Monthly Archives: October 2010

Why Not Give A Talk

Why not give a talk to our forum.

John Taylor our Programme Secretary is always on the lookout for members willing to give an interesting talk or presentation.  We have members from many walks of life ranging from Sea Captain, Test Pilot, Bridge Designer, High Court Judge, Chemist etc. etc. etc.  many of whom have given talks in the past. 

Did you have an interesting working life of maybe an exciting adventure somewhere in the world.  Or did you, like most of us,  have what you think was just an ordinary job.  You would be surprised by just how interesting to us a talk about your job would be.

So think about putting together a few notes to jog the old memory and tell John Taylor about it – he may be able to fit you in for next year.

George Mountford 

Report 26th October 2010


Helping People Grow


Mrs Christine Brown and Ms Jane Inman both of Horticap were our guests this week.  Mrs.Brown spoke of the history and work carried out by this worthy local charity.  Formed in 1982 and now occupying land at Bluecoat Wood Nurseries Horticap helps adults with learning difficulties to develop their horticultural capabilities. 

  It had long been known that horticultural training in a caring environment for adults with learning difficulties has a great therapeutic effect upon those taking part.  But it was first necessary to find a piece of land.  After forming a committee they managed to sign a 10 year lease on a “….bleak, windswept, waterlogged piece of land high on Otley Road probably unchanged since the dark ages when Harlow Hill was known as Soldiers Hill.” 

So a manager, with one instructor and five students, had to set to work and perform a miracle, to transform this land into a well-drained productive plot.  They had an old caravan and an outside tap – but they had volunteers and they were fired with enthusiasm. 

The freehold was bought in 1987 and currently there are 39 students with ages from late teens up to 70s.  Ideally there is a ratio of five students to one instructor.  One of the volunteers is a retired speech therapist who runs sessions in Makaton sign language making for improved communication on the site. There is a bird-hide overlooking a wild area and a display garden of over a quarter acre and a garden shop that sells bedding plants, perennials, herbs, compost, chippings and well-rotted manure.


It costs over £5,000 per week to run this most worthwhile charity, of this 26% is raised from shop sales and garden maintenance.  But to best appreciate the miracle that has been wrought on this land and to these people – just visit Bluecoat Wood Nurseries and maybe buy a few plants, they are of excellent quality and great value.    

George Mountford   

2nd Ray Coggan Memorial Lecture

Report 19th October 2010 

 An Open Meeting with 32 people attending including the following lady guests:  Mrs. Coggan, Miss S. Taylor, Mrs. Smith, Mrs. Clark, Mrs. Wood, Mrs. Howard and Mrs. Wetherall. 

New members attending: Keith Wadd, John Dykes and Vincent Naylor.

 Mr. Stuart Tate, who has spoken at the forum more than twenty times before and therefore got to know Ray Coggan very well, then gave the memorial lecture. After paying glowing tribute to the efficiency, fellowship and good humour he encountered in his contacts with Ray, Mr. Tate then chose as his subject:

Taking The Waters in Ancient Rome.

 “I swear by Apollo the physician ……..”   So went the Hippocratic oath taken by many doctors of olden times.  Hippocrates (460 BC) was one of the first doctors to realize that disease came from physical reasons and not from gods, wizards’ curses or from witches’ spells.  He also pointed out the importance of taking healthy food and drink.  These beliefs were passed down to the citizens of ancient Rome.  One basic requirement was of course clean water and Roman engineers were adept at building aqueducts, some more than 50 miles long, to bring water to the city.  Another requirement being cereals, which were imported from North Africa. 

A far-reaching imperfection in their diet however were the traces of lead picked up from lead pipes, storage pots and lead lined drinking vessels.  This, some historians suggest, was a contributory factor in the fall of the Roman Empire.        

Mr. Tate showed some excellent photographs from his own collection and during question time he read out, in full, the Hippocratic oath.                                                                    George Mountford









Forum Donation To Samaritans

At the end of Victor Wild’s most enjoyable talk:  ‘The Story of Bettys’, on 5th October he asked us to donate his fee to charity.  It was decided to donate the fee to the Harrogate branch of Samaritans. 

Accordingly on 15th October Roy Smith ( Treasurer ) and John Taylor ( Programme Sec. ) visited the Samaritan centre in Harrogate to deliver the cheque.  They were welcomed by ‘ Sheila’, the Director of the Harrogate branch who conducted them on a short tour of the branch and gave a description of the work of the Samaritans.  Coffee was taken and the presentation made.

Presentation of Cheque

George Mountford

Report 12th October 2010

Recycling: A Council Perspective.

 Andrew Hoban, Recycling and Promotions Officer for Harrogate Council, gave an extremely interesting talk entitled: Recycling and Waste Prevention in the Harrogate District.


Harrogate has 68,500 properties from which 40,887 tons of waste is collected, 32% of this waste is recycled but attempts are being made to raise this figure to 40%.  To this end there are 147 recycling centres within the district. 

Recycling is most important and will become more so in the future. The methods used today must be improved.  For example if garden cuttings and waste are used in landfill, in time the gas methane is produced which at the moment goes to waste; this should be used in a more efficient way. The energy used in making one tin can could run a television set for three hours.  One third of the food we buy goes to waste.  Love food – hate waste!


                          George Mountford

Report 5th October 2010

The Story of Bettys

For this, the first in the 34th series of talks to be given to our Forum, we were privileged to welcome Mr.Victor Wild who related, to our great pleasure, The Story of Bettys.

Bettys (note the lack of an apostrophe) is an unequalled Café Tea Room in Harrogate North Yorkshire, England, unsurpassed nationally and internationally for the high quality of its products, menu, presentation and service.  Bettys has become the pre-eminent meeting place in the centre of the town for first class food and conversation.

After suffering disaster in his homeland, Switzerland, when the family mill and bakery were destroyed by fire and two of the family were killed, a young man, Fritz Butzer who was later to change his name to Frederick Belmont,  decided to emigrate to England and arrived at the railway station in London able only to speak a little English and having lost the document with the address of his destination.  After confronting several passers-by without luck, he found an old gentleman who spoke a little French who told him he should make for Bradford.  After returning to the station and shouting the word ‘Bratfort’ at the railway porters he at last found himself on the correct train to Bradford.

After working for a German-run business where he used his exceptional Swiss- learned skills in baking, confectionery and preparation of cakes and sweetmeats, Belmont decided to go into business for himself and the Swiss émigré opened his first branch in Harrogate in 1919.  From the beginning Belmont insisted upon the highest standards in his establishments. Not only did he demand the best in the food that he provided but also he used the very best cutlery and crockery on his tables. Highly trained and uniformed waiters waited upon his guests. Surroundings and ambiance were not forgotten, he once copied the panelled luxury and crystal fittings of the first luxury liner Queen Mary in one of his dining rooms.  This standard of service fitted in well with the clientele visiting Harrogate, which at that time he describes as a spa-town of the highest order,  with the nobility and crowned heads of Europe taking the waters.  Visitors to Bettys included: Lady Haigh, Admiral Jellicoe, the Duke of Athlone, Princess Victoria (sister of King George V ) etc. etc.

Today there are six branches of Bettys in Yorkshire located in Harrogate (2),York (2), Northallerton and Ilkley and the same high standards have been maintained.               George Mountford

PS.  When questioned, Mr. Wild admitted that there was some uncertainty about the origin of the name “Bettys”.     GM

PPS. I believe that in early days a possessive apostrophe was used in the name.  GM.