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World's longest-serving ringmaster entertains group

By Kyle Ritchie

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The Rotary Club of Banff recently welcomed the world's longest-serving circus ringmaster.

The group hosted Norman Barrett MBE who spoke about his varied career in entertainment.

Throughout the year the club welcomes a range of speakers to its meetings.

The Rotary Club of Banff welcomed Zippos Circus ringmaster Norman Barrett MBE to its recent meeting.
The Rotary Club of Banff welcomed Zippos Circus ringmaster Norman Barrett MBE to its recent meeting.

Outgoing club president Andy Simpson said: “We have regular speakers coming to the club from all walks of life.

"We’ve been fortunate enough to welcome sports-people, engineers and many others over the years, and the truth is if we’re to have a genuine understanding of life right across our community, then we need to connect with as many different people as possible”.

Martin Burton, director of Zippos and resident of Banff was delighted to be invited, along with his wife, and the ringmaster Mr Barrett and his wife.

A representative from Zippos said:“It’s not every day we’re asked to speak at such gatherings, but we had a fantastic evening.

"I talked a little about a life in the circus, but the real star of the show was our ringmaster, Norman Barrett MBE.

"For a man in his ninth decade, he has huge energy and drive.

"The Rotarians were delighted to hear from him, and were astonished when he illustrated his stories by magically introducing a small flock of budgerigars into the room.”

Speakers usually talk for about 20 minutes and there are then normally a few questions but the ringmaster had the group in the palm of his hand, they were so entranced by his story-telling.

The group was joined by various visitors including members of the Inner Wheel, who were hugely entertained.

However, the evening had another purpose which was to elect a new president.

Mr Simpson said: “There was another very important moment on the night.

"I had reached the end of my term as president so it was time for me to hand over the baton to Irene Finlayson.

"Two years ago the club went through are very productive visioning process in order that we could absolutely clarify our objectives and actions for the next few years.

"Irene has been our visioning champion, and as a result she is an ideal position to ensure the long-laid ambitions are met and the imaginative concepts we’ve developed are used to best advantage for the community.”

She has been in education throughout her life, working abroad for many years in The Emirates,

Kuwait and Egypt running international schools and participating on educational project teams.

She returned to her native Banff five years ago and is involved in various projects within the club's youth development programme, including the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards

She said: "I am very much looking forward to visiting the RYLA camp this summer at Nethybridge and seeing first-hand the wonderful leadership activities these young people participate in.”

Anyone interested in finding out more about the Rotary Club of Banff, or any of the events it hosts, contact secretary |Jan Emery on 07881381393 or email jan.emery@yahoo.co.uk

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