Report 15th March 2011

Members’ Morning

The idea of a members’ Morning has been under consideration for some time and our four speakers did us proud. In discussion afterwards it seemed that we should repeat the experiment next year.

KEN ROBERTS – Ken spoke about the unique area of Yorkshire between Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham where deep seam coal mining developed.

By 1929 there were 33 pits in the area. After the bitterness of the Miners’ Strike in the 1980s it was government policy to obliterate all traces of the mining past. Manvers Main, where Ken worked as a Bevin Boy in 1944 is now a country park with a lake and bird hides.

PETER JACKSON – Peter was a hospital consultant and later medical manager but a poor linguist. In Saskatchewan as a gynaecologist he encountered one of the few patients who spoke only French which caused difficulties when discussing menstrual and sexual problems.

When in Wales it was eventually agreed, when the National Eisteddfod came to his part of Pembrokeshire that English could be spoken in the medical tent – but only if the medical tent was officially placed outside the Eisteddfod! Only Welsh is allowed within.

JOHN CLARK – John showed some model boats from his collection. He is one of the Claro Marine Modellers who meet in the Valley Gardens on Sunday mornings. Highlight of his talk was a model of a US Coastguard vessel. The full size vessel can plough through six-feet of ice at three knots. A model of this type would cost £250. It was the first time that John had spoken in public.

MIKE SOUTH – Mike talked about the concept of the gap-year which developed in the 1960s, sometimes an excuse for idleness but sometimes very useful if properly planned, e.g. by Gap Activities Project. His slides showed worthwhile years off in Gap, France ( very appropriately), helping disabled people in East Africa and his own experiences in Northern Nigeria, with an unusual style of fishing.

Reg Jackson, our oldest member and most regular speaker, now 97 years of age, gave the vote of thanks.

John Taylor

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