Secretary’s Report 26th October 2021

Today’s Speaker was Michael Greatorex who took us through his time as a telegraphist in the Royal Air Force.

Beginning as a raw recruit and surviving the usual friendly advice from his NCO’s, Michael proceeded on his chosen trade by learning morse code. The system involved learning the code to 5 new characters each day and in the evenings writing down each code multiple times on a foolscap sheet. Sounds like doing lines in school!

After 18 months training at the Joint Services Training Organisation at RAF Digby in Lincolnshire, he was posted overseas to Aden followed by Berlin interspersed with several return visits to RAF Digby. Retiring after 22 years of service in 1986, which he described as rewarding and satisfying, he applied to the GCHQ in Cheltenham where after 9 months training as a radio operator he was posted to Harrogate where he finally retired in 2012.

David Hopkinson thanked the Speaker for a very interesting personal account of his work and lifestyle.


Secretary’s Report October 19th 2021

Opening the meeting, Chairman Peter Wilson was pleased to annouce that Roger and Lindsay Bancroft had volunteered to organise the Christmas Lunch at Ascot House. Members showed their appreciation of another fine example of participation in the running of the Forum.

Our Speaker, Malcolm Johnson, returned to continue his previous foray into Children’s Favourites on BBC radio – this time from 1960 onwards to its close in 1982. When updating his talk he surprisingly found that it became a rather harrowing story full of sad endings for many of the artists. Sex and drugs and depression and suicide and gambling and bancruptcy and murder all featured in the unfolding tales from the pop stars of the era.

First on Malcolm’s list was Adam Faith who had seven consecutive chart hits in the early 60s He made the headlines in an eclectic range of topics from dating Chris Evert to theatre and journalism. He wrote a financial advice column in the Daily Mail until he declared bancruptcy owing £32m.! His notorious womanising produced many more hits than his singing until 2003 when he died of a heart attack in a hotel bed with a 22-year old.

Lonnie Donegan with his skiffle group was the inspiration for many a 60’s pop artist including Paul McCartney, Brian May, and Roger Daltrey,. His career spanned from the mid 50’s with Chris Barber and Ken Collyer to a final appearance at Glastonbury in 1999. Malcolm declared his favourite memory was listening to “My old man’s a dustman” after a Saturday morning visit to the childrens matinee.

Harry Belafonte, Charlie Drake, Bernhard Cribbins, Kenneth Wiliams, Josh McRae, Speedy Gonzales, Clive Dunn, David Bowie, Benny Hill all featured amongst his favourites chosen for analysis.

Also mentioned were that wholesome Danish/Dutch duo Nina and Frederik whose final hit released in 1999 was “Puff the Magic Dragon” An intriguing title when linked to the untimely death of Frederik, who was shot on a beach in the Phillipines in a drug related incident in – 1999.

Finally, Malcolm gave us the breaking news of the revival of the Wombles from family favourites of the 1970s to the singalong musical theme for COP26. In case you didn’t know Wombles live in burrows, originally on Wimbledon Common, where they aim to help the environment by collecting and recycling human rubbish in creative ways. So there’s the link.

Godfrey Alderson proposed a vote of thanks to Malcolm for his well constructed talk which engaged and enlightened the audience with childhood memories and some surprising revelations.


Secretaries Report – 12th October

Today’s meeting attracted members eager to find out efficient ways to plan for their demise. Speaker John Ashworth from The Co-op Estate Planning proved a most knowledgeable and agreeable dispenser of information.

To start with he warned against delay in making arrangements concerning inheritance. Such measures or changes have to be taken whilst in a sound and coherent mind otherwise they may not be legally recognised.

Regarding inheritance tax he explained that, as of today, a married couple’s maximum tax free allowance is £1 million and any excess is taxed at 40%. There are only a few ways that the tax can be reduced such as giving to charities and political parties.

On a related topic, payment for long term care eventually arises for many families. Statistically, 1 in 6 men and 1 in 3 ladies over 80 go into long term care. This has to be paid for 100% out of their assets until just £23,250 is left.. However, once again, there are ways that part of their assets can be shielded from being consumed by the cost of long term care.

Mr Ashworth continued by explaining the benefits of a Trust Will over a Standard Will. A Standard Will typically passes all jointly owned assets over to the surviving spouse. Therefore, the amount available for payment for the care of the survivor will be 100% of the assets less £23,350.

Whereas, if appropriate, a Trust Will can be set up where each Partner owns 50% of the family assets. If one Partner dies, their 50% share is passed into a Trust and the surviving spouse retains their own 50% share. Continued occupancy of the family home is assured and, should long term care be required, the amount to be paid out will be measured from the current value of the 50% asset split. The assets placed in Trust are fully protected and managed by family or known Trustees.

Subsequently, Trustees can dispense the Trust funds to anything or anyone including the surviving spouse . Such an arrangement can last for up to 125 years and serves to reduce the statutory amount available for the self funding of long term care for the surviving spouse. It could also support educational, property and start-up grants and form an enduring legacy in support of future generations.

On a different topic Mr Ashworth considered a situation where one might suffer an unexpected accident or illness resulting in a loss of mental capacity. He strongly recommended that we should all have in place a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). This is like an insurance policy where should the need arise, people known to you, can help you make decisions, or make decisions on your behalf,. Failure to have an LPA will mean that lengthy Court Orders must be obtained to take any action on Bank, Bills, Investment, Property, Medical or Personal choices for the Beneficiary.

After several questions from the floor, Frank Ellis rose and thanked the Speaker for a thought-provoking and relevant talk delivered to an appreciative audience.

Mr John Ashworth can be contacted on 07540 048 242


Friends Reunited – Secretary’s Report

October 5th 2021 saw the opening of the postponed 44th Season, delayed for a year by the Covid Pandemic. Members happily renewed their old acquaintancies and prepared for a talk by Life Member John Taylor on all aspects of reaching 100 years old and beyond.

Chairman Peter Wilson opened the meeting with several apologies for absence countered with a warm welcome back to Neil Ramshaw following his serious illness and with thanks to Richard Wright for taking over the secretarial duties. The Chairman reminded members that Covid protocols for masks and distancing should be observed in the usual way and that Godfrey Alderson had volunteered to be the Marshal for implementation of all necessary measures.

Tom Snelling briefly took the floor to thank those who had supported his sponsored walk. He was happy to announce that he had smashed his £1000 target by collecting over £4000 for his Oatlands Charity

The meeting stood for a period of reflection to mark the sad passing during the past 20 months of Ken Selkirk, Peter Staples, Derek Clarkson, Brian Gallagher, Bardner Horn, Gordon Percy and Fred Spurrier,

John Taylor took the floor announcing that his talk would be all about numbers. His first number would be 20 (his years in the Forum) and his second 400+ (his total attendances at our meetings). He warmed to his topic of Centenarians by referring to one of the Forum’s own named Reg Jackson. Reg worked in Harrogate as a pharmacist and, after retirement, attended the Forum for 36 years whilst giving 25 talks and being Chairman twice. He passed away in Ripon aged 102.

The estimated number of centenarians in Britain has risen from 50 in 1871 to 250 in 1942 to 15000 in 2019. A reflection of the improvement in working conditions, diet, and healthcare over time.

Amongst celebrity centenarians mentioned together with their pen portraits were, at 100, Bob Hope, George Burns, Edmundo Ros and Dame Fanny Waterman. At 101, Irving Berlin, Manny Shinwell, Tommy Sopwith. At 102, the not so well known June Spencer who has played the part of Peggy Archer since 1950. and, of course, at 103 Vera Lynn.

The vote of thanks came from Terry Byrne who admitted to the strain of being the oldest in his family but how he enjoyed his visits to the Forum where he could still lookup to some Seniors !!

In Notices for the Day the Secretary commended Neil Ramshaw for the meticulous handover of the Secretary’s documentation and wished him well on his road to recovery. There were still 2 important vacancies on the Management team. First the Treasurer and, secondly, the Organiser for the Christmas Lunch. He strongly appealed for volunteers to come forward in the spirit of revival of the Forum.


Memorial service for Judge Derek Clarkson

A memorial service to celebrate the life of Derek Clarkson will be held in St Peter’s Church Harrogate at 1.30pm on Saturday 16th October.

Petronella has advised that she is still working on a list of invitees but Forum Members can always watch the service on Zoom where the meeting ID is 817 2310 6322 and the password 206345


Passing of Fred Spurrier

I regret to inform Members of the recent death of Fred Spurrier.

Fred joined the Forum in 2014 when he was the ripe old age of 84. He was introduced by John Clark after meeting in the Valley Gardens where they were on manoeuvres with their model boats.

I’m afraid Fred’s career and background are not with me but, in the Forum he was always cheerful and a willing helper in setting up the kitchen with John. I also understand he was a lay preacher and, many moons ago, played the part of a young Nanki-Poo in Gilbert & Sullivan’s “The Mikado”

His funeral will be held at 2.30pm on Tuesday 5th October at the Mission Church, Starbeck

Our condolences are extended to his Family Members. R.I.P.


Harlow Men’s Forum 2021-22 44th Season Calendar

05 Oct	John Taylor	  100 Not Out - some Centenarians
12 Oct	John Ashworth	  Tax care and Toy Boys
19 Oct	Malcolm Johnson	  Children’s Favourites  1960++
26 Oct	Michael Greatorex My life as a fairy in the RAF
02 Nov	Rev. Moses John	  President’s Address
09 Nov	Jim McPhail	  Share Africa Charity
16 Nov	Harry Satloka	* Harrogate Free Walking Tour
23 Nov	Veronica Baird	  The Russian Job
30 Nov	John Butterwick	  Wines for Christmas
07 Dec	Alun Pugh	  The story of Roundhay Park
14 Dec	Dr.Judy Blezzard* The Carol: A Christmas Crib
21 Dec	Christmas Lunch	* Ascot House
28 Dec				
04 Jan	Catherine Robertshaw Friends against scams
11 Jan	David Siddans	  The American War of Independence
18 Jan	Canon Roger Dedman Aspects of the Post Office
25 Jan	Martin Curzon      Sugar,honey and all things nice
01 Feb	Eric Jackson	   The history of grave robbing
08 Feb	Tim Forman	   20 years in Sales & Marketing
15 Feb	Dawn Pearson	 * Harrogate Foodbanks
22 Feb	Member’s Morning   Various Member’s anecdotes
01 Mar	Roger Oldfield	   Olicana to Vinand’s Mere
08 Mar	Paul Zealand   Storytelling,from Campfire to Tweet
15 Mar	Douglas Cossar	   Understanding the Germans
22 Mar	John Gilleghan	   The James Herriot story
29 Mar	David Alred	   NW Highlands of Scotland 
06 Apr	Ellie Jackson    * Harrogate Hospital Radio
12 Apr	Easter		
19 Apr	Easter		
26 Apr	AGM		

Harlow Men’s Forum Officers for 2021-2022

President: Rev. Moses John

Chairman: Peter Wilson

Vice-Chairman: Vacant

Treasurer: Roy Smith

Registrar: David Hill

House Member: Mike South

Secretary: Richard Wright Tel: 07756 954 357

Programme Secretary: Richard Wright


Passing Of Gordon Percy.

I regret to have to advise you of the death of member Gordon Percy on the 7th September in Harrogate Hospital.

Gordon had been diagnosed with motor neurone disease early last year and declined rapidly from July this year.

Gordon ,who was 81, had a career as a geologist for many years in Sierra Leone and then latterly had a shop in Wetherby before retiring.

His funeral will be at Stonefall Crematorium on Monday September 27th at 11a.m.

I have offered our condolences to his wife Jennifer.

Its another sad loss for the Forum and of someone whose company I personally enjoyed. He was a thoroughly nice man.


Sad News

Brian Gallagher , who had been a member for 5 years, has died aged 88. He spoke to the Forum about his service in Borneo as an army officer. He later was a partner in a firm of Harrogate Solicitors. The funeral takes the form of a requiem mass at St Roberts Church at 12 noon on Thursday 8th July.

We shall miss his cheerful presence.