Monthly Archives: February 2017


Chairman Peter Staples opened the ever popular Members’ Morning by announcing that three apologies had been received. He asked John Corby to update members regarding David Essam , a former member, who moved to Beverley last year and has experienced some ill-health but pleasingly is now on the mend and had asked to be remembered to those who knew him.

First up this morning was Mike Tutt giving his first talk to the Forum and who kickstarted the morning’s proceedings by sharing his experiences of “My Electrical Life”. Born in 1938 in Folkestone he made us aware of his  early moves due to evacuation in World War 2 and advised that he had always been interested in electrical things such as batteries and crystal radios even from an early age and when eight this was consolidated on receipt of a Meccano Set as a gift which stimulated his attention further. On leaving school he became a Unilever Electrical Trainee (Batchelor’s Foods) which after a year turned into a five-year apprenticeship including stints  at Port Sunlight Training School and Day Release at a College. Five years National Service from 1960 saw him chose an electrical trade, enjoy various postings around the world whilst working on aeroplanes.De-mobbed back to the U.K. in Southall with initial jobs on gyroscopic equipment at Heathrow he met his future wife and moved to Huddersfield with work firstly in Bradford and then with the C.E.G.B. ending up at Beckwith Knowle and is now semi retired taking contract work in his capacity as a sole trader. His entertaining discourse shared anecdotes about camels and golf clubs in unusual places!!

Our second Speaker was Richard Wright who has given a full talk previously to the Forum regarding Gambia and his personal and professional involvement there. Today he gave us an update particularly on the unstable, dangerous and changing political situation of recent months. Since 1994 the country has been under the despotic sway of Yahya Jammeh of the Armed Forces Provisional Ruling Council which deposed the previous government and gradually assumed the trappings of a dictatorship–lack of democracy, corruption, Secret Police and a Death Squad and prohibiting the views of independent voices whilst imprisoning opponents and leaving the Commonwealth in 2013. The period also saw Gambia’s economic decline from being the third most prosperous country in West Africa to last and becoming an Islamic Republic in 2015. However the 2016 elections saw six Opposition parties come together and defeat the incumbent with Adama Barrow declared the new President. After more turbulence, threats and a constitutional crisis Jammeh finally  stepped down in January 2017 and Gambia has begun a new era including reverting the Islamic status of the country and looking to return to the Commonwealth grouping. It is to be hoped the country enjoys less interesting times going forward!!

Former Chairman Michael Cochrane gave the third address of the morning which shared his recollections of enjoying cricket and hospitality in “The Committee Room At Headingley”. The journey to the Committee Room had started many year previously when he met up in National Service at Catterick with John Budd who was a Gloucestershire Cricket Colt,  a very keen player and all-rounder who was able to indulge his passion whilst doing his military service. Mike’s subsequent invitation to Headingley came from him when Gloucester were to play Yorkshire in a one day match with the proceedings being enjoyed due to the game, the company, refreshments and betting on the results!! Sadly Yorkshire lost this match.

Our final Speaker was Terry Byrne , in his second season as a Forum Member, but well-known as Chairman of the Residents Group and a First Aid Lecturer. His talk “The First Eight Minutes”, in which he was assisted by a dummy patient, painted scenarios around somebody having a heart attack and the actions that could and should be taken to give the best chance of survival and recovery and in which the initial eight minutes are vital. Terry focussed on the following factors highlighted by the starting letter to assist recall;

Danger.       Response.       Shout.       Airway.

Breathing.     Compression.     Defibrillation.

He used his dummy to show how these actions should be addressed and we were reminded of the Bee Gee’s aid to compression and shown how to position an A.E.D. (Defibrillator) He stressed the importance of knowing where defibrillators are located and accessing them and finished by sharing some amusing recollections of situations he had been in.

The morning had obviously been enjoyed by the thirty-five members attending and the Chairman thanked all the Speakers for their excellent efforts and praised the variety and scope of the different talks.




Chairman Peter Staples opened the third Open Meeting of the season by welcoming the attendees and in particular the lady guests in the audience on what was St. Valentine’s Day!! John Tyreman was also welcomed back after a long absence. Three apologies had been received prior to the meeting.

Today’s Speaker Mr Terry Frazier has been one of our regular Speakers in recent years and the subject of this discourse was to be “Putting The House To Bed: Conservation And Housekeeping In The National Trust”. Backed up by a comprehensive slide show he started with some history of the National Trust which was formed in 1895 and now owns three hundred historical houses and is in need of constantly seeking to raise large sums of money for restoration and maintenance. National Trust properties are generally closed down in winter and open to the public from March onwards.

His talk focussed on the following areas:

–establishing causes of deterioration.

–preventative conservation.

–more radical conservation or restoration.

The problems confronted by the National Trust and its Volunteers are the effect of light (damage and fading); humidity (under or over); damage from feet and hands: mechanical issues; dust; incorrect use of proprietary cleaning products and insects (wood worm and carpet beetles).

Accompanied by slides from rooms in National Trust properties we were shown the before and after impact of various restored items therein. Terry also advised how the various problems were addressed including keeping humidity in the 50/60% range; use of matting and blinds to minimise dust, dirt and light damage; the use of barriers to create distance and again limit dust issues and interestingly allowing mechanical objects to remain inert and enhance preservation. Use of specialist restorers was looked at as was the range and variety of dusting and polishing for different items.

What came across quite strongly was both the professionalism and planning schedules applied to restoration and maintenance issues by the army of volunteers and others to the vast range of objects in their care including all types of furnishings, metal items, wood, ceramics, art work and books. The use of modern technology in the many processes was also highlighted.

A variety of questions and comments were put to the Speaker at the end of the morning.

The Vote of Thanks was given by Mike South on behalf of the forty member attendees and eleven lady guests— a record number for both an Open and any meeting!!

Before closing the proceedings the Chairman advised of a Harrogate Archaeological Society talk at Harlow Hill Methodist Church on Saturday March 4th 2.30p.m.–4p.m. by Marion Jefferies entitled ” Yorkshire Women At War: The Story Of Women’s Land Army Hostels Including the Beckwithshaw Hostel”.




The meeting was opened by Chairman Peter Staples who noted two apologies had been offered prior to the meeting.

Today’s Speaker was Honorary Life Member and Programme Secretary John Taylor whose talk topic was “Forty Years On” noting that our Forum was in its 40th/Ruby season. John spent the next hour giving a potted history of Harlow Men’s Forum,  its characters, and to provide context, some events from 1977 and some brief interludes from his own personal life throughout that period, including his involvement with the Forum from 2002.

Forty years ago in Harrogate the Reverend Goy Minister of Harlow Hill Methodist Church was planning the foundation of this group for retired men. At that time a youthful John Taylor in Mansfield was contemplating a career change from teaching to a position on the Public Examination Board which would see him relocate to the Otley Road in Harrogate.

“Forty Years On” was also a famous school song used by Harrow, Manchester Grammar School and many others in the Commonwealth and wider world. The 1977 Radio Times was 25p.(now £4-50), house prices much lower and it was also the 950th anniversary of the coronation of William the Conqueror in Westminster Abbey.

“Forty” seems to find particular resonance in religion with examples such as forty days and nights in the wilderness; forty days from Resurrection to Ascension; the forty days of the Old Testament Flood and Mohammed being forty years old when he received his Islamic Revelations. Ali Baba had forty thieves and Zirconium has an atomic number of forty!

Forty years are also a Ruby Anniversary which the Forum is currently celebrating ; a ruby is one of the four most precious stones and some other pertinent ruby facts were shared

1977 was the Queen’s Silver Jubilee; Jim Callaghan was Prime Minister; Jimmy Carter was U.S. President; Geoffrey Boycott scored his 100th “100” in a test match at Headingley; Virginia Wade won Wimbledon and ” Mull Of Kintyre/ Don’t Cry For Me Argentina” were popular tunes from the year.

Harlow Men’s Forum was one of the last to form in Harrogate behind Harrogate (1951), Woodlands (1960), Knaresborough (1970) and Bilton (1972). The driving force behind our Forum was the Reverend Leslie Goy supported in the early days by Edgar Scholey and Councillor Thackray. The first meeting was 20th September 1977 with Councillor Harold Hitchens talking about The People of The Pyrenees–we are now on our 1047th meeting!!

Our longest-serving members were Reg Jackson (36 years) and Ron Righton (30 years). Leading characters in the early years were the aforesaid Edgar Scholey and Speakers such as Major Frank Williams and Stuart Tate. Ray Coggan arrived in 1988 and was an immense force in the Forum in all capacities.

Presidents of the Forum have been Ministers from the Harlow Methodist Church and have included the Reverend’s ‘ Gordon Lister, Ron Dale, Shaun Swithenbank, Mark Godfrey through to current incumbent Christine Gillespie respectively.

Our pattern of meetings has changed little from inception although Returning Speakers, Members’ Mornings and Open Meetings are now regular features.

John’s miscellany covered more of his move to Harrogate, his continuing career and retirement and subsequent involvement with the Forum. He paid tribute to the contribution made by specific individuals over the years but saved his most fulsome praise for all the members who contribute to the strength and personability of this Forum. He shared some of the varied talk topics enjoyed over the years and also some of the special Ruby events occurring during this season. At the end of a well constructed, informative and entertaining journey from 1977 to date, questions and comments were made by the audience who had obviously appreciated the mornings procedures.

The Vote Of Thanks on behalf of the 40 attendees ( how appropriate!!) was given by longest-serving Forum Member Frank Ellis.

The next Meeting is an Open Meeting to which all, and in particular ladies, are most welcome–Tuesday February 14th 10 a.m. for 1030 a.m.