Archive for Month: October 2018

Life as a Film Extra Talk – Oct 2018

After a career as an English teacher and latterly as Head of English, Andrew Whiffin turned to a career as a “supportive Actor”, or as the rest of us would call it, an extra in film and TV.

He had trodden the boards in some good Am Drams including the Banbury Cross Players and more recently with professional theatre companies including the Riverside Players.

He explained that he signed on with a number of agencies (not just one) and waited for the offers to come in, which they fairly rapidly did as extras are always in demand.

One  attraction seemed to be the food – usually, a hearty breakfast – before commencing filming.

His appearances in films have included Johnny English Returns in which he had a line to speak (this merits an increased fee!)

He was also a member of parliament in the recent film “The Darkest Hour”, which he described as being extremely moving as the extras sat and listened to some of Churchill’s greatest speeches re-enacted by Gary Oldman.

Andrew regaled us with fascinating stories about how they make rain on set, and how they give the illusion of glass shattering.

In summary, not a career to make a fortune out of but very good fun meeting big stars of the stage and screen, and making some useful pocket money along the way 🙂

BANBURY TOWN HALL GOES PURPLE FOR POLIO


On Wednesday 24th October a purple glow lit up Banbury Town Hall to mark World Polio Day.

Rotary Clubs across the world have been raising awareness and funds since 1985 to make polio the second disease to be totally eradicated from the world. (Smallpox was the first.) Both of our local Rotary Clubs (Banbury and Cherwell) have been actively promoting the cause in recent years.

Local schools – primary, secondary and special – have formed a partnership with Rotary to carpet Banbury with drifts of purple crocuses and stage concerts each spring to celebrate the new year’s growth and raise funds tor vaccinations.

Over the past five years the local Rotary Club Crocus Projects Partnership involved 43 schools. Planting this autumn will bring the total number of ruby giant crocus corms planted to over 100,000. Since the concerts began in 2014, the local partnership has raised sufficient funds to immunise a third of a million children.

Both Cherwell District and Banbury Town Council have supported the schools and Rotary in this local contribution to the worldwide effort. Local churches, businesses, community groups and individuals have backed the events and a certificate to commemorate the achievements of the past five years was sent to all involved during summer and autumn this year.

The purple lighting of Banbury Town Hall will celebrate the whole community’s participation and commitment to continue the battle until the disease is finally defeated.

One extension of the local crocus concerts initiative in the coming year is a challenge to local adult choirs to match the efforts of primary school and secondary school choirs by staging concerts next spring. “We’ve had a very positive initial response from local choirs to our invitation,” commented Ian Rodrick, one of the organisers. “The secondary schools concerts will again take place in March – with proceeds shared between Polio Eradication and Helen and Douglas House Hospice. We’re still seeking a date for our adult choirs event – so watch this space!”

Combat Stress Talk – 19 Oct 2019

Dr. Robin Carr MB BS MSc, spoke to Club on Friday 19th October to raise awareness of the Combat Stress organisation.

For almost a century, this charity has helped former servicemen and women deal with trauma-related mental health problems such as anxiety, depression and complex post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

PTSD is an anxiety disorder caused by very stressful, frightening or distressing events such as bereavement, significant accident or injury. He described how 1 in 3 veterans will get complex PTSD precipitated by severe trauma and repeated exposure to harrowing environments: they go to places most people have never heard of, and witness the very worst that humans can do to other humans. He explained that these veterans were left deeply troubled by what they had seen, done and not done, and needed help to live in peace.

These people will present late, some as long as 10+ years when their coping strategies finally break down. Many will use avoidance, isolation, or distraction to cope with the repeated flashbacks, the nightmares, and the disturbing physical symptoms. Some turn to alcohol and drug abuse, and sadly some even take their own lives.

Combat Stress is the UK’s leading charity helping veterans on their journey towards finding peace with their mental health issues. Their services are free and available through a nationwide telephone number 0800 1381619. This is a 24 hr service and leads to a triage process that will sign post the individual or their families to the most appropriate service.

Their website (combatstress.org.uk) also has much to offer. Help can also be found through the Veteran’s Gateway (veteransgateway.org.uk) and treatment can also be sought through the NHS.