Author Archives: harlowmensforum

Secretary’s Report

Roger Bancroft deputised as Chairman for Bill Blades who was attending the 1000th meeting of Bilton Men’s Forum.  He announced with regret that Forum member Jim Bromhead had died after a period of serious illness.  Our speaker was Terry Frazier, also deputising for John Bevers who had cancelled because of a severe throat infection.  Terry has been a volunteer lecturer for the National Trust for 38 years and he gave us an excellent talk with slides about the Trust in the Lakes and the North-East.
The late wintry weather had reduced our average attendance of 33 to 26 but Terry immediately cheered us up by transporting us to a green Lake District of blue summer skies and shining waters. In 1901 the Trust began its association with the Lakes when it purchased the Brandelhow Estate to protect Derwentwater from the villa developments which occurred at Windermere. One quarter of the National Park is now owned or protected by the Trust.  Recently Ennerdale has returned to the wild and Allan Bank and Wray Castle opened to the public. Excellent photographs of the Lakes then and now enhanced the talk.  Finally we moved via Durham to Norhumberland’s fine houses at Seaton Delaval, Wallington and Cragside and to the enchanting puffins on the Farne Islands.  John Taylor gave the vote of thanks.
The meeting concluded with a brief discussion of a possible visit on 7 May. Ripon Museums, Bradford Media Museum or a pub lunch apppeared to be the most likely options. It is hoped to make a decision at the next meeting.

Change to next Tuesday’s Programme

Moira Smith has been called away to attend a meeting in Birmingham and will be unable to give her talk on Tuesday 5th February.  Instead she has found a very capable
substitute Mr. Geoff  Pawson who will talk about “The wild flowers of Bolton Abbey”.

Secretary’s Report

To cancel or not to cancel is the dilemma of a Programme Secretary in snowy and icy weather. In the event 19
members braved the poor conditions to hear David Davies talk about “The years of recovery and change from 1951 to 1964”.  During this period living conditions improved as austerity eased and controls were lifted but Britain’s economic performance lagged behind European countries and imperial commitments were discarded after the Suez fiasco showed that we could not act independently of the USA on the world stage. Four conservative Prime Ministers (Churchill, Eden, Macmillan, Home) sought to rule from the centre and did not undermine the welfare state established by the Labour government of 1945 to 1951. Mr Davies lightens the serious analysis of his talks with photographs of the time including on this occasion the London smogs, the Mini, teenage Mods and Rockers and the iconic images of Hillary on Mount Everest and Bannister completing the 4 minute mile.  Most remarkably of all perhaps the Queen has reigned throughout the period under discussion and will overtake Queen Victoria as our longest reigning monarch in three years time.  Vincent Naylor gave the vote of thanks and several members stayed to discuss issues raised with the speaker afterwards, always a sign of a successful morning.

Secretary’s Report

Michael Langford was our speaker today. He took us “around the world for 80 reasons”. Michael runs his own travel agency in Harrogate which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. People consult him for business trips, specialist holidays, beach holidays and everything from honeymoon travel to emergencies caused by the sudden death of a relative abroad.  In an engaging power point presentation he took us alphabetically from architecture to waterfalls in his explanation of the different reasons for travel. On a snowy day we travelled to New York, Thailand and South Africa and many other places in our imagination. It was clear from Michael’s talk that the small travel agent organising tailor-made holidays has to weigh up very carefully the preferences and needs of each potential client.  Michael himself is no longer travelling to familiar places but is looking forward to visiting Vietnam. In closing the meeting our Chairman Bill Blades revealed that he had travelled first class with his wife on honeymoon to Blackpool but had returned by bus a few days later!

Secretary’s Report

At the first meeting of 2013 John Taylor paid tribute to former Chairman John Pearce who died sadly only 5 days after the Forum Christmas lunch.  He had a distinguished career in civil engineering and later had supported many good causes.  Universally regarded as a good, kind man he had introduced many new members to the Forum.
The Chairman Bill Blades then introduced Mike and Anna McKevitt who in a pleasing conversational style described Mike’s career in the theatre as an actor. Is there no end to the variety of experience within our group of around 50 members?  Mike or Frank as he was then known grew up in Glasgow and started as a drummer. He was introduced in that role to the great Sir Harry Lauder and later played Lauder in a play based on his life story.  After a spell in the Forces in Egypt and a brief period as a shop assistant, his success in amateur drama obtained him the promise of parts in the Donald Wolfit company. Although in the event he never worked with the great man, Mike became a member of the great Joan Littlewoood company at Stratford East with Harry H. Corbett, appeared in a Wesker play at the Royal Court during the radical 60s and had parts in many long running TV series such as Emergency Ward 10, Dr Finlay and Redcap, the last with John Thaw. After the presentation there were many questions which reflected our appreciation of a fascinating life story.  Derek Clarkson who has attended 800 West End plays gave the vote of thanks.

A NOTE FROM THE SECRETARY

A note to inform you that last night, 16th December 2012, Mr John Pearce passed away. As you will know, John has been a member of the Forum for a long time, so this comes as very sad news to us all.

 

The funeral will be held at Christ Church at 3.30pm on Friday 21st December 2012.

Secretary’s Report

DECEMBER AT THE FORUM
Richard Willis, who runs pleasure trips from the Ripon Canal to the River Ure near Newby Hall, was our last speaker before Christmas. In a highly individual and entertaining talk he took us around the canal system from the high aqueduct of Pontcysllte near Llangollen to the modern marvel of the Falkirk Wheel. The Standedge Tunnel on the Huddersfield Narrow Canal requires patience as it takes two or three hours to navigate. Richard recalled with glee the occasion when the lock-keeper allowed him to operate Bingley 5-Rise on his own. Devizes in Wiltshire has an even loger flight of 11 locks which were instantly recognised by our own member Derek Simpson. In the Midlands the motorway around Spaghetti Junction was built on stilts above the canal because of the shortage of other available open space. Roger Bancroft, our Vice-Chairman who operated larger craft as a tanker captain, gave the vote of thanks for a most entertaining presentation.
The following Tuesday 11 December 51 members and friends gathered at Ascot House Hotel for the Christmas Lunch. Once again David, Umberto and his team did us proud and everybody enjoyed an excellent meal. Afterwards Bill Blades and Derek Clarkson spoke well but briefly as befits a festive occasion. £160 was collected for Alzheimer’s Society and for a girl hoping to work for the Project Trust in Africa.  In conversation members commented on the good publicity which Neil Ramshaw had secured for us in Ackrill’s Club Focus.
John Taylor

Secretary’s Report

DECEMBER AT THE FORUM
Richard Willis, who runs pleasure trips from the Ripon Canal to the River Ure near Newby Hall, was our last speaker before Christmas. In a highly individual and entertaining talk he took us around the canal system from the high aqueduct of Pontcysllte near Llangollen to the modern marvel of the Falkirk Wheel. The Standedge Tunnel on the Huddersfield Narrow Canal requires patience as it takes two or three hours to navigate. Richard recalled with glee the occasion when the lock-keeper allowed him to operate Bingley 5-Rise on his own. Devizes in Wiltshire has an even loger flight of 11 locks which were instantly recognised by our own member Derek Simpson. In the Midlands the motorway around Spaghetti Junction was built on stilts above the canal because of the shortage of other available open space. Roger Bancroft, our Vice-Chairman who operated larger craft as a tanker captain, gave the vote of thanks for a most entertaining presentation.
The following Tuesday 11 December 51 members and friends gathered at Ascot House Hotel for the Christmas Lunch. Once again David, Umberto and his team did us proud and everybody enjoyed an excellent meal. Afterwards Bill Blades and Derek Clarkson spoke well but briefly as befits a festive occasion. £160 was collected for Alzheimer’s Society and for a girl hoping to work for the Project Trust in Africa.  In conversation members commented on the good publicity which Neil Ramshaw had secured for us in Ackrill’s Club Focus.
John Taylor

Secretary’s Report

DECEMBER AT THE FORUM
Richard Willis, who runs pleasure trips from the Ripon Canal to the River Ure near Newby Hall, was our last speaker before Christmas. In a highly individual and entertaining talk he took us around the canal system from the high aqueduct of Pontcysllte near Llangollen to the modern marvel of the Falkirk Wheel. The Standedge Tunnel on the Huddersfield Narrow Canal requires patience as it takes two or three hours to navigate. Richard recalled with glee the occasion when the lock-keeper allowed him to operate Bingley 5-Rise on his own. Devizes in Wiltshire has an even loger flight of 11 locks which were instantly recognised by our own member Derek Simpson. In the Midlands the motorway around Spaghetti Junction was built on stilts above the canal because of the shortage of other available open space. Roger Bancroft, our Vice-Chairman who operated larger craft as a tanker captain, gave the vote of thanks for a most entertaining presentation.
The following Tuesday 11 December 51 members and friends gathered at Ascot House Hotel for the Christmas Lunch. Once again David, Umberto and his team did us proud and everybody enjoyed an excellent meal. Afterwards Bill Blades and Derek Clarkson spoke well but briefly as befits a festive occasion. £160 was collected for Alzheimer’s Society and for a girl hoping to work for the Project Trust in Africa.  In conversation members commented on the good publicity which Neil Ramshaw had secured for us in Ackrill’s Club Focus.
John Taylor

Secretary’s Notes

Forum Meeting Tuesday 27th November  Vincent Naylor, Impressions of India

Forum member Vincent Naylor made four visits to India between 1986 and 2006 as a representative of the St. Vincent de Paul charity and observed how the country modernised during this period.  After outlining briefly India’s rich history from early civilisations to the British Raj, Vincent showed us many of the iconic sites of the country from the Taj Mahal to the Gateway to India monument. The most fascinating scenes however were those of everyday life from the fruit markets (there are 30 varieties of banana) to the temple elephants and the bullock carts.  Travelling on Indian railways appeared to be at times a frightening experience, relieved by the warm hospitality of the people.  Vincent would go back to India tomorrow if he had the opportunity.  The excellent talk prompted a variety of questions about the future of this young country where a high proportion of the population is under 25.