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.