Betty Meyers of the Capital Toastmasters club in Wellington is coming up to 93 years old and has achieved the award of Advanced Communicator (Silver). This is one of the tops awards in the International Toastmaster programme.
Betty lives in Churton Park and has been a member of the Capital Toastmasters club for 10 years and has also earned her Competent Leader award.
‘We looked out at the harbour first thing in the morning, and it was full of warships. The US Marines had arrived’.
She remains silent on what, if any, relationships she had with the young handsome Marines who would have zeroed in to the Nurses Hostel like homing pigeons.
‘Wouldn’t you just like to know’, she archly replied to an interjection during an Impromptu Speaking session. ‘Anyway, the Matron kept us on a pretty tight reign so the Marines didn’t get much joy out of us’.
Oddly enough Betty joined Toastmasters because of her interest in running Marathons. She has run 21 and in her last one she finished first in the 80s age group in the Honolulu Marathon. She took 14 hours to do it but despite having to have frequent rest stops in the enervating heat, she was the only one in her age group to finish. This actually made her a top international athlete. It is ironic to think that had she been in her 30s she would have been national headline news.
She was on the committee of the Wellington Marathon Clinic and is a life member. After one meeting, the then President of Capital Toastmasters was giving her a lift to and from committee meetings and told her that he had to get to a Capital Toastmasters meeting and Betty said she would like to come and see what it was all about.
Since then she has never looked back.
‘Toastmasters gave me a new lease of life’, she said.
Not only has she developed into a highly competent public speaker, recently being asked to address the Newlands Probus Club for 40 minutes, but she regularly judges speech contests at other clubs in Wellington. She chaired the final meeting for the year of Capital in December.
Wellington actually has the highest numbers of Toastmasters per head of population in the world and is the fastest growing non-profit voluntary organisation in New Zealand.
And as far as the members or Capital Toastmasters are concerned, Betty is a living treasure.
Rob Julian DTM