Eastbourne Ashridge Circle
Founded 1947

Meetings in 2010-11


Please use the links below to view our previous meeting programmes.

27th September 2010

An Evening with Tom O'Connor

Tom O'Connor has become a household name throughout the UK as a brilliant, and scrupulously clean comedian, with an endless list of television appearances and eight highly successful TV series, along with an enviable reputation in International Cabaret circles. His popularity was proven with an invitation to appear on The Royal variety Show, as well as being a subject of 'This Is Your Life'. Tom found his talent for comedy invaluable as a maths teacher and assistant Headmaster in Liverpool, which eventually led to a full-time stage career. His ability to find comedy in everyday activities is unrivalled. His flair for hosting Game Shows and Talk Shows has led to many successful television series, and he is now in demand as a straight actor after his appearance in the 'Doctors' series. His love of golf has led him into many celebrity appearances at charity matches, along with writing a series of hilarious books on the game, and the playing of it. He is also the author of a variety of books containing his own special brand of humour in a vast number of topics.

11th October 2010

Save the Elephants

Lucy King

For the last four years Lucy has been working in Northern Kenya with Dr Iain Douglas-Hamilton and the famous Samburu elephants on the interaction between African elephants and honeybees. This led to the BBC TV series 'The Secret Life of Elephants' which appeared on our screens earlier this year. This innovative research has led to a number of unique behavioural discoveries leading to improved management strategies for elephants both in Kenya and around the World. As a pioneer in the use of this unique GPS/GSM technology, STE is learning more about elephant migration activity, enabling them to successfully demarcate safe corridors and reduce human-elephant conflict. Lucy will reveal more details of life in the bush and the fascinating research captured in the series.

25th October 2010

The Glamour and Romance of the Great Atlantic Liners

Ken Vard

Ken has become internationally recognised as a major authority on the Great Liners that plied their trade between Europe and the United States of America and Canada. His book 'Great Liners in Art' was an immediate success and sold out on both printings and is now cherished by collectors. From the Great Queens, Queen Elizabeth I and the Queen Mary, to the luxury of the French liners like the Normandy, Ken will introduce you to the lavish surroundings of their public rooms to the comfort of their First Class cabins and talk about the great and the good (and the not-so-good) who sailed the Atlantic in that great period of high romance and drama where major movie stars of the silver screen rubbed shoulders with captains of industry and high flying politicians.

15th November 2010

The Six Deadly Sins

Martyn Underhill

Martyn joined the Metropolitan Police in 1979 and witnessed the Harrods bombing, the Brixton riots, the miners strike and the Iranian siege at first hand. He transferred to the Sussex Police as a Detective and during his long partnership with the CID, worked on some 50 murder cases. As a Detective Chief Inspector he ran some high profile cases such as the murder and abduction of 8 year old Sarah Payne, and the infamous Black Widow case. Martyn became project manager for 'Child Rescue Alert' and successfully piloted the scheme in Sussex and then went on to fight for the scheme to be launched nationally, which was achieved in 2004. He has a Masters Degree and Diploma in Policing and now runs his own consultancy business in Dorset where he moved after he retired from the force in 2009. He currently is consultant to ITN News on matters affecting paedophilia and children. The title of his talk comes from the book he is currently writing about his police experiences which is shortly to be published.

29th November 2010

Dylan Thomas and Friends

Phillip Madoc

The leading Welsh actor presents and performs readings by Dylan Thomas as well as those of his less well-known compatriots, notably the great comic writer, Gwyn Thomas. Phillip will also talk about his career, which started as an interpreter abroad and later saw him as a lead at Stratford with The Royal Shakespeare Company and more recently as a well-known face on television, starring in the highly successful detective series 'A Mind to Kill' as only one of the hundreds of television series and programmes he has appeared in including playing the U-Boat commander in the highly successful TV series 'Dad's Army', voted as one of the most popular moments in this long running series.

20th December 2010

Christmas at The Ashridge

The Eastbourne Concert Orchestra with guests Elaine Montgomerie and Roy Patrick

A wonderful concert of seasonal music and poems to get us into the Christmas spirit with this highly acclaimed local concert orchestra who have delighted audiences over the years with their popular classical and memorable musical programmes given at the Eastbourne Town Hall. Their programme will include music by Mozart, Anderson, Tchaikovsky, Churchill, Tome and Berlin, all with a festive feel and inter-mixed with appropriate festive readings by Elaine Montgomerie, well-known local actress who has appeared in major productions throughout the UK and her native Australia, and has been touring extensively after a successful London season with her one-woman show on Madame Pompadour. Roy Patrick, well-known local actor and director, who worked extensively with the Old Vic Theatre Company, has many TV credits and film credits to his name and directed for Cameron Mackintosh and Bill Kenwright as well as major UK and World-wide tours featuring famous names from British theatre.

10th January 2011

Warrior: The Ultimate War Horse

Brough Scott

The New Year opens with Brough Scott, well-known sports journalist in a fascinating and true life adventure regarding one of the most famous horses from the First World War. After the success of 'War Horse' at the National Theatre, Brough brings us the true story of his grandfather, General Jack Seely, and his horse 'Warrior' who went through the trials of WWI, survived Passchendale, and who led the last great cavalry charge of 1,000 horses of the Canadian Cavalry in the little hamlet of Castel on Easter Saturday, March 30th 1918. Jack Seely had been elected MP for the Isle of Wight whilst still serving in the Boer War and he rose to become a senior member of Asquith's cabinet and became Secretary of State for War but had to resign the post over the Curragh Crisis but he remained a favourite of Winston Churchill. Both Seely and Warrior arrived in France in August of 1914. Seely was a popular General, but not as popular as Warrior. Warrior survived some of the worst fighting and conditions of WWI to be in the victory parade in Hyde Park in 1918, and was immortalised in the first of the portraits painted by Alfred Munnings as war artist to the Canadian Cavalry. Legend has it that General Seely later recommended Warrior for the Victoria Cross with the simple, if somewhat immodest, citation 'he went everywhere I went'. A remarkable story of man and horse.

31st January 2011

Vietnam: Land of the Ascending Dragon

Denise Heywood

This lecture explores Vietnam and includes the architectural legacy of French colonialism in the cities, especially Hanoi, built around 20 lakes, with its elegant French opera house, its belle époque villas and colourful markets. A major highlight is the neo-Gothic cathedral of Saigon. It touches on Vietnam's vibrant modern culture, now revived since the turbulent events of the Vietnam war and is revealed in the stylish silk costumes of the graceful Vietnamese women. It looks back on the ancient ruins of the Cham empire, uncovered by French scholars, and shows the sculptural heritage of these ferociously war-like yet artistic people of the 2nd-14th centuries who repelled the Mongol armies of Kublai Khan. It explores the historic palaces of Hue, heart of the Nguyen dynasty, a replica of the Forbidden City in Beijing, now in the throes of restoration after the damage of the war and is now a UNESCO World heritage site along with the ornate imperial tombs laid out along the banks of the Perfume river. As well as ancient culture and animated cities, Denise's journey reveals the Vietnam of emerald green rice paddies, dramatic seascapes and, above all, the resilient and welcoming people.

14th February 2011

The World's Greatest Goldsmith

John C. Benjamin FGA DGA

John Benjamin is no stranger to any fans of the 'Antique Roadshow' where he specialises in antique jewellery and is an established member of the team of experts and has been for several years. John started his career at Cameo Corner, the celebrated Bloomsbury jewellers, renowned for its unrivalled stock of ancient, Renaissance and 18th and 19th century jewellery. He joined Phillips Fine Art Auctioneers as a cataloguer and valuer, remaining for 23 years and becoming International Director of Jewellery. He is a Freeman of the Goldsmiths Company, and of the City of London. Peter Carl Faberge famous throughout history as the Goldsmith to the Tsars of Russia, creating the exquisite Easter Eggs presented by the Tsars to their Tsarina and other members of the Royal family, but also creating beautiful pieces of jewellery and carved pieces of precious stones to the aristocracy of Russia and Europe.

7th March 2011

Punch and Judy: The History of Mr Punch

Bertie Pearce

Mr Punch, a subversive symbol from Commedia Del'Arte to the present day, and the most famous puppet character of all time. His comic irreverence gave 'Punch' magazine its title. His anarchic vitality has inspired opera, ballet and punk rock and his enduring popularity has seen his likeness on goods ranging from Victorian silverware to computer video games. Appearing in England in 1662, Punch is descended from the Italian Clown Pulcinella of the 15th Century Commedia Del'Arte tradition. Even today, this Lord of Misrule uses his slapstick to dispense with oppresive authority, be it politicians, political correctness, or the Devil, while proclaiming his notorious refrain: "That's the way to do it!". Bertie is a member of the famous Magic Circle Club and apart from his prowess at close-up magic and illusion, is also a talented ventriloquist and all round entertainer, appearing in major World venues including the Edinburgh Festival and the Los Angeles Magic Circle as well as a popular artist on board international cruise ships.

21st March 2011

My Favourite Movies

Barry Norman

It is a great pleasure to welcome back to the Ashridge Circle Britain's number one favourite film reviewer with a new presentation where Barry chooses his favourite movies, talks about them and shows clips. This icon of the small screen shows some of his favourite clips and talks about the icons of the silver screen, most of whom he has interviewed. As presenter of the BBC's cinema review for 26 years, Barry Norman became a household name. This unique opportunity for the theatre going film lover to meet the man who has so many great stories to tell of his favourite films, and no doubt his choice may well be amongst your own favourite movies.

11th April 2011

An Audience with Nicholas Owen

Veteran TV presenter Nicholas Owen talks about life in and around the television studios and life before the 'telly'. Nicholas engages his audience with stories from his forty-plus years in journalism and includes his television work ranging from presenting 'News at Ten' and 'Channel Four News' to his days as a Royal correspondent covering many aspects of the various members of the Royal family. He will also disclose the behind-the-scenes stories of his famous appearances in the hit BBC1 show 'Strictly Come Dancing'. Nicholas will take you 'backstage', to talk about what television and the media are really like.

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