Mark McKenzie, founder of the Tortola Toastmasters Club, speaks during the organisation’s 10th Annual Installation Dinner and Auction on Saturday at The Moorings. Photo: NGOVOU GYANG

Attendees of the Tortola Toastmasters Club’s 10th Annual Installation Dinner and Auction received a shiny mask as they arrived.

The gesture was in keeping with the event’s masquerade theme.

Later, after 14 new Toastmasters were inducted into the club, founder Mark McKenzie spoke about the organisation’s early days.

“Ten years ago, a group of us planted a seed and that seed has flourished till this moment,” Mr. McKenzie said.

When he arrived the Virgin Islands in 2003, he wanted to make friends, he said.

“I met strangers, but we have formed friendships and bonds,” he added. “We had a dream 10 years ago and it is that dream that has led to this moment.”

Today, there are 42 Toastmasters in the territory: 32 in the Tortola club and 10 in its Virgin Gorda counterpart. Last year, they hosted the Toastmasters District Conference, with about 120 people in attendance.

See the Nov. 8, 2012 edition for full coverage.