Meetings are normally held on the second Thursday of each month in the Corn Exchange, Faringdon.  We begin at 2:30pm with a welcome from the Chairman who also introduces our speaker. After the talk there is time for tea and biscuits and the chance to meet old friends and make new ones. 

The planned programme, in brief, for the  next 9 months is as follows:

Thursday 13th June

Recommended by several members who have visited the Yellow Hat Tribe art gallery near Chipping Norton and heard Irene talk about her love of art. We are pleased to have Irene Tyack to talk to us about her early years which were spent on the edge of the Black Mountains, a very rural life, no running water or electricity, a pig called Zacharius lay in front of the kitchen fire and the chickens sat on the arms of the chairs, from the age of two she knew she wanted to be a painter. Irene will also bring items to sell from her art gallery.

Thursday 11th July

We welcome back to this month’s meeting, Peter Sharpe who will this time talk on the topic of Breaking the Trench Warfare Stalemate in 1918. The presentation will trace military developments from the American Civil and Franco Prussian Wars that lead to the defensive stalemate of trench warfare by the end of 1914 in World War 1. It will explore the reasons why manoeuvre became impossible due to the staggering level of casualties that the tactics of the day produced. The breaking of the stalemate will then be examined. In late 1917 a combination of changing tactics and technology produced a break-through which allowed offensive operations to become viable once again. In the Summer of 1918, the use of tanks, storm troopers, radio, predictive artillery fire, fighter ground attack and aircraft reconnaissance resulted in battles that resembled actions of 1944 rather than the bloody attrition 1916 and 1917.

Thursday 12th September 2019

By popular demand, we welcome back Dr David Jones a research biologist at the Natural History Museum in London and an external lecturer at Imperial College.  This talk is called The Most Dangerous Animals and he explores the question ‘Which animals kill the most humans?’ Based on published research, he lists the top culprits, debunks some popular myths and reveals the scary truth behind the statistics. He then focuses on his favourite killers, the snakes. This talk is almost guaranteed to be funny, factual and interesting.

Thursday 10th October 2019

This month we welcome Paul Colley to talk on the subject of “Bats – secret lives revealed with award winning photography.” Paul usually photographs marine and freshwater animals but is running a new project this spring with some local bat conservation groups which is achieving a high public profile due to its imagination and novelty.  He will talk about the project and explain, with photographs much about bats.

Thursday 14th November

Many of you will have visited Westonbirt Arboretum and here is a chance to learn more about the historic, picturesque landscape and internationally important tree and shrub collection. Westonbirt volunteer and speaker, Pauline Thomas will talk about “The Wonders of Westonbirt” including facts about the wealthy Holford family who originally planted the arboretum in the Victorian years.

Thursday 12th December

This month Sally-Ann Spence, a lecturer at Oxford Natural History Museum will speak on the topic of Dung Beetles. Sally-Ann is an informed and engaging science educator who has spent many years enthusing children and adults alike with the wonders of invertebrates. She is the founder of Minibeast Mayhem, a specialist teaching company. She takes great delight in delivering lively material on this often misunderstood and underrated section of Biology. Keen to increase factual engagement with invertebrates Sally-Ann also works as a consultant on many books including the Dorling Kindersley range and even on the subject of eating insects with the BBCs food scientist Stefan Gates.

Thursday 9th January 2020

This month we celebrate the New Year with our January Japes, once again. Following a lovely meal our speaker will be Mr Al Sylvester whose presentation is called, “My Walk to Freedom.” The talk gives details of his personal account of his unsupported 881 miles walk between Land’s End and John O Groats.

Thursday 13th February 2020

Our speaker this month is Howard Robinson who will talk about Eleanor of Aquitaine, one truly amazing lady who was King John’s mother. King Henry II and his wife Eleanor often stopped with the royal court at Worcester cathedral where Howard is a volunteer guide. She was one of the most powerful and influential figures of the Middle Ages. Inheriting a vast estate at the age of 15 which made her the most sought-after bride of her generation. She would eventually become the queen of France, the queen of England and lead a crusade to the Holy Land.

Thursday 12th March 2020

Dr Lynda Ware works at Cochrane UK in Oxford and was for many years a GP in Oxfordshire and she will talk about Evidence Based Medicine (further details to follow). Cochrane UK aims to raise awareness and knowledge by producing high quality research which is made available to healthcare professionals.  This is certainly a topic of interest to everyone.