Monthly Archives: November 2016


The first Open Meeting of our Ruby Season was opened by Chairman Peter Staples who welcomed the nine lady guests in attendance. Four apologies had been offered prior to the meeting.

Regrettably sad news had been received of the passing of former member Phillip Sladdin who had left due to health problems and had been in Belmont Care Home for some time.

A final reminder for Christmas Lunch orders to John Taylor today was given and thanks proffered to Peter Belton for deputising in Mike South’s absence and preparing the room.

Today’s Speaker was Miss Sue Wood from Harrogate Borough Council’s Park and Open Spaces Department whose titled talk was “Park Life”. Sue , a horticultural expert , of twenty-eight years with Harrogate Borough Council Parks Department is also a Judge on Yorkshire and Britain in Bloom panels. Her coloured slide-driven presentation updated the listeners on current parks and garden projects and advised of the consolidated work structure now in operation which encompasses environmental and waste issues. However her concentration was on parks, gardens and gardening services including tree maintenance, plant and flower propagation and grass-cutting work and we were made aware of some significant statistics in terms of areas of land covered, number of plants/flowers produced, trees looked after and monitored and also the number of visitors to Council sites. The operation of Harlow Hill Nursery was discussed and the considerable output of flowers and plants by a low number of staff with minimal mechanised aids–600 baskets and troughs for the Council and over 200 also produced for private clients e.g. hotels and sales to the public. Displays were also prepared and produced for events at the Harrogate International Conference Centre and occasions such as the Mayoral Meeting at the Royal Hall. There was also a large emphasis on green waste composting and the recycling of broken equipment such as plant pots and tools. Sitting benches positioned around the District are now made from recycled plastic with much improved durability and lifespans.

Bereavement was also part of the team’s remit with 10 cemetaries and 11 closed churchyards looked after with approximately 1500 cremation and 350 burials annually. Over 6/7 years a project of making safe the gravestones has been carried out with help from the Probation Services and indeed the Parks and Gardens Department work with Schools, Junior Soldiers, Askham Bryan students  and Community Groups to enhance the considerable and varied flower and foliage enjoyed in Harrogate District.  Responsibility for the 900 Hectares of grass-cutting on a fortnightly basis is another challenge and other events supported include the Trans- Pennine Rally (August each year); the 1940’s day in the Valley Gardens; Cie Carabosse (Harrogate International Festival), the erection of Christmas trees around the District and working with “Friends” of groups e.g. Jacob Smith; Bachelor Gardens ; Valley Gardens and various “Bloom ” Groups. Following the end of the talk an attentive and enlivened audience raised a number of relevant and sometimes controversial issues making it obvious that the presentation had been well received.

The Vote Of Thanks was given by Roy Smith on behalf of the thirty-eight member attendees and our nine lady guests.







Chairman Peter Staples opened the meeting advising that one apology had been received. A final reminder that Christmas Lunch orders (December 13th) needed to be with John Taylor by next Tuesday (29th) latest.

Today’s Speaker saw Mr Jerry Pearlman take the floor— a Leeds solicitor and keen rambler being Honorary Solicitor to the Ramblers Association for many years–with his talk “The Death Of The Common Attorney”. This proved to be an entertaining and anecdotal advocacy outlining the great pace of change which has affected the legal profession in such a way that the common attorney/small practice solicitor is in danger of extinction!! Jerry touched on some of the differences between solicitors and barristers, how working conditions and practices had changed with such things as E/Mail, Bank Transfer procedures and modern photocopying facilities as well as reliance on- line publication of legal text books which has replaced the sizeable and expensive bound books of previous years. He argued that the loss of monopoly markets in matters such as conveyancing, wills and probates and changes in licensing legislation had all impacted on his profession reducing the cream and sometimes the actual milk itself from revenue. There was also much less criminal work for solicitors due to an increasing reliance on Police cautions; limited firms of solicitors used for criminal legal aid work and the increasing local use of McKenzie Friends to assist a litigant in court. Divorce and Separation were nowadays much less complex issues bringing again a reduced legal workload and with litigation changes proposed, such as minimising whiplash claims, that would continue the trend of the Common Attorney’s demise. He shared some reminisces of cases and clients he had been involved with and took pride in his personal involvement in drafting Parliamentary Bills legislation which led to the Right to Roam as well as seeing his provincial firm appear twice in the Times Law Reports on the same day!! An engaged audience asked a number of pertinent questions after he concluded.

The Vote of Thanks was given by Keith Wadd on behalf of the 43 members attending.

Two late notices were announced:

–a reminder of the Church’s Christmas Fair on Saturday November 26th and a request for donations and/or attendance.

–Terry Byrne advised of the Green Hut offering a Christmas Lunch to local residents who were on their own–he has details if anyone knows persons who may benefit.




Chairman Peter Staples opened the meeting by welcoming occasional visitor Roger Howell. Best wishes to Forum Members had been sent by Mike McKevitt whose ill-health has prevented his attendance this season. A reminder of Christmas Lunch on Tuesday December 13th and the need for orders and payments to John Taylor by Tuesday November 29th was reiterated. Fifty bookings had already been received.

Today saw a returning Speaker Mr Roger Oldfield, a member of Harrogate Men’s Forum, with his talk titled “The Line Over The Top”. He has a keen interest in the history of the Railway Age and this discourse, with an illustrated slide show, told us about the origins and development of the Settle- Carlisle Railway Line and many of the trials and tribulations during its construction. Genesis of the line was initiated by Midland Railway Company who wanted access to Scotland and were in dispute/competition with London and North Western Railway who had the existing tracks. Royal Assent for the line was given in 1866 which proposed the joining of the Ribble/ Eden valley’s. An estimated cost of £2.3 million was set and raised from Midland’s shareholders although actual costs exceeded £3.5 million. Construction took seven years between 1869-1876 employing 6,000 navvies and many other skilled workers. It would transverse different geological surfaces, cover a distance of around 73 miles and see the creation of numerous viaducts and tunnels particularly noteworthy being the Ribble Viaduct and Blea Moor Tunnel. At its  peak Dent is the highest railway station on the line at 1150 feet above sea level and whilst the construction period is acknowledged as one of the greatest feats of Victorian engineering there was associated baggage including death, disease and drink fuelled violence amongst the workforce. Two individuals stand out particularly for their efforts in bringing the project to fruition – James Allport Midland General Manager and John Crossley Chief Engineer of the Midland Railway both responsible for originally surveying the railway’s route and then ensuring its design and construction.

Our Speaker shared some of its history since opening in 1875 to initially freight and then passengers; mention was made of some of the accidents on the line and the difficulties that can be caused by extreme weather conditions in this location. Following the merger of Midland into the L.N.W.R in 1923  rundown of the system started and this quickened with nationalisation in 1948 with stations closing and total closure of the line recommended in the 1963 Beeching Report. Campaigns against closure were eventually successful and the line is now a tourist magnet as well as carrying much rail-freight traffic. At “Journey’s End”  Roger took a number of questions from his appreciative audience.

The Vote Of Thanks was given by Derek Simpson on behalf of the 43 attendees and Chairman Peter Staples conclude proceedings by advising of the Church’s Christmas Fair on Saturday November 26th for which donations of books, bric a brac and raffle prizes would be welcomed from members.








The Meeting was opened  promptly by Chairman Peter Staples with two apologies having been offered. He updated members on the progress of Ken Roberts, our second oldest member, who has not been well having spent some time in care but glad to report is now back at home. Our best wishes are sent and we hope to see him again soon.

Details of the Christmas Lunch on Tuesday December 13th were also available to members which included menu choice and  booking forms. Those wishing to attend need to return menu choices and full payment to John Taylor by Tuesday November 29th. (although early booking recommended in case demand exceeds supply!!)

Today saw a returning Speaker Mr David Aldred from Burley- In -Wharfedale, a keen walker, seasoned traveller and photographer who took us on a tour “From Zion To Las Vegas”. Backed up by a comprehensive slide show he advised that the genesis of this tour was his youngest daughter relocating to Vancouver in 1990 and their visit to see her for one week first in 1991, with further subsequent trips,  was extended to a  three months tour in a Motor Home down into the U.S.A. through Oregon, California and a number of other states. We shared some of his experiences in canyons and locations such as Zion; Bryce; The Grand Canyon and Colorado River; The Petrified Forest; Monument Valley; Arches National Park and finished in Las Vegas.  The slides showed some stunning geographical formations, landscapes and river scenes and members  were awed by some of the tremendous sizes and distances transversed– indeed the whole initial tour covered 9,000 miles!! The variety in different areas such as Zion Canyon (a sandstone region) and the topography created by erosion and extreme weather conditions forming features such as sand butts was to be marvelled at. We experienced Coral Pink Sand Dunes; cactus in flower and an assortment of flowers such as Larkspur; Indian Paintbrush; Silver Leaf Nightshade and Scarlett Gilia. The presence of Chipmunks; Ground Squirrels; Californian Condors; Lizards;  Antelopes; Elks ; Wolves; Bears; Coyotes and Prairie Dogs was highlighted. The talk finished with a visit to Las Vegas, down the Strip showing the replica architecture from around the world that comprised the Hotels and Visitor Locations but carried a health warning about the ubiquitous Slot Machines.

The Vote Of Thanks on behalf of thirty-eight attendees was given by John Corby.




Two apologies were offered prior to the Meeting.

Today’s proceedings saw a different approach than usual with the first of a number of special events to celebrate our Ruby (4oth) anniversary year. At 1030 a.m. Chairman Peter Staples introduced The Daytones Harmony Chorus, a Barbershop Group from Wetherby. Nineteen members of the Chorus arrived to provide a polished and highly entertaining morning’s performance with the one hour speeding by most agreeably in the company of the group formed in 1992.

Entertainingly compered by Mike Earle the format included as well as songs, a few (tall!!) stories and jokes which added to the performance but the singing and choice of songs was standout quality. The varied repertoire included songs by the Beatles (When I’m 64); Stevie Wonder (For Once In My Life); Billy Joel (The Longest Time); Bill Withers (Lean On Me) and traditional numbers such as Amazing Grace, Down By The Riverside as well as others. We were advised about Risers and about Polecats–songs which all Barbershop Harmony Groups are encouraged to learn as a shared canonic repertoire and all famous traditional examples of the Barbershop Genre — “Wait ‘Til The Sun Shines Nellie” was performed from this collection.

Breaking out from the main Daytone Group,  a subset “Small Co.” gave a rendition of “Basin Street Blues” and Harold Blackburn performed an amusing and witty monologue. The performance ended with the full Group involved in a Rock And Roll Medley and a concluding number of “Let’s Get Together Again”.

Chairman Peter Staples gave a Vote Of Thanks from an appreciative audience of 42 and reflected the Forum’s wish for a future visit from this Group.