Acting Chairman Neil Ramshaw welcomed members to the meeting and wished them all a Happy New Year. A new member David Siddons was welcomed and three apologies had been received. From the £300 raised at the Christmas lunch for charity, acknowledgements and thanks had been received in writing from the Harrogate Homeless Project and Solar Aid. A similar response was in transit from the other charity who would be using their donation towards examination expenses for impoverished students in Tanzania. John Taylor took the floor to advise that provisionally Christmas lunch 2015 had been booked for the 15th December.He then asked members to consider a proposal to purchase a digital projector which would assist speakers who do not have their own equipment, cost likely to be under £200 and with possible grant provision. Further investigation would take place before coming back to members but Treasurer Roy Smith confirmed funds were available to purchase. A query from the audience regarding installing an electrical socket in the hall floor was picked up by Mike South to check out feasibility and costs.
The first speaker of the New Year was Frank Ellis our longest-serving attending member of over 21 years and who has given many talks to the Forum over the years. Today’s topic was “A Sailor’s Farewell to his Horse” and this was a look at the career and show business act of Billy Bennett. Self styled “Almost A Gentleman” with a dishevelled appearance, walrus moustache and red-spotted handkerchief accompaniment his comedy act included jokes and more notably monologues such as “The Bookmaker’s Daughter” and “The Road To Mandalay”. Born 1887 in Glasgow the son of a show business act his own career was interrupted by World War 1 and in 1919 a precarious appearance at the Theatre Royal Dublin wearing a British Soldiers Uniform passed by due to his humour and irreverence. In 1930 he adapted his act for radio appearing with James Carew and Albert Whelan.His most famous monologue was the title of this talk and “The Green Tie on the Little Yellow Dog” and Billy Bennett left this life in 1942.
The Vote of Thanks was given by John Corby on behalf of the 34 attendees.
David Essam asked for support in filling his rota for the “Vote of Thanks” slots …and to therefore help achieve one of his New Year resolutions !!
NEIL RAMSHAW SECRETARY