The meeting was opened promptly at 1030 a.m. by Chairman Richard Wright with two apologies having being offered. A letter from last week’s Speaker Mr Mark Smith was read out which expressed his thanks to the group for the warm welcome and positive feedback to his talk that he’d received and also his gratitude for the generosity of £145 raised in the collection taken at the end.

Before today’s talk Tom Snelling shared an anecdote with members, totally inappropriate for a Church Hall!!, but very funny and enjoyed by the audience.

Today’s Speaker was our own Frank Ellis, our longest standing member of over twenty five years and a veteran of many talks mainly on music hall/entertainment. His talk today was entitled “Tom Who?” and he shared the life story and reminisces about Tom Mennard, an English comedian and actor who had a long career in variety, radio and television. His comedic style was stories as opposed to just jokes.

Mennard was born in Leeds in 1918, the son of an undertaker, and left school to work for his father always claiming that being an undertaker gave him his sense of humour. He moved to Brighton where he worked as a bus driver, became involved in amateur revue and attracted the attention of singer Donald Peers on whose recommendation he obtained a B.B.C. audition. He also auditioned for the Windmill Theatre and afte two rejections was accepted to do a road sweeper routine. Other work followed including Harold Fielding’s “Music for the Millions” where he worked with his idol Rob Wilton. Subsequently he became a regular on Mike Craig’s Radio Show in Manchester where he reached a wider national audience. His radio work included his own show “Local Tales”. Some film and T.V. appearances were also made and in 1985 he joined the cast of Coronation Street playing the role of Sam Tindall alongside his real life dog Dougal.

Mennard died from cancer in 1989 at the age of seventy one.

Forum Members enjoyed the morning’s entertainment provided by Frank and the Vote of Thanks on behalf of the thirty seven attendees was given by His Honour Judge Derek Clarkson.



The meeting was started at 1030 a.m. by Chairman Richard Wright who advised of two apologies.

Under “Initial Notices” the funeral arrangements for Dennis Anderson were advised. A communication from Harrogate Forum was read to members which offered the opportunity to join them for future day visits/trips and some interest was shown from the floor.

Today’s Speaker was Mr Mark Smith, a double transplant recipient, whose talk was “Organ Donations: An Inspiring Story”. At the age of fourteen Mark’s ambition was to be a R.A.F. pilot but these aspirations were dashed when a period of ill health led to a Type 1 Diabetes diagnosis which continued throughout the next twenty five years culminating in a double transplant of his pancreas and a kidney in 2009. We heard how he persisted with his education, obtaining a degree at Bradford University where he met his wife and following a career path which saw him spend ten years at R.B.S. before being made redundant following the financial crash of 2008. He also sadly advised of the loss of his brother aged twenty one after a traffic/bicycle accident. Mark told us about the relationship with Adam Roger’s (his donor) parents, having a family (two daughters)and the charitable and personal challenges he undertook to get the most out of his life. These included climbing Mount Snowdon, hiking the Yorkshire Three Peaks, walking the length of Hadrian’s Wall and winning a bronze medal in the Transplant Games supported by his family and his donor’s parents. His fund raising efforts include a charity dinner which raised £11,000 and another £3000 from his various talks and climbs. The beneficiaries from these achievements are Kidney Care U.K., The Donor Family Network and Harrogate Dialysis Unit.

Mark’s enthusiasm and energy/vigour for life following all that has happened shone through and was certainly inspirational and well received by his audience and clearly displayed by the questions asked at the talk’s conclusion.

The Vote of Thanks on behalf of forty attendees was given by Michael Williams.



I can confirm that the funeral arrangements for Dennis are Wednesday January 22nd at 3 p.m. at Stonefall Crematorium and afterwards at the Pavillions.



Chairman Richard Wright started the first meeting of 2020 and advised of four apologies.

The year started on a sad note with the announcement of the death of Dennis Anderson, a member since 2012.

Michael Cochrane was thanked for his organisation of a successful Christmas Lunch where a collection of £312 was raised for the Just Giving Kate Curtis account on behalf of Martin House Hospice.

Toady’s Speaker was the Forum’s own Secretary Neil Ramshaw with his talk titled “The Two Funniest Words In The English Language” which looked at the career of one of America’s most highly regarded comedians, Film, T.V. and Radio performers Groucho Marx. It traced his career from vaudeville and films as part of the legendary Marx Brothers to his stand alone performances on T.V. and Radio where his unique and at times eye brow raising style of humour could prove controversial but also very funny.

Video clips highlighted Groucho at his performing best. Married three times his final companion Erin Fleming was controversial and whilst acknowledged as reviving his popularity and pushing for his honorary Oscar, was in dispute with his family over possible exploitation and after his death disputes over his estate. He died at the age of eighty six.

The Vote of Thanks on behalf of thirty six attendees was given by Chairman Richard Wright.



I am sorry to have to advise you that member Dennis Anderson passed away yesterday evening at the age of ninety after a short period of ill health.

Dennis had been a member since 2012 and spent his career in teaching, latterly as a headmaster retiring from Coppice School. He was my next door neighbour for over twenty years and a friend who will be missed. Condolences have been extended to his family, wife June and son John.



A convivial end to the first half of Harlow Men’s Forum’s 43rd season saw fifty seven members and guests gather at the Ascot House Hotel at midday on Tuesday for the annual Christmas Lunch. A good time was had by all and a charitable collection of £312 was raised for Adam and Jane Curtis’ Just Giving to Martins House Hospice.

Popular and much loved member His Honour Judge Derek Clarkson was celebrating his ninetieth birthday and the occasion was marked with a card and birthday cake presentation to which Derek gracefully responded in his inimitable style.

Thanks are extended to member Michael Cochrane who arranged this years successful event.

The second half of the season begins on Tuesday January 7th at Harlow Methodist Church 10 a.m. for 1030 a.m.



Chairman Richard Wright returned, after his holidays, to take the meeting which started promptly with five apologies having being advised. He welcomed those attending particularly the lady guests who had been saved from the perils of retail shopping!!

Under “Initial Notices” Richard read a note of appreciation from Angela Scofield, last week’s Speaker, who collected £83–93 for her N.H. S. charity.

Members of the forum were also advised of the arrangements for Bill McNicol’s funeral which is at Stonefall Crematorium on Thursday December 12th at 1220 p.m. with refreshments at the Yorkshire Hotel near the Cenotaph afterwards.

Today saw a popular returning Speaker Alun Pugh whose talk was titled “The Long and Winding Road…How the Beatles Became”. This would be a story of how the Beatles came together and their early incantations before hitting the big time. Alun painted pen pictures of each of the protagonists –from being born, their parents and family, the areas of Liverpool they grew up in, the schools they attended and how in various ways they met each other. John Winston Lennon was born to Julia and Alfred (a seaman and absentee father from John being six) with custody being passed to his mother’s sister Aunt Mimi who with her husband George became formative influences on the young Lennon. Failing his O Levels at Quarry Bank High School he went to Liverpool College of Art. At the age of fifteen he formed a skiffle group The Quarrymen. James Paul McCartney was born in 1942 to Mary and James (Jim). His father was a musician and his mother died when Paul was fourteen. At age fifteen he met Lennon and joined the Quarrymen where he recommended his young friend George Harrison as lead guitar.

Other names that featured in the story were Stuart Sutcliffe (the Fifth Beatle) and Pete Best hired as a drummer. In 1960 the group went to Hamburg to learn their trade and where Sutcliffe decided to stay when the group returned to the U.K. Best was replaced as drummer by Richard Starkey (Ringo Starr)who had been playing with Rory Storm and the Hurricanes. Brian Epstein became their manager in 1962, by which time they had morphed into the Beatles, and their first single “Love Me Do” was also cut. Mainstream success followed in 1963 and the group was on its way!!

Alun’s talk was supported by picture slides and he played samples of some of their records related to Liverpool locations e.g. Eleanor Rigby; Strawberry Fields; Penny Lane etc.

The morning’s entertainment brought back happy memories for many and questions asked at the talk’s conclusion displayed the interest that had been stimulated.

The Vote of Thanks on behalf of thirty nine member attendees and the six lady guests was given by Richard Brooks.



Bill McNicol’s funeral will be at Stonefall Crematorium at 12 20 p.m. on Thursday December 12th with refreshments afterwards at the Yorkshire Hotel near the Cenotaph.



The meeting was started by Vice Chairman Peter Wilson who formally introduced to members our new President Reverend Moses John who was warmly welcomed and stayed for the early part of the meeting.

Four apologies had been advised prior to the meeting.

Mike Cochrane advised members that today was the cut off date for Christmas Lunch bookings with a take up of about 59/60. He asked the audience to consider a local charity to benefit from our traditional lunch collection so this can be agreed next week.

Today’s Speaker was Mrs Angela Schofield, Chairperson of the Harrogate and District N.H.S. Foundation Trust, whose talk would be about the said “N.H.S. Hospital Trust”.

Angela advised us about the start of the Trust eleven years ago and how it was formed to have independence and accountability to the local community. She also encouraged Forum attendees to join the Trust as members and make their own contribution. It was explained how the Trust needed to demonstrate standards and credibility to be able to operate, the importance of accountability and being held to account. We heard about the core principles of being respectful, responsible and passionate.

Our Speaker then outlined the services provided by Harrogate and also Ripon Hospitals including all the Community services for Harrogate and the Rural District. Less well known were The Children’s 0–19 Community Services for healthy children which extended to much of the North East; Minor Injuries Services and Dietary/Dentistry services which also extended to a wider area. Not all services can be provided at Harrogate Hospital with an interdependence and need to work together with Leeds, York and sometimes other Districts to achieve the best outcomes.

Angela shared some statistics and key information related to the Trust and explained the management structure involving Executive Directors, Non- Executive Directors and the Board of Governors. The audience were advised about the monitoring bodies i.e. The N.H.S. Improvement ; The Care Quality Commission and some of the targets the Trust needs to achieve or strive for.

The morning’s proceedings had held member’s interest, supplemented by their own personal experiences, and a number of questions were raised at the end.

The Vote of Thanks on behalf of forty one attendees was given by John Taylor.



In the absence of Richard Wright, Peter Wilson continued in the chair for a second week and started the meeting at 1030 a.m. advising of three apologies.

Under “Initial Notices” Secretary Neil Ramshaw advised of the sad death of Bill McNicol, a long time and popular member of the Forum who had been in ill health for some time but died peacefully at the Nursing Home he was in with family members in attendance.

Mention was made of the Harlow Methodist Church Christmas Fayre on Saturday November 30th between 2 and 430 p.m. Donations from Forum Members (Bric a Brac etc) can be brought to the Church Hall prior to the event and attendance (and spending!!) on the day would be welcomed.

The previous week’s Speaker Andy Dennis had sent an appreciative note to Forum Members thanking them for their welcome/hospitality and advising of his collection for M.S.F. of £169–71.

Mr Eric Jackson, today’s Speaker, was returning for a second time with this talk entitled “Wonderful Things”. His subject proved to be a fascinating and detailed discourse concerning the discovery in Egypt in 1922 of the tomb of Tutankhamun by British Archaeologist Howard Carter funded by his patron Lord Carnarvon. The nearly intact tomb (unlike others that were desecrated in the Valley of the Kings) received worldwide coverage in November 1922 and by February 1923, with the antechamber having been cleared, on the 17th of said month with witnesses, including Carnarvon, Egyptian Officials, Government Press Staff and Museum Representatives, the tomb was unsealed.

Eric advised us about the concession rights for excavation in the Valley of the Kings held by Theodore Davis who passed them to Carter in 1914 when he felt the area was exhausted of finds. World War 1 delayed progress until later in the decade when Carter resumed his work.

Over 5,000 items were found in the tomb including a solid gold coffin, face mask, throne etc all exquisitly decorated with gilt and precious stones and it took ten years to catalogue all the find.

Eric explained how the “Curse of the Pharoahs” had no real credence but told us that Tutankhamun, one of the least known and esteemed Pharoahs in life had become, in death, the most remembered.

“Wonderful Things” is the phrase uttered by Carter to Carnarvon when asked what he could initially see in the tomb for the first time.

The talk was reinforced by excellent and detailed slides and a highly interested audience asked a number of questions at its conclusion touching on the tour of Tutankhamun’s artifacts currently in this country.

The Vote of Thanks on behalf of forty one attendees was given by Vincent Naylor.