Chairman Michael Cochrane opened the meeting by welcoming two prospective new members Les Simpson and Geoff Harrop. Three apologies had been given. Advance notice was given of the Forum’s Christmas lunch on Tuesday 16th December at Ascot House Hotel 12 noon for 1230 and menu’s/payments required back to John Taylor by Tuesday 18th November. A leaflet detailing the visit of a Vulcan Bomber to Robin Hood Airport Doncaster was also mentioned.
The format of today’s meeting was “Members Morning” with a number of Forum Members speaking for a short time on a variety of topics.
The first speaker John Taylor spoke on “A Matter of Language ” which he used to pay tribute to Bill Blades a former Chairman, Member and Head of the Kitchen Team who sadly passed away during the summer. He fondly recalled Bill’s understated for effect sombre manner and humour , talked about his upbringing in Middlesbrough, meeting his future wife and his linguistic skills.
Up next was Richard Wright whose “Pakistani Palaver” detailed his company posting in the late 1960’s/early 70’s to Chittagong East Pakistan with interesting and amusing insights into the Colonial system still in force, the Caste system meaning a large volume of servants and the social life centred around the Club. More seriously he spoke of his experiences of the 1970 Bhola cyclone which was the worst natural disaster in the Region with massive destruction and a death toll exceeding 300,000. He also experienced military unrest between the local Bengali Muslims and Hindu Army exacerbated by the failure to implement the General Election success of the Awani League . It was obviously dangerous times leading to his eventual evacuation following a short period of imprisonment at the hands of the Pakistani Army.
The next visitor to the Lectern was our current oldest member Ken Lupton who entertaining interlude was based on Harry Graham’s “Ruthless Rhymes for Heartless Homes” written under his pseudonym Col. D. Streamer and amused the audience with tales of shooting sisters, drowning grandmothers and putting children into their rightful place in the scheme of things!! He finished with a poem from Robert Graves.
The fourth speaker was the Forum’s own Treasurer Roy Smith an ex Prison Governor whose topic of “Borstal” touched on its post Victorian origins, its mid 20th century heyday based on Public School ethics and a profound change of focus in the 1970’s with the establishment of a Legal Model. Mention was made of the Prison Service’s biggest problem of overcrowding and no doubt these topics could be usefully and interestingly expanded in a larger time frame.
The morning’s talks concluded with former Chairman Malcolm Wood whose subject of “If I Can Help Someone” an ethos based on his family upbringing was illustrated by a story from his working time in a poorer part of Leeds , his interaction with a young toddler and despite being in a very poverty-stricken environment a surprisingly generous reciprocal response from the mother of the child.
Chairman Michael Cochrane thanked all the Speakers for their contributions and was supported by the 31 attendees.
NEIL RAMSHAW SECRETARY
Chairman Michael Cochrane opened the third meeting of the current season by welcoming attendees and advising of three apologies. John Taylor gave a short update on members who had been missing for some time due to health or associated issues and whilst most of the update was positive Forum Members would like to send their best wishes to Reg Jackson (Honorary Life Member), Roy Howard (Honorary Life Member), Denis Smith, Alan Norton and Roland Moor and hope that where possible they are able to return to the Forum soon.
Today’s Speaker was His Honour Judge Derek Clarkson Q.C. a well liked and respected Forum Member and a regular previous speaker whose topic was intriguingly ” Curiosities”. He entertained, fascinated and educated the attentive audience with a range of curious facts and information pertaining to large numbers e.g. millions,billions and trillions touching on the cost of the HS2 Railway Project estimated at £45 billions moving on to the concept of time and in particularly the advent and mind-boggling accuracy of Atomic Clocks. Other subjects examined included Astronomy and musical notes emanating from Black Holes to the brain aching concept of Pi having been calculated in Japan to 2.7 trillion decimal places. Human credulity was visited with tales of hoaxes by Sir Patrick Moore ( April Fool ), the selling of Trojan Horse wood to gullible people and the notorious Dreadnought Hoax of 1910. Curious facts were advised including Tolkien’s two-fingered typing of his Lord of the Rings epic and Charlie Chaplin entering a namesake look-alike contest and failing to make the final. Eccentric characters were mentioned including two clerics, one with an alienated congregation who he replaced with cardboard cut outs and the other who liked to dress as a mermaid!! Stanley Green from London campaigned for many years in a particular way to reduce lust by advocating eliminating protein from diets and avoiding wasteful sitting. The talk concluded with more amusing facts and stories and the appreciative audience enthusiastically applauded at its conclusion.
The Vote of Thanks was given by Gordon Richardson and there were 32 attendees.
NEIL RAMSHAW SECRETARY
This week’s speaker was David Alred who gave a delightful illustrated talk about the Washburn Valley Heritage. He had collected old photographs from many farmers living in the valley. David looked back over the last three centuries when there were a number of mills in Blubberhouses, Swinsty and Timble area.
His vast collection of photographs, illustrated the rich history of this part of the Dales.
The Forum’s 38th season was opened by incoming Chairman Michael Cochrane who welcomed back attending members and also extended greetings to two new members namely Mike Tutt who had attended several years ago and Jim Wilson. Two apologies had been given to the meeting. Roy Smith Treasurer gave an update of the Forum’s Receipts and Payments account for year ending 30th June 2014 and invited questions. Secretary Neil Ramshaw reminded members of the need for kitchen support (thanks to Roger Bancroft who is now immediately taking a week off!!) and the need for a 2nd Vice Chairman. Also please advise any change of personal details to the Secretary to keep Forum records up to date..
The Speaker for today was Mr David Davies a returning visitor having previously entertained and educated the Forum with post war governmental history. His topic for this talk was “1914–Out of a Clear Blue Sky” which examined the factors and reasons that led to the World War One hostilities and whether it came as a surprise or due to a build up of events became inevitable. Hindsight whilst easily applied is not necessarily accurate and we should not judge but more try to understand what led to the situation and apply some context. The times of apparent tranquility masked social upheavals and developments; troubles in places such as Ireland and expansionist aspirations on mainland Europe. Whist Britain was shielded to some extent from external threats by the strength of its Navy, agreements made covertly and Treaties entered into abroad led to existential threats eventually. The impact of personalities such as Kaiser Wilhelm, Franz Ferdinand et al also played a part in the momentum towards war with an increasingly wish from the military in some countries towards this agenda. Eventually the aligned alliances, the breach of Belgium neutrality and the Franz Ferdinand assassination saw the outbreak of war. The issues raised led to a number of questions from the floor.
The Vote of Thanks was given by John Taylor and there were 31 attendees.
NEIL RAMSHAW SECRETARY