Monthly Archives: December 2019


A convivial end to the first half of Harlow Men’s Forum’s 43rd season saw fifty seven members and guests gather at the Ascot House Hotel at midday on Tuesday for the annual Christmas Lunch. A good time was had by all and a charitable collection of £312 was raised for Adam and Jane Curtis’ Just Giving to Martins House Hospice.

Popular and much loved member His Honour Judge Derek Clarkson was celebrating his ninetieth birthday and the occasion was marked with a card and birthday cake presentation to which Derek gracefully responded in his inimitable style.

Thanks are extended to member Michael Cochrane who arranged this years successful event.

The second half of the season begins on Tuesday January 7th at Harlow Methodist Church 10 a.m. for 1030 a.m.



Chairman Richard Wright returned, after his holidays, to take the meeting which started promptly with five apologies having being advised. He welcomed those attending particularly the lady guests who had been saved from the perils of retail shopping!!

Under “Initial Notices” Richard read a note of appreciation from Angela Scofield, last week’s Speaker, who collected £83–93 for her N.H. S. charity.

Members of the forum were also advised of the arrangements for Bill McNicol’s funeral which is at Stonefall Crematorium on Thursday December 12th at 1220 p.m. with refreshments at the Yorkshire Hotel near the Cenotaph afterwards.

Today saw a popular returning Speaker Alun Pugh whose talk was titled “The Long and Winding Road…How the Beatles Became”. This would be a story of how the Beatles came together and their early incantations before hitting the big time. Alun painted pen pictures of each of the protagonists –from being born, their parents and family, the areas of Liverpool they grew up in, the schools they attended and how in various ways they met each other. John Winston Lennon was born to Julia and Alfred (a seaman and absentee father from John being six) with custody being passed to his mother’s sister Aunt Mimi who with her husband George became formative influences on the young Lennon. Failing his O Levels at Quarry Bank High School he went to Liverpool College of Art. At the age of fifteen he formed a skiffle group The Quarrymen. James Paul McCartney was born in 1942 to Mary and James (Jim). His father was a musician and his mother died when Paul was fourteen. At age fifteen he met Lennon and joined the Quarrymen where he recommended his young friend George Harrison as lead guitar.

Other names that featured in the story were Stuart Sutcliffe (the Fifth Beatle) and Pete Best hired as a drummer. In 1960 the group went to Hamburg to learn their trade and where Sutcliffe decided to stay when the group returned to the U.K. Best was replaced as drummer by Richard Starkey (Ringo Starr)who had been playing with Rory Storm and the Hurricanes. Brian Epstein became their manager in 1962, by which time they had morphed into the Beatles, and their first single “Love Me Do” was also cut. Mainstream success followed in 1963 and the group was on its way!!

Alun’s talk was supported by picture slides and he played samples of some of their records related to Liverpool locations e.g. Eleanor Rigby; Strawberry Fields; Penny Lane etc.

The morning’s entertainment brought back happy memories for many and questions asked at the talk’s conclusion displayed the interest that had been stimulated.

The Vote of Thanks on behalf of thirty nine member attendees and the six lady guests was given by Richard Brooks.



Bill McNicol’s funeral will be at Stonefall Crematorium at 12 20 p.m. on Thursday December 12th with refreshments afterwards at the Yorkshire Hotel near the Cenotaph.