Monthly Archives: April 2012

Report April 17th 2012

This Week’s Talk

This week’s talk was given by John Taylor our highly respected Programme Secretary.  Every year John works very hard on our behalf to provide us with a season of interesting, informative and very enjoyable weekly talks and presentations.  As well as keeping a watchful eye over each meeting and writing reports to the local press, he also organises the annual outing, Christmas Lunch and special events such as our 35th Anniversary Meeting.   So this week we were especially delighted that John was able to give us one of his carefully researched, accurately detailed and highly pleasurable talks given in his own smooth and erudite manner.

At the start of today’s talk John Taylor paid tribute to the retiring Chairman Roy Howard, who had introduced 65 speakers during his three spells in the post.                                                                                      George Mountford

The Strange Story of Victor Grayson

 Victor Grayson was a Unitarian Minister who became the fiery Socialist MP. For Colne Valley after a memorable election campaign in the moorland constituency in 1907.  Drink and outspokenness were his downfall.

 Grayson disappeared on 28 September 1920 when he was probably about to expose the sale of political honours by the government of Lloyd George.  One writer claims that Grayson was murdered, another that he took a new identity and lived on at least into the 1940s.  The true story will probably never be known but aged activists still remember the oratory and the enthusiasm of Grayson 60 years after the Colne Valley election.

Grayson was named Albert Victor after Queen Victoria’s grandson the Duke of Clarence in 1881.  In 1908 a future General Secretary of the TUC and Yorkshire character was named Victor Grayson Hardie Feather after the success of the MP.                                                                                                 John Taylor

Derek Clarkson gave the vote of thanks

John Taylor at 35th Anniversary meeting

John Taylor speaking at our 35th Anniversary meeting

John Taylor

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The Mayor of Harrogate at 35th A’ Meeting

The Mayor at 35 A Meeting

Report 3rd April 2012

35th Anniversary Meeting

Our Chairman, Roy Howard, welcomed our special guest the Mayor of Harrogate Les Ellington, the first serving Mayor to attend.  He also welcomed Councillor Jim Clark, our local Councillor and a speaker in 2007. 

John Taylor then outlined succinctly the early history of the Forum which is already well documented on the blog.  Over 800 meetings have now taken place.  Well-known names like Geoffrey Smith, Sir Thomas Ingilby, and Phil Willis have addressed the forum but its strength has always been the varied experience of its members (Bevin boys, judge, master mariner, civil engineer, UN official etc).

He praised the following stalwarts of the Forum:

Reverend Leslie Goy Founding father, first Chairman

Edgar Scholey,   Secretary for 12 years 1977-1989

Ray Coggan,      Secretary for 18 years 1989-2007

 Reg Jackson        Veteran member 1978 onwards

Ron Righton             Veteran member 1977-2008

Frank Ellis, Senior member present, 1992 onwards

The Mayor then spoke in the most open and delightful way.  He offered John Pearce earmuffs as John had heard him speak at Rotary the previous evening!  He noted that the first talk at the Forum in 1977 was Harold Hitchen on Luchon, Harrogate’s twin town in the Pyrenees.  Councillor Ellington is working hard to restore this association as well as striving to improve Harrogate’s rail links with London and to restore the Conference trade to its former level.  He has been in action on the Harrogate skate park and thinks that our young people are too often criticised. 

Afterwards he answered questions freely and frankly.  Clearly he has thoroughly enjoyed his term of office.  At the end of a memorable morning which members said afterwards they had greatly enjoyed, the Rev. Mark Godfrey, our President, gave the vote of thanks.  He had with him a church report from 1978 which noted the establishment of the Forum, which apparently had a membership of 43 at the end of its first year, six fewer than current membership.

 John Taylor