ANNALS FOR 2021 – 2022

The 2021 – 22 season was re-activated towards the end of the pandemic on July 6th with a meeting of long-standing members. The meeting received the resignation of Secretary Neil Ramshaw who was in the midst of treatment for cancer. Roy Smith also advised his wish to hand over as Treasurer as soon as a replacement could be found.

Under Chairman Peter Wilson a management committee was appointed with Richard Wright as Secretary and Programme Secretary, David Hill as Registrar, and Mike South as House Member. The outcome of this meeting was circulated to members by email on 19th August, the programme of speakers, substantially prepared by Neil Ramshaw, was finalised, and the Calendar was printed and issued to the Registrar for distribution.

Oct 05: The first meeting of the new season opened by Chairman Peter Wilson reflected for a few minutes on the sad passing of Ken Selkirk, Peter Staples, Derek Clarkson, Brian Gallagher, Bardner Horn, Gordon Percy and Fred Spurrier.

Life member John Taylor opened the 44th season with his talk entitled “100 not out – some Centenarians”

Oct 12: John Ashworth of the Co-op Estate Planning advised on aspects of tax and inheritance planning.

Oct 19: Malcolm Johnson returned with some more Children’s Favourites from the 1960s

Oct 26: Michael Greatorex took us through his time as a telegraphist in the RAF.

Nov 02: Forum President – Rev Moses John gave us an intriguing snapshot of his life from Chennai to the Nidd Valley Methodist Circuit.

Nov 09: Forum member Jim McPhail took the audience through the development of “Share Africa” starting in 2000 with his ideas for poverty reduction to today’s $2 million a year self-help enterprise he oversees.

Nov 16: Local guide Harry Satlova took a full house on his popular “Free tour of Harrogate”

Nov 23: Architect and Author Richard Newman entertained the meeting with his reminiscences of Expat life in a dusty Qatar back in 1974.

A collection for the Kevin Sinfield Extra Mile Challenge raised £60.

Nov 30: John Butterwick announced the Christmas Season with some pairing suggestions for wines and offered several money-saving tips.

Dec 07: Alun Pugh took us on a historical tour of Roundhay Park.

Dec 14: Judy Blezzard entertained an Open Meeting with a light-hearted examination of the origins of Christmas Carols.

Dec 15: The death of Vincent Naylor was announced to members. Vincent had been diagnosed with lymphoma some 20 years ago but was able to control the symptoms and still lead a fairly normal life.

Dec 21: 42 members and friends enjoyed an excellent festive lunch at Ascot House, well arranged by Roger and Lindsay Bancroft. During the proceedings it was announced that, in recognition of his long and outstanding service to the Forum, Neil Ramshaw had been granted life membership. The Christmas Charity Collection raised £435 for ShareAfrica

Jan 11: Member David Siddans gave a well structured and illustrated talk on the developments in America from 1730 leading to Independence from Britain in 1783.

Jan 18: Roger Deadman provided some more facts about the Post Office and its grip on our communications during the 20th century.

Jan 25: Prof. Martin Curzon returned for the 10th time to chart the progress of sweetness from bees to sugar cane to artificial sweeteners.

Feb 01: Eric Jackson occupied our attention with grave robbing which was fuelled by surgeons who needed a body to practice on.

Feb 06: Tony Bills passed away suddenly in hospital whilst recovering from a fall.

Feb 08: Tim Forman made a debut visit to describe his years in sales and marketing.

Feb 15: Veronica Bird kindly stood in for a cancellation and entertained with stories of prisons and royalty.

Feb 22: Member’s morning saw excellent contributions from Frank Ellis on how he started making his talks, from Andrew Machutchon on being a Corporate Buccaneer, then Peter Belton on his travels abroad to visit his adventurous daughters and, finally, Terry Byrne entertained with anecdotes of his 37 years in the Armed Services.

Mar 01: Roger Oldfield took members on a journey from Ilkley along the Dales Way to Windermere.

Mar 08: Members were greeted by Sergeant Chris Tapster in combat gear ready to take us to the Falklands on the 40th anniversary.

The Ukraine invasion had begun and a collection of £175 was realised for the National Appeal.

Mar 15: Again, with some relevance to the Ukraine situation, speaker Douglas Cossar eloquently explained to us the German psyche and their reluctance to address national migrant and security problems.

Mar 22: John Gilleghan returned to fill us in on the real facts about Alfred James Wight – aka James Herriott.

Mar 29 A long and winding road around the NorthWest Highlands of Scotland provided lots of photographs and climatic effects for David Alred’s slideshow.

Apr 05: Mike Streeter and Steve Pexton set up a mini studio in the Hall and gave us a history and flavour of the past and present Harrogate Hospital Radio. HHR

The 44th season concluded with 38 active members on the Register.

Details collated by Richard Wright

Harlow Men’s Forum: Annual General Meeting

Minutes of the 44th Annual General Meeting held at 10.30am on 26th April 2022 at Harlow Hill Methodist Church Hall.

Attendance: Chairman Peter Wilson presided and 21 members were present.

Apologies: Were received from 8 Members

Previous Minutes: The Minutes of the last Annual General Meeting held virtually in April 2020 were tabled and agreed to be a correct record with no amendments and were approved by today’s attendees and signed by the Chairman.

Chairman’s remarks: The Chairman made his traditional report at the end of his tenure and thanked those who had volunteered and other members for their contributions to an enjoyable season.

Secretary’s Report: The Secretary combined his Speaker and General Secretary reports thanking all those members who had spoken and officiated this season. He emphasised the future need to concentrate on recruitment and fundraising initiatives to guarantee our future.

Treasurer’s report: The Treasurer presented his financial accounts for season 2021-22 together, for comparison, with the years 2019, 2020 and 2021. He noted that he had proposed a donation of £800 to the Church in respect of our use of the Hall. This was approved by the meeting. The accounts then showed that we had only just broken even and, with today’s inflationary trends, we would need to increase our revenue. It was noted that our income was obtained from 24 weekly meetings with an average attendance of only 24 out of 38 registered members. A suggestion came from the floor that weekly subscriptions could be paid as an annual £72 lump sum or by a £6 monthly standing order. A proposal that this suggestion be examined further was approved by the meeting.

Election of Officers for Season May 2022 to May 2023

The following members were proposed and agreed to stand for election as Officers of the Forum:

President: Rev. Moses John

Chairman: Neil Ramshaw

Vice-Chairman and Blogger David Hopkinson

General Secretary: Godfrey Alderson

Programme Secretary: Richard Wright

Treasurer: Mike Jones

Registrar: Mike Tutt

House member: Mike South

Catering Officers: Tom Snelling, Roger Bancroft, Richard Brooks

Auditor: Chris Butterfield

The above Officers were duly appointed en bloc by the Meeting.

Any other Business: The Secretary outlined the workings of “” and asked the meeting to agree to proceed with membership application in the category of “Causes”. Chairman Neil Ramshaw described it as a no-brainer and the meeting agreed to proceed with the membership formalities.

Alan Barker suggested we produce fliers and also engage in the website “Next Door” to publicise our activities. He offered to help with a membership campaign in September.

After a productive session, the meeting closed in good spirits at 11.30am.

Secretary’s Report: Meeting of 5th April 2022

Peter Wilson opened the proceedings by welcoming our lady guests and advising of 4 apologies.

Today’s guest speakers were Mike Streeter and Steve Pexton from Harrogate Hospital Radio (HHR). They had set up their mini studio and loudspeakers to give us an idea of what might transpire if we ever pitched up for a studio interview.

In the chair, Mike Streeton began with a potted history of the organisation. The radio started back in October 22nd 1977 broadcasting at weekends from a small room next to the District Hospital morgue and then forwarding a recording of the show to the General Hospital. Later a landline was established to the General, Scotton Banks and The Royal Bath Hospitals for simultaneous transmission of programmes across the network.

Today’s organisation has a volunteer unpaid staff of 50 including 30 presenters, 16 request collectors and 2 technical guys. They have now expanded from their original accommodation into 3 rooms – a broadcast studio, a preparation studio and a CD and equipment store.

Keeping up to speed with technical and lifestyle developments is crucial for the success of media organisations. Mike was particularly happy to explain how they had lobbied OFCOM many times to take over the 95.3FM frequency vacated by Stray FM and how they finally got their permissions.

This was a game changer and opened up the HHR channel to the general public through both a smartphone App and FM radio. Their listener footprint has more than tripled and also allowed the introduction of outside broadasts. This year’s plans include broadcasting visits to the Yorkshire and Nidderdale Shows, to the Knaresborough Bed Race and interviews with visiting celebrities.

Steve Pexton recalled his own recruitment in September 1980 and how he has been a fixture ever since. He now presents two Music Request shows a week plus the Sunday Supplement which covers a miscellany of topical items.

Former Headmaster, Mike Streeter, started broadcasting in 2006 after 6 months training. His present contributions reflect his interest in jazz and its singers with a broadcast every Sunday from 11am to 1pm for lovers of swing called All that Jazz. Then, on Monday he singles out a favourite performer or group and puts them on air in Stars in the Spotlight.

The meeting continued with anecdotes from Mike and Steve of their experiences in doing celebrity interviews – some good and some bad – plus a recording of the inauguration of the 95.3FM band and finished with a poem read out by Pam Ayres during her celebrity interview

In thanking Steve and Mike for their presentation, Andrew MacHutchon commended them for their work which must generate many beneficial effects among NHS Patients and Staff alike, and thanked them for their contribution to Society.

The next meeting is scheduled after the Easter break for Tuesday 26th April and is the Annual General Meeting. Secretary Richard Wright advised that all reports and documents would be posted to members in advance by email for examination and printing. Once again, he mentioned the vacancies on the management board and admitted that the response so far reminded him of the song “The Sound of Silence”. Hopefully, someone will pipe up soon.

Secretary’s Report: Meeting of 29th March 2022

Chairman Peter Wilson opened the meeting with apologies from John Taylor, Mike South, Jim McPhail and Mike Tutt and reminded everyone about the forthcoming AGM on 26th April 2023. This will be an opportunity for members to stand for election and contribute to the smooth running of the Forum. For the next season, 2022-23, nominations are still required for Vice-Chairman, Registrar, and General Secretary.

David Alred was this week’s Speaker and brought along several trays of Kodachrome slides taken over 50 years of visits to the North-West Highlands of Scotland. In his opening remarks, he confessed to being drawn to this area because of its attractive yet wild scenery usually marked with a backdrop of rugged mountains rising up from sea-lochs cut into the coastline. Another positive for him was the ever-changing weather, where one could sometimes experience – and photograph – four different seasons in a day.

David’s presentation was designed for photo buffs and based on the careful composition of the subject with clever use of reflections in the Lochs and differing atmospheric and natural light conditions. So there was plenty to analyse on the aesthetics of the slides. There was no doubt in our minds that David had chosen this area as his favourite example of Wild Scotland and, for the benefit of those wishing to follow in his footsteps, here are some details of his route.

From Glasgow leave on the A82 towards Fort William, make a stop at the viewpoint on Rannock Moor with a wild landscape and distant views of Ben Nevis. Further along this road, there’s a junction to the left with a single-track road leading to the head of Loch Etive. This is the atmospheric route that is featured in the finale of the Bond film “Skyfall” when Bond returned with M to his childhood home “Skyfall”. In fact, Skyfall still exists in Dalness Lodge which was Ian Fleming’s family home, and can now be rented for £1200 a night complete with a butler and housekeeper!

Back to the A82 and onwards to Fort William and Corpach for an iconic picture looking back across Loch Eil to Fort William with Ben Nevis as the backdrop. Moving on, follow the A82 north alongside the Caledonian Canal to Invergarry and then left turn westwards on the A87 towards Skye, skirting the 5 Sisters mountains up on the right. Follow the River Shiel down to Loch Duich where David took us off to the left and stopped a couple of nights in Gleneig which overlooks the sea outlet of Loch Hourn.

Back to the A87 and on to Dornie at the sea end of Loch Duich. Continue towards Skye but before the Skye Bridge, turn right and North on the A890 to Strathcarron and then turn back south on the A896 to Lochcarron village. Continue on A896 for a few miles then take a left on a single track road signposted to the seaside village of Applecross.

From Applecross re-trace the route back to the A896 and continue North on to Loch Sheildaig and Loch Torridon. Sheildaig has shops and accommodation and is within easy striking distance of Inverness which should be your final destination. Judging from the remoteness shown in most photos it would seem essential to plan accommodation and eating well in advance. Or better still, have the freedom of a camper van.

In his vote of thanks, Ian Blyth commended David on his informative narrative and excellent photographs of a stunning area of Scotland.

Next week the team from Harrogate Hospital Radio will enlighten us on their non-surgical operations.

Secretary’s Report: Meeting of 22 March 2022

This week saw the welcome return of John Gilleghan to fill us in with facts and anecdotes on the life and times of Alfred James Wight Jnr answering to Alf, better known as James Herriot.

Alfred James Wight Snr worked as a plater in the Sunderland shipyards and also had a second job as a pianist in a sextet playing for the silent movies in the Star Cinema. In 1916, during the first World War, Sunderland came under a bombing attack from a German Zeppelin and suffered heavy damage to the shipyards and also the Star Cinema. As a result, James Wight lost all sources of income at a time when his wife Marion was pregnant. In search of employment, he visited Glasgow and managed to secure a job as a plater in the John Brown Shipyard. So they relocated together to Glasgow.

As the time of birth approached, they were determined that the baby be born, not in Scotland, but in their hometown of Sunderland. So they temporarily returned and the baby was born at 111 Brandling Street, Roker and given the same Christian names, Alfred James, as his father.

Returning to Glasgow, the family settled into Dumbarton Road where Alf attended the local primary school and, at 11 years old, transferred to a fee-paying school called Hillhead High. Finally, he went to the Glasgow Veterinary School and, after failing 3 parts of his finals, did an extra year and eventually passed in late 1939.

His working life began in an urban practice on the outskirts of Darlington but after 3 months his mother noticed an advert for a vet’s job in Thirsk and filled in an application form for James to sign. A reply came back within days inviting Alf for an interview and he duly caught the train to attend. On arrival at the surgery, he was surprised that nobody was expecting him but eventually a little Austin 10 rolled up with the vet Donald Sinclair at the wheel. Too busy to sit down, Donald took him off to a farm in Leyburn and conducted the interview whilst delivering a calf. On returning to the Surgery, Alf asked to be excused to catch a train back home and was brusquely told that it wouldn’t be necessary because he had the job – starting tomorrow.

Six months later Donald was called up to join the war effort and Alf was on his own. Realising his lack of experience, he got in touch with an old friend from Glasgow Vet School called Eddie Straiton who was working in Lincoln and persuaded him to join him for a spell in Thirsk. On 5 November 1941, he married Joan Catherine Anderson Danbury. The couple had two children, James Alexander (Jim), born 1943, who also became a vet and was a partner in the practice, and Rosemary (Rosie), born 1947, who became a physician in general practice.

In his working life as a vet, it was necessary to keep records and Alf kept meticulous diaries of his daily life and exploits. His writing career benefited greatly from these when Alf began to write of his impressions of Dales life in a series of stories that were hinged on his autobiography. The first book began with a young vet arriving in Darrowby, which he portrayed as a composite town, “ a bit of Thirsk, something of Richmond, Leyburn and Middleham and a fair chunk of my imagination”

His early publishing efforts started in late 1970 with “If only they could talk” This traced the experiences of a vet with pen-name James Walsh who, as the publishers soon discovered, had the same name as a currently registered vet. He was asked to change the name and, whilst watching a match between Man City and Birmingham City, chose the name of the Birmingham City goalie – James Herriot.

His follow-up book “ It shouldn’t happen to a Vet” was published in 1972 but sales were still slow until it gained traction in America with publication in the Readers Digest’s short stories. Buoyed by the success of the Readers Digest series, he arranged to have these two books published as a single volume in the United States and named the book “All Creatures Great and Small” – and adopted the pen-name James Herriot.

This book was a huge success and led to the creation of the All Creatures Great and Small franchise which utilised the series of 9 books written by James Herriot. Today, they have sold more than 60 million copies and have been adapted for film and television, including in 1975 a film entitled “All Creatures Great and Small” followed in 1976 by “It Shouldn’t Happen to a Vet”, which also spawned a long-running BBC Television programme of the same title.

In 2020, a new television production of All Creatures Great and Small was aired. This programme, produced for Channel 5 in the UK and PBS in America, has been scheduled for a second series currently being filmed around Grassington.

John Gilleghan concluded his presentation with a collection of slides that brought to life the many personalities, events and locations mentioned in his engrossing talk.

In his vote of thanks Godfrey Alderson commented on the wholesome quality of the film productions associated with these stories and thanked John for his amiable presentation of the real facts.

Next week, we are on a trip to explore the North-West Highlands of Scotland with John Alred.

Secretary’s report: Meeting of 15th March 2022

Members were treated to a most eloquent, powerful, and structured presentation by Douglas Cossar under the title of “Understanding the Germans”. Rarely has the Forum been so gripped by an exposition and analysis of the life of a nation through good times and bad.

Douglas began by telling us that Germans have an enduring memory of the 2nd World War and of the atrocities committed by their forces. For this reason, since the war, Germans have not engaged in any military action other than as peacekeepers. In maintaining this stance, their military capability has fallen well behind and their equipment has become outdated and in short supply. Now, after decades of neglect, and probably in response to Russian aggression, the incoming government of Olaf Scholz has abandoned restraint and announced a huge defence spending programme of £85 billion.

Reverting back to history we learned more about the rise and fall of the Jews in German society. From the outset, Jews were considered outsiders and unbelievers by German Christian society. They could not own land, be farmers or join craft guilds and instead, they became traders, merchants and money lenders. They congregated in big cities like Berlin and Hamburg where they made a huge contribution to culture and society. Despite being only 1% of the population, they soon occupied 20-30% of the banking, media, medical, legal, and scientific positions.

However, in 1933 Hitler came to power and within 90 days established a 1-party state which removed Jews from the civil service, from academic life, hospitals, judiciary and for 12 years committed them to such appalling atrocities that the German population were in disbelief and later in denial. They had turned a blind eye and allowed this to happen without redress.

In the following 20 years, the vacant jobs left by Jews were filled by those criminals who had been enthusiastically promoting Naziism. Those born after the war were deliberately shielded from any knowledge of their recent history until student riots erupted in 1968 and forced Germany to change tack, come to terms with its past and effect social change.

Today, museums in Germany examine the past with complete openness and there are more Jewish museums than in any other country. In every town and village little brass plates on the pavement commemorate the houses where Jewish families lived. Former concentration camps are preserved as memorials and museums to be visited by all German schoolchildren.

So, politicians and journalists are careful to strongly support the democratic line and sing from the same hymn sheet. But there are still small but noisy groups who put forward alternate views for discussion. The AfD is the only party that identifies migration as a major threat to the German way of life. It wants to prevent migrants from heading to Germany at all. The party insists on the primacy of “traditional” German culture and rejects Islam as a part of German society.

The standard German response is not to argue with them but to rubbish them. To this day the major parties do not allow the AfD, who command 12% in the polls, to participate in any of the coalitions which are the standard outcome of German elections.

Douglas went on to quote from a controversial best-selling book by Thilo Sarrazins of the SPD party. It identifies the falling German birthrate which will lead to Germans being a minority in their own country. Today there are more than 3 million people of Turkish Muslim ancestry with a birth rate double that of Germans. Many Turks have come from rural areas with poor education and have little inclination to integrate into German society. Turks are now responsible for more than 70% of immigrant problems. They have below average rates of employment and education and above average claims for social benefits and involvement in criminal violence. They receive more in welfare benefits in Germany than they could expect from full time employment in Turkey. Why would they want to return to Turkey?

As with the holocaust of the Jews, today’s Germans are unwilling to accept that these are problems that have to be discussed and rectified. Just as in today’s Russia, Western democracies have not been paying attention to the nature of the menace that has been incubating. Those who raise migrant questions in Germany are accused of Islamophobia and even one of Douglas’ academic German friends when confronted with pertinent facts merely responded “RUBBISH”

So, after an hour’s discourse, Douglas left us with the conundrum of German uncertainties in today’s uncertain world.

Commenting on the situation in Ukraine Chairman Peter Wilson admitted he was terrified to hear mention of War and Hitler again. He opined that a solution could only be found by going back to discover how and why it came about and rectifying it from there.

Next week John Gilleghan will tell us all about James Herriot.

Secretary’s Report 8th March 2022

The meeting was opened by Chairman Peter Wilson expressing his horror at the present inhumane onslaught in Ukraine by their Russian neighbours and reminding us of our charitable collection now in progress. Member Neil Ramshaw also drew attention to some alternate charities such as “TYPE ONE STYLE” who have temporarily diverted their whole internet business in diabetic products towards supplying those in need in Ukraine.

On arrival, members were greeted with an intimidating display of army kit, survival supplies, weaponry assembled by one Sergeant Chris Tapster, formerly a member of the 45 Commando Royal Marines. How he got up Otley Road without being stopped by one of those police vans is surprising. By pure chance, he was with us today to recount the events 40 years ago when Argentine forces landed in the Falklands and claimed sovereignty.

Observing Chris from my second-row seat, I was very much reminded of Windsor Davies of “Green Grass of Home” fame. However, my dreams were interrupted by the strident bark of Sergeant Chris testing his vocal chords. Thus reminding me that National Service instills a set of rules, duties and exercises that eventually knock you into the approved shape and fit you out for one on one combat. Such was Chris’ campaign visit to the East Falklands in 1982.

Hostilities began in South Georgia where the UK had stationed 20 Marines. The Argentinians Special Forces attempted to land under the guise of contractors removing a whaling station. The Marines were not taken in by this, took them all prisoner, and then sank their vessel. However, a follow-up by a larger Argentinian force successfully forced a surrender on 3rd April.

At the same time, a heavily armed force of around 100 Argentinians landed near Port Stanley on East Falkland and moved to secure a safe landing area for over 1000 more troops. This battle force then engaged with the 68 resident British Marines who retreated to defend Government House. After several skirmishes, they were ordered to surrender by Gov. Rex Hunt under the sheer force of numbers. So the Argentinians had successfully cemented their long-disputed claim to these South Atlantic islands.

Margaret Thatcher was filled with horror to see British Marines face down in surrender and vowed to return the Falklands to a British Administration at the earliest possible moment. Thus the counter-invasion, Operation Corporate, was put into effect in the UK whilst the Argentinians began to flood the islands with planeloads of fresh troops.

The true watershed event of the Falklands War came on May 21 when Royal Marine Commando Brigades conducted an amphibious landing near the settlement of San Carlos. Encountering only light opposition upon landing, the brigades 4,000 troops moved quickly to expand the beachhead and commence offensive operations. Although that part of the operation went well, Argentine aircraft responded with a series of devastating attacks against the Royal Navy warships supporting the force ashore.

After landing in St Carlos Bay via Ascension Island Sergeant Chris with 45 Commando Brigade began to push-out from the invasion beaches with the ultimate goal of conducting a direct assault against Stanley 50 miles away. With the almost total absence of roads or landmarks, moving the assault force into position around Stanley presented the British with an enormous challenge. The original plan called for the troops to be flown across the island, but almost all of the helicopters that were supposed to do the job went down with the Atlantic Conveyor. There was no alternative but to load up their gear and “Yomp” across the difficult soft terrain in cold and wet conditions.

Sergeant Chris took time out to show us the way he got kitted out for this Yomp. Starting with boots with ankle straps, anoraks with numerous pockets, body belts with pouches stuffed with supplies, back pack with tent, sleeping bag etc etc Carrying everything from ammunition to daggers to rations and first aid, even a condom! (For storing water of course!). Then to the weapons, either an Enfield rifle, a Sterling sub-machine gun, a self-loading rifle (SLR), or a pistol. Altogether, a 40kg load for each man.

Arriving within 3 miles of their objective the force spent almost a week reconnoitering all sides of Two Sisters, a 1000 ft high mountain that was the key to defensive positions around Stanley.  Their patrols frequently engaged with the enemy. But such encounters allowed them to locate their positions and plan the final assault. On 11th and 12th June they fought and won the highly successful and fierce night battle for Two Sisters leading to the swift capitulation of the Argentine forces and the return of the Islands to British Administration.

In thanking the speaker Chris Butterfield expressed his admiration for the courage, resilience and sacrifice of all those involved in this Campaign and for the insight into the Army way of life that his talk had generated.

The meeting closed with the news that the collection by Forum Members had registered a total of £175 for the Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal by the Guardian Newspaper.

Next week’s speaker is Douglas Cossar who will help us in “Understanding the Germans”


The revised Speaker for next week will be Tony Craster whose subject will be “45 COMMANDO ROYAL MARINES IN THE FALKANDS”

He is likely to appear in uniform and with genuine but decommissioned weapons so “Don’t panic Mr Mainwaring!!



The meeting was opened by Chairman Peter Wilson who advised of three apologies having been received. This included Malcolm Wood who sadly had fallen and broken his collarbone. His friends and all members of the Forum send their best wishes for his speedy recovery.

Acting Secretary Neil Ramshaw advised that there would a change of Speaker for next week due to the booked Speaker cancelling. Revised details will be advised separately when confirmed.

Today saw the welcome return of Roger Oldfield who has spoken at Forum a number of times and also belongs to our fraternal organisation Harrogate Forum. His talk this Tuesday was titled “Olicana to Vinand’s Mere”.

Roger would take us on a journey through time and countryside and he started by advising us that there were rights of way footpaths of over 100,000 in England alone. These footpaths followed the footsteps of our distant ancestors and went from village to village to farms and to churches. In more recent centuries they were used by pack horses transporting goods and itinerant pedlars.

The audience were told about Colin Speakman co-founder of the Dales Way ,the long distance footpath that Roger would expand on. Olicana was the Roman name for Ilkley and Vinand’s Mere the Bowness on Windermere area. Members were then given a tour of the many places on the route starting at Ilkley and including amongst others places such as Addingham, Burnsall, Kettlewell, Sedbergh and finishing at Windermere. A brief history of the various locations was given including mention of notable buildings. The talk was supported by an excellent slide show.

At the mornings conclusion questions and comments were welcomed and it was clear that members had enjoyed the mornings entertainment .

On behalf of the twenty six attendees Peter Belton gave the Vote of Thanks to Roger.



Chairman Peter Wilson opened the meeting promptly at 1030a.m.and welcomed a small audience for the annual Members Morning. He reminded members of Tony Bills funeral at the Harlow Church (our meeting place) on Wednesday March 2nd at 130p.m.

Today’ s meeting would see four of our members give a short talk on a subject of their choice.

Our first Speaker was our longest standing current member Frank Ellis who would tell us ” How I Started With My Talks”. Frank told us about his participant Pantomime experience at school (normally a preserve for girls) and how it whetted his appetite for further similar experiences. He advised us about Halifax Palace Theatre and the acts, particularly comedians, he went to see and how he joined a pantomime group there. An amusing anecdote of hunting dogs causing mayhem on the stage was shared and enjoyed by the members and he recounted coming across B.B.C. comedy actor Michael Craig on a cruise which enthused him with preparing and giving his own talks, something the Forum has benefitted from for over 20 years.

Our second Speaker was Andrew MacHutchon who told about being a “Corporate Buccaneer”. Brought up in various parts of Scotland his career started in merchant banking but moved to a steel company as a Personnel Manager. Asked to take projects on, not always to the customers benefit, he decided to start his own company which helped provide companies with access to venture capital where needed and he recounted some episodes relating to this. The marked difference in scale from the start of his operation of obtaining £100,000 to more recently £50 million showed how this market has grown.

Next on was Peter Belton to tell us about “Family/Daughters”. From 2010 his two daughters worked abroad , one in South America (Ecuador) and one in Africa. Peter regaled us with his travels abroad to places such as Quito and the same country where Panama hats originate from. His second daughter’s employment saw visits to Africa and locations such as the Serengeti and Lake Victoria. He shared a tale about travel hazards particularly problems with water and the dark! He advised that due to his daughters marriages he now heads a global family although both are now back in the U.K.

Our final Speaker saw Terry Byrne take to the floor with “37 years of wearing the Uniform of our Country” and entertain us with early stories of his National Service experience from the age of 18. With recruitment in Manchester Terry was initially refused by the Navy, Air Force and Army before being pushed back and taken on by the Air Force. He told us of various postings including Malta following his initial training and being there during the Suez crisis. We were advised of his mastery of the stores apart from one incident which was glossed over at the time. After three years in the Air Force he moved to the Army but time restraints stopped his reminIsces apart from an inspection from Montgomery!!

After the mornings entertainment concluded Neil Ramshaw thanked all four for their contributions and asked the nineteen attending members to show there appreciation in the normal manner.