News of Christmas Lunch
At this week’s meeting John Taylor reported that a record 55 members and guests had booked for the Christmas Lunch on 13th December.
It was agreed that the collection during the meal should be in aid of CETA (Chris’s Ependymoma Treatment Appeal ).
Ray Coggan Memorial Lecture
The Chairman, Roy Howard, welcomed Mrs Phyllis Coggan and other friends of Ray to this year’s Ray Coggan Memorial Lecture which was given by Frank Ellis, a veteran member of the forum and a good friend of Ray.
Frank recalled his first meeting with Ray and nicknamed him Pooh-Bah from the Mikado (Lord High Everything Else) because of the wide variety of Ray’s activities as a singer and as a property steward for the church.
Frank’s talk was entitled Jokers Wild, one of the shows in which the Crazy Gang appeared. The gang comprised Bud Flanagan and Chesney Allen, Jimmy Nervo and Teddy Knox, Charlie Naughton and Jimmy Gold and “Monsewer” Eddie “Earl “ Grey with his Cockney Frenchman act. Frank saw their last show, Young in Heart, in 1961, just before they retired from the Victoria Palace Theatre in London. The organised chaos of the Crazy Gang’s humour owed much to Fred Karno’s Army, popular around the time of the First World War, but it was actually all very carefully rehearsed.
As usual, Frank’s enthusiasm for the old-time variety theatre shone through.
Brian Blakey, another member who knew Ray well, gave the official vote of thanks and Phyllis Coggan thanked members for their support. She said that she felt that Ray had been with us throughout the morning.
Next year the Fourth Ray Coggan Memorial Lecture will be given by Judge Derek Clarkson as Ray, in addition to all his other activities, was a lay magistrate.
Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber
Another large attendance braved the fog, the works at the church and the Co-oP van outside to hear Ken Humphreys from Skelton near York on his ninth appearance at the Forum. This time he had chosen a more contemporary topic, the Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber.
Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice collaborated for the first time in 1965 to write a musical “The Likes of Us “, based on the life of Dr. Barnardo. It was not produced until 2005. Later musicals like Joseph and Jesus Christ Superstar were successful more quickly as Lloyd Webber proved to be a capable writer of melodic tunes and an astute businessman.
Evita, Cats and The Phantom of the Opera were his three biggest hits and we enjoyed listening to songs such as “Don’t cry for me Argentina” and “The Music of the Night “ sung by Elaine Page and Michael Crawford. Phantom of the Opera is still on stage in London after 25 years and is becoming an institution like “The Mousetrap”.
Neil Ramshaw, who has seen Lloyd Webber musical productions all over the country, gave an excellent vote of thanks and Ken as usual received warm applause from our members. John Taylor
Mr.Geoff Queen, a retired railway engineer from Kettlewell, is one of our most informative and reliable speakers. He understands the needs of a Men’s Forum as his father was Programme Secretary at Otley MF for over 20 years.
This time his subject was China. We saw the Forbidden City in Peking, the Buddhist Temples and the Terracotta Warriors and we learned in summary form something of China’s long history.
The compelling heart of the talk however was the Yangtze Dam and Reservoir. Mr. Queen visited the river in 2002 before the water level rose by 400 feet changing the landscape for ever. Already in 2002 we saw, on his slides, areas that had been abandoned looking like a war zone.
The work is now completed. 13 cities, 140 towns, 4,000 villages and 650 factories have been destroyed and the largest lock system in the world has been installed. Ships up to 3,000 tons can be accommodated. The reservoir is 400 miles long and would stretch from London to Edinburgh.
Peter Staples, himself a Civil Engineer now happily restored to health, gave the vote of thanks. John Taylor
Our Chairman, Roy Howard, told us that Judge Derek Clarkson had related no less than five mysteries to us in three previous talks. Derek’s talks are always keenly anticipated and once again he did not disappoint.
Most of his hour’s talk concerned the mystery of Anne Anderson, the woman who claimed to be the Grand Duchess Anastasia, the youngest daughter of the Russian Tsar. She claimed to have escaped the murder of the rest of the Imperial family at Ekaterinburg ( now Sverdlovsk ) in 1918.
Anne appeared in Berlin in 1920 originally as “Fraulein Unbekannt” (Unknown ). She had certainly signs of ill treatment on her body but the Tsar’s mother and aunt did not accept her claims. Long legal cases followed over fifty years in Germany and the USA where she lived but her claims were neither accepted nor conclusively disproved during her lifetime. She died in 1984.
DNA tests on her bowel tissue afterwards disproved her claims but in 1991, when the bones of the Imperial family were recovered, Anastasia’s remains were missing.
Our speaker, Judge Clarkson, went on to talk about the familiar story of the Titanic to emphasise that the investigation of the remains of the ship since 1985 has shown that there was no massive gash in the side of the ship after the collision with the iceberg. Instead there were several small slits caused by a weakness of the steel produced by the Siemens-Martins process.
Derek indicated that he knew details of many other mysteries which he could relate on another occasion. This suggestion was greeted by warm applause. John Taylor
Society For Blind People
Thomas Henshaw left £20,000 in 1810 to establish “a place for learning for life skills and trades”. His wife contested the will on the grounds of insanity but lost her case after a battle which lasted 23 years.
Henshaws was established in Manchester in 1837 in a grim Victorian building in Old Trafford and remained there until the move to Harrogate. It changed from a secondary school to a college in 1985 and the Arts and Crafts Centre opened on the site of Knaresborough Zoo in 1999. As 1 in 4 registered blind people do not work, the training offered is valuable.
Frank Ellis thanked Hannah for a lucid, Power Point presentation.
The Forum made a donation of £30 to Henshaws in lieu of a speaker fee and Hannah invited us to visit the site at some time.
A possible venue for the Spring Visit!