Author Archives: CliveM

Storytellers – Member brushes with the Famous and Infamous!

This was telling stories at its best. Seated in a circle, around an imaginary fire, one story sparked another. Brushes with both famous and infamous celebrities were in abundance. In fact we had only just skimmed the surface before time ran out, so there will certainly be another session next year. When you look at the following names it’s pretty obvious that our BBC members move in some pretty impressive circles!!

Gurner’s Lane, Oliver Reed, Kerry Packer, Lord and Lady Mountbatten, Princess Margaret, Lord Snowdon, Sir Winston Churchill, Darcy Dugan, Gone to Gowings,
Duchess of Kent, Prince Philip, The Osmond family, Rod Laver, Roy Emerson, Ken Rosewall, Vera Sukova, Shane Gould, Murray Rose, Faith Leech, Dave Prowse
Shelley Taylor-Smith, Melbourne Olympics 1956, Steven Bradbury, Roy & HG, Digby Richards, Ward ”Pally” Austin, Jon Henricks, John Smit, Jodie Foster,
Bianca Jagger, Darth Vader, Rubber Ducky, Rupert Murdoch, Edwina Mountbatten, Aristotle Onassis, Edmund Hillary, Harold Macmillan, Ron Anderson, Hammerhead shark, Tim Bristow, Queen Mother, Queen, Elizabeth II, Norman Von Nida, Lucky Starr, Odd Job (James Bond), Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Christopher Reeves, Superman, Alan and Eileen Bond, Peter Blake, Bill Koch, King of Norway, Sir Robert Menzies, Ian, Greg and Trevor Chappell, Luciano Pavarotti, John Kerry, Des Renford, John Bertram

Each of these personal brushes was accompanied with a great story but It wouldn’t be fair to write these up as it’s not good form to steal the owner’s thunder!

Storytellers – Dr Nicky Gilroy – Working at an Ebola Treatment Centre in Sierra Leone, West Africa

We were very privileged to have Dr Nicky Gilroy present to the Storytellers, after being ‘volunteered’ by her mother Francoise.

Dr Nicky Gilroy at the balmoral Beach Club Storytellers meetingNicky is a Sydney-based Infectious Diseases Specialist who recently worked in an Ebola Treatment Centre in Sierra Leone, West Africa. She was deployed with an Australian contingent of healthcare workers, logisticians and water/ sanitation experts. Nicky discussed the scale and geographic extent of the Ebola Virus Disease outbreak in 2014, with particular reference to Sierra Leone, the historic backdrop to tragic events that unfolded, and the complexities of managing this disease on a day to day basis. The control of Ebola in West Africa has relied on the collective efforts of nations, humanitarian and public health agencies, communities, engineers, cultural anthropologists, social researchers, industry sponsors, healthcare workers, scientists, psychologists, activists and ethicists.

Nicky was naturally aware of the disease outbreak last year but hadn’t turned thoughts to volunteering and actually going there until she had attended in September 2014 a major infectious disease conference in the US. She was left with a very clear message. The bottom line was that money and political posturing were not enough to bring the outbreak to an end. It needed an infusion of human resources. For the first time ever the United Nations also announced a dedicated mission to facilitate a global response. Nicky said it was also interesting to witness the media frenzy whilst in the US, the 24 hour newsfeed, debates from civil libertarians about nurses quarantined in the US, all of which was missing the point that West Africa was reeling under the weight of the problem not the US.

Dr Nicky Gilroy at Ebola Treatment Centre Sierra LeoneNicky spoke of where she was based at the Hastings Airfield Ebola Treatment Centre, a 100 bed facility which the British had built and Australia was charged with resourcing. It is close to the capital city of Sierra Leone, being Freetown. The Treatment Centres are purpose built field hospitals to ensure a higher care and control of the infection. They have zones, white, green and red. The red zone is where Ebola patients are managed and it is necessary for carers to have every surface of their body covered with protective gear, commonly known as spacesuits.

The Ebola virus was discovered 4 decades ago in a small village named Yambuku and named after the river Ebola, a tributary of the river Congo, in the northern part of Zaire, now the Democratic Republic of Congo. Continue reading

Storytellers – Tuesday 17th February 7:30pm

Join us for the first meeting of the year.

There will be a talk given by the daughter of Storytellers regular Francoise Gilroy:

“Dr Nicky Gilroy is a Sydney-based Infectious Diseases Specialist who recently worked in an Ebola Treatment Centre in Sierra Leone, West Africa. She was deployed with an Australian contingent of healthcare workers, logisticians and water/ sanitation experts. Nicky will discuss the scale and geographic extent of the Ebola Virus Disease outbreak in 2014, with particular reference to Sierra Leone,the historic backdrop to tragic events that unfolded, and the complexities of managing this disease on a day to day basis. The control of Ebola in West Africa has relied on the collective efforts of nations, humanitarian and public health agencies , communities , engineers, cultural anthropologists, social researchers, industry sponsors, healthcare workers, scientists, psychologists, activists and ethicists. “

Storytellers – The Three Sieges of Malta

The Three Sieges of Malta was the presentation for the evening.

  • By the Turks in 1565
  • By the Axis Powers during WWII
  • By BBC swimmers in 2014
  1. Jon Attwater will dwell briefly on the fascinating history of The Knights of St John and the Great Siege of 1565
  2. A short film “Malta GC” will be shown on our new screen. This film of 20 minutes duration was made in 1943 at the request of King George VI to record what happened in Malta during WWII. This rare footage was retrieved from the archives of the Imperial War Museum in London in 2005.
  3. Finally, from Jack Stening, a short talk accompanied with some dramatic photographs on the recent BBC swim in Malta.

The BBC swimmers siege of Malta occurred in June 2014 and due to a very busy agenda the Storytellers only managed to find time to hear all about it in November, the last meeting for the year. Bolstered by many members who went on the trip, the number of attendees exceeded 50, which has been a regular occurrence throughout 2014.

It was heartening to know that Doug & Chris Sturrock decided that to celebrate their 14th Wedding Anniversary they would spend it at the Storytellers rather than some swanky restaurant … well, at least Doug decided!

jon-attwater-jack-stenning-650x366Jon ‘Swampy’ Attwater dwelt briefly on the fascinating history of The Knights of St John of Jerusalem and the Great Siege of 1565. As part of the planning of the Malta adventure, Jon had uncovered a wealth of fascinating information and admitted that after his visit, Malta really had lived up to all his expectations and he’d certainly consider another visit, and not only for the fine food and good wine! Jon’s full account of the trip has since been published in the BBC Report Issue 124. Continue reading

Storytellers – Tuesday 18th November 7:30pm

The Three Sieges of Malta

  • By the Turks in 1565
  • By the Axis Powers during WWII
  • By BBC swimmers in 2014
  1. Jon Attwater will dwell briefly on the fascinating history of The Knights of St John and the Great Siege of 1565
  2. A short film “Malta GC” will be shown on our new screen. This film of 20 minutes duration was made in 1943 at the request of King George VI to record what happened in Malta during WWII. This rare footage was retrieved from the archives of the Imperial War Museum in London in 2005.
  3. Finally, from Jack Stening, a short talk accompanied with some dramatic photographs on the recent BBC swim in Malta.

As this will be the last meeting for the year we will conclude with a few drinks (byo of course) to start getting into the Christmas spirit.