Chairman Roger Bancroft opened the first meeting of 2014 by hoping everybody had enjoyed a good Christmas and wished all a happy and healthy New Year. Two new members, John Corby and Malcolm Rawdon were welcomed to the meeting and two apologies were received from Ken Burcher and Bill McNicol. The Christmas lunch at Ascot House had been enjoyed by those attending and an amount of £170 was collected for the Forum’s chosen charity Jennyruth’s Workshops.
The Forum speaker was our very own member David Essam whose topic “How a Cheshire Cat strayed into Harrogate” took us on a journey and sharing of his personal life and career with a promise of three speeches in one as he would touch on other speeches he had given on Gustav Mahler and Static Electricity! David was born in August 1942 in Hale Barns Cheshire a mile from R.A.F. Ringway and at age 11 became a young commuter to the large city of Manchester for his secondary education. For a young village boy the City Centre, Old Trafford and Trafford Park areas were a real eye opener as were things like the ever present smog and the different daily colours of the River Irwell. His education gave him strong interests in engineering and art—the engineering helped by early exposure to Meccano! He also joined a music group which led to his life long interest in classical music as he attended weekly performances of the Halle under at that time Sir John Barborelli who gave prominence to Mahler’s music. As a student he benefited from early and paid work experience on the Christmas post and with British Steel, B.I.C.C. and Banner Shirts amongst others. His further education saw an industrial placement at I.C.I Billingham and a train journey that saw him exposed for the first time to the delights of Ripon and more importantly Harrogate. He went on to further research at Birmingham University before starting his career at I.C.I. including work at Harrogate in the Fibre Research Department including textiles; a spell at Wilton I.C.I. and then a troubleshooting role at Kilrea Northern Ireland, Heidelburg Germany and Pontypool amongst others. International work for I.C.I. followed and he ended his career as a Du Pont employee following the takeover of the Polyester chemicals division in 1997. David punctuated his talk with some amusing incidents from his travels including plane and taxi journeys and a high tech bathroom story from Japan. Judging by the questions and response the audience had thoroughly enjoyed the morning’s entertainment.
The Vote of Thanks was given by Roy Smith and there were 37 attendees.
NEIL RAMSHAW SECRETARY