Members’ Talks Evening

Sunday April 14th 7pm

At Daniel Hall, Long Garden Walk, Farnham, GU9 7HX

Six 10-minute talks by Farnham Humanists members on a topic of their choice. Each talk followed by five minutes of questions. The topics were chosen by the volunteer speakers on the basis of what they thought might interest other members. Slide projector and PA system were provided for those that required it. Belinda Schwehr controlled timing, with sign boards indicating 5 minutes, 2 minutes, and 1 minute, to prevent speakers over-running!

7.15pm Speaker: David Hepper Title: “Where’s the ON button?”
David’s job is to look after computers, networks and web systems for charities, small companies and home users. This talk comprised 10 minutes of humorous anecdotes regarding his clients among “Silver Servers”, i.e. elderly people who have taken to using computers, and are often more serious about it, and more competent, than the younger generation. Computers are frustrating and constantly changing but worth a little time. We’re constantly being warned of the dangers of the internet; those dangers are very real and he offered the following recommendations:
• Don’t buy your computer from supermarkets, nor the cheap special offers from PC World.
• If you can afford it and don’t mind supporting “slave labour and excessive profits” and you want something simple get an iPad.
• Keep your operating system up-to-date.
• Make and test your data backups.
• Keep checking that your anti-virus program is actually working.
• Try not to forget where the ON button is. Some of them are black against a black panel
Anyone who needs the services of a professional problem solver can contact David Hepper on

7.30pm Speaker: Alec Leggatt Title: Why are people religious?
This is a big subject and in the 10 minutes allowed Alec could do little more than present a list of chapters with a brief summary of each. He would like a whole evening sometime to explore deeper. His treatment is based on a lecture he gave to IHEU, now Humanists International, at the conference in Kerala in 2000. His answers:
• By divine command or inspiration.
• By human “prophets acting on (perceived) divine direction, Moses, Muhammad et al.
• By benign (or otherwise) leaders who invoked religion to install social order.
• By fear of adverse natural events, storm, earthquake, disease.
• By way of thanks for manifest benefits, the sun. animal and vegetable food
• By the need for an explanation of life and the universe.

7.45pm Speaker: Jonathan Young Title: William Shakespeare – who was he?
A presentation on the cases for other authors for Shakespeare’s works. A synopsis of the talk:
• There have now been 87 candidates suggested for Shakespeare according to various sources.
• The serious candidates are Christopher Marlowe, Francis Bacon, Anthony Bacon, Edward De Vere, William Stanley, Earl of Derby and Roger Manners earl of Rutland.
• All these candidates have evidence in their favour which is very difficult to argue away.
• Edward de Vere Earl of Oxford and Francis Bacon were educated in virtually every field as Shakespeare appears to have been.
• Shakespeare alludes to Montaigne before his essays were known in Britain other than by Sir Francis Bacon. Anthony Bacon had met Montaigne in France and indeed befriended him.
• The earl of Oxford was suspected at the time of writing plays under cover of Anthony Munday called the second Terence. He appears to have got carried away with celebrity status eventually being sacked by the Earl. The Earl was granted an annuity by Elizabeth 1 for services undisclosed. She was not a generous queen normally.
• William Stanley was governor of the Isle of Man and the topography of that Island mirrors the Tempest.
• Christopher Marlowe born 1564 a few months before Shakespeare had completed his entire works by 1593 and Shakespeare had barely begun. It does seem from reading the prologue to The Jew of Malta reprinted that he might well have escaped to the continent.
This is only the merest sketch of all the theories that abound.

8.00pm Break for Tea/Coffee and discussion/Chat

8.30pm Speaker: David Smith Title: Farnham Repair Café
The Repair Café is a worldwide organisation with a passion for sustainability that repairs household items including bikes, electrical appliances, computers, clothes, kitchen and garden equipment, mechanical items, furniture etc. free of charge in order to save them from landfill. Repair Cafes are set up and run by volunteers and there are over 1,800 around the world and over 90 in the UK. Dave is a volunteer repairer at the Farnham Repair Café (FRC).

The FRC meets at the Spire Church Hall, South Street, Farnham every second Saturday of the month from 10:00am to 12:30pm

Dave showed a video of the BBC TV South News feature on the FRC.
To watch again click on the YouTube video link here:

Dave also presented a slide show of the work of the Farnham Repair Café.
Link to FRC presentation

The FRC is looking for broken items to repair and volunteers with particular skills, including repairers, reception, photography, analysis, marketing and fund raising. Anyone interested is welcome to contact Dave:, and via the Farnham Repair Café Facebook page.

Dave gave the following answers to questions:
• How is the FRC funded/supported?
FRC is a collaborative project between The Centre for Sustainable Design® at the University for the Creative Arts, Farnham Town Council and The Spire Church.
• What are David’s particular repair skills?
Jack of all trades, master of none (bikes, computers, torches, kitchen timers, pianos, Teddy Ruxpin etc.)
• Can you repair a DAB radio as it loses signal? – Yes
• What connection do we have to a local Men’s Shed (Alton I think)?
Men’s Shed is a similar movement but with no direct connection to the Repair Café. It targets improvements to men’s health. A number of repairer volunteers attend both.
• Do we compete with local chargeable repair services and shops?
No, we carry very few specialist parts, carefully triage repairs, and when necessary, refer on items to local repair shops and organisations that FRC visitors aren’t aware of and wouldn’t otherwise have visited. FRC also aims to cooperate with local repair businesses by acting as a supportive hub offering access to those local repair businesses and encouraging them to get involved directly as volunteers in the Repair Café to help promote their businesses.

For more information about Farnham Repair Café and the wider movement:

Click on for more information about the Farnham Repair Café and the wider movement and also a number of other links. It is maintained by the Centre For Sustainable design at the University of the Creative Arts in Farnham. The world-wide site is here

Farnham Repair Café has its own facebook site at

8.45pm Speaker: Jo Huddleston Title: E-Governement
Jo addressed the potential role of IT in core government, both the pros and the cons, and particularly addressed the role of plebiscites. His talk covered the following aspects:
• IT in core government.
• The role of central government. Central government job is to make rules so we don’t crash into each other when we choose our lifestyles.
• The phases of introduction: new/revised law. Test that it works, and can be policed.
• IT help peripheral activities, e.g. petitions, email to MP, gathering statistics, etc.
• Popular feelings on an issue could be gathered via an e-plebiscite, where (e.g.) people signal yes/no to a suggestion/preference at any convenient point where (e.g.) a bank card could control against multiple votes. Law drafts could benefit from IT by a) using IT to find relevant experts, invite views; b) letting MPs vote via some electronic system clause by clause (rather than walking through a door; c) to comment on a finished draft). Could be seen as making votes free so weakening Whip/Party structure; that could be good or bad.
• Gathering feedback.

9.00pm Speaker: Christine Hayward Title: David Attenborough & his Ark
Most of us know what David Attenborough has achieved by the age of 92. He is concerned about the future of our planet, and his views are based on 60+ years of studying animals, birds and humans and their habitat. Ten of the creatures that he would like to preserve from extinction were listed in a recent television programme. Contact Christine if you would like a copy of this interesting list.
This talk focussed on his early years in the 1950s when televisions were rare, black & white, and programmes on the one and only channel lasted from 7.30-11.00pm. Technical equipment was cumbersome.
In question-time, no-one admitted to being old enough to have seen Zoo Quest in the early 1950s, but most expressed the hope that in this day and age David Attenborough’s voice will be heard by the powers that could shape the future of our planet.

Contact Christine Hayward, 01252–514421,

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