The Dog Days of Summer

The dog days of summer across Wales and the Thames Valley have been highly productive.  We have 23 of the best clubs in the district supported by five outstanding Area Directors – Debs (J4), Andra (J7), Helyn (J10), John (J11) and Hazel (J22) have all settled into their roles amazingly and thank you to Carolyn for covering for John while he was away.

For those who don’t know where we are, we cover most of the area to the north of the M4 and south of those places where they know “It’s grim up North”.  We cover South Bucks, South Oxfordshire, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, Worcestershire, and South Wales.

We have had a terrific response from our clubs with the Club Officer Training over the last couple of months and have (at time of writing) around 60% of clubs with their DCP point.  Congratulations to Thame for getting all 7 officers trained!  Division J’s TLI with Division A was very well received – especially the DISC workshop from Liz Hobbs. Our final COT session was on the 30th August – an all-District COT to round off the training period.

It’s not just Club Officer Training that has been going on – Cardiff Toastmasters have just run a workshop with Andrew Bennet on how to use your voice in your speech and Berkhamsted have a Humorous Speech workshop with Bob Ferguson on 5th September.

Personally, I can’t wait for contest season to start here in the Division.  We have our area finals in the diary and all roads lead to our division contest on Saturday 4th November which is being held in the East of the Division – hopefully able to announce a venue in the next two weeks.

As well as the existing clubs, I am also working with Oxford International Speakers who are a pre-charter club.  They’re not just a normal club but are an Advanced Club for those who really want to stretch themselves.  If you are a seasoned Toastmaster then this could be the club for you – and as someone who has been in an Advanced Club, I can tell you they are so much fun!

Division J has an amazing history (and the UK’s oldest club) – and you will hear us roaring as fiercely as the Welsh Dragon flying over Cardiff Castle that we are by far the best Division in the District.

Andy Hessey
Division J Director, 2023-2024