An Egyptian Odyssey

Mrs Jocelyn Brooks An Egyptian Odyssey

Mrs Brooks gave an interesting presentation about the importance of the River Nile to Egypt. It was illustrated with photographs of some of the temples and the wonders of the ancient world.
Without the Nile river, all of Egypt would be desert. Only about a 2.5cm of rain falls throughout Egypt each year. In summer, the Nile river level rises with water from it’s source in Ethiopia. The land in the Nile valley floods, enabling crops and trees to grow.

Egypt was founded 3150 BC by King Menes, leading to a series of dynasties that ruled Egypt for the next three millennia. The culture flourished during this long period and remained distinctively Egyptian in its religion, arts, language and customs.

Many of the members of the Forum had visited Egypt. The vote of thanks was given by Roger Bancroft. 36 members attended.


Chairman Michael Cochrane opened the meeting on time and advised of three apologies.

Under “Initial Notices” members were advised of the death in London of former Chairman and Member Dr. Edward Bromhead at the age of ninety-eight.

Christmas Lunch bookings were confirmed at sixty-eight/seventy for December 11th.

Today’s Speaker saw Forum Secretary Neil Ramshaw share “Some of my British Sporting Heroes” with the audience. Supported by video clips, photographs and the occasional personal sporting reminisce, past British Sporting Legends from rugby, boxing, athletics, motor sport, snooker and wrestling were revisited. Included were stellar names such as Gareth Edwards, David Hemery, John Surtees, Henry Cooper and Jackie Pallo!! Whilst a nostalgic look back at former sporting giants the talk reflected the Speaker’s enduring and continued affection and interest for all things sporting both as a viewer and a former participant. Questions at the end showed the differences and debate sporting opinion can generate.

The Vote of Thanks on behalf of thirty-nine attendees was given by Richard Brooks.




Today’s meeting started promptly at 1030 a.m. with Chairman Michael Cochrane advising of four apologies. He then read out a letter from our retiring President Reverend Christine Gillespie thanking the Forum for its support to her and the Church and wishing us continued success.

Secretary Neil Ramshaw took a few minutes to reiterate the need for a Second Vice Chairman and more importantly from a time perspective the need for someone to pick up the mantle of Programme Secretary from John Taylor who will not be carrying on in the role after this season but will provide support for the next holder of that office. Members were reminded that it is incumbent on them to ensure these positions are filled and there is no separate management committee that will resolve the matters.

The talk this morning was given by Mr Philip Solity and was titled “An Amusing Insight Into Road Traffic Law”. His fee would be going to St. Gemma’s Hospice. Philip had spent over 40 years as a Legal Adviser in Leeds Magistrate Courts and whist not exclusively on motoring matters much of his time was spent advising magistrates and defendants on those issues.

He started his talk by sharing the Motorists Lord’s Prayer with the audience which set the tone for the morning….at turns amusing, instructive and educational. We learnt about the single justice procedure for guilty pleas; were advised about the various bands of penalties namely A, B and C and the consequences thereof. Speeding Offences; Drink Driving and Mobile Phone offences were covered and the procedures for Speed Cameras disclosed. Some of the loopholes used by famous personalities were detailed but shown to being annoyingly legal.Various knowledge tests were given by Philip on road procedures and laws with responses from members either being reassuring or giving cause for concern!!

The differences between Careless and Dangerous Driving was explained and again the penalties ranging from fines, disqualification to imprisonment highlighted. Driving Capability (affected by illness or disability) was touched upon and the proper/improper use of Blue Badges mentioned. The talk elicited a good number of questions and comment both during and at its conclusion and showed that the audience had appreciated both the amusing anecdotes and knowledge imparted.

The Vote of Thanks on behalf of forty attendees was given by His Honour Judge Derek Clarkson Q.C.




Chairman Michael Cochrane started the meeting with the announcement of five apologies.

Only two places remained available for this year’s Christmas lunch. On Saturday November 17th between 11.00 a.m. and 1 p.m. a Christmas Fayre will be held at the Church.

Last week’s Speaker Mr Stephen Caldwell sends his thanks for the “welcome” he received and hopes to talk to us again at some future date. He also advised that his fee will go to Martin House Hospice.

Today’s Speaker Mr Geoff Queen from Kettlewell  is a regular visitor, this being the ninth occasion he has spoken to the Forum. Over the years he has raised £11500 for Great Ormond Street Hospital.

Over the next hour Geoff , supported by his slide show, took us on an A–Z tour of Europe but in the main too some less fashionable places off the beaten track. Starting at A with Annecy and Avignon we stopped at Bayreuth, Carcassonne, Dubrovnik, Formentor, Granada, Krakow, Lisbon, Munich, Prague, Seville, Tallinn Ullswater, Venice, Yvoire and Zürich. Geoff used some “creative accounting” with his E choice being Helsingborg (where Shakespeare sited Elsinore Castle in Hamlet), X became a xtra slide of his favourite picture and I, J, and K were collectively covered under Interlaken!! He told us about Wagner’s influence in Bayreuth and under O showed us the Omaha Beach War cemetery from World War II. At the conclusion of his show the audience felt like they had partaken in a grand tour of Europe without leaving their seats and there was time for some questions and comment.

The Vote of Thanks on behalf of 41 attendees was given by Tom Snelling.




Chairman Michael Cochrane opened the first Open Meeting of the season with a warm welcome to the ten lady guests and also guest Colin Alderton. The Forum also received new member George Hornsea (who likes to be known as Ginger) in the usual manner. Three apologies had been received prior to the meeting.

A reminder that John Taylor was taking Christmas Lunch bookings was given and he was already in receipt of forty-four orders.

Todays Speaker was Mr Stephen Caldwell and his fascinating discourse was “Living and Working in Windsor Castle”. Originally from Bradford where he attended the grammar school Stephen had a varied career taking in the Royal Navy, five years as a maintenance technician at the Halifax Building Society and various positions with other companies before responding to an advert from the Royal Household at Windsor. Two interviews later saw him take up a position as one of the Property Officers with responsibility amongst others of Pension Homes, security of Royal Lodge and Sunninghill Park and the 600 acres of Home Park. He told us about one of his first jobs being the lock on the Queens bedroom door!! Duties included reacting to emergencies, general maintenance, refurbishment of accommodation and “on-call ” emergency duties. His wife had also obtained a royal role namely secretarial working for the Duke of Edinburgh on his award scheme. We were told about attendances at Buckingham Palace Garden Parties; Garter Ceremonies; Duke of Edinburgh Award fund-raising events and Christmas Balls at Buckingham Palace. Being able to use the Royal Box at the Albert Hall  and a trip to see the Royal Yacht Britannia in 1996 was also mentioned. Other perks included live in accommodation, the opportunity to purchase maundy money sets and annual gifts from the Queen allowing a collection of minton crockery over the years in addition to the annual christmas card and christmas pudding. Stephen touched briefly on the Windsor Castle Fire of 1992, the devastation caused and the 4 year programme of works to repair.

On his retirement he was awarded the M.V.O. IN 2003. The talk was reinforced with an excellent slide show and questions from the audience at its conclusion.

The Vote of Thanks was given by Peter Staples on behalf of forty-one members and eleven guests.




Today’s meeting opened with Chairman Michael Cochrane advising of two apologies.

Under “Initial Notices” Programme Secretary John Taylor gave details of the Christmas Lunch arrangements for Tuesday December 11th at the Ascot House Hotel. Written details/menu choice and order form were available for members to take away. There is a numerical limit of 72 at the venue and reservations will be taken on a first come,  first served basis but orders and payments to John Taylor by the Tuesday meeting November 27th at the latest.

General Secretary Neil Ramshaw advised that our grant application for a defibrillator via Harrogate Lions/ Harrogate Borough Council Community Scheme had been successful and installation at the Church should take place in early December. Liaison with other parties was in hand and the electricians installation costs had been kick started by a very generous anonymous member donation of £100.

Today’s Speaker was the Forum’s own Alan Barker, a member of one year’s standing whose topic was “I Wish”. Alan started with a poetic tribute to his late mother in law and then told his audience about his road trip from the north-east to the 1968 Mexico Olympics. Much of this entailed hitching lifts with air flights from Scotland to New York, his journeys across the U.S.A. and Canada, back into the U.S.A. and eventually into Mexico and on to Mexico City. Accompanied by his brother Cec and dressed as English gentlemen complete with bowler hats and umbrellas the brothers were certainly noticeable and this led to many of their offers of assistance including lifts, accommodation and food and drink. Many places were visited including New York; Hamilton; Houston; Monterey; Washington and the eventual destination of Mexico City. In Mexico they came across B.B.C. reporter Martin Bell and his team and were interviewed at the Opening Ceremony drinking their “champagne” which had travelled with them namely Newcastle Brown Ale. The subsequent publicity home and abroad including a Newcastle Breweries advert led to some welcome sponsorship and their road trip finished very successfully and on a high  producing great lifetime memories for our Speaker and fulfilling his personal wishes . Questions and comments came from the floor when Alan concluded.

The Vote Of Thanks on behalf of the forty-one  attendees was given by Neil Ramshaw.




Chairman Michael Cochrane opened the meeting on schedule and advised of four apologies. He also advised that the Christmas Lunch invites will be available to members from next week.

Today saw Mr Trevor Moody travel from Huddersfield to present his talk/variety show entitled ” Comedians of our Good All Days”. The time period covered was the 1940’s–1980’s and members were entertained with a trip down memory lane listening too wireless clips and watching television sketches of some of the well-known and perhaps lesser known comedians of the times. These included Robb Wilton of “The Day War Broke Out “fame; Jimmy James with his gormless accomplices in the “In the Box” sketch and some homespun humour from Billy Russell. Albert Modley and Al Read received mentions with more up to date performances from Frankie Howerd; Tommy Cooper; Morecambe & Wise; Les Dawson ; Peter Sellers and Bernie Clifton and his ubiquitous Emu!! Excerpts from the Parkinson Show showing Howerd and Sellers at their best and a reminder of Les Dawson from his show displaying his skilful but tuneless piano playing added to the morning’s enjoyment . The presentation ended on a high with one of the truly great Morecambe & Wise sketches showing  Andre Previn playing a full and highly amusing part.

The Vote of Thanks on behalf of 41 attendees was given by Frank Ellis our own Music Hall and Variety expert.




The third meeting of the season was opened by Chairman Michael Cochrane who advised of seven apologies.

Today’s Speaker saw the return of Mr Tony Brown with his titled talk being ” In the Kingdom of the Ice Bear”. This was the tale of his sailing trip to the Norwegian Archipelago of Svalbard and surrounding islands (formerly Spitsbergen) located 600 miles from the North Pole. The boat would prove to be their home for 10 days with shifting ice making a land base problematical. Backed up with a first class photographic slide show the audience was treat to a panorama of geographical features that make up this part of the world with its landscape of ice caps, tundra and floes. Tony’s visit was during the summer and benefitted from a 24 day with no dark night time.

The buildings shown were of wood construction and had Polar Bear preventative measures in place. We were shown Reindeer, Husky Dogs, Walruses, Seals, Minke Whales  an Arctic and Blue Fox and a great variety of seabirds such as Arctic Terns, Eider Ducks,  and Puffins. The crowning glory was of course pictures of Polar Bears the undoubted kingpins of the area and very much top of the food chain. Suprisingly for such inhospitable climes there were a good deal of flowers although small in size. We learnt about how the animals operated in this environment and advised of the peculiar fact that nothing prior to 1945 can be removed from the beaches…its classed as Heritage!! Comments and questions were raised at the conclusion of the talk.

The Vote of Thanks on behalf of 36 attendees was given by Terry Byrne.




Chairman Michael Cochrane opened the second meeting of the new season by advising of an improved turnout and that four apologies had been offered. He introduced new member Robert Edenbrow to Forum Members and who was welcomed in the usual manner.

General Secretary Neil Ramshaw advised of a number of matters arising from the April A.G.M. in particular the need for supplementary kitchen support; an outstanding position of 2nd Vice Chairman to fill and the need for a Programme Secretary for next season. Enquiries from interested parties would be appreciated. A reminder to keep the Secretary up to date with any change of personal details was also requested.

Today’s Speaker was Mr David Alred, a regular “returning visitor “, taking us previously from the Washburn Valley to the Grand Canyon! His topic this morning would be part two of his “Nidderdale Heritage”.

Starting at Pateley Bridge, a black and white slide show of heritage photographs was shown and David provided appropriate detail in support. We saw a familiar looking “Pateley” high street from over a hundred years ago, mention of Metcalfe Brewers (Nidderdale Ales) and the Old Market Hall. Scenes from the 1935 Silver Jubilee Procession  were shown along with the local  Quarry which produced supplies of Yorkshire Stone. The railway came to Pateley Bridge in the 1860’s and operated until 1951 with seven trains a day to and from Harrogate including stops at Birstwith, Ripley Valley and Dacre amongst others. Photos included farming scenes of yesteryear with horses working the fields, before mechanisation, involving  ploughing and haystacking. Other rural illustrations showed sheep shearing and “Young Farmers Clubs” displaying cattle at local shows such as Nidderdale and Ripley. The slide show moved on to businesses using horse power for transport including the Post Office; early garages with hire vehicles and charabancs; blacksmiths at work; old mills such as the one at Darley and the extensive and labour intensive construction of a number of reservoirs in the area, some specifically to service Bradford. The final part of the talk showed family, sporting and a few quirky pictures. This walk down memory lane of a not too distant past, but much removed from our present, proved a nostalgic treat.

Questions and comments were made at the talk’s conclusion and Mike South gave the Vote of Thanks on behalf of the forty-one attendees.



Concorde: Up in Flames

Mr Duncan Verity: Concorde: Up in Flames

First meeting of the new season chaired by Mike Cochrane.
Tribute to 3 time Chairman and life member Roy Howard (d. 2/6/18) by John Taylor.
Outline of new banking arrangements and short financial update by Roy Smith. Audited accounts to follow.

Duncan verity from Wetherby MF gave a competent presentation; but a horrendous one. Duncan introduced a National Geographic DVD about the fatal crash of an Air France Concorde airliner on take-off at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport in 2001, which killed all 109 passengers and 4 people on the ground. Firstly we were shown a dramatic reconstruction of the moments before the crash from the point of view of the devastated traffic controller, who first noticed flames coming from the aircraft. Then we followed in detail the twists and turns of the Air France investigation during which all Concordes were grounded. There were 3 major clues – a ruptured tyre, a shattered fuel tank and a mysterious strip of metal. It transpired that the metal strip came off an American DC10 which had left a few minutes before Concorde. Tests showed that the Concorde fuel tank had shattered from the inside out on contact with the strip. Concorde flights were resumed but were abandoned in November 2003. The cost running “the beautiful white Supersonic bird” had become uneconomic.

Mr Verety explained, however, that many experts consider that some additional issues were not addressed. For example the 6 tons of extra weight which Concorde was carrying above its recommended load. These and other questions led to some interesting comments from members. Mike Cochrane gave the vote of thanks and recalled a visit to Filton in the 1960s when he saw Concorde being built.