Public Speaker South Wales and Herefordshire, Don Balkwill

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Author and Public Speaker, Don Balkwill’s Forgotten Gadgets presentation is an interactive talk/quiz that will baffle, amuse, enlighten and thoroughly entertain the audience.

Don Balkwill gives a unique presentation that has evolved from regular articles called “Grandma’s Gadgets” which have appeared in the local newspaper for the last 5 years.

How it works

The first thing you should know about my talk/quiz is that it is very interactive and there is usually lots of laughter so nobody ever falls asleep!

I come along to your meeting at the appointed time bringing with me twenty or so unusual objects. After my introduction, depending on numbers, I suggest that the audience split themselves into teams of up to six people. Each team is supplied with an answer sheet. I then spend approximately 15 minutes running through the objects giving clues as to their ages and origins.

This is followed by a 10-minute break in which the audience is invited to pick up and inspect the objects on the table, and, if they don’t know what they are, to at least hazard a guess.

When the 10 minutes are up I spend the next 30 minutes or so asking the audience what they think the objects are,  before explaining what they actually are, and where they originated. This section can get quite hilarious because sometimes the suggestions are outrageous. Finally, each team tots up their correct answers and the winning team(s) are applauded. I then take any questions from the audience. The whole thing normally lasts about an hour but sometimes runs on if the audience has lots of questions.


I charge £1.50 per head for each member of the audience with a minimum charge of £36.00 and a maximum o£ £60.00. Mileage, if charged, is by arrangement depending on where the venue is.

About me

I am an experienced public speaker based in South Wales and have presented my talk/quiz to all types of  organisations including Rotary,  Probus, Towns Women’s Guild, WI, U3A, 41 Club, Local History Societies, antique collectors groups and Senior Citizens Groups throughout South Wales, the South-West, Herefordshire and beyond. I have been invited back to speak again year after year by many of them because I change my collection regularly. The events have also included after-dinner engagements and charity fund raising events. I am a published author, my latest book “101 Forgotten Gadgets”  came out in March 2016.


If you wish to discuss please telephone Don Balkwill Abergavenny South Wales 01873 859017 or use the form below to send a message.

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What people say about my interactive talk/quiz

Just a quick line to thank you again and say how much we all enjoyed your presentation last night. You have a fascinating collection of objects and this generated much discussion and fun- all too often we sit somewhat passively politely listening ! This was not the case last night ! An excellent evening ! Thank you

Margaret BarrellPonthir WI

Thank you again for a very entertaining evening!  I wonder would you be willing to come along to Beaufort again next year and entertain us on Thursday 24 November 2016 with Grandma’s Gadgets Part 3? Your sessions are always very well received and it is great way to finish off our year before the Christmas festivities commence.

Linda SwansonGFHS – Ebbw Vale & North Gwent Branch

Thank you for your phone call yesterday. I am sorry I couldn’t speak to you directly, but I was at a WI committee meeting, when we were actually talking about our favourite speakers from the last year! It was almost as if your ears had been burning, as your name was mentioned a few times, then I found I had a missed call from you.

Carrie EvansPenhow WI

Our members thoroughly enjoyed your talk, so much so that we hope you can come again next year with a new set of gadgets.

Joyce RogersChoices Pensioners Group

May I thank you most sincerely for the most entertaining evening you gave our group last week. As I am sure you will have picked up during the evening our members were all equally interested and perplexed by your collection. We hope to be able to see you on another occasion with a different set of baffling gadgets. Many thanks to you once again.

Gill GriffinNetherwent & Llanvaches WI

Thank you for the most interesting evening that you provided for Newbridge WI, Your gadgets and quiz were fascinating and certainly gave us food for thought. Many thanks once again.

Joan PriorNewbridge WI

I have been lucky enough to attend several of Don’s presentations. Each one proved very interesting and held the attention of the audience. The gadgets used are changed on a regular basis so they do not become outdated. The strength of the entertainment lies in Don’s lively delivery. He is a born entertainer, loves his subject and projects his enthusiasm during his talks. He has a very quick wit and enjoys a little banter with the audience. Another winning factor is that the subject is suitable for a range of different ages and tastes. The groups I belong to have welcomed Don back again and again. I think this is proof of his success. Long may he continue to entertain us.

Verley ToyerFriendship Circle, St. Teilo’s Church, NHS Retirement Club, Leisure Centre Fitness Class

On behalf of all the ladies I would like to thank you again very much for coming to speak with us.  The evening was enjoyed by all and has been a real talking point.

Margaret Hearn Torfaen Silver Belles

Dear Don, A very big thank you from us all at the Penallt WI for a most entertaining and engaging evening. I am sure that we will be back in touch for future years.

Penny WoodmanPenallt WI UK

Brilliant thank you.  It has certainly generated a lot of comments from the people there. A few said “the best ladies night since Kate and Jim Bevan who did a double act about lambing live”!!!! Great night thank you

David SpencerMonmouthshire Agricultural Club "Ladies Night"

Hello Don,

Just a few lines to say a big thank you to you for giving all the members of Blaenavon Seniors such an entertaining evening on 16th February.  Everyone enjoyed your latest visit but I am afraid that we were not very clever in guessing the purpose of the 20 objects this time! However, you got our brains thinking and we all learned something so all was not in vain!

Many thanks once again, Very best wishes,

Barbara & Wayne

Barbara LewisBlaenavon Seniors