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Speaker Meeting 12th April 2021: The Two Presidents 2019/20 and 2020/21

Speaker Meeting 12th April 2021: The Two Presidents 2019/20 and 2020/21

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The Two Presidents spanned the last two years!  Immediate Past President Denise 2019-2020 and President Marion2020-2021.  We were joined by a prospective new member and also members from SI Weston-super-Mare.   Denise and Marion entertained us describing their careers and the exciting things they have done during their lives.  We often hear about our members careers and it never ceases to amaze us what these women who we know so well have done.  Thank you both for sharing your lives with us.

Speaker meeting 8th March 2021:  Tyntesfield Trees – Chris Watts

Speaker meeting 8th March 2021:  Tyntesfield Trees – Chris Watts

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Chris started by telling us a bit about the history of the Tyntesfield Estate.  The house was built for William Gibbs and completed in 1884.  The estate was purchased by the National Trust in 2002.  There are 37 labels from the original trees planted in the late 1800s.  There is a huge selection of trees with beautiful foliage and flowers and look stunning when they are at their best.  Some parts of the estate are the same as they were originally including some of the tree walks.   A few of the trees in the laurel walk have been replaced by taking cuttings from the original trees.  The holly walk is 140 years old and some of the hollies have also been replaced. He told us about ancient, veteran and champion trees.  They have an oak which is an ancient tree. Ancient trees are very old

Speaker Meeting February 8th 2021: Great Western Air Ambulance Charity – Joe Hughes

Speaker Meeting February 8th 2021: Great Western Air Ambulance Charity – Joe Hughes

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The Great Western Air Ambulance Charity (GWAAC) is a registered charity providing the Critical Care and air ambulance service across Bristol, Bath & North East Somerset, North Somerset, Gloucestershire and South Gloucestershire. Joe opened by telling us that the air ambulance brings the patient to the hospital and the hospital to the patient – a flying emergency department.    He captured our interest and told us of “Chris’s Story” in two parts.  This is a simplified version.  In the first part when Chris had a cardiac arrest his wife Sue performed cardiac massage in the first instance and then a number of emergency services attended but unfortunately Chris did not survive.  Later he gave the second part – the real story.  This started the same way but in this scenario the air ambulance took over Chris’s care from Sue and he made a full recovery and

Speaker Meeting January 11th 2021: City of Bristol Archives, Allie Dillon City of Bristol Archivist

Speaker Meeting January 11th 2021: City of Bristol Archives, Allie Dillon City of Bristol Archivist

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We welcomed our speaker Allie Dillon our first speaker in 2021.  She started by describing the purpose and importance of the archives which are based at the Create Centre in B Bond Warehouse close to Cumberland Basin. The team of 19 maintain the archives of the City of Bristol and surrounding areas, as well as the British Empire and Commonwealth Collection.  Some are stored as hard copy and some have been digitised.  It is both an historic and cultural resource. The public have access free of charge and the records are used for many reasons including accessing records for public enquiries.  Bristol Archives was established in 1924 and it was the first borough record office in the United Kingdom and holds documents going back to the 12th century.  There are many valuable documents such as the Royal Charter circa 1190 (this is still a valid

Speaker Meeting 10th December 2020: Road to Equality, Andrew Wallis OBE, CEO of Unseen

Speaker Meeting 10th December 2020: Road to Equality, Andrew Wallis OBE, CEO of Unseen

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Our 16 Days of Activism (see programme Action Report “Orange the World”) culminated with a talk delivered via Zoom by Andrew Wallis.  In addition to members of SI Bristol, the talk was ‘attended’ by members from our Friendship Link clubs: SI Chester, SI Halifax and by SI Weston super Mare.   Unseen has been operating in Bristol and beyond for over 10 years and we have been involved with them in many different ways since 2013. “Human trafficking is a crime. It does not always involve international transportation. Trafficking in the UK includes commercial, sexual and bonded labour. Trafficked people have little choice in what happens to them and often suffer abuse due to violence and threats made against them or their families. In effect, they become commodities owned by traffickers, used for profit”. Andrew is an inspirational speaker and he started by telling us

Speaker Meeting October 12th 2020: Lucy’s Impressions of Syria

Speaker Meeting October 12th 2020: Lucy’s Impressions of Syria

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One of our members, Lucy, gave a talk (via Zoom) about her impressions of Syria in 2008.  This was before everything changed in such a devastating way with the onset of the civil war. Lucy spent several days there for work and was able to see something of the country as well as meeting some Syrians.  Visits to the mosques in Damascus as well as the Syrian Coptic churches where she heard the Lord’s Prayer recited in Aramaic were very interesting, but the highlight was a visit to the impressive Krak de Chevalier Crusader castle. She recalled the welcome of everyone she met there and how she often wonders what has happened to them now.

Speaker Zoom Meeting September 14th 2020:  Frauds and Scams in Financial Services – Ryan Taylor NatWest Bank

Speaker Zoom Meeting September 14th 2020:  Frauds and Scams in Financial Services – Ryan Taylor NatWest Bank

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We were very pleased to welcome Ryan Taylor from NatWest Bank who enlightened us on frauds and scams in financial services. He said that 1 to 2 billion pounds is lost every year due to fraud and scams. This money often goes to terrorist organisations as well as criminal gangs. Only 5% is ever reported due to reluctance, embarrassment and allied issues. Often the object is gaining information as much as getting money. If a data base is accessed, the details can be sold on to various criminal gangs until eventually “you” end up on a “suckers” list!  People on this list tend to be targeted multiple times.  The approach used by scammers includes charm, sympathy, and helpfulness but if you show signs of non-acceptance the approach ends up with threats and intimidation.  Many fraudsters are articulate post graduate students, who have found it a

Supper Meeting March 9th: Sustainable Development and Bristol Zoo

Supper Meeting March 9th: Sustainable Development and Bristol Zoo

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At our Supper Meeting Dan, from Bristol Zoo Gardens, came to give a talk about Sustainable Development and Bristol Zoo. He was very engaging and a most enthusiastic speaker who showed a real passion for the job. Dan explained that Bristol Zoo Gardens is the fifth oldest zoo in the world and was founded on 22nd July 1835, by Henry Riley, a local physician, who led the formation of the Bristol, Clifton and West of England Zoological Society. Henry Riley, and a number of other prominent local individuals, gathered with the mission to facilitate ‘the observation of habits, form and structure of the animal kingdom, as well as affording rational amusement and recreation to the visitors of the neighbourhood’. Shareholders at the time included several famous Bristolians, including Isambard Kingdom Brunel. The Bristol, Clifton and West of England Zoological Society opened the Zoo’s doors to

Supper Meeting February 2nd: Bristol’s Industrial Schools – Shirley Hodgson

Supper Meeting February 2nd: Bristol’s Industrial Schools – Shirley Hodgson

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At our Supper Meeting on February 2nd we enjoyed listening to Shirley Hodgson, a retired headteacher talking about some of the hidden history of Bristol’s poorest children in Victorian times and the rise of Bristol’s Industrial Schools. Shirley Hodgson herself devoted her working life to Bristol children, teaching in various schools. For ten years she was head of Victoria Park Junior School. As the 19 century progressed there were organisations run by charitable and philanthropic individuals – often religious – which improved the lot of some. They would be taken in, fed, clothed and educated and taught skills to fit them for adulthood and work. These were mostly run by well-meaning people of whom Mary Carpenter was a leading light of the Reformatory School movement and founder of Red Lodge Reformatory School for Girls, as well as an Industrial School for boys at Park Row.

November 11th 2019: The Glories of Wine – Ian Abrahams, Dip WSET.

November 11th 2019: The Glories of Wine – Ian Abrahams, Dip WSET.

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Wine expert Ian Abrahams started his wine career taking visitors round Harvey’s wine museum in Bristol.  He also studied for and passed the Wines and Spirits Education Trust (WSET) Diploma, a high level professional qualification. He now works as a freelance Wine Educator, certified by WSET to run their courses which are aimed at professionals starting out in the wine industry. Last night Ian talked about ‘The Glories of Wine’ and brought four examples for us to taste and appreciate accompanied by cheese and biscuits – a Pays d’Oc from an English owned vineyard in France, a Muga Rosé from Rioja, a lovely Errazuriz from Chile and a dessert wine, a Chenin Bland from the Loire Valley. He went through a brief explanation on how to taste wine and what to look for. The evening passed very quickly and was enjoyed by all.”