Chairman Peter Wilson opened the meeting promptly at 1030a.m.and welcomed a small audience for the annual Members Morning. He reminded members of Tony Bills funeral at the Harlow Church (our meeting place) on Wednesday March 2nd at 130p.m.

Today’ s meeting would see four of our members give a short talk on a subject of their choice.

Our first Speaker was our longest standing current member Frank Ellis who would tell us ” How I Started With My Talks”. Frank told us about his participant Pantomime experience at school (normally a preserve for girls) and how it whetted his appetite for further similar experiences. He advised us about Halifax Palace Theatre and the acts, particularly comedians, he went to see and how he joined a pantomime group there. An amusing anecdote of hunting dogs causing mayhem on the stage was shared and enjoyed by the members and he recounted coming across B.B.C. comedy actor Michael Craig on a cruise which enthused him with preparing and giving his own talks, something the Forum has benefitted from for over 20 years.

Our second Speaker was Andrew MacHutchon who told about being a “Corporate Buccaneer”. Brought up in various parts of Scotland his career started in merchant banking but moved to a steel company as a Personnel Manager. Asked to take projects on, not always to the customers benefit, he decided to start his own company which helped provide companies with access to venture capital where needed and he recounted some episodes relating to this. The marked difference in scale from the start of his operation of obtaining £100,000 to more recently £50 million showed how this market has grown.

Next on was Peter Belton to tell us about “Family/Daughters”. From 2010 his two daughters worked abroad , one in South America (Ecuador) and one in Africa. Peter regaled us with his travels abroad to places such as Quito and the same country where Panama hats originate from. His second daughter’s employment saw visits to Africa and locations such as the Serengeti and Lake Victoria. He shared a tale about travel hazards particularly problems with water and the dark! He advised that due to his daughters marriages he now heads a global family although both are now back in the U.K.

Our final Speaker saw Terry Byrne take to the floor with “37 years of wearing the Uniform of our Country” and entertain us with early stories of his National Service experience from the age of 18. With recruitment in Manchester Terry was initially refused by the Navy, Air Force and Army before being pushed back and taken on by the Air Force. He told us of various postings including Malta following his initial training and being there during the Suez crisis. We were advised of his mastery of the stores apart from one incident which was glossed over at the time. After three years in the Air Force he moved to the Army but time restraints stopped his reminIsces apart from an inspection from Montgomery!!

After the mornings entertainment concluded Neil Ramshaw thanked all four for their contributions and asked the nineteen attending members to show there appreciation in the normal manner.


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