We meet at 2 pm on the fourth Tuesday of the month at the Congregational Church, Kilwardby St, Ashby.
There is normally a guest speaker or, in December, musical entertainment.
This is followed by tea, coffee and biscuits and a chance to meet and talk with other members.
All meetings are CANCELLED until further notice.
The booking of guest speakers up to the end of May have been cancelled
and the booking of speakers after that date will be reviewed regularly.
Tea Rota, Meeters & Greeters, Reporting Groups
|Month||Tea Group||Meet & Greet||Reporting Groups|
25th February "Dancing with Diana" by Colin Hill
Colin Hill was for more than 20 years a 'close protection officer' with the Metropolitan Police ('the Met'). Colin explained that in ordinary parlance a close protection officer might be called a bodyguard. Colin grew up on a council estate in Rushden at No 3 Balmoral Ave. He didn't know at the time that he would in later life be dancing with the Queen Mother at Balmoral House. In his early twenties, Colin was working at an engineering firm near Bedford when he saw an advertisement for the Met. They were recruiting young officers to join them in London. Colin applied immediately and moved to London joining the Met in 1987. It wasn't until a few years later that he applied to become a close protection officer. The training was rigorous as you might well imagine, including training with the SAS, but Colin was one of the lucky 14 out of 300 applicants to be selected to join this prestigious group.
One of his earliest jobs was protecting Princess Diana and the two boys. Colin would often have to escort the family from their home at Kensington Palace to their weekend home at Highgrove House. He would be one of several officers circling the paddock on a Saturday morning guarding the two Princes whilst they went riding.
On one occasion when Colin was protecting Princess Anne at a rugby football match at Twickenham, he noticed a man acting suspiciously whilst they were leaving the stadium. When Colin saw the man heading for their car and reaching into his coat, he acted immediately believing that maybe the coat concealed a gun. In reality, the man in question was simply reaching into his coat for a copy of the match programme so all was well. However, Colin explained that as a close protection officer you had to be on your toes all the time and that often you only had a split second to react to what might be a life or death situation.
Colin regaled us with lots of stories about his time spent with the royal family such as the time at the Cartier International Polo Match with Prince Charles, William and Harry. He told us how amusing it was to see all the rich and famous in their finery stomping the divots, the ladies in their high heels trying desperately to stay upright. On another occasion, at a private dinner for the off-duty protection officers and their families, Princess Diana invited herself along to say thank you to them all and then asked Colin to dance the 'jive' with her. Colin admitted that he was no dancer and eventually Princess Diana said to him 'Colin, you really can't jive can you' before staying on the floor for a slow dance in close hold. She then led him back to the bar and thanked his wife for letting her take him away. Colin’s claim to fame was that John Travolta had to ask Diana to dance with him; Diana asked Colin to dance.
All in all, Colin said that he thoroughly enjoyed his time in the Met and never regretted his decision to leave engineering.
Colin's talk contained plenty of funny and interesting anecdotes whilst still conveying the seriousness of his job and the difficulties of protecting the famous from all sorts people with malintent. His talk was very well received by all who attended the meeting which attracted our largest audience yet for one of these monthly talks.