The meeting was started by the Chairman Michael Cochrane who welcomed the seven lady guests to the Open Meeting. A new member Mike Hawkins was also welcomed and there were two apologies offered. Confirmation was given that the Christmas Lunch at the Ascot House Hotel had been booked for December 16th with 59 signed up!!
Today’s Speaker Mrs Angela Henson had spoken at the Forum many times previously but this would be her final appearance as she was retiring from the speaker circuit and she was thanked for her talks, time and contribution to the Forum and wished well for the future. Her final talk was titled “The Azores: Stepping Stones to the New World” and supported by an excellent slide show she enlightened and entertained the audience in equal measure with her discourse. The Azores belong to Portugal and are about 1,000 miles west of there in the North Atlantic. The islands are volcanic in nature either sitting on or close to the Mid Atlantic Ridge and were first discovered in 1427 (Santa Maria). San Miguel is the biggest island with Pico, Terceira and six other major ones split into autonomous regions of Portugal. Mrs Henson took us on an island hopping trip which displayed the full panorama of these volcanic isles,their geographical and flora features along with a look at some of their main towns, churches and customs including the use of the underground thermal heat for cooking. The Azores are basically self-sufficient in food derived from smallholdings/little farms whilst exporting some cheese to Portugal and producing outstanding pineapples as well as cultivating a tea plantation. Her talk may have encouraged some of the audience to consider the area worthy of a visit!
The Vote of Thanks was given by David Essam on behalf of 39 members and 7 guests.
NEIL RAMSHAW SECRETARY