2020 AGM

CDWS AGM 22nd July 2020

This year we had a distinctly odd AGM.

Held in the afternoon, in July, with no food, with very little time to chat, with no entertainment, with no wine, without leaving the house!

Even so, about 30 of us signed into our Zoom session and we got the business done while looking at 20 screens of other members looking back at us.

Chairman, David Powell opened the meeting by welcoming everyone and giving the sad news that Peter Day, Kay’s husband, had died earlier in the week from an asbestos related disease. Peter has been a good friend to the Society, a regular attendee and an organiser of our trips to wetlands bird sanctuaries in his role as chairman of the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust and he will be sorely missed.

David gave his Chairman’s report, commenting that although we had had to cancel or postpone 3 events, over the past year we had been able to successfully hold over 10 events.  The Society hopes to hold its Golf Day in September, a country walk in the Autumn, but it is still uncertain whether conditions will permit us to hold our ever-popular Christmas Drinks event.

Membership has remained steady at 120, with new members replacing those who have left.

Peter Chapman gave his Treasurer’s report from Brecon and said that the Society’s finances are in good order.

It then came to the election of the officials. All members of the Committee agreed to stand again for the following year, with the proviso that Peter Chapman will need to relinquish his post as Treasurer within the next few months when he and Pat complete their move to Wales.

David thanked the committee for their time and efforts in running the society and running its events. He also called for members to volunteer for Committee membership as without them, the Society cannot function.

This must have been the fastest AGM on record. We finished after about 30 minutes, with very little chance to chat and a final farewell as the Zoom meeting concluded.

2019 AGM

CDWS AGM Coleshill Village Hall May 17th

A good turnout of over fifty members set the scene for an informative, interesting and illusionary evening.

Our Chairman, David Powell got off to a good start (this being his first year as Chairman and hence his first chairing of the AGM) by welcoming us all. In particular Thelma and John Lusher who had traveled all the way from the New Forest. The reports for the year were encouraging; membership strong at one hundred and sixteen; finances in good shape; two new members of the committee have volunteered their services – Merle Davies and Peter Chapman; and there has been strong support for all the events over the year. Particular thanks were directed towards Graham Beavan on his retirement after a long tenure as Treasurer.

Jonathan Pegler had briefly taken on the role of Treasurer to fill the gap and so he presented the Accounts for the year. Under his watch the magnificent sum of £20 had been dealt with. Peter Chapman has now stepped into Graham’s shoes.

The formal part of the evening was, as ever, well presented and short and was followed by a meal. The caterer was Anne Tennant who clearly knows exactly what the members of the CDWS enjoy, and on this occasion was like a human dynamo. The rest of her team were at an event catering for the mayor of Beaconsfield so Anne was chief cook and bottle washer and everything in between. Well done Anne! The choice of desserts was particularly appreciated. Bread and Butter pudding and custard, Chocolate mousse, cheese and biscuits, Fruit Pavlova and I spotted a fruit salad for someone dairy intolerant. The gentlemen on our table made a bee-line for the Bread and Butter pudding, and then when Anne explained that she really didn’t want to take anything home, they were happily also tucking into Pavlova. No doubt belts were loosened.

After the meal came the entertainment. This year it was the place of Bertie Pearce whose web site says that he “…brings wonder and laughter to your event”. We were not disappointed on either count. The theme was “Now you See it-Now you Don’t, The Art of Visual Deception”. This was a whistle-stop tour through Surrealism, Trompe L’eoil, Ambiguous Imagery, Optical Art and Camouflage. Fascinating, thought provoking, puzzling, entertaining, amusing and all delivered at a pace that kept you on your toes, engaged and surprised. A particular ripple of amusement occurred when Bertie said that in America artists had used illusionary methods to paint potholes on the road which appeared to be 3D in order to reduce speeding. Here in Buckinghamshire we have no need for artists’ illusions. We have the real thing.

Interspersed with the artistic journey were a number of magical moments. Ably assisted by our very own Ann Lawrence, Kay Day and Gwen Hill, Bertie performed mysterious and inexplicable tricks. Ann, Kay and Gwen have clearly been sworn into secrecy as they were reluctant to share any explanations afterwards. Perhaps they could be prevailed upon at a future event to offer magical entertainment?


The evening closed at 10 pm everyone having been well entertained and well fed. Thank you to all.

Janet John

Chairman’s Report Winter 2014

P1040863Well, we’ve had a very successful six months.  We’ve welcomed yet more new members: we’ve held a diverse range of events, all of which have been well attended and enjoyed.

If that sounds familiar it is because:

(1)  the Society continues to thrive; and

(2)  it becomes difficult to find new words to describe a thriving Society!

A pleasant and informative walk around the South Bank; yet another successful golf day;  five days based in Swansea during which we saw barely a drop of rain (!);  the wonderful sound of the massed choirs at the Albert Hall:  and that was just in a few months!

I don’t have the gift of words possessed by our latest speaker, the poet Professor Tony Curtis, so I’m going to let the reports themselves do the talking.

We have a lot to look forward to, and I hope our 2015 events prove as successful and popular as those of 2014 – not forgetting that we have one of our favourite events of the year – the Christmas Drinks party  – still to come!

Nadolig LLawen a Blwyddyn Newydd Dda


My Life with Dylan

On the evening of 7th November at Coleshill Village Hall some 60 of members of the Society enjoyed a somewhat different event from our normal style.

The first noticeable difference was that the delicious light supper was provided not by outside caterers, but by a team of ladies from the Welsh class – expertly marshalled by Jean Owen and Ann Lawrence.

Well fed, and having enjoyed an hour or so of lively conversation, we settled down to a most erudite talk from Professor Tony Curtis: “My Life with Dylan Thomas” based around his book of the same title that was recommended as a Summer read by The Observer.

Tony himself did not meet Dylan – but he had been taught by Vernon Watkins, Dylan’s best friend, and has known many of the people (especially Welsh people) who encountered Dylan or were influenced by him.  Not only is Tony Wales’s first professor of poetry and a fine poet in his own right, but he is also an art connoisseur and avid collector.  He was therefore uniquely qualified to talk to us about the Welsh poets (such as Vernon Watkins, Dannie Abse, and Glyn Jones) and Welsh artists (among them Augustus John, Ceri Richards, and Jonah Jones) whose lives were touched by Dylan Thomas, as well as presenting amusing anecdotes about Dylan’s life.

This was a comprehensive presentation and there was something in it for everyone and much for all to enjoy and appreciate – as evidenced by the lively and lengthy question and answer session, which Tony handled with panache.

I certainly learned a lot!

Jonathan Pegler

London Welsh Festival of Male Choirs, Royal Albert Hall
– 18th October 2014
25 members and friends were part of the audience to pack the Royal Albert Hall for the 24th Biennial concert of massed male voice choirs organised by the London Welsh Male Voice Choir. The group were picked up at Amersham, Gerrards Cross and Denham and transported to the venue by coach.

This year the committee decided, after advising the members early in the year, to
only order sufficient tickets for those wishing to go, and to lay on the necessary coach. An early commitment was rewarded by a comfortable hassle free ride to and from London, and a very enjoyable concert.

One of the soloists was Rhiannon Llewellyn who entertained us so well at our Society’s 2013 St David’s Day dinner. Well compered by Frank Lincoln, with three overseas choirs from South Africa, Sweden and Norway, the two soloists, soprano Rhiannon Llewellyn and tenor Trystan Llyr Griffiths, Robert Nicholls on the organ and Annabel Thwaite on the piano, the concert flowed from beginning to end.

It finished with the audience joining the choirs to sing Calon Lan, before the National Anthem. A fitting end to a varied programme that included recitations from Dylan Thomas by Trefor Ellis.

Maldwyn Pugh.

Chairman’s Report – Winter 2012

The Annual Golf Day at Oakland Park at the end of August was held in glorious weather, despite it being one of the wettest years on record. It was decided by acclamation that we would seek to repeat the event at the same time and the same place next year.

For the two events in September, most members restricted themselves to just one choice so attendance was widely spread and both were much enjoyed. Thanks go to Anne Thomas for her inspiration and detailed planning of the Buckingham Palace trip. Hugh Griffith’s daughter studied at Jesus College and thanks to that connection he started organising the Oxford event. The attendees took lunch in the panelled dining hall at Jesus College and enjoyed the rare privilege of a tour of the Fellows’ Library. There we were allowed to read and touch some special books of great historical significance. These included a first edition of the Bible in Welsh dating from the reign of the first Queen Elizabeth. The two official guides who then took us around central Oxford added to the pleasure by their humour as well as their knowledge.

A coachload of members travelled in for the biennial London Welsh Festival of Male Voice Choirs at the Royal Albert Hall Concert. On this occasion we sat in the front rows of the balcony – an excellent position for the concert except for Kay Day’s guest who suffers from vertigo! We heard exceptional Brass Band music as well as the wonderful singing from the massed choirs. As usual several choirs had come up from Wales and also one from as far away as Glasgow.

Looking ahead, Christmas drinks will be held at the home of Jonathan & Jayne Pegler for the second year in succession. The catering will again be in the capable hands of Ann Tennant, this time with the assistance of a couple of young helpers to serve. The wine and canapés are provided free of charge but members are required to come prepared to join in some carol singing!

A highlight of our 2013 programme will be the presence of the renowned harpist Claire Jones at our St David’s Day Dinner. We have been fortunate that our President, Ann Evans, knows Claire personally. Until recently the Official Harpist to the Prince of Wales, Claire performed for the newly married Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at their wedding reception in Buckingham Palace and she is now ready to perform for our Society. The Dinner will be on March 1st. Get ready to book your tickets soon.

A suitable venue is required for our Summer Lunch next June. Could you provide one?

And finally thanks to all who have chosen to pay their subs by Standing Order.

Gwyndaf John

Chairman’s Report – July 2012

Chairman’s Report
Once again it is my great pleasure to report that the Society has had an enjoyable period of very well attended events. And of course the sun shone – even on our Summer Lunch in the midst of the wettest summer on record.

At the AGM the entire committee was happy to stay in office – which goes to show that it is a pleasure rather than a chore! We were joined by Jonathan Pegler as our new Vice
Chairman. He will take the chair in May 2013.

A highlight of our programme was the presence of Roy Noble as our guest speaker
at the St David’s Day dinner. An exceptional entertainer and a lovely man too. Not only did he entertain us so well that evening after driving all the way up from the BBC studios in Cardiff, he even wrote and thanked us afterwards. Special thanks go to Hugh
Griffith for his dogged determination to get us such a special guest speaker.

The cold wet weather stopped for just a few days while a party of 23 members went to
Snowdonia in May. The glorious scenery was seen at its best in lovely sunshine and the
train journeys were a highlight. The group descending Snowdon’s PYG track managed
to keep up with Mike Stythe without mishap, whilst Margaret Broomby and Chris Thomas in the group descending the supposedly easier Llanberis trail managed to get in some acrobatics practice en-route (but survived to tell the tale). Many thanks go to Mike for the idea of the trip and for his experienced advice, and excellent choice of hotel.

In June Bob Ford organised a superb trip to the International Eisteddfod at Llangollen (see below).
Looking forward the 2012 schedule includes the Golf Day – in glorious weather again?
There are two exceptional trips in September to Buckingham Palace and to Oxford,
followed in October by the biennial Festival of Male Voice choirs at the Royal Albert Hall.
Finally, Ann Tennant has been our regular caterer at events and her meals and service
much appreciated. I am pleased to report that she received an MBE in the recent honours
list. Our congratulations go to Ann.
Gwyndaf John

Visit to Snowdonia 20th-23rd April.
“The day we went up Snowdon & returned by the Llanberis path”
Another sunny & hot morning in north Wales, & the intrepid walkers all wait in anticipation at Llanberis Station. None of the glitz of St. Pancreas or Waterloo, but quaintness personified. With justifiable Welsh pride we all await the pre-journey video – “good to get out of the sun”! What an engineering feat to think that all of this was put in place over 100 years ago – 1896 to be exact – the grand opening.

With all tickets duly dispensed we are allowed onto the platform – where a small engine & carriage glides slowly backwards to squeeze us in. The weather just perfect – we could see for ever! The engine climbed the 3,650 feet to the summit whilst we were entertained by brilliant commentary from the driver. A journey to be long remembered. A photo opportunity around every bend.

Fifty minutes & we are at the summit.

Here the party divided into 3 groups; some waited for the return trip by train; another party prepared for the Pen Y Gwryd (PYG) track – 11 kilometres with descent of 2,370
feet; whilst a 3rd group departed on the Llanberis path – 14.5 kilometres with descent
of 3,200 feet.
Despite a few mishaps (3), the Llanberis path/walk was brilliant. The silence
in the mountains “had to be heard to be believed”!!- all this, occasionally interrupted
by the screams from a fallen climber or walker. Everyone arrived back with a real
sense of pride & achievement. Even for the seasoned walkers – the Llanberis path was
’tough’ but rewarding, especially as we had views of the trains creeping cunningly along
carefully & classhcally constructed cog cortege – ah!, the alliteration – one gets
carried away !

A day to catalogue. Well done to our organisers.
Gwyn Owen

Summer Lunch 10th June
About 50 of us were exceptionally lucky with the weather. It had been raining all week, but
the rain held off for our annual garden party, held this year courtesy of Tony & Irene Glyn-Jones in their beautiful garden.

While we were tucking in to a delicious meal prepared and served by Ann Tennant, Mr
Jonathan Pegler had devised a teasingly difficult cryptic quiz – Gwyndaf’s team won (again).
John and Thelma Lusher organised an enjoyable ‘heads or tails’ auction for a bottle
of Penderyn Welsh whisky, raising £100 for the Tenovus Cancer charity.

The fine weather lasted until about 4 o’clock, by which time a fine team of volunteers had
packed everything away before the rain started.

Llangollen International Eisteddfod
We arrived in good time at the Bryn Howel hotel with luggage and much needed macs, umbrellas hats etc.

Later, on site and after seeing usual numerous stalls and stages, we took our seats for the evening performance of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee concert. Top artists: Alison Balsom (solo trumpeter) was fantastic, Nicola Benedetti (violinist) magnificent and Lesley Garrett excellent with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, all first class. About 9.30pm the heavens opened, heavy storms in competition with the music!
Flood and mud were everywhere, but thankfully we returned to the hotel safely.

On Thursday 5th July we toured the shops, then back on site in the Royal Pavilion we
saw fantastic dancers in beautiful costumes from different countries. At one o’clock
everyone held hands for a minute’s silence, the Llangollen message of peace, a new idea
and most moving. Solo artists and choirs followed, two outstanding ones were from
Singapore and South Africa. Weatherwise the sun shone, and it was too hot to sit in! That
evening seventeen members from the Chiltern Welsh Society assembled in the
marquee for Alfie Boe to a packed, enthusiastic audience house.

On Friday, some of us visited Plas Newydd House. It rained again but it was a delight to
see the home of the Ladies of Llangollen. All the rooms were beautifully oak panelled and it
had wonderful, manicured gardens.
That evening, we all met up in the hotel for a truly, lovely meal, good in both quality and
quantity. Thank you, Bob, for a good choice of hotel.

With purchases of a 2013 Snowdonia National Park calendar, Welsh honey and
Penderyn whisky we set off for home with lots of memories. I’m looking forward to the next
Eilwen Turner.


Forthcoming events
Golf day at Oakland Park Golf Club, Three Households, Chalfont St.
Giles – 31st August

The annual follow up to the Open! Nonplayers are welcome at the after-golf lunch.


Visit to the State rooms and Gardens at Buckingham Palace on the 4th September.
A tour of the State Rooms will start at 12.45pm, last approximately two and a half hours. The Garden Tour will follow at 3.15pm and the visit should finish at 4pm.

Chiltern District Welsh Society

Chiltern District Welsh Society LogoWelcome to ChilternWelsh.org – the website for the Chiltern & District Welsh Society


Chairman’s Blog

The Society has been quite busy lately.

The Houses of Parliament Tour and Dinner was a special event and a great success. During the tour Emyr Davies sat on a bench in the House of Lords but managed to avoid punishment! At the excellent meal the Rt. Hon. Cheryl Gillan MP entertained us with an
informative off-the-cuff speech.

The Ramble in the Chilterns was a new and different locally based event. We are fortunate to live in or near the Chilterns, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. A break in the weather enabled us to enjoy some of that beauty and the interesting flora and fauna of our locality. And all rounded off by a convivial pub lunch.

Looking forward, varied events are planned. We want to maintain an active, involved membership with events of broad appeal. It’s your Society and if you can please consider joining the Committee to help develop and organize our yearly programme of events.

Gwyndaf John