Probus Club Speakers

He's Got MS and he Falls Over

Patrick Burke gives a talk about Multiple Sclerosis called “He's got MS and he falls over”. I was diagnosed with the disease in 1995 though I am convinced that it all started in 1979. Initially it was relapsing and remitting MS but it has progressed to secondary progressive. I have had to stop work, the disease affects my left leg, which is now very weak; my balance, I have double vision and I suffer from fatigue. 

The presentation is divided into three sections:
  1. A brief outline of the history of MS 
  2. Interesting facts about this very comples disease. 
  3. My story about MS and how I cope. 
My website aid4disabled is a portal providing links to other sites, articles on the challenges of being disabled, helpful products and other useful information. 
Talks given in London and within a 30 mile radius of Watford. The fee is £80 and travel
Contact details
Email : [email protected]
Patrick Burke, 2 Cowper Road, Berkhamsted, Herts. HP4 3DA
Telephone 07947 024691

Northern Ireland:

Guy Warner - Carrickfergus

Over the past year or two I have given illustrated talks within a 20 mile radius of Carrickfergus in Co Antrim. I would be happy to go further afield providing my expenses were covered. I have written several books and many articles on the history of aviation and my talks reflect this interest. I can offer the following: Airships over the North Channel – the story of RNAS airships in WW1; Army Aviation in Ulster 1913-2008; Shorts – the Forman Years 1958-1989 (a biography of Sir Philip Forman and of the company); Experiences of civil aviation in the 1920s and 1930s; Undedr the Goshawk’s Wings, the History of Aviation in the Azores.

For more information contact Guy Warner on:

028 908628843

or email [email protected]


South East 

John Field

John was admitted as a solicitor in 1976 and has practised law ever since. However his main passion in life is magic and he has been performing as a magician for almost 50 years. He is a member of the world famous Magic Circle and within that club has been elevated to the rank of Associate Member of The Inner Magic Circle with Silver Star. This accreditation is only held by about 350 magicians worldwide. John has eight talks on magic and magicians but his most popular talk is the outstanding Amazing World of Magic.

This talk has been honed to perfection over 40 years. You will hear about the oldest magician known to mankind, the oldest trick in magic, scams based on that trick and how to avoid being caught out, the first book written about magic, the dawning of respectability, two famous magicians and the current magic scene. You will also be shown some different styles of magic which will entertain and amuse.

For more details contact John on:

01372 275515

email [email protected]

North West

Michael Hindley

Michael Hindley was a Member of the European Parliament from 1984 to 1999. He now acts as a freelance consultant on International Affairs, working for several UK Universities, the European Economic and Social Committee, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the UN.

Michael also lectures on international affairs for Cunard and Noble Caledonia cruise lines.
Michael gives informative and entertaining non-party political talks on “Understanding Europe. Just what can the EU do and not do”
Michael says “In UK we are heading for a referendum on our EU membership, yet seldom have the opportunity to discuss the real power and competences of the EU in a non-partisan way. I am always happy to discuss and provide such a platform”
Contact details 
[email protected] 
0776 88 45 939


Robert Dearden

I was Chairman of the Lancashire Cricket League from 1995 to 2002. I am coach and cricket chairman for Heywood CC in the CLL. I was a player for Heywood from 1959, 1st XI captain in the 1970’s and still play at the age of 65 (3rd XI).
I have recently retired from work as a teacher and would be happy to speak either on cricket or the teaching profession. 

My name is Robert Dearden, I live in Rochdale and can be contacted on:

01706 645020 or

email [email protected]

Lancashire/ Yorkshire

Pat Osborne

I am an experienced speaker working regularly in the Lancashire/Yorkshire area. Talks are suitable for male and female groups. My talks include: The History of Rug Making; The Brontes behind closed doors; Frida Kahlo, Mexican artist extraordinaire, Ann Lister of Shibden Hall; Beatrix Potter, a sad but extraordinary life; Clarice Cliff, a genius or just in the right place at the right time. I charge £30 plus travel for one hour illustrated talks. For further details contact Pat Osborne on:

01484 715528

or email [email protected].

West Midlands

Michael - Hereford

TV Presenter and Horticultural Expert Michael Leech is available to give talks on a variety of horticultural topics including his popular Gardening and the Media which gives an insight into the trials and tribulations of preparing a TV programme and putting Radio 4’s Gardeners Question Time on the road. Michael is based in Hereford but for more details contact him on:

01981 540520.

Ivan Johnson

Ivan Johnson is available to give an illustrated talk entitled ‘Work Activity through Time from the Chisel and the Palate’. This is a collection of pictures of paintings and sculptures from Egyptian times depicting work, the tools used, and sometimes the hazards encountered.
While working as a Consultant Physician, I became fascinated by ill health arising from work and discovered paintings that showed exactly what I was concerned about. I have put this together as a long talk or as a shorter version. I am prepared to travel within Berkshire, Hampshire or Oxfordshire. For more details contact me on:

01488 686728

or email:- [email protected]

Harry M. Scharf

I give talks to a number of different clubs and societies, including Probus. My subjects are: Court in the Act (about the Crown Court); Write Back in Time (about writing accessories); and History of Glasses (about spectacles). For the second and third subjects I bring along objects to show so do not need a projector. I am prepared to travel within the Midlands, and my fee is negotiable.
I am Harry M. Scharf and I live at 175A Ulverley Green Road, Solihull. B92 8AA. My phone number is
0121 706 1342.  I may be available to help if a speaker cannot keep an arrangement.


Tim Mowat 

I would like to offer my services as a speaker to Probus Clubs across central England from the Bristol Channel and West Midlands, through Wiltshire, Berkshire, to the M25, and from Salisbury in the South up to Northampton. I have spoken and presented powerpoint based slideshows to some half a dozen Probus groups in Gloucestershire and North Somerset.

My talks have been on the subjects of:

1) The Deep Sea Fishing Industry and the work of the Royal National Mission to Deep Sea Fishermen, a charity that I act as fundraiser for. Title “Toilers of the Deep” The Fishing industry is going through tough times and there are a lot of communities who need help. The Queen is patron of the charity.

2) St Mary’s Church, Fairford, Gloucestershire and its famous mediaeval stained glass. I was churchwarden there for a number of years, and the glass has featured in a number of television programmes and at the V&A in London. Title “Royal Pride and Royal Guilt”.

3) The Plymouth — Banjul (Gambia) Rally. I took part last year, now support 3 girls in schools there, and I am looking for sponsorship to take a minibus to one of the schools there next year. Title “Across the Sahara in a Volkswagen Golf”.

I have my own projector, laptop computer, and extension lead. I speak for whatever length of time
people request, and usually need to allow as much time again for questions, answers and dialogue.

I do not charge a fee, but I do ask to have my travelling expenses covered, and any donations to the causes I support are truly welcome.

The Owl House,
Market Place,
Stroud, Glos.
GL6 9BW.

Tel: 01453 885225

or email [email protected]

North East

Dr Rebecca Williams Dinsdale

My Lifejoy Lectures are designed to inspire and inform covering the following subjects:

“Lifejoy ~ A Serenity Spa for Your Soul.”
“Whatever ~ How to Revise and Shine.”
“Potential ~ Power-Up Your Motivation and Morale.”
“Resurgam ~ How to Survive and Thrive through Adversity.”
“Guesthouses do get Painted ~ How to be an Optimistic Realist.”
“Oration ~ How to Speak in Public with Elegant Ease for Life and Work.”
“Brainbox ~ A Swot Analysis to Enable Your Education and Employability.”
“Heroic Hope ~ How the Northern Ireland Peace Process can Inspire You.”
“Orange, Green and In Between ~ The Irish in the North-East of England .”
“Mentor ~What’s the French for Entrepreneur? Insights for Business Start-Ups.”
“Ivy Madeline in Manchuria ~ Inspiration from my Gran, the Medical Missionary.”
“Exclusions to Excellence ~ Tremendous Tales from the Headmaster’s Daughter.”
“Dynamite ~ Explosive Exhortations from my Great-Gran’s Empire.”
“How to be an Historian ~ Plots, Pleasures and Primary Sources.”
“Declutter Divas ~ How to have a Tidy Mind, Life and Home.”
“There’s a Book in Us All ~ How to Write Yours.”
“How to have a Big Fat Ethical Wedding.”
“How to have a Fantastic Funeral.”
You can learn more on my website:

East Midlands

Harry Marsland- Oundle

As a retired optometrist who has had both the wet and dry types of age related macular degeneration I am uniquely able to address the causes and problems of this condition. My own researches led me learn how to recover from dry AMD. My left eye is the first but not the only recovery ever recorded. The treatment costs less than £14 a month! I have a very informative Powerpoint illustrated talk that covers the above as well as dealing with the prevention of AMD which currently accounts for 50% of all cases of blindness in this country.

For details contact Harry Marsland:

24 St Peter’s Road

or email: [email protected]  

East of England

Brain Coupe - Ely, Cambridgeshire

I have given several talks to my local Probus (Ely Cambs), and to other local societies. My subject is Einstein’s Special Relativity, for which my background is an honours degree in nuclear physics, and for many years I have given this subject an airing, spread over several lectures in a General Studies context, or as a much condensed version suitable for a single talk.

Because of the nature of this topic most presentations aimed at the general public, for example all TV documentaries, are just descriptive, illustrating the extraordinary derivation and consequences of Einstein’s Theory, and offering no proof of the celebrated mass-energy equation (E mc2) which gave rise to the search for a nuclear bomb and to the development of nuclear power.

My talk is titled “The Proof and the Pudding”(note: not “of’), the Pudding being the Consequences in terms of what energy is theoretically available form the conversion of matter into energy, which in the talk precedes the Proof.  The subject demands attention and concentration, being confronted by unfamiliar concepts. For those whose knowledge of algebra is minimal or long forgotten, the algebraic portions can be ignored and just the results noted.

Originally the presentation was done by transparencies for an overhead projector, still possible, but in its modem form by a power-point projector and laptop, which would need to be available at the venue.

For more details please contact Brian Coupe on:

01353 663007

or email [email protected]

Anita and Philip Hart - Hemel Hempstead

Anita and Philip Hart offer the following talks. Each lasts up to 1 hour. We are also available at short notice if you urgently need a Speaker

Two Old Codgers and a Bear: Why on earth would a retired couple want to go backpacking around the world (over 65,000 miles) for three and a half years? Our talk is a wry and humorous account of our adventures, including some extremely dangerous situations.

Two Old Codgers Part 2: Recounting further experiences from our 3¼ year backpacking trip.

No Room for the Horses: Our adventures for one year, as a retired couple, in a camper van exploring the back roads and small towns of 37 States in the U.S.A.

Legal London: We also offer groups a guided walk in central London (plus the possibility to sit in on court cases). We guide your group through the heart of the Inns of Court and the Royal Courts of Justice, explaining the history of our legal system and the legal profession, together with humorous anecdotes.

Philip is a retired London solicitor, Anita a retired Legal Executive.

Our charges are £50 including travel and we can cover an area up to one hour travel from Hemel Hempstead. For more details contact us on:

01442 248661

or email: [email protected]


I offer a fascinating presentation on Barnardo’s - one of the UK’s leading children’s charities. You’ll find out about our unique history. And you’ll learn about the diverse projects we run for over 110,000 children, young people and their families across the UK.

I’ll share interesting stories from my 40 year career as Legacies Manager. Also, I explain how our supporters help ensure that Barnardo’s vital work continues.

If your group is located in Bedfordshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk or Suffolk, please contact me to arrange a presentation. The talk can last 20-30 minutes and includes slides. There is no charge but a donation to Barnardo’s would be much appreciated.


Barry Root

Barry Root is available to give talks throughout the East of England on the interesting subject of horse racing and breeding.

Having spent a number of years in business as a Marketing Director for a UK-wide organisation which utilised horse racing as a marketing tool, I am now a part-time Bloodstock Agent as well as a racehorse owner, travelling to racehorse sales across Europe and buying for clients for the purposes of racing or breeding. I am also Manager to a Racehorse Ownership Club encouraging everyday people to enjoy the “sport of kings”. My talk covers the history of racing and breeding in the UK, the work of agents and what is involved in owning a racehorse.

For more details telephone 01371 831769

or email [email protected]

Ian A Powys - Newmarket

I give talks including - Bayeux Tapestry; Crete; Alsace & Lorraine; Tiffany; and Restoration of the 15th Century Isleham church ‘Angel’ roof. The presentations are using Power Point. I have my own lap top and projector but do need a screen and some form of projector stand to be provided.  I charge £35 plus 45p per mile for the return journey. I am able to travel within a 50 mile radius of Newmarket – although further distances could be traveled in the lighter summer evenings. For more details contact Ian A Powys, 5 Church Lane, Isleham, Ely, Cambridgeshire or

email [email protected]

South West

Earl Connolly – South Devon

As a member of Dawlish Probus Club I offer two illustrated Power Point talks on the following topics. 1) Lido Days are Limited (the architecture and social history of open air swimming pools and the changing nature of bathing in the 20th century) 2) A Train Journey in Miniature (a personnel look at the history of model railways from the early 20th century to today). The talks are intended to be light hearted and informative and I am able to travel through the Devon area and ask only for my travel expenses for a 50 to 60 minute talk at your venue.

My contact details are:
[email protected]
Telephone 01626 862283

David Snelling and Karen Reed - South West Peninsular, Dorset, Somerset, Devon and Cornwall.

‘Operation Henry’ is not just a Trust to help raise awareness of Pancreatic Cancer, but a remarkable story about a journey and lifetime experience accomplished by Henry the ‘Hinny’ and David P. Snelling.

David planned a 2000km trek over the Pyrenees from France to Spain at the turn of the Millennium initially to celebrate the event and consequently to raise funds to show that this journey could evolve into the Registered Charitable Trust it is today.

David decided to support cancer care and research, essentially through Macmillan Cancer Support, The Association of International Cancer Research and The Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund because he knows the heartbreak cancer can cause - his own father died of cancer of the Pancreas.  David says: “All of us, I’m sure, have known or heard of someone who has the disease and I wanted to make a contribution to what is required to help both the cause and the effects of what is commonly known as ‘U.G.I’ Cancer.”

David’s presentation of a fascinating real life adventure which captures audiences with stories of world heritage, religion, pilgrimage, spiritual and emotional motivation, and much, much more is of interest to all ages.

This is not just an opportunity for David to share his experiences, but also as a member of the audience it is a very up-lifting presentation covering a range of topics. We guarantee it will touch everyone.

In return we ask for a very small donation to ensure our charities get the funding they need to support their scientists’ research into this unpredictable disease.

David Snelling is happy to cover the South West Peninsular) Dorset, Somerset, Devon and Cornwall).

For more details please contact Karen Reed or David Snelling on:

01752 845 735 or 01752 892191.

Ivan Johnson  

Ivan Johnson is available to give an illustrated talk entitled ‘Work Activity through Time from the Chisel and the Palate’. This is a collection of pictures of paintings and sculptures from Egyptian times depicting work, the tools used, and sometimes the hazards encountered.

While working as a Consultant Physician, I became fascinated by ill health arising from work and discovered paintings that showed exactly what I was concerned about. I have put this together as a long talk or as a shorter version. I am prepared to travel within Berkshire, Hampshire or Oxfordshire. For more details contact me:

on 01488 686728

or email:- [email protected]

Ralph Jerram - Dorset

Ralph Jerram offers his themed talk to Probus Clubs on the subject of Incorrect Political Correctness where he describes in a light hearted way his experiences as a Personnel Manager when working for the Police in London. While dealt with in a humorous way, the serious message of Political Correctness strikes a chord with anyone who appreciates someone not afraid to discuss taboo subjects.

He can be contacted on 01747 826 436 or0771 982 8209 and travels country wide. 

3 Longways,
Shaftesbury Road,
Dorset SP8 4ED.

Derrick Fulford

‘Big Decision’.  ‘How do you feel ‘inside’ when you return from holiday abroad and you are faced with the sign “H M Customs”? Are you tempted to enter the Green Channel? Of all serious crimes under the law Smuggling least violates the consciences of men. Why?

Derrick Fulford, a retired Customs Officer, gives a detailed and very popular talk on ‘Smuggling’, as it was, as it is. The talk is in great demand by Probus and other audiences. It covers all aspects of this fascinating subject including the dangers of drugs e.g. how do Customs Officers detect ‘stuffers’ and ‘swallowers’?

Derrick loves giving his talk to Probus audiences anywhere. If you are interested give him a ring on:

01737 554514.

Malcolm Torrent - Dorset

Lt Col Malcolm Torrent can offer a number of talks on Military Music highlighting a variety of experiences as a Director of Music in The Life Guards, Royal Artillery and The Royal Military School of Music, Kneller Hall.

Building on an already popular theme of “The Trumpets Shall Sound”, where I demonstrate many trumpets, bugles and posthorns during my light hearted but informative talks, the success of the talks have lead to four more subjects connected with the pomp and pageantry associated with service band’s World Wide appeal and reputation.

I live in the Bournemouth area but will be happy to travel, with additional expenses negotiated, to venues further afield on occasions. So, for a musical treat with a difference on your speaker circuit, do get in touch.

For more details contact Malcolm Torrent on:

01202 891056

or email  [email protected]

or alternatively, write to me at:
Pine Gables
70 Glenmoor Road
Dorset BH22 8QF.

Robin Miller - Dorset

After 34 years with the British Army, Robin Miller retired to Shaftesbury Dorset. As an experienced presenter he now raises funds for an AIDS charity in South Africa and has several Powerpoint presentations including: AIDS and AIDS Charities; The management of stress and conflict; Our Solar System; Volcanoes; The American Civil War 1861-1865; The Korean War 1950-1953 and The Second World War Eastern Front Battle for Stalingrad. The presentations are free but any donation to the Keiskamma Trust AIDS Charity would be gratefully received.

For more details contact Robin Miller on:

01747 854765

or email [email protected]

Parl Rendell - Devon and Cornwall

Parl Rendell is available to give illustrated talks throughout Devon and parts of Cornwall. I have 30 talks to offer including many subjects on Dartmoor including stone quarries, old Dartmoor, Princetown, Tales of a Dartmoor Guide, also Exmoor, Isles of Scilly, Tamar Valley and Finland. There are also many talks about wildlife including one called Hairy Hands, Devils and Black Dogs which is about the many legends on the moor.

For further information contact Paul Rendell on:

01837 54727

or see the website on


Roy Gee - Vale of Glamorgan 

My name is Roy Gee, a Probus member for many years. I am an experienced speaker and talk to clubs on a variety of topics. My current humorous presentations with slides include a Sri Lankan Project, Elephant Walk and Time Capsule; all relate to 3-4 months spent on each project working/teaching in rural isolated communities. Elephant Walk is in rural South Africa; Time Capsule in isolated rural Tanzania.  Also Tails-Tales related to the humorous element of 21 years within the Inspectorate Department of the RSPCA and Tales 6 years spent as a travel/tour guide.  I am prepared to travel in south east Wales.

For details contact me on:

02920 515363

or at:

16 Highwalls Avenue
Dinas Powys
Vale of Glamorgan
CF64 4AP.