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        

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