Local Face : Simon Shirley

  |  Published: May 1st 2013

Simon moved with his family to Wendover, from Marlow, in 1998. His 3 children have all attended the local schools.

After  A levels Simon aimed to get a job as a runner in a film company to work his way up and obtain a coveted Union ‘ticket’. Even in the 1980s you couldn’t work in the film industry without membership of the BECTU union. He was fortunate in having the opportunity to assist a feature film editor who then sponsored him for his union application.

Simon briefly joined the BBC before finding himself at an independent TV company and then finally working as a freelance video editor. In 1992 he jointly established a TV post production business in West London which soon relocated to London’s West End.

Simon studied for and was awarded the Institute of Directors ‘Diploma in Company Direction’ but then realised he was managing the business day to day no longer having any creative  or programme involvement and became increasingly disillusioned and decided life is too short to spend 5 days a week doing something you don’t enjoy. In 2002 Simon made the decision to sell up and leave the TV industry altogether. Completing a 2 year BTEC in Landscape & Garden Design at Aylesbury College’s Hampden Hall Site he then set up his small garden maintenance business which he has advertised in Wendover News since day one and his current advert is on page 6.

He comments, “For 10 years now I’ve been fortunate to feel that I love my job again, working in all weathers, in and around Wendover. Several of my regular customers have been with me from the beginning and I am grateful to them for their support.”

In 2010 Simon was inspired whilst attending a wedding where there was a Toastmaster. A year later he qualified as a professional Toastmaster and joined The National Association of Toastmasters.

The role of the Toastmaster is more than simply acting as master of ceremonies and providing a touch of style. He can be viewed as an event manager, liaising between client, host, banqueting manager, photographer, speakers and guests to ensure that a function runs smoothly and on time. He will greet arrivals, call guests to dinner, organise a receiving line, announce bride and groom or top table guests into the room, introduce speakers and make announcements. Toastmasters are engaged to officiate at a wide range of formal functions including weddings, banquets, bar mitzvahs, cocktail parties, conferences and award ceremonies.

Simon was proud to officiate recently at a Banquet given in honour of David and Samantha Cameron and hosted by the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon at their home, Highclere Castle (home to ITV’s Downton Abbey). His role included greeting guests alongside the butler, Colin, announcing dinner and introducing the 3 speakers, including the Prime Minister.  On this occasion he was also asked to say grace and had the honour of proposing the loyal toast, to The Queen.

Simon smiles when he recalls that he was planting daffodil bulbs in the morning, then a few hours later and wearing his red jacket, calling the Prime Minister and guests to dinner with a trumpet fanfare.

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