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.
NEIL RAMSHAW SECRETARY