Commodore Eric Thompson MBE - After Dinner Speaker
Eric began his after dinner speaking career under the Atlantic when he first toasted ‘The Immortal Memory’ of Nelson on Trafalgar Night in HMS Revenge whilst on strategic nuclear deterrent patrol. As a Scot, it was not long before he was also being asked to toast ‘The Immortal Memory’ of Robert Burns at Burns suppers but never underwater - except for one winter's night in Renfrew when even the Rangers game was postponed due to a flooded pitch.
By the time he had risen to Commodore of the Clyde Submarine Base at Faslane, his reputation as a speaker had spread beyond the Navy and he has performed at dinners from Plymouth to Aberdeen including a Variety Club bash at the London Hilton. His other grand venues include the Great Hall of Stirling Castle; London’s Grosvenor House Hotel; Glasgow City Chambers; Edinburgh’s Signet Library; Draper’s Hall in the City of London; and Lancaster’s magnificent town hall where he had the honour of being the only speaker at the 2001 Submarine Centenary Banquet.
However, he still enjoys the more intimate audience and having completed Strathclyde University's Stand-Up Comedy course, has even performed in a Glasgow comedy club (but only for the final exam). His performance in the first Glasgow International Festival of Comedy was praised on BBC’s Fred Macaulay Show. Eric is equally comfortable telling a farcical tale; reciting his own comic verse; singing one of his songs; accompanying himself on the harmonica; or delivering a serious message. Sugaring the pill is his speciality. As he invariably tailors his performances to suit the audience, he has proved himself able to enthuse audiences of all ages and types from schoolchildren to senior citizens; ‘stag’ to ‘hen’; corporate to club; military to civilian; and English to Scots.
He is also regularly in demand both as a compere and performance poet. His comic poem, ‘Ally Shanter’, won the BBC Radio Scotland Burns Bicentenary poetry competition. In 2002 he was commissioned to write and perform the tongue-in-cheek ‘Helensburgh Bicentenary Poem’ to mark the town’s Bicentenary celebrations, which prompted his first book, 'Colquhounsville-sur-Mer', a pseudonym for Helensburgh.
‘A note to record my gratitude at your excellent Immortal Memory last Friday. When you listen to as many speeches as I do, you really appreciate originality and wit.’ - Ruth Wishart, Broadcaster and Journalist
'A tour de Force! Quite outstanding, magnificent, hilarious - just some of the comments I heard afterwards from a hugely satisfied audience. Thank you very much indeed, Eric, for the enormously hard work I know you put into writing and delivering the speech. I thought it was pitched at exactly the right level.' - Commander Tony Herdman RN, Scottish Organiser, King George's Fund for Sailors
'I thought your speech was superb and it really caught the mood of the whole event. Thank you for such a poignant contribution to what was a very special evening.' - Rear Admiral Rob Stevens CB, Flag Officer Submarines. (Submarine Centenary Banquet, Lancaster Town Hall)
'His speech was marvellous - absolutely superb.' - Helensburgh Advertiser
'The highlight of the evening was Eric's outstanding performance, 'More Nonsense from the Commodore' - humorous and virtuoso - I very much look forward to hearing him again'. - David Russell, Chairman, KGFS
''I've been quite basking in your reflected glory! You certainly pulled out all the stops for us. "Albert the Albatros" - wonderful.' - Rear Admiral Neil Rankin CB CBE, Chairman, Scottish Sea Bird Centre.
'We would like to thank you for your great act last week and your outstanding contribution to 'The Props' 2001’ - Neil Sinclair/Ronnie Nathan/Jim Clark, Co-chairmen Variety Club of Great Britain (at the London Hilton)
'Your rendition of Tam O'Shanter in the context of Rangers and Celtic was superb and fairly took the trick. You certainly made the night as far as the speeches were concerned' - the late Sir Robert Easton CBE DUniv (former Chairman of Yarrow's Shipbuilders)
‘Thank you so much for what was a really brilliant address, they all loved it and in my opinion you saved the evening. You have an incredible talent for dropping one liners. When they realised they had to listen carefully, they simply fell about.’ - Brigadier Donald Hardie, Lord Lieutenant of Dunbartonshire (at Boturrich Castle)
‘You were so good on Thursday night - just made the whole evening. They laughed and laughed. You were wonderful and should be proud of your contribution to a splendid event.’ - Lady Sara Johnstone DL
‘Thank you so much for your superb speech on Friday night which went down exceedingly well with the youngsters concerned. I had very positive feedback yesterday morning from both staff and pupils and you seemed to me to get the balance absolutely right - hitting their level, providing good meaty content at the same time as leavening things with cracking good humour.’ Angus Macdonald, Headmaster, Lomond School
‘You brought the house down - it was another inspired performance. Many, many thanks for the time and effort you devoted to our Burns Night. The feedback I received could not have been more complimentary.' - Commander Morleymor Fisher MBE RN, Commanding Officer, HMS ARK ROYAL
'The highlight of the evening was your speech, the likes of which many of us had never heard before. It remained the topic of conversation well into the early hours and I am sure will be talked about for many years to come'. - Lieutenant Commander Ken Clark RN, Secretary, Royal Naval Engineers Quart Club
'We have received terrific feedback from guests at the dinner .....hope we will see you again at one of our events in the not too distant future.' - Fiona Morris, Events Manager,The Institute of Marine Engineers, (at Grosvenor House Hotel, London)
'Among the many amusing anecdotes, the one that lingers in my mind is the story of the ship to shore pipeline. It certainly exemplifies a host of historical prejudice which thankfully has been eradicated'. - Peter Gee BEng CEng, Managing Director, Industry Division, Lloyd's Register, London
'If laughter is the best medicine, my Consultant will be impressed when I next see him. All who heard you speak will agree with me that no better entertainer could be found anywhere'. - Peter Kelso, Deacon, The Society of Deacons and Free Preseses of Glasgow
'It was a glittering occasion greatly enjoyed by all who attended and who were lucky enough to be entertained by your wonderful talent.' - Vice Admiral Sir Roy Newman KCB JP DL, Chairman Submarine Centenary Appeal(at Drapers' Hall, City of London)
'You came into a group of strangers and delivered a wonderful speech aimed at the membership of the club. You provided our members with an entertainment that will be difficult to surpass. You have a wonderful talent.' - Robert Cornwell, Commodore, Helensburgh Sailing Club
'Your gloriously witty address contributed to one of the best dinners the Club has had in recent years'. - Malcolm MacGregor, Commodore, Royal Western Yacht Club, Glasgow
'It was suggested to me that the only way the standard of speech could go after your presentation was downwards. You will be a hard act to follow'. - Keith MacIntosh LL.B, Dumbarton Rotary Club
'Your speech was truly excellent and greatly appreciated. Your meticulous research and preparation were very evident and your originality and humour were enjoyed by all. You brought a refreshing change to the proceedings.' - David Russell, Chairman, The Old Glenalmond Club
A huge thank you from all at Thomas Muir High School. Your presentation was fantastic, both in terms of your delivery and your own presence. You certainly inspired….ambition, hope and dream with the discursive, highly entertaining and appropriate sidelines. On the basis of the success of your address to the 3rd/5/6th years, the English department have decided that an extra-curricular programme of verbal communication should be instituted in the school. The pupils were engrossed and staff will now have a great model for teaching purposes. You need have no worries about addressing young audiences. Thank you once again for your time, entertainment and inspiration. – Jackie Purdie, Deputy Head
'Swimming in the PR Pool' – A Big Thank you. On behalf of the organising team, I would like to thank you very much for your contribution to the success of our conference last week. It was definitely the best yet! The feedback we received at the event was excellent and everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves. I do hope you enjoyed it as much as we all did. Jacqueline Allan on behalf of the Scottish Public Sector Communicators Group. (at Crieff Hydro)
First of all, many, many thanks for your wonderful 'Immortal Memory' on Saturday night it was outstanding, and had everything, well thought out, completely different, topical and filled with humour but especially greatly enjoyed by all! - Commander Peter Proctor, Royal Northern and Clyde Yacht Club.
Availability and BookingDue to high demand and the pressures of publishing, Eric is currently restricting his speaking engagements. However, all requests will be considered.
Prices on application through our contact page.