Members’ Morning always gives the opportunity of offering a short talk to those who may not wish to speak for an hour. Mike South set the ball rolling with a fascinating talk about the varied jobs which he had undertaken before settling on his chosen career. These included working on a sewage farm, as a mower’s mate and as a farmhand. David Hopkinson then told us about a university expedition to Guyana of which he had been a member. Georgetown is an unusual capital, being largely built of wood. He also described the river scenery inland, including one of the world’s finest waterfalls. Malcolm Wood with his customary good humour then took over and introduced us to his large collection of ties of all types, colours and designs. His wife had even bought him a special Millenium tie for the year 2000 and he has a Yokshire Show tie which he wears only once a year. Finally Grahame Devonport reminded us of the tape of Wearside Jack which distracted the investigating officer in the Ripper Case and delayed the arrest of Peter Sutcliffe.
Derek Clarkson gave the vote of thanks and suggested that so great was the expertise within the Forum that we could continue without guest speakers. Malcolm Wood outlined a possible boat trip on the Leeds-Liverpool canal for our visit in May. This suggestion will be added to others made at the previous meeting and a final decision will be made on 9 April.
Roger Bancroft deputised as Chairman for Bill Blades who was attending the 1000th meeting of Bilton Men’s Forum. He announced with regret that Forum member Jim Bromhead had died after a period of serious illness. Our speaker was Terry Frazier, also deputising for John Bevers who had cancelled because of a severe throat infection. Terry has been a volunteer lecturer for the National Trust for 38 years and he gave us an excellent talk with slides about the Trust in the Lakes and the North-East.
The late wintry weather had reduced our average attendance of 33 to 26 but Terry immediately cheered us up by transporting us to a green Lake District of blue summer skies and shining waters. In 1901 the Trust began its association with the Lakes when it purchased the Brandelhow Estate to protect Derwentwater from the villa developments which occurred at Windermere. One quarter of the National Park is now owned or protected by the Trust. Recently Ennerdale has returned to the wild and Allan Bank and Wray Castle opened to the public. Excellent photographs of the Lakes then and now enhanced the talk. Finally we moved via Durham to Norhumberland’s fine houses at Seaton Delaval, Wallington and Cragside and to the enchanting puffins on the Farne Islands. John Taylor gave the vote of thanks.
The meeting concluded with a brief discussion of a possible visit on 7 May. Ripon Museums, Bradford Media Museum or a pub lunch apppeared to be the most likely options. It is hoped to make a decision at the next meeting.
Chairman Bill Blades commenced the meeting by reminding members of the change in programme for March and that Mr John Bevers speech on ” World Heritage Sites In The North” would be next week for 40/45 minutes followed by a discussion led by John Taylor regarding a possible visit or other activity to conclude this season’s programme.
Forum members were entertained today by Mr Norman Oberheim from Bilton Men’s Forum where he is also involved with a sub group “Imagine” for photography enthusiasts. Mr Oberheim took members on a trip through his many photographs and the stories or reasons why he had taken each one. Starting locally in the Bilton area we traveled to the Tuscany region of Italy visiting Florence, Siena and other rural locations before coming back to the United Kingdom with photos from air bases at Cosford and Elvington followed by a trip to Whitby and the Goth weekend ending with some staged scenes back at his home base which produced some startling and intriguing pictures. Members were advised how to prepare and plan the set up for good photos, creating appropriate frames and using colour, shade and distance to its best advantage. He also nailed the myth that “The Camera Never Lies” by advising how photographs could not only be enhanced but radically changed by use of computers and modern technology.
The meeting ended with a vote of thanks from Mr Roy Howard.
NEIL RAMSHAW SECRETARY
Chairman Bill Blades opened the meeting by advising that the Church Jumble Sale had raised £252 the previous Saturday and thanked those members who had donated items to it. A change to the March programe was advised with Mr John Bevers talk on “World Heritage Sites in the North” being brought forward to the 19th March and “Members Stories” moving to 26th March. Volunteers for 10/15 minute slots are still needed for “Members Stories” morning and those wishing to take part should contact John Taylor.
This morning’s talk was given by Vice Chairman Michael Cochrane whose title “Le Loup Des Mers” (The Sea Wolf) was a nickname given to Navel Officer Thomas Cochrane by the French as he was a daring and successful Captain in the Napoleonic Wars and members were regaled with tales of his early life and career.
Thomas Cochrane was destined for the Royal Navy from the age of five, a common but unlawful practice known as False Muster which was a means of acquiring years of service required for promotion. Starting genuinely at age seventeen Thomas Cochrane served on a number of navel vessels such as H.M.S. Hind, H.M.S. Thetis and H.M.S. Barfleur . During service on H.M.S. Barfleur he was court- martialled for showing disrespect, a clash with authority that would hinder his career going forward. We heard about some of his successful exploits, acquisition and sharing of prize monies, his command of the Brig Sloop H.M.S. Speedy and some of the tactics he used when in threatening situations e.g. flying enemy flags: claiming plague on his ship and using lanterns on barrels to float away and deceive the enemy at night. Other exploits included the capture of the Spanish Frigate El Gamo and much success against the French before a tentative peace broke out. Leaving the Navy to attend Edinburgh University he rejoined when war resumed but was assigned a very poor vessel; however his situation markedly improved with a change of government and personnel at the Admiralty.
Mr Michael Cochrane concluded his morning’s talk with the tantalizing prospect for the audience of a second half to Thomas Cochrane’s extraordinary life and exploits to be advised at a later date!!
A vote of thanks was given by Neil Ramshaw.
NEIL RAMSHAW SECRETARY