Masonic Festivals

A Masonic Ladies’ Festival (or indeed Gentlemen’s Festival) is the social highlight of the year for most Freemasons’ Lodges. It is important that the event proceeds smoothly, with consideration for all those involved, to ensure that everyone present, whether Freemason or guest, can fully enjoy their evening together. My experience as Master of Ceremonies (and on the square) will prove invaluable in guiding the President and his Lady, or the President and her Gentleman, in all aspects of the event.

Civic and Corporate Events

There is a wide variety of formal functions at which a Toastmaster can officiate. It could be at the Town Hall with the Town or Borough Mayor, or it could be an awards dinner or product launch at a corporate event with guest speakers and entertainers. Whatever the function, whoever is present, I will act as Master of Ceremonies and ensure the occasion runs smoothly in accordance with the appropriate protocols.

<<May it please Your Majesty – I am also available for Royal engagements.>>

Charity and Fundraising

The Annual Ball presents one of the biggest fundraising opportunities for a charity organisation, but the last thing you need is to worry about how the evening will progress. As Master of Ceremonies, I will liaise with the other suppliers and entertainers, taking advantage of all fund-raising opportunities. I will take care of the raffle presentation and assist as auctioneer, if required, helping to ensure that the raffle and auction are both entertaining and profitable. I can advise and assist you on the most effective way of promoting the charity and selling tickets. I can also advise and assist you on conducting the draw to entertaining effect.

Gilbert & Sullivan Centenary Dinner, Grim’s Dyke Hotel, Harrow Weald

Grim's Dyke Hotel, Harrow WealdAngela M. Penn, Hon. Programme Secretary and Chairman of the Convention sub-committee for the Gilbert and Sullivan Society, writes: “I am very pleased to recommend John Ashmele for Toastmaster duties. The Gilbert and Sullivan Society employed him for our Centenary Convention weekend celebration dinner at Grim’s Dyke Hotel on the 24th May 2024 and found him excellent. This was a major event for us with our Royal Patron, HRH The Duke of Gloucester KG GCVO in attendance as well as many high profile guests from the Gilbert and Sullivan world and members from across the globe.

John steered us through the proceedings beautifully and used his a clear and commanding voice to welcome HRH, to introduce the three toasts and the after dinner speeches. In addition, there was an organised gap between the meal to allow for the room to be set up for a concert and John was very much on hand to check on progress and guide everyone back to the room. He then introduce the artistes who he had previously checked on.

Before the Convention, I was impressed with the conscientious way John contacted me about the arrangements for the event and then met me at the Hotel to fine-tune the evening. He was knowledgeable about protocol, a fount of good ideas and a pleasure to work with. Our Convention was an enormous success and this is in part due to John’s fine performance as Toastmaster. If we ever need Toastmaster services again, we shall have no hesitation in asking John to act for us.”

Pungudutivu Welfare Association (UK), Byron Hall, Harrow Wealdstone

On Sunday I had the pleasure of serving as one of the MCs for the Pungudutivu Welfare Association (UK) dinner at Byron Hall in Harrow Wealdstone, raising funds to provide computer equipment for village schools on the island off the west coast of Sri Lanka. After the lighting of the sacred lamp, several hundred guests were entertained to traditional music, singing and dancing whilst enjoying the South Asian buffet. Although the proceedings were mainly in Tamil, my responsibilities for the evening included the promotion of the raffle and announcing the draw.
My thanks to Mr Sellathurai Mohanasundaram (Mohan), President of the PWA, for inviting me; also to my co-hosts Guna and Ganga for their support, and to Mr P. Bakeerathan of the Tempo School of Music, his musicians, singers and the temple dancers.

National Association of Wedding Professionals, Biltmore Mayfair, London
Me with NAWP and Andrea McLean at Biltmore Mayfair

Image by Rosemary Despres Photographer

Once again delighted to serve as Master of Ceremonies at the National Association of Wedding Professionals’ networking event at the Biltmore Mayfair, which was decked out for Christmas (as was the whole of Mayfair). Delighted also to work with the NAWP directors, Siobhan and Tracy, and introduce the guest speaker Andrea McLean, journalist and television presenter. Several wedding suppliers attended the event and helped to make for an enjoyable evening.
Tracy and Siobhan write: A big thank you (again) for overseeing last night’s event. It is great to have you keeping everyone’s attention and adding to our event.

Word Book of Records, Palace of Westminster, London

MC at World Book of Records International Excellence Awards at the Palace of WestminsterI was recently invited by ITW Playworx , a media and entertainment company, to serve as Toastmaster for the World Book of Records International Excellence Awards Ceremony at the Palace of Westminster in the presence of members of the House of Commons, the House of Lords, His Holiness Shri Rajrajeshwar Guriji and other distinguished guests.

My duties included interviewing the recipients of the awards, particularly challenging as most responses were in Hindi (for the benefit of the video) as were the speeches and most of the proceedings throughout the evening. It was probably significant that the event was held on Hindi Diwas, the day that marks the commemoration of the occasion when Hindi was adopted as one of India’s official languages.

My thanks to Aaqib Edavan Kattil and  Ankur Sharma of  ITW Playworx, and my co-hostess Khush Saikia for her valuable advice.

Luton & Herts. Insurance Institute, Knebworth Barns, Hertfordshire

I was pleased to be invited, albeit at just three weeks’ notice, to serve as Toastmaster at the Luton & Hertfordshire Insurance Institute’s annual awards dinner held at the lovingly restored 16th century Manor Barn attached to Knebworth House.
Mark Morris, President of the Institute, writes ”We booked John as our Master of Ceremonies for our Dinner […] and cannot thank him enough for the work that he put in that made the event run so smoothly. With having John there, it took a lot of pressure of myself and the running of the event.”

Rest assured; I will always work with your best interests in mind. If you have any questions or would like further information about the services I offer, contact me for a no-obligation chat, so that I can fully understand your requirements and we can begin planning your event.

John Ashmele FGPT
Fellow of the Guild of Professional Toastmasters
Graduate of the Professional Toastmasters’ Academy
m: 07710 400412 e: john@ashmele.co.uk