Monthly Archives: February 2015


Chairman Michael Cochrane opened the meeting with five apologies having been received.

Our President Reverend Christine Gillespie was welcomed to her first formal Forum meeting and thanked the Chairman for her introduction and also the refreshment she had been provided with. She advised the audience that her talk would not have slides or be holiday photographs and tales but would be a discussion about Bible translation. For the next 45 minutes Christine informed and illuminated attending members, with the different use of language and its understanding, using verses from the King James Authorised Version, the New International Version and the Good News Version. She pointed out that original source versions of the Bible had been in Hebrew, Greek and Latin and that translation could change meaning or emphasis and was also dependent on the style and interpretation given by both the initial scribes and then future translators. Also over time language itself including English changes in how it’s used and its meaning or understanding to audiences of different periods. A salient point was also made about more modern archaeological finds of older biblical texts that have been discovered after some translations of the Bible and this has allowed a greater understanding of the original intent.  There was general agreement however of the beautiful and at times poetic language used in the Authorised Version. Interaction between the Speaker and an engaged assembly was evident throughout the morning and evidenced by the questions raised at the end.

George Thomas gave a considered and thoughtful Vote of Thanks on behalf of the 35 attendees.



Michael Cochrane was back in the Chair for today’s meeting and welcomed a visitor Peter Wells to the gathering. He also advised that six apologies had been received. Welcomed back after a long period of absence due to ill-health was one of our Honorary Life Members Roy Howard a former three times Chairman and it was good to see him in attendance. John Taylor thanked members for their support on the rota for giving “Vote of Thanks” but there were still three vacancies to fill this season and he trusted these would be taken up at the conclusion of today’s meeting.

The Speaker taking the floor today was the Forum’s own Keith Wadd a native of Derbyshire, supporting Chesterfield F.C. and Derbyshire C.C. for his sins. A student from Leeds University with a Sociology specialism his talk was entitled “A Country Railway”. Styling himself as a railway enthusiast, which he put down to his early days growing up in Dronfield and watching trains coming through the Bradway tunnel, he proceeded to give an interesting and illuminating outline of the early railway lines in this country from the early 19th century, their rapid development which led to the diminution of stagecoaches and the turnpike era, to their own period of supremacy into the early 20th century before the advent of motor vehicles led to their decline. The first railway line Darlington–Stockton was mentioned as was the first modern railway Liverpool–Manchester and the speedy adoption of use by both passengers and freight and how the astonishing increase in railway line ( 1838 250 miles; 1843 1,800 miles and end of 1840’s 4,600 miles) brought the country together particularly the main cities and towns with substantial economic benefits, greatly reduced travelling time, time standardisation and the carrying of the Royal Mail. Seaside resorts became prominent because of rail links and improved accessibility e.g. Fleetwood; Weston Super Mare; Scarborough. The Pilmoor, Boroughbridge and Knaresborough country railway with a number of intermediate stations was developed by the G.N.E. and for many years employed a sizeable workforce  delivering good levels of passenger traffic as well as much freight particularly coal, agricultural products, cattle and horses for military training purposes. It delivered appreciable  economic cost benefits to the immediate area.Decline hit this local railway line in the 1930’s and today little evidence remains of its presence  but in its heyday it was an important contributor to the local area both socially and economically. The line closed to passengers in 1950 and for goods in 1964.  The talk generated a number of interested questions and reminisces.

The Vote of Thanks was given by Peter Belton on behalf of the 38 attendees.



Acting Chairman Neil Ramshaw opened the meeting with the very sad news of the death of Chairman Michael Cochrane’s wife Pam. All our sympathies and condolences are sent to him and his family.

Four apologies were offered to the meeting and a letter acknowledging a donation of £40 made on behalf of Mr Douglas Webb, who spoke to us a fortnight ago, had been received from  Harrogate Homeless Project. This donation had been requested in lieu of a Speaker’s fee.

Today saw a returning Speaker Mr Michael Bevington, amongst other things a volunteer with the National Trust at Fountains and Studley Royal, whose topic would take us on “A Walk Around The Studley Water Garden”. This charming presentation detailed some of the history of the Gardens and Estate taking us back to 1180 and the first Lord of the Manor Richard De Aleman and the surprising fact that the same family / descendants had been involved with the estate up until 1966 albeit with different names to reflect marriages etc. (Mallory , Aislabie’s.) The real development of the gardens started in the seventeenth/ eighteenth century under the stewardship of George Aislalbie and the gardens were built and developed on formal lines, as the custom from France, to impress, entertain and tease or tantalize visitors. The Aislabie family had a chequered history with George Senior killed in a duel, his son John a politician and Chancellor of the Exchequer disgracing himself with his nefarious involvement in the South Sea Bubble scandal and his son William surviving a tragic fire and then serving for 60 years as Ripon M.P. 1721—1781. Both John and William were heavily involved in the Garden’s continued developments and relied on the employment over many years of Robert Dove. In 2010 a major restoration and conservation project was initiated at a cost of £1 million pounds to restore the Garden’s to their 1781 status. Metal Entrance Gates which had been requisitioned and lost during World War 2 were by a stroke of good fortune found and repurchased from Kirby Moorside. With their walks, water features, follies and Greek inspired statues it is clear that the original Aislabie aim to create one of the most spectacular Georgian Garden’s in this country has been maintained and enhanced and the audience, very familiar with the location, asked a number of pertinent and thoughtful questions at the conclusion of the talk.

The Vote of Thanks was given by Vincent Naylor on behalf of the 36 attendees.



The meeting was opened promptly by Chairman Michael Cochrane who welcomed visitor Roger Howell and advised of three apologies.

John Taylor updated members with feedback from recent Speakers who had enjoyed their visits to our gatherings including Alan Pitchfork whose fee is going to Cancer Research; from Veronica Bird with her fee going to Northallerton Hospital in support of a Scanner Appeal and most recently Douglas Webb who in lieu of a fee has asked that the Forum makes a donation to the Harrogate Homeless Project. A letter had been received from Jane Norton thanking us for the sympathy card sent on Alan’s death and to those members who visited him at the Belmont Care Home or attended his Thanksgiving Service at St. Mark’s. The projector has been purchased and a request to the Harry Bolland Trust for grant support made.

Today’s Speaker Mr Brett Crossley whose topic “Wheelchair Adventures” provided an uplifting and inspiring personal story of a fit and healthy sports fanatic who suffered a serious motor bike race crash in 2005 which left him as a paraplegic in a wheelchair and who responded to his misfortune with ambition, determination and no shortage of courage to provide real meaning in his life.Growing up his father was involved in motor bike racing and he inherited this passion. Starting in 2001/2 at aged 28 he took up racing and went unbeaten for 72 races winning Newcomer and Open Class championships. He took part in the Manx Grand Prix in 2005 and was leading the race before crashing at high-speed with minimal injuries. However later in the year he was involved in a serious and life changing accident at the Oliver’s Mount Scarborough track which caused his current condition. A difficult period of rehabilitation, medical and physiotherapy treatment followed leading to an eventual acceptance of his ongoing condition. Leaving work he enrolled at Leeds Metropolitan University and also began his involvement with the Charity “Back Up” in 2009 with wheelchair training courses including a significant Multi Activity Course at Keswick the same year. This led to a trip to Canada encouraged by a friend he made on the course and the start of re-engaging his sporting interests. Activities he has tried include Sit Down Skiing, Wheelchair Basketball and in particular Wheelchair Racing. He has taken part in many athletic events from 2010 including York and Leeds 10K’s; Half Marathons such as the Great North Run, Silverstone and Leeds and also the London Marathon. He has also competed in events abroad and over time significantly improved his personal bests at all distances putting him close to Paralympians standards. Other endeavours have included Coast To Coast Cycle rides, climbing up Snowdon in his wheelchair and he has even been back on a motorbike at the Castle Combe Racing Track. His most recent interest has seen him take up the Triathlon which again has seen great improvement in times to approaching elite level.

A number of questions were asked by an enthused audience and Richard Wright gave the Vote Of Thanks on behalf of 40 attendees.