their last lunch together in June. Pictured L to R: Pam Budd, Jim Piercey and Arnold Ullmann 10: Crawley & District group members at their ‘End of an Era’ lunch in June. Pictured L to R: Ray Budd, Al Edwards and Ken Bridle 11: Some of the Princetown group enjoying pre-lunch drinks at the White Horse Inn, Launceston, Cornwall


12: Princetown group members at the London Inn, Horrabridge after a visit to the Burrator Reservoir Discovery Centre


13: Neath Port Talbot members on Porthcawl Promenade following a visit to a lunchtime play at the Grand Pavilion in June (Transport for this event was funded by Big Lottery Wales) 14: Tim Mayo from Warmley Players who gave a very interesting talk on ‘Pantomime Dames’ to the Trowbridge group in September 15 & 16: Sutton group members at their September meeting, a talk by Alan Baker entitled ‘From Music Hall to Variety’ 17: Members at the August meeting of the New Forest group enjoying close proximity to a tawny owl


8 10




10 16



GROUP PLANNER Our group network operates across the country and provides a mix of leisure, social and welfare activities for your benefit and enjoyment. So why not show your support by popping along and making some new friends? SCOTLAND Dumfries & Kirkcudbright John Walker Chairman T: 01387 261889 E: We do not hold regular meetings but if you would like further details about coach trips please contact Doreen Beck on 01387 268824. Coach Trips: All trips start and finish at Brooms Road Car Park, Dumfries. Everyone is welcome, including family and friends, as the greater the number who attend the lower the cost. Please book as early as possible by phoning Doreen Beck or John Walker. Our 2016 programme is supported by a grant from the Big Lottery Fund

Edinburgh (Central) Liz Beedie Secretary T: 0131 229 7422 Edinburgh Festival Theatre Cafe 13-29 Nicolson Street Edinburgh EH8 9FT Third Tuesday of each month for Social gatherings (but see below for January 2017). Ring Liz (telephone number above) for further details. We run walks throughout the year (jointly with Corstorphine Group) meeting at Lakeland at the corner of George Street/Hanover Street at 1.30pm on the first Friday of each month. Organiser: Pat Sinclair (0131 337 6389) 15 Nov 2016 Social gathering for tea/ coffee 2pm at Festival Theatre Café 20 Dec 2016 Social gathering for tea/ coffee 2pm at Festival Theatre Café 17 Jan 2017 Winter Pick-me-up lunch 12.30, venue to be decided (ring Liz Beedie) 21 Feb 2017 Social gathering for tea/ coffee 2pm at Festival Theatre Café

Edinburgh (Corstorphine) Trudy Thomas Organiser T: 0131 346 0208 The White Lady Cafe Glasgow Road Corstorphine Edinburgh (please note change of meeting venue) Third Thursday of each month October April at 10.00-12 noon (except December).



We run walks throughout the year (jointly with Corstorphine Group) meeting at Lakeland at the corner of George Street/ Hanover Street at 1.30pm on the first Friday of each month. Organiser: Pat Sinclair (0131 337 6389) 17 Nov 2016 Social gathering for tea/ coffee at the White Lady 10am 15 Dec 2016 No meeting 17 Jan 2017 Winter pick-me-up lunch 12.30 venue to be decided (ring Liz Beedie) 19 Jan 2017 Social gathering for tea/ coffee at the White Lady 10am 16 Feb 2017 Social gathering for tea/ coffee at the White Lady 10am

Highland (Scotland) Mrs Pam Barnet T: 01463 790265 Macdougall Clansman Hotel 103 Church Street Inverness IV1 1ES First and third Wednesday of each month, Coffee morning at 11am

Rosneath William Lauchlan Secretary T 01436 842723 The Church Hall St. Modan’s Parish Church Rosneath Road Rosneath G84 0RQ First Monday of the month at 1.30pm 07 Nov 2016 Monthly meeting 05 Dec 2016 Monthly meeting 09 Jan 2017 Monthly meeting 06 Feb 2017 Monthly meeting followed by AGM

NORTHERN IRELAND & NORTH WEST ENGLAND Banbridge Coral Chiddick Secretary T: 028 4062 3190 Bannside Presbyterian Church Hall 21 Castlewellan Road Banbridge BT32 4AX First Wednesday of each month at 2pm 02 Nov 2016 Music with Malcolm MacClean and afternoon tea 07 Dec 2016 Christmas lunch at Armagh City Hotel 04 Jan 2017 Armchair aerobics 01 Feb 2017 Lunch at the Banville Hotel

Belfast Miss Wynne O’Neill Secretary T: 028 9067 1157 McElhinney Room The Pavillion Stormont Estate Upper Newtownards Road Belfast BT4 3TA First Monday of each month at 2pm 07 Nov 2016 Left to Right before Christmas 05 Dec 2016 Christmas lunch 09 Jan 2017 Musical afternoon (please note this is the 2nd Monday) 06 Feb 2017 All Aboard

Bury Gerald Beadling Chairman T: 01706 633674 The Mosses Centre Cecil Street Bury Lancashire BL9 0SB Second Wednesday of each month at 2.15pm

Craigavon George McConnell Secretary T: 028 8676 4395 E: Portadown Library 24-26 Church Street Portadown Craigavon BT62 3LQ First Tuesday of the month at 2.30pm

Crewe Miss Grace Harding Chairman T: 01270 250677 Wells Green Methodist Church Hall Brookland Avenue Wistaston Crewe CW2 8EJ First Tuesday of each month at 2pm 01 Nov 2016 TBA 01 Dec 2016 Christmas Party

Lisburn Ann Allen Secretary T: 028 9266 1943 Bridge Community Centre 50 Railway Street Lisburn County Antrim BT28 1XP Second Monday of each month at 2.30pm

Penrith Richard Roscoe Chairman T: 01697 472383 A local hostelry each quarter First Tuesday of the quarter at 12.30pm for lunch and a Christmas lunch in December

Stockport/Grove Park Yvonne Smith Social Secretary T: 0161 427 5593 Brookdale Club Bridge Lane Bramhall Stockport SK7 3AB

First Thursday of each month at 2.15pm 03 Nov 2016 Working with the homeless in Manchester: talk by Judith Walmsley 24 Nov 2016 Christmas lunch at The Fiveways, Hazel Grove 01 Dec 2016 A video show by Alistair Macrae 05 Jan 2017 In-house entertainment 02 Feb 2017 AGM followed by mixed entertainment

Middlesbrough Lilian Lloyd Secretary T: 01642 315439 St. Marys Centre 82-90 Corporation Road Middlesbrough TS1 2RW Last Tuesday of the month at 2pm (except December)


NORTH EAST ENGLAND Blaydon Mrs Catherine Thomas Treasurer T: 0191 488 1385 Ridley Room Blaydon Library Wesley District Precinct Blaydon Tyne and Wear NE21 5BT Second Tuesday of the month at 10.30am

Boston Spa & Wetherby Mrs Janet Walker Records Secretary T: 01937 842216 Deepdale Community Centre Deepdale Lane Boston Spa Wetherby LS23 6EW Second Tuesday of the month at 2pm 08 Nov 2016 The Victorian music hall: talk by Ken Humphreys 13 Dec 2016 Social Afternoon 10 Jan 2017 No meeting 14 Feb 2017 Brikama School, the final story: talk by Joan Dyer

Bradford Mrs Edna Hague Chairman/Secretary T: 01274 586962 E: Centenary Court 1 St Blaise Way Bradford BD1 4YL Third Tuesday of each month at 2pm (except December) 15 Nov 2016 Wait and see: talk by Mrs Pam James 20 Dec 2016 No meeting 17 Jan 2017 Lunch (to be confirmed) 21 Feb 2017 Lunch (to be confirmed)

Gateshead Elsa Jackson Chairman T: 0191 267 4728 Gateshead Community Fire Station Dryden Road Low Fell Gateshead NE9 5BU First Thursday of the month at 10am to 12 noon

Horsforth, Rawdon & District Mrs M J Taylor T: 0113 267 8110 We meet in different local hostelries for lunch. Please contact Mrs Taylor for more details. We are a friendly group and new members are always welcome The last Tuesday in the month at 12.30pm

Hull Brian Mitchell Treasurer T: 01482 653973 Age Uk Healthy Living Centre Porter Street Hull HU1 2RH Third Tuesday of the month at 2.15pm

Mrs Cindy Kingham Secretary T: 01633 440460 E: No.2 Meeting Room Caerphilly New Library The Twyn Caerphilly CF83 1JL Second Monday of every month at 10.15am 14 Nov 2016 Driving and road safety into old age: talk by Mr J Williams, Senior Citizens Liaison Trust 12 Dec 2016 Christmas meal 09 Jan 2017 TBA 13 Feb 2017 Group AGM

Cardiff Jane Lewis Secretary T: 029 20 757174 Ararat Baptist Church Plas Treoda Whitchurch Cardiff South Glamorgan CF14 1PT Second Wednesday of the month at 10am

Church Stretton John Brewer Secretary T: 01694 722965 E: Mayfair Community Centre Easthope Road Church Stretton SY6 6BL First Friday of the month at 2.30pm 09 Dec 2016 Christmas lunch at The Green Dragon, Little Stretton 12 noon 20 Jan 2017 Coffee morning (11am) at Housman’s, Church Stretton 03 Feb 2017 TBA

Llandudno Mrs Beryl Rennie Assistant Secretary T: 01492 876238 Queen’s Hotel The Promenade Llandudno LL30 2LE First Tuesday of each month at 10.30am for coffee mornings. Details of lunches/ walks are announced at the previous coffee morning

Neath & Port Talbot Mrs E Northcott Chairman T: 01639 887851 The Mayor’s Parlour The Old Town Hall Church Place Neath SA11 3LL Last Wednesday of each month at 2pm (except December). Our 2016 programme is supported by a grant from the Big Lottery Fund 19 Nov 2016 HMS Pinafore (Gilbert and Sullivan), Grand Pavilion, Porthcawl

30 Nov 2016 The humour of the Valleys: talk by Tom Phelps Dec 2016 Christmas lunch (TBA) 13 Dec 2016 Carol Service St Thomas’ Church, Neath at 2pm 25 Jan 2017 AGM, tea party and raffle 22 Feb 2017 A Gambian Nursery: talk by Emily Johns

Oswestry Ruth Haile Chairman T: 01691 650993 The Wynnstay Hotel Church Street Oswestry SY11 2SZ First Tuesday of each month at 10.30am 01 Nov 2016 All about Christmas: talk by Dorothy Nicolle 06 Dec 2016 Christmas lunch at the Wynnstay Hotel, 11.30am for 12 noon 03 Jan 2017 AGM followed by lunch at the Wynnstay Hotel at 11am, lunch 12 noon 07 Feb 2017 TBA

Swansea Mrs Sylvia Edgell Chairman/Secretary T: 01792 851125 E: The Vestry Hall St. Mary’s Church Swansea SA1 3LP Last Friday of each month at 2pm (except December) 25 Nov 2016 Acupuncture: talk by Alex Wood 08 Dec 2016 Christmas lunch at Olchfa House, Killay 27 Jan 2017 AGM and social time 24 Feb 2017 Life on the Mary Rose: talk by Phillip Bowen

MIDDLE ENGLAND Amersham Jim Campbell Chairman T: 01494 722558 Community Centre Chiltern Avenue Amersham Buckinghamshire HP6 5AE First Wednesday of the month at 2.30pm

Banbury Anne Garton Secretary T: 01295 750151 E: Hanwell Fields Community Centre Rotary Way Banbury OX16 1ER Second Tuesday of each month at 2.15 to 4.15pm 08 Nov 2016 The Story of Pub Signs: talk by Angela Panrucker 13 Dec 2016 Ukelele Group Sing Along with Mrs Cheryl Messer. Sherry, mince pies, Secret Santa and raffle. 10 Jan 2017 Social afternoon: eats, competitions, raffle 14 Feb 2017 Oxfordshire ghost stories: talk by Moira Byast



Lincoln City


Suzanne Thompson Secretary T: 01234 341674 The Bunyan Meeting Mill Street Bedford MK40 3EU First Tuesday of every month at 10am 01 Nov 2016 Quiz 06 Dec 2016 Christmas carols and Christmas raffle 05 Jan 2017 Call my bluff 09 Feb 2017 AGM

Jannette Hook Secretary T: 01522 803412 Mothers Union Centre St. Benedicts Church St Benedicts Square Lincoln LN5 7AR First Wednesday of the month at 10.30am 02 Nov 2016 Coffee morning and Tax, Care and Toyboys: talk 30 Nov 2016 Christmas luncheon 07 Dec 2016 Coffee morning with Christmas Bites 04 Jan 2017 Coffee morning and Bring and Buy 01 Feb 2017 Coffee morning and AGM

Margaret Smith Secretary T: 0121 744 6150 E: Various venues in and around Solihull (contact the Secretary for details) Second Monday of each month at 10am



Coalville & Ashby Terry Watson Chairman T: 01530 835373 Thringstone Community Centre The Green Thringstone Coalville LE67 8NR Third Wednesday each month 2pm to 4pm

Coventry Mrs J Turner Chairman T: 024 76 465382 Room 2 Gilbert Richard Centre Broadway Earsldon Coventry CV5 6NT Third Tuesday of each month at 2pm (except November and December)

Donnington Please contact Fellowship Office for further details. T: 020 8691 7411 Turreff Hall Turreff Avenue Donnington TF2 8HG Every Monday at 1pm (except Bank Holidays)

Dunstable & Leighton Buzzard Mrs Janet Bliss Secretary T: 01582 661795 E: Scout HQ Grovebury Road Leighton Buzzard LU7 4SW First Wednesday of the month at 2pm 02 Nov 2016 A Tudor Christmas: talk by Jenny Sarton. Raffle and book table. 07 Dec 2016 Christmas party: festive fun with friends 18 Jan 2017 New Year lunch party. Raffle. 01 Feb 2017 AGM, tombola and book table

Grantham Mr Maurice Whincup Chairman T: 01476 572425 E: The King’s Hotel 130 North Parade Grantham NG31 8AU First Wednesday every month at 10.30am to 12 noon

Hucclecote Mrs B Arnold Secretary T: 01452 618069 Evangelical Church Colwell Avenue Hucclecote Gloucester GL3 3LX First Thursday of the month at 2pm 03 Nov 2016 The Silver Singers 01 Dec 2016 Chistmas party 05 Jan 2017 Disaster waiting for the Severn Bridge: talk



Mrs Margaret Bradley Secretary T: 01472 388928 Elizabeth Court Church Street Louth LN11 9BP Second and fourth Thursday of the month at 10.30am

Melton Mowbray Mr M Johnson Chairman T: 01664 566821 School Room United Reform Church Chapel Street Melton Mowbray LE13 1LZ First Tuesday of each month at 1.45pm

Nottingham Pam Bradley Chair T: 0115 938 4676 The Mechanics 3 North Sherwood Street Nottingham NG1 4EZ Second Wednesday of each month at 10.15am to 12.15pm

Nuneaton Rachel Homer Secretary T: 024 76 385845 E: The Cafe Debenhams Bridge Street Nuneaton CV11 4DY First Tuesday of each month at 11am for coffee mornings

Rutland Mrs Peggy Brown Chairman T: 01780 480314 Pub lunches at locations in and around Rutland Third Wednesday of each month

Sleaford & Ancaster Mike Smith Chairman T: 01526 833273 E: Bristol Bowls Club Boston Road Sleaford NG34 7HH Sleaford: First Thursday of the month at 10.15am Bristol Bowls Club Boston Road Sleaford NG34 7HH Ancaster: Second Wednesday of the month at 10.15am to 12 noon Angel Court Ancaster Grantham NG32 3PR 03 Nov 2016 Group meeting (Sleaford) 09 Nov 2016 Group meeting (Ancaster) 01 Dec 2016 Christmas lunch at the Barge & Bottle, Sleaford 05 Jan 2017 Group meeting (Sleaford) 11 Jan 2017 Group meeting (Ancaster) 02 Feb 2017 Group meeting (Sleaford) 08 Feb 2017 Group meeting (Ancaster)

Stamford Mrs B Smith Chairman/Secretary T: 01780 755437 Tenter Court Wharf Road Stamford PE9 2EZ Last Thursday of the month at 2.15pm

Mrs J Collins Vice Chairman T: 0116 288 7802 The Elms Social and Service Club (formerly The Royal British Legion) Launceston Road Wigston LE18 2BA Second and fourth Monday of each month from 1.30pm to 4pm (Bank Holidays permitting). 14 Nov 2016 1000 Miles of British Islands: talk by Mrs Val Williams 28 Nov 2016 The WI Choir from Northampton 12 Dec 2016 Christmas party 09 Jan 2017 Wonderful words: talk by David Siddons 23 Jan 2017 Belated Christmas lunch at Ullesthorpe Court 13 Feb 2017 Made in Leicester: talk by Brian Johnson 27 Feb 2017 Bring and Buy

Worcester Leigh Watkins Secretary T: 01905 774034 Perdiswell Young Peoples’ Leisure Club Droitwich Road (opposite Checketts Lane) Worcester WR3 7SN Second Wednesday of the month at 1pm

EASTERN ENGLAND & EAST ANGLIA Attleborough Mrs D Parker Secretary T: 01953 456958 Methodist Church Hall London Road Attleborough NR17 2BY Third Thursday of the month from 10am to 12 noon

Bury St. Edmunds Richard Flower Secretary T: 01359 231718 West End Home Guard Club Abbot Road Bury St. Edmunds IP33 3UB Second Wednesday of each month at 10am 09 Nov 2016 Hatching, matching and dispatching: talk by Jenny Gibbs 21 Dec 2016 Christmas lunch 14 Jan 2017 Caister men never turn back: talk by Donald Hill 08 Feb 2017 TBA

Colchester Joan Gomer Secretary T: 01206 794656 Straight Road Community Centre 329 Straight Road Colchester CO3 9EF Third Monday of each month at 2pm 17 Oct 2016 Beacon House: talk by Vivienne Wiggins and Bring and Buy 21 Nov 2016 Fred Pearce Entertains 07 Dec 2016 Christmas meal at the Colchester Institute (please note this is a Wednesday) 19 Dec 2016 No meeting 16 Jan 2017 What is it?: talk by Joan Gomer 20 Feb 2017 AGM

Harlow Mrs Edna McNaughton Secretary T: 01279 865102 E: Toby Carvery Edinburgh Gate Harlow CM20 2LQ First Friday of the month at 12 noon

Ipswich Eva Stevens Secretary T: 07765 588467 E: Museum Street Methodist Church Hall Blackhorse Lane Ipswich IP1 2EF First Wednesday of the month at 2pm 02 Nov 2016 A Christmas Carol: talk by Mike Wabe 07 Dec 2016 Christmas dinner and carols 04 Jan 2017 Town Pastors: talk by Shirley Austin 01 Feb 2017 AGM and Bring and Buy

Loughton Elizabeth Vale Secretary T: 020 8508 2459 Jazz Archive Room Loughton Library Traps Hill Loughton IG10 1HD Third Monday of each month at 2pm 21 Nov 2016 Social afternoon 19 Dec 2016 Favourite Christmas presents 16 Jan 2017 New Year resolutions 20 Feb 2017 Epping Forest Careline: talk

Lowestoft Mike Chester T: 01502 476629 E: Ex-Servicemen’s Club Gordon Road Town Centre Lowestoft NR32 1DY and Victoria Hotel Kirkley Cliff Lowestoft NR33 0BZ First (at the Victoria Hotel) and third Wednesday (at the Ex-Servicemen’s Club) of each month at 11am. We hold social lunches at least three times in the year

12 Dec 2016 Christmas party 09 Jan 2017 Group meeting and Bring and Buy sale 13 Feb 2017 AGM

Saffron Walden Mrs E Mansfield Chairperson T: 01279 755458 The Chequers Public House Cambridge Road Ugley Bishops Stortford CM22 6HZ Second Monday in the month (around four times a year) at 12 noon to 12.30pm for lunch

Shoeburyness Mrs F Cohen Social Secretary T: 01702 342426 The Salvation Army Hall Frobisher Way Shoeburyness SS3 8UT First Tuesday of each month from 2pm to 4pm

St. Albans Mrs B G Hill Secretary T: 01727 858198 E: Friends Meeting House Upper Lattimore Road St. Albans AL1 3UD First Thursday of the month at 10.15am

Swaffham David Moore Chairman T: 01760 723740 Methodist Church Hall London Street Swaffham PE37 7DD Third Tuesday of the month at 10.15am

Westcliff On Sea Mrs F Cohen Social Secretary T: 01702 342426 Balmoral Community Centre Salisbury Avenue Westcliff On Sea SS0 7AU Fourth Wednesday of each month from 2pm to 4pm

Wickford Peter Blake Chairman & Secretary T: 01268 583060 Christchurch Hall Rear Of 44 High Street Wickford SS12 9AJ Second Thursday of each month 1.30pm to 3.30pm

Witham Mrs P Rogers Group Secretary T: 01376 514539 Witham Methodist Church Hall Guithavon Street Witham Essex CM8 1BJ Last Tuesday of each month at 10.30am (except December when an alternative date will be agreed)

Norwich Mary Weatherhead Secretary T: 01603 410821 Reading Room Doughty’s Hospital Golden Dog Lane Norwich NR3 1BP Second Monday of each month at 10am for 10.30am 14 Nov 2016 Crabs, cliffs and coasters: talk by Mr P West 07 Dec 2016 Christmas lunch at The George

SOUTHERN ENGLAND Aldershot Mrs Gloria Wetherill Social Secretary T: 01252 345318 E: Holy Trinity Church Galpin Hall Windsor Way Aldershot Hampshire GU11 3HE

Second Thursday of the month from 1pm to 4pm 10 Nov 2016  Help the Heroes: talk by John Mayhead 17 Nov 2016  Lunch at Wetherspoons, Aldershot 12 noon 28 Nov-02 Dec 2016 Turkey and Tinsel holiday at St Ives Hotel, Lytham St. Annes 08 Dec 2016  Christmas party with hand bell ringers from Fleet and Sing Along Christmas carols 12 Jan 2017  Open Forum about 2017 activities 09 Feb 2017  Group AGM followed by Bingo/Hoy

Arun Jim Underwood Treasurer T: 01903 709033 E: St. Joseph’s Convent Franciscan Way Littlehampton BN17 6AU Second Wednesday of each month at 2pm. Please use the entrance in East Street if arriving by car

Ascot & Sunningdale Pam Drummer Secretary T: 01344 774849 E: De Vere Venues Sunningdale Park Larch Avenue Ascot SL5 0QE. Please note our new venue from January 2017: Lynwood Village, Rise Road, Sunninghill, Ascot SL5 0AJ. Third Friday of each month at 12 noon to 4pm 18 Nov 2016 Secrets of the box: talk by Tony Weston 16 Dec 2016 Christmas lunch 20 Jan 2017 Welcome to our new venue: talk by Lynwood Village Management 17 Feb 2017 Quiz: Beryl and John Bailes

Basingstoke Tony Brazier Secretary T: 01256 418770 E: Brookvale Community Association Hall Lower Brook Street Basingstoke RG21 7SD First Wednesday of each month at 10am. Please note that all trips will be subject to a minimum number of bookings 02 Nov 2016 One Monday in November: talk by John Owen Smith 17 Nov 2016 Visit to Canine Partners 07 Dec 2016 To Bethlehem, an update on the Christmas Story: talk by Richard Tanner 15 Dec 2016 Christmas lunch at Basingstoke College 04 Jan 2017 My year as Mayor: talk by Anne Court 01 Feb 2017 Amazing Berlin 19141989: talk by Alan Grace 22 Feb 2017 Visit to William Morris Gallery, Walthamstow (includes lunch)


Bexhill Elizabeth Leahy Secretary T: 01424 214042 Bexhill Sailing Club Marina Bexhill-on-sea TN40 1LA Fourth Tuesday of each month at 10am (except December) 22 Nov 2016 Life in a beehive: talk, coffee and mince pies 09 Dec 2016 Christmas lunch at The Hydro, Eastbourne 24 Jan 2017 TBA 28 Feb 2017 AGM, coffee and snacks

Bognor Regis & Chichester Mrs Heather Olive Group Chairperson T: 01903 778543 Jeneses Community Arts Centre 45 Linden Road Bognor Regis West Sussex PO21 2AS Last Thursday of the month from 2pm to 4pm 24 Nov 2016 Christmas Party and Tax, Care and Toyboys: talk by Julie Pulinger 29 Dec 2016 No meeting 26 Jan 2017 History of London: talk by Sally Botwright

Bournemouth Christchurch & Highcliffe Paul Tabor T: 01202 422493 E:

Bournemouth New Forest Sandy Whittaker Chairman T: 023 8028 2157 New Milton Community Centre Osborne Road New Milton BH25 6EA Second Tuesday of each month at 10.15am 08 Nov 2016 Brownsea Island: talk by Cathy Neylan 06 Dec 2016 Christmas lunch at South Lawns 10 Jan 2017 Social morning and games 14 Feb 2017 Speaker (TBA)

Bournemouth Ringwood & District Ron Fisher Chairman T: 01202 896315 E: Trinity Centre Christchurch Road Ringwood BH24 1DH First Friday of each month at 10am. Pub lunches are 12 noon for 12.30pm. Any change of venue will be announced at the preceding coffee morning or ask the committee 04 Nov 2016 Coffee morning and The Power of Humour in Everyday Life: talk by Nick Thomas 15 Nov 2016 Pub Lunch at the Fish Inn, Ringwood 02 Dec 2016 Coffee morning, Christmas celebration followed by lunch at The Old Cottage Restaurant, Ringwood 06 Jan 2017 Coffee morning and Beetle Drive



17 Jan 2017 Pub Lunch at the Woolpack, Stopley 03 Feb 2017 Coffee morning and Sicily: talk by Ian Lawston 21 Feb 2017 Pub Lunch at the Three Legged Cross, Wimborne

Bournemouth – Swanage Mrs Irene Greenaway T: 01929 423394

Chandlers Ford Ken Willcocks Chairman T: 023 8076 0102 Chandlers Ford Community Centre Hursley Road Chandlers Ford Eastleigh Hampshire SO53 2FT First Friday of the month at 10am 04 Nov 2016 Annual Cheese and Wine Party 02 Dec 2016 A life under German Rule in Guernsey: talk by John Richards 20 Dec 2016 Christmas lunch at Keats Restaurant, Ampfield 12.30pm 06 Jan 2017 Tools for Self-Reliance: talk by Tony Parkinson 03 Feb 2017 Winchester Prison, past and present: talk by Mr M Watts

Hastings & St. Leonards John Hall Chairman T: 01424 813355 Please contact the Chairman for details

Mid Sussex Mike Mason Chairman T: 01444 245289 E: The Hassocks Room The King’s Centre Victoria Road Burgess Hill RH15 9LR Fourth Wednesday of each month at 10am (December may vary) 23 Nov 2016 A policeman’s lot: talk by Neil Sadler 09 Dec 2016 Christmas lunch at the Thatched Inn, Grand Avenue, Hassocks (please note this is a Friday, details from the chairman) 14 Dec 2016 Christmas social (please note this is the third Wednesday) 25 Jan 2017 Group AGM 22 Feb 2017 Garden Birds: illustrated talk by Audrey Wende

Newbury Roger Walker Chairman T: 01635 44575 E: St. John’s Church Room Newtown Road Newbury Newtown Road Newbury Rg14 Second Monday of the month at 2.15pm 07 Nov 2016 Committee meeting 14 Nov 2016 In the footsteps of Shackleton: talk by Neil Stewart 05 Dec 2016 Christmas lunch 12 Dec 2016 Christmas party 09 Jan 2017 Group AGM 06 Feb 2017 Committee Meeting 13 Feb 2017 Siege of Troy: talk by Jaye Windmill

Portsmouth & Southsea Edda Rea Chairman T: 023 92 753581 St. Simon’s Church Hall Waverley Road Southsea PO5 2PW Second Wednesday of the month at 10.30am and fourth Wednesday of the month at 2.30pm 09 Nov 2016 Coffee morning and Christmas fair 16 Nov 2016 Visit to Portsmouth 23 Nov 2016 Games afternoon 02-05 Dec 2016 Turkey and Tinsel Holiday, Weymouth (Friday to Monday) 14 Dec 2016 Party Time: sherry, mince pies and a gift

Reading West & Tilehurst David Cox Secretary T: 0118 958 6311 United Reformed Church Hall Polsted Road (off Armour Road) Tilehurst Reading RG31 6HN Last Wednesday of the month at 2pm (unless otherwise stated) 30 Nov 2016 The RNLI: talk (TBC) 28 Dec 2016 Christmas lunch (TBC)

Stubbington Peter Stilwell Secretary T: 023 92 527346 E: Catholic Church Hall Bells Lane Stubbington Hampshire PO14 2PL Second Thursday of each month at 2pm (meeting) and last Tuesday of each month at 10.30am (coffee morning) (except December). On the Tuesday following the Thursday meeting we have a pub lunch 10 Nov 2016 Armchair traveller: talk by John Haskell 08 Dec 2016 Christmas tea, including Choir and Christmas Raffle 12 Dec 2016 Christmas lunch at Gosport Masonic Hall 21 Jan 2017 Monthly meeting plus a speaker 31 Jan 2017 Coffee morning 09 Feb 2017 Group AGM 28 Feb 2017 Coffee morning

Tadley Mr D MacLean Chairman T: 0118 970 1290 Tadley Community Centre Newchurch Road Tadley RG26 4HN First Thursday of each month at 1.15pm for 1.45pm (except in unusual circumstances when advance notice is given to our members) 03 Nov 2016 Russia and Karela: talk by Diane White 01 Dec 2016 The Hurst Singers: Christmas Songs 05 Jan 2017 Age Concern: talk by Gary Johnson 02 Feb 2017 Mervyn Coaches: talk by Mervyn Annets

SOUTH WEST ENGLAND Blandford Forum Mrs Margaret Chambers Secretary T: 01258 456572 Contact Secretary for venue details Second Friday of each month at 11am

Bradford-on-Avon Mr M Wickham Secretary T: 01225 864541 E: United Reformed Church Hall St. Margarets Street Bradford-on-avon BA15 1DD Second Monday of each month at 2.15pm 14 Nov 2016 Humorous stories and monologues: talk by Paul Evans 23 Nov 2016 Christmas shopping trip to Basingstoke 05 Dec 2016 Christmas lunch at Leigh Park Hotel 09 Jan 2017 New Year party (members to entertain and provide refreshments) 13 Feb 2017 Group AGM followed by quiz

Burnham-on-Sea Mrs Joyce Beard Secretary/Treasurer T: 01278 782650 E: Apex Park Marine Drive Burnham-on-sea Somerset TA8 3YY Fourth Tuesday in each month from 10.30am (except December)

Chard Gordon Baker Secretary T: 01460 73333 Donyatt Bowling Club Ilminster Somerset TA19 0RG Third Thursday of the month at 10.30am

Chippenham David Gardner Chairman T: 01249 658431 Chippenham Museum 10 Market Place Chippenham SN15 3HF First Wednesday of each month at 2pm 02 Nov 2016 Queen’s bodyguard: talk by Shaun McCormack 07 Dec 2016 Music, mirth and Christmas lunch: John and Margaret 04 Jan 2017 No meeting 01 Feb 2017 Medical detection dogs: talk by Maggie Christison

Dawlish Mrs M Carter Chairman T: 01626 888275 Various local restaurants, usually The Ugly Duckling, Dawlish. Contact the Chairman for further information Third Wednesday of the month at 12 noon. Please note change of day

Dorchester Mike Rogers Chairman/Treasurer T: 01308 420755 E: Dorset Youth HQ Lubbecke Way Dorchester DT1 1QL

Third Thursday of the month at 10.15am for 10.30am to around 1pm 17 Nov 2016 Maritime moments: talk by Anthony Holt (Capt RN Ret) 13 Dec 2016 Christmas luncheon at Pine Lodge 19 Jan 2017 World of Japanese gardens: talk by Geoffrey Northcote 16 Feb 2017 The plant hunters: talk by Charlie Rigeroni

Exeter Mrs Cathy Tyrrell Chairman T: 01392 879022 Contact the Chairman for further details

Exmouth Carol Brett Secretary T: 01395 442671 Wings Club (formerly RAFA) Imperial Road Exmouth Devon EX8 1DB First Wednesday of each month at 10am 02 Nov 2016 Coffee morning 07 Dec 2016 Christmas coffee morning with buffet 04 Jan 2017 New Year coffee morning (please contact the secretary) 01 Feb 2017 Coffee morning

Liskeard & Pensilva Shirley Waye Chair/Secretary T: 01579 346089 E: Liskeard Public Hall (the Long Room) West Street Liskeard Cornwall PL14 6BW Last Wednesday of each month at 10am (except December) 14-18 Nov 2016 Tinsel & Turkey Holiday to Eastbourne 30 Nov 2016 Christmas at Cotehele: talk by David Bouch 05 Dec 2016 Christmas lunch at Eliot House Hotel 25 Jan 2017 Group AGM followed by lunch 22 Feb 2017 Voyage of the Mayflower: talk by Dr Mike Haywood

Princetown Mike Fitzpatrick Secretary T: 01822 890799 E: Prince Of Wales Tavistock Road Princetown PL20 6QF First Thursday of the month at 12.30pm and other events listed below 03 Nov 2016 Talk by a representative of Legal Solutions 01 Dec 2016 Musical presentation of Christmas traditions around the world: Adrienne Hesketh 15 Dec 2016 Christmas lunch and party with entertainment provided by Geoff Lakeman and Speakeasy 05 Jan 2017 Photo quiz of Devon with Robert Hesketh

Salisbury Plain Mr Roy German Secretary T: 01980 653446 E: The Village Hall High Street Durrington Salisbury SP4 8AD Third Tuesday of each month at 2.30pm 15 Nov 2016 The Great Bustard group: talk by L Barry 22 Nov 2016 Outing to Bath for Christmas shopping 20 Dec 2016 Christmas dinner, sherry reception and draw 17 Jan 2017 New Year party 21 Feb 2017 AGM followed by Card Bingo

Sidmouth Margaret Adams Chairman T: 01395 577622 E: Sidholme Hotel Elysian Fields Sidmouth EX10 8UJ Second Wednesday of each month at 10.25am and lunches listed below at 12.30pm 23 Nov 2016 Lunch at Dukes, Sidmouth 14 Dec 2016 Lunch at Sidmouth Golf Club

Somerton Clive White T: 01935 829019 The Two Brewers Leigh Road Street Somerset BA16 0HB Third Tuesday of the month at 11.30am

Tamar/Tavy (Tavistock) David Askew Secretary T: 01822 612274 E: Burrator Inn Princetown Road Dousland Yelverton PL20 6NP Second Thursday of the month at 12.30pm

Trowbridge Sue Arnold Secretary T: 01225 761627 E: Please note our change of meeting venues: First Wednesday of each month (coffee mornings) at The Wiltshire Yeoman Chilmark Road Trowbridge BA14 9DD at 10.30am and third Wednesday of each month (monthly meetings) at Trowbridge Cricket Club The County Ground Lower Court Trowbridge BA14 8PX at 2pm (except for arranged coach trips) 02 Nov 2016 Coffee morning at the The Wiltshire Yeoman at 10.30am 16 Nov 2016 Craft session 07 Dec 2016 Coffee morning at the The Wiltshire Yeoman at 10.30am 14 Dec 2016 Christmas lunch at the Farmhouse Inn, Southwick (please note change of date from the usual third Wednesday of the month) 04 Jan 2017 Coffee morning at the Wiltshire Yeoman at 10.30am 11 Jan 2017 Craft session 18 Jan 2017 AGM


25 Jan 2017 Craft session 01 Feb 2017 Coffee morning at the The Wiltshire Yeoman at 10.30am 15 Feb 2017 Talk (to be confirmed) 22 Feb 2017 Craft session

Westbury (Wiltshire) Ken Holloway Chairman T: 01373 864049 E: Paragon Hall Haynes Road Westbury Wiltshire BA13 3HA Third Monday of each month at 1.45pm for 2pm 16 Nov 2016 Outing to Cribbs Causeway/Portbury 21 Nov 2016 The Magic of the Scillies: talk by Mr R White 19 Dec 2016 Christmas party

Westbury-On-Trym Beryl Webb Secretary T: 01454 614451 Studland Court Henleaze Road Henleaze BS9 4JY First Thursday of each month at 2pm 03 Nov 2016 Norway Coastal Cruise and Fjords: talk by Patrick Lomasney 01 Dec 2016 No meeting 08 Dec 2016 Christmas lunch at Redwood Farm from 1pm (pre-booking required) 05 Jan 2017 Afternoon tea and quiz 02 Feb 2017 AGM

Weston-super-Mare Margaret Cole Chairperson T: 01934 514309 E: Friends Meeting House High Street Westonsuper-Mare BS23 1JF First and third Thursday of the month at 10am as well as events listed below 08 Nov 2016 Outing to Cardiff (optional St. Fagans) 13 Dec 2016 Christmas lunch 14 Feb 2017 Outing to Barnstaple

Weymouth Geoff Greenstreet Secretary T: 01305 832432 St. Nicholas Church Buxton Road Weymouth DT4 9PJ Second Thursday of each month at 2.30pm and fourth Wednesday for Coffee mornings at the Coffee Shop in the Weymouth Bay Methodist Church Melcombe Avenue near Green Hill (unless otherwise stated) 10 Nov 2016 Your pharmacy: talk by a representative from Boots 23 Nov 2016 Coffee morning 08 Dec 2016 Christmas lunch at The Lugger Inn 12 Jan 2017 Medieval Weymouth: talk 25 Jan 2017 New Year lunch at The Marquis of Granby 09 Feb 2017 Life behind bars: talk 22 Feb 2017 Coffee morning



Yate & District Donald Kirkham Chairman T: 01454 317242 E: Yate Parish Hall Station Road Yate BS37 4PQ Fourth Tuesday of the month at 2pm (except December) 22 Nov 2016 All the fun of the fair: talk by Mr D Cheesly 13 Dec 2016 Christmas Party at Yate Parish Hall with traditional songs of Bristol led by John Shaw 24 Jan 2017 AGM and Time at Tynsfield: talk by Cyril Routly 28 Feb 2017 Talk by Linda Dorset


29 Nov 2016 The work of the Wood Green Animal Shelter 31 Jan 2017 John’s new year quiz 28 Feb 2017 Plumbing the depths: talk by Colin Oakes

Hounslow Roy Woods Chairman T: 020 8230 5533 United Reformed Church Hall 114 Hanworth Road Hounslow TW3 1UF Second Tuesday of the each month 1.30pm for 2pm 08 Nov 2016 General discussion meeting 13 Dec 2016 Christmas lunch at Cole Court, Twickenham 10 Jan 2017 Travelogue: illustrated talk by Roy Woods 14 Feb 2017 AGM

Kingston & District

Mrs Marion Slater Chairman T: 020 8304 1759 St. Andrews Church Hall Brampton Road Bexleyheath Kent DA7 5SF First two Wednesdays in every month from 1.45pm to 3.45pm. Please note change to frequency of meetings from three to two times a month 02 Nov 2016 Musical instruments and comedy: talk by Mark Walsh 09 Nov 2017 Social afternoon 07 Dec 2016 Christmas buffet 04 Jan 2017 TBA 11 Jan 2017 TBA 01 Feb 2017 TBA 08 Feb 2017 TBA

Helen Stanley Secretary T: 020 8946 2768 Kingston Methodist Church Hall Avenue Road Kingston KT1 2UJ Third Tuesday of each month at 2pm 15 Nov 2016 My family and other setbacks: talk by Mel Rees 28 Nov 2016 Visit to the Design Museum 20 Dec 2016 A Christmas cracker: talk by Jonathon Jones 17 Jan 2017 How Pagan is Christmas?: talk by Leslie Grout 21 Feb 2017 Working with young offenders, the role of the Independent Monitoring Board: talk




Mrs Susan Bentley Secretary T: 020 8360 4361 St. Andrew’s Church Hall Silver Street Enfield EN1 3EG First Monday of the month at 10.30am (unless a Bank Holiday when it will be the second Monday). Refreshments available at all meetings from 10am 07 Nov 2016 The Jurassic Coast: illustrated talk by Dr Tony Hurford 24 Nov 2016 Pre-Christmas lunch (bookings closed now) 05 Dec 2016 Christmas party and buffet 09 Jan 2017 Namibia: illustrated talk by Ann and John Wallington (please note this is the second Monday) 06 Feb 2017 AGM

Harrow Mr John Pickard Chairman T: 020 8866 5708 E: St. Albans Church Hall Norwood Drive North Harrow HA2 7PF. For the 2017 meetings our venue is likely to change. Please contact John Pickard for more information. Last Tuesday of the month at 2pm (except December)

Anne Thomson Secretary T: 01372 373258 E: John Rumble Hall Fetcham Village Hall The Street Fetcham KT22 9QS First Friday of each month at 10am The group received a grant for digital equipment from the Big Lottery Fund in 2016 04 Nov 2016 Buffet lunch (12.30pm at John Rumble Hall) 02 Dec 2016 Christmas meeting with entertainment 06 Jan 2017 Flight in Spitfire: talk by Roger Partridge 03 Feb 2017 To be confirmed

London - Catford & Lewisham Doreen Hughes Secretary T: 020 8461 4800 St Laurence Church Hall 37 Bromley Road Catford London SE6 2TS Second Tuesday of every month at 10am. We have a table top sale at each coffee morning - all donations will be gratefully received. 08 Nov 2016 Coffee morning 13 Dec 2016 Christmas social 10 Jan 2017 Coffee morning 14 Feb 2017 Coffee morning

London – Croydon, Dulwich & Norwood Victor Johnston Acting Secretary T: 020 8653 2946 E: Railway Club Selhurst Station Approach Selhurst SE25 5PL Fourth Tuesday of each month at 10.30am (except December)

London East & South West Essex David Hubbard Social Secretary T: 020 8550 1533 E: St. Andrew’s Church Hall The Drive Ilford IG1 3JQ Third Monday of the month at 1.30pm (except December)

London - Edmonton Mrs Sheila Lamonte Chairperson T: 020 8886 7873 Ambassador Room Millfield House Silver Street London N18 1PJ Third Monday of each month from 10am to 12 noon 21 Nov 2016 The story of the music hall: talk by Peter and Christine Padwick 19 Dec 2016 Christmas party

London - Eltham Phyllis Duignan Chair/Treasurer T: 020 8265 0810 E: United Reformed Church Sherard Hall Court Road Eltham SE9 5AD Fourth Thursday of each month from 10am to 12 noon (except December when it is the second Thursday) 10 Nov 2016 Coach outing to North West Kent Catering College, Gravesend for lunch (cost £20) 24 Nov 2016 Coffee morning followed by magic show: talk by Steve Price 08 Dec 2016 Coffee morning followed by distribution of Christmas cards, bumper raffle and mince pies 15 Dec 2016 Christmas lunch at Limoncello Restaurant, Sidcup (cost £25) 11 Jan 2017 Trip to Dartford Theatre to see Sleeping Beauty by the Moscow Ballet (cost £28) 12 Jan 2017 Coach Outing to Bluewater followed by lunch at the Fighting Cocks pub, Horton Kirby 26 Jan 2017 Coffee morning followed by ‘Are diamonds really a girls best friend?’: talk by David Vroobell 23 Feb 2017 Eltham Group AGM followed by Bingo

London - South West Mrs Joan Cairns Secretary T: 020 8874 5228 Staff Restaurant 4th Floor PCS HQ 160 Falcon Road Clapham Junction London SW11 2LN First Thursday of each month at 10.15am

Maidstone Keith Hunter Chairman T: 01622 746792 Methodist Church Centre Brewer Street Maidstone ME14 1RU Second Monday of the month at 2pm 14 Nov 2016 Christmas fayre, quiz and raffle 12 Dec 2016 Christmas celebrations 09 Jan 2017 TBA 13 Feb 2017 Fish and chips lunch and AGM (1pm)

Orpington Peter Standen Vice Chairman T: 01689 833358 The Memorial Hall Methodist Church Sevenoaks Road Orpington BR6 9JH First Friday in the month at 1.45pm

Romney Marsh Win Owen Chair T: 01797 362598 E: The Assembly Rooms Church Approach New Romney Kent TN28 8AS Second Wednesday of the month from 10am to 12 noon 09 Nov 2016 Operation Pluto, the Kent connection: talk by Geoff Turner 14 Dec 2016 Social morning and Christmas dinner

Sanderstead & Selsdon Ralph Perryman Local Contact T: 020 8657 3487 E: Various venues for lunch, please contact Ralph Perryman for confirmation of lunch details 10 Nov 2016 Lunch at Toby Carvery, Brighton Road (12 for 12.30pm) 22 Dec 2016 Lunch at Toby Carvery, Brighton Road (12 for 12.30pm) 02 Feb 2017 Lunch at Toby Carvery, Brighton Road (12 for 12.30pm)

South East Middlesex Mrs June Brown Secretary T: 020 8891 4680 E: Various venues in and around Twickenham. Please contact the Secretary for further details. Booking information for all our trips is included in the newsletter which is available on request 09 Nov 2016 A Lunch for Londoners at All Hallows Hall, Erncroft Way, Twickenham (12 noon) for a toast to the memory of London Cockneys

14 Dec 2016 Christmas lunch at Cole Court, London Road, Twickenham

Staines Dorothy Dib Secretary T: 01784 441990 Lunch in restaurants in and around Staines Third Tuesday of each month

Sutton Pam Davis Social Secretary T: 020 8641 2114 Friends Meeting House 10 Cedar Road Sutton SM2 5DA Last Monday of the month at 1.45pm to 3.30pm - please note new times - except December. 14 Nov 2016 Informal lunch at The Slug & Lettuce, Sutton High Street 28 Nov 2016 An American supper (aka bring, share and eat) 05 Dec 2016 Christmas lunch at the Casa Nostra Restaurant, Sutton 30 Jan 2017 AGM and social afternoon 13 Feb 2017 Informal lunch (date and venue TBC)

Worcester Park John Wright Secretary T: 020 8337 8965 E: Old Malden Scout Hall 411 Malden Road Worcester Park KT4 7NY First Monday each month from 2pm to 4pm (if the first Monday is a Bank Holiday then meeting will be held on the second Monday) 07 Nov 2016 Fundraising day: raffles, cake stall and fun quiz 05 Dec 2016 Christmas lunch at the Hogsmill, Worcester Park 09 Jan 2017 Here is the news and other happenings: talk by Hilary Osborne 06 Feb 2017 A voyage around the Galapagos and other Islands: presented by John Pullan

NO GROUP IN YOUR AREA? Then we’d like to help you establish one. If you’d be interested in working with us to open up a new group for your area then contact David or Belinda at Fellowship Office on 020 8691 7411.


the last word : MIKE HARDING

my favourite THINGS

Mike Harding is a comedian, musician, broadcaster and writer. For 15 years he presented his highly praised Folk, Roots and Acoustic Music programme on BBC Radio Two, and he now presents Mike Harding’s Folk Show on the internet. His collection of poems, Fishing for Ghosts, will be published by Luath Press in January 2017


The Land of Cockaigne by Flemish artist Pieter Bruegel the Elder. In Cockaigne, toasted cheese falls from the sky, pigs cut slices off their own bottoms and the fences are made of sausages. To my mind, it sums up perfectly the Brexiteers’ vision of post-referendum Britain.


Featureflash /

Lord of the Flies by William Golding. Golding disliked this novel and believed he’d written much better books. I disagree. This is a masterpiece, a classic of world literature. It is a beautifully written look at the human condition in a finely crafted miniature. One of the most perfect books ever written.

Piece of music

Market Day in Guernica by Katie Melua. Franco bombed the market town of Guernica using the proxy bombers of Germany and Italy. Picasso’s painting goes some way to showing the terror and despair. Melua’s simple tuneful song understates the story and thus shows the real horror of that first European blitz, the air raid that was a precursor of the destruction of so many people and places.


A Taste of Honey. Rita Tushingham is sublime as Jo, the Salford schoolgirl who follows her flirty tramp of a mother (played superbly by Dora Bryan) as they do a moonlight flit into Jo’s rocky future. Directed by Tony Richardson and shot in black and white, the film is a classic of the great days of 1960s British cinema. I especially love it because I know every street in the film.


The west of Ireland, for the traditional music, the craic and the landscape. I have a small place in Connemara where I go to play tunes, write and watch the rain.


The ochres, russets and golds of Autumn, though as a season I far prefer Spring.

Quotation ‘If work is all that good, why haven’t the rich kept it for themselves?’ Brazilian, anon.

Historical Figure

Benny Rothman. He led the mass trespass of the Kinder Scout in 1932, which swayed public opinion against the landowners who were stopping people walking on the mountains. He was jailed for his actions. I knew him well: a small firebrand of a man.


I’m a cat person. From being small, I’ve always had a cat, though I don’t have one now since Huxley, my last moggie, died. I travel too much and it wouldn’t be fair. Dogs are OK, I suppose, but so far there hasn’t been one single case of a cat chasing a motorbike.


All wildflowers. I’m not a fan of formal gardens.

To listen to Mike’s show go to

Winter 2016 Avanti Magazine  

Our Winter issue reports on our recent fundraising activity, the Walk for Friendship which has raised over £6k for our befriending services....

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you