Monthly Archives: April 2013

Secretary’s Report

Chairman Bill Blades welcomed members to the last speaker meeting of the season which was also the third Open Meeting of the present session. He particularly acknowledged  the guest ladies who were attending and there was also a prospective new member Paul Chambers.

Mr Eric Waters was today’s speaker giving “A Himalayan Tale”. He opened by wishing everyone a Happy St. George’s Day and then gave the background to his talk which would be about a charity cycle ride in the Himalayas on the highest motor able road in the world at a height equivalent to that of Everest base Camp. Monies raised would be for Neema Crafts Workshop , a Tanzania based charity where he had done voluntary work in 2008 following his early retirement and which looked to improve the life of the disabled who received no state or sometimes family support in that country.

His talk took us through the logistics of getting himself and his companion from Harrogate to Heathrow via the train to King’s Cross London with bikes and luggage and then having to disassemble the bikes for packing and transport by air flight to India. The cycle ride was organized by the Cycle Touring Club and would climax with a trip on the highest motor able road in the world peaking at 18380 feet at Khardung La. The ride started at Manali and Mr Waters took us through the highs and lows of massive heat variations (below 10c at night and up to 47c during the day) ,weather conditions that caused road slip and blockages on not the best of road conditions, health issues (including a stroke for one lady in the group) , the delays and the logistics of keeping to the ride plans and schedule. Whilst the slides of the scenery were at times impressive and at others stark the overriding memory was of the physical demands made by the steep climbing, the high altitudes and range of temperatures experienced but the sense of achievement from the speaker was palpable despite the hardships and discomforts suffered  as was the pride in raising£7500 for his Tanzanian Charity. The audience was almost as exhausted as the speaker had been following the end of his story!!

The vote of thanks was given by Roy Smith.

Chairman Bill Blades concluded by thanking the membership for their support in his time in office, asked for no tears as he stepped down(and received none!) but got a deserved round of applause.

The Forum’s Annual General Meeting is next week Tuesday April 30th and there will be no charge for attendees.



The Speaker at today’s Forum making his eighth visit was Mr Eric Forster with the intriguingly titled “Why Geoffrey Layton hated Boy Scouts”.

The talk started back in 1933 when Mr Forster contacted rheumatic fever and was confined to his bed for a year. His illness and confinement led to his life long interest in collecting and he discussed particularly his interest in pottery and postcards which led on to an interest in tanks.He then gave us a potted history of tanks from the First World War including advising about tank banks ( a means of selling war bonds to raise monies) and a later year’s visit to Scarborough saw him looking for a tank postcard in a shop but coming across a funeral card for fourteen members of the E/13 submarine who died in 1915 having been grounded on a Danish sandbank and fired upon by the German Navy. The Commander of the E/13 was Geoffrey Layton and he was interned in Denmark but convinced his submarine had been the victim of a faulty compass openly revoked his parole certificate in Denmark and made his escape back to Newcastle in the U.K. Regrettably he was mistakenly attacked as a potential spy by a Boy Scout there looking to achieve his National Service  badge hence the title of this talk but recovered and was able to confirm after tests that the E/13 compass was faulty, was exonerated , regained high office and continued a distinguished career in the Royal Navy.

The talk concluded with a Harrogate tale from some year’s past about this particular talk being advertised in a Church Hall and the concern it created at the funeral of another Geoffrey Layton!!—serious but an amusing coincidence with the passing of time.

The vote of thanks was given by Peter Staples.



The meeting was started by Chairman Bill Blades as normal and Secretary Neil Ramshaw reminded members of the A.G.M. ON 30th April and if they had any topics they wished including to advise him or John Taylor. A subject regarding the issuing of membership database information (addresses etc)  had been raised by a number of members and would be covered at the A.G.M. so members with views either way should attend to be heard and vote as appropriate.

Today’s talk was given by a charity Jennyruth Workshops who are based at Ripon on the Newby estate and a team of speakers led by Tony and Jackie took part in the presentations. Jennyruth Workshops  is where adults with learning disabilities gain skills, confidence and happiness with  an extensive programme of activities and work. It’s a Social Enterprise involved with a variety of projects including woodwork, painting, metalwork, sewing, card making and office/administration skills. It also offers retail skills (has a shop) , life skills, has been involved in some impressive engine building work but also finds time to have fun with barn dances, quizzes and supported Sainsbury’s in Ripon on Red Nose Day with music and “spoon playing”. Members enjoyed the informal nature of the presentations by the group as evidenced by the questions asked and a short display of “spoon playing” conclude their talk.

Mike South gave the vote of thanks.

A short Forum discussion led by John Taylor took place regarding the May 7th event/visit and on a majority vote it was decided that a visit to Ripon Museum’s would be arranged and names would start to be collected next week.

Malcolm Wood following on from his member’s talk the previous week gave an entertaining display of his antique Corby Tie Press which concluded the morning in fine style.