Category Archives: Secretary's Notes

Any extra bits the secretary wishes to say


Chairman Michael Cochrane opened the first Open Meeting of the season with a warm welcome to the ten lady guests and also guest Colin Alderton. The Forum also received new member George Hornsea (who likes to be known as Ginger) in the usual manner. Three apologies had been received prior to the meeting.

A reminder that John Taylor was taking Christmas Lunch bookings was given and he was already in receipt of forty-four orders.

Todays Speaker was Mr Stephen Caldwell and his fascinating discourse was “Living and Working in Windsor Castle”. Originally from Bradford where he attended the grammar school Stephen had a varied career taking in the Royal Navy, five years as a maintenance technician at the Halifax Building Society and various positions with other companies before responding to an advert from the Royal Household at Windsor. Two interviews later saw him take up a position as one of the Property Officers with responsibility amongst others of Pension Homes, security of Royal Lodge and Sunninghill Park and the 600 acres of Home Park. He told us about one of his first jobs being the lock on the Queens bedroom door!! Duties included reacting to emergencies, general maintenance, refurbishment of accommodation and “on-call ” emergency duties. His wife had also obtained a royal role namely secretarial working for the Duke of Edinburgh on his award scheme. We were told about attendances at Buckingham Palace Garden Parties; Garter Ceremonies; Duke of Edinburgh Award fund-raising events and Christmas Balls at Buckingham Palace. Being able to use the Royal Box at the Albert Hall  and a trip to see the Royal Yacht Britannia in 1996 was also mentioned. Other perks included live in accommodation, the opportunity to purchase maundy money sets and annual gifts from the Queen allowing a collection of minton crockery over the years in addition to the annual christmas card and christmas pudding. Stephen touched briefly on the Windsor Castle Fire of 1992, the devastation caused and the 4 year programme of works to repair.

On his retirement he was awarded the M.V.O. IN 2003. The talk was reinforced with an excellent slide show and questions from the audience at its conclusion.

The Vote of Thanks was given by Peter Staples on behalf of forty-one members and eleven guests.




Today’s meeting opened with Chairman Michael Cochrane advising of two apologies.

Under “Initial Notices” Programme Secretary John Taylor gave details of the Christmas Lunch arrangements for Tuesday December 11th at the Ascot House Hotel. Written details/menu choice and order form were available for members to take away. There is a numerical limit of 72 at the venue and reservations will be taken on a first come,  first served basis but orders and payments to John Taylor by the Tuesday meeting November 27th at the latest.

General Secretary Neil Ramshaw advised that our grant application for a defibrillator via Harrogate Lions/ Harrogate Borough Council Community Scheme had been successful and installation at the Church should take place in early December. Liaison with other parties was in hand and the electricians installation costs had been kick started by a very generous anonymous member donation of £100.

Today’s Speaker was the Forum’s own Alan Barker, a member of one year’s standing whose topic was “I Wish”. Alan started with a poetic tribute to his late mother in law and then told his audience about his road trip from the north-east to the 1968 Mexico Olympics. Much of this entailed hitching lifts with air flights from Scotland to New York, his journeys across the U.S.A. and Canada, back into the U.S.A. and eventually into Mexico and on to Mexico City. Accompanied by his brother Cec and dressed as English gentlemen complete with bowler hats and umbrellas the brothers were certainly noticeable and this led to many of their offers of assistance including lifts, accommodation and food and drink. Many places were visited including New York; Hamilton; Houston; Monterey; Washington and the eventual destination of Mexico City. In Mexico they came across B.B.C. reporter Martin Bell and his team and were interviewed at the Opening Ceremony drinking their “champagne” which had travelled with them namely Newcastle Brown Ale. The subsequent publicity home and abroad including a Newcastle Breweries advert led to some welcome sponsorship and their road trip finished very successfully and on a high  producing great lifetime memories for our Speaker and fulfilling his personal wishes . Questions and comments came from the floor when Alan concluded.

The Vote Of Thanks on behalf of the forty-one  attendees was given by Neil Ramshaw.




Chairman Michael Cochrane opened the meeting on schedule and advised of four apologies. He also advised that the Christmas Lunch invites will be available to members from next week.

Today saw Mr Trevor Moody travel from Huddersfield to present his talk/variety show entitled ” Comedians of our Good All Days”. The time period covered was the 1940’s–1980’s and members were entertained with a trip down memory lane listening too wireless clips and watching television sketches of some of the well-known and perhaps lesser known comedians of the times. These included Robb Wilton of “The Day War Broke Out “fame; Jimmy James with his gormless accomplices in the “In the Box” sketch and some homespun humour from Billy Russell. Albert Modley and Al Read received mentions with more up to date performances from Frankie Howerd; Tommy Cooper; Morecambe & Wise; Les Dawson ; Peter Sellers and Bernie Clifton and his ubiquitous Emu!! Excerpts from the Parkinson Show showing Howerd and Sellers at their best and a reminder of Les Dawson from his show displaying his skilful but tuneless piano playing added to the morning’s enjoyment . The presentation ended on a high with one of the truly great Morecambe & Wise sketches showing  Andre Previn playing a full and highly amusing part.

The Vote of Thanks on behalf of 41 attendees was given by Frank Ellis our own Music Hall and Variety expert.




The third meeting of the season was opened by Chairman Michael Cochrane who advised of seven apologies.

Today’s Speaker saw the return of Mr Tony Brown with his titled talk being ” In the Kingdom of the Ice Bear”. This was the tale of his sailing trip to the Norwegian Archipelago of Svalbard and surrounding islands (formerly Spitsbergen) located 600 miles from the North Pole. The boat would prove to be their home for 10 days with shifting ice making a land base problematical. Backed up with a first class photographic slide show the audience was treat to a panorama of geographical features that make up this part of the world with its landscape of ice caps, tundra and floes. Tony’s visit was during the summer and benefitted from a 24 day with no dark night time.

The buildings shown were of wood construction and had Polar Bear preventative measures in place. We were shown Reindeer, Husky Dogs, Walruses, Seals, Minke Whales  an Arctic and Blue Fox and a great variety of seabirds such as Arctic Terns, Eider Ducks,  and Puffins. The crowning glory was of course pictures of Polar Bears the undoubted kingpins of the area and very much top of the food chain. Suprisingly for such inhospitable climes there were a good deal of flowers although small in size. We learnt about how the animals operated in this environment and advised of the peculiar fact that nothing prior to 1945 can be removed from the beaches…its classed as Heritage!! Comments and questions were raised at the conclusion of the talk.

The Vote of Thanks on behalf of 36 attendees was given by Terry Byrne.




Chairman Michael Cochrane opened the second meeting of the new season by advising of an improved turnout and that four apologies had been offered. He introduced new member Robert Edenbrow to Forum Members and who was welcomed in the usual manner.

General Secretary Neil Ramshaw advised of a number of matters arising from the April A.G.M. in particular the need for supplementary kitchen support; an outstanding position of 2nd Vice Chairman to fill and the need for a Programme Secretary for next season. Enquiries from interested parties would be appreciated. A reminder to keep the Secretary up to date with any change of personal details was also requested.

Today’s Speaker was Mr David Alred, a regular “returning visitor “, taking us previously from the Washburn Valley to the Grand Canyon! His topic this morning would be part two of his “Nidderdale Heritage”.

Starting at Pateley Bridge, a black and white slide show of heritage photographs was shown and David provided appropriate detail in support. We saw a familiar looking “Pateley” high street from over a hundred years ago, mention of Metcalfe Brewers (Nidderdale Ales) and the Old Market Hall. Scenes from the 1935 Silver Jubilee Procession  were shown along with the local  Quarry which produced supplies of Yorkshire Stone. The railway came to Pateley Bridge in the 1860’s and operated until 1951 with seven trains a day to and from Harrogate including stops at Birstwith, Ripley Valley and Dacre amongst others. Photos included farming scenes of yesteryear with horses working the fields, before mechanisation, involving  ploughing and haystacking. Other rural illustrations showed sheep shearing and “Young Farmers Clubs” displaying cattle at local shows such as Nidderdale and Ripley. The slide show moved on to businesses using horse power for transport including the Post Office; early garages with hire vehicles and charabancs; blacksmiths at work; old mills such as the one at Darley and the extensive and labour intensive construction of a number of reservoirs in the area, some specifically to service Bradford. The final part of the talk showed family, sporting and a few quirky pictures. This walk down memory lane of a not too distant past, but much removed from our present, proved a nostalgic treat.

Questions and comments were made at the talk’s conclusion and Mike South gave the Vote of Thanks on behalf of the forty-one attendees.



Welcome Back Harlow Men’s Forum Season 42

Hope you’ve all enjoyed a splendid summer and taken full advantage of the glorious weather…without complaining too much!!

Our new season will shortly upon us with Michael Cochrane taking the Chair for a second time and asking that we remember some of our stalwart members who have passed on during the last season. We will also see a change of President During this next season when the Reverend Christine Gillespie leaves us for pastures new but hopefully we can say our farewells to her at our Christmas Lunch.

An exciting and varied programme of Speakers has again been collected for our winter entertainment by John Taylor who is standing down as Programme Secretary after this year–how will we replace him??

So , looking forward to seeing you all at our seasonal kick off on Tuesday Oct 2  10.a.m for 1030. a.m. with fees remaining unchanged for yet another year. (£3 annual and £2 each meeting).

For completeness the full Programme 2018/2019 has been entered below.


Calendar of Meetings 42nd Season 2018/2019


Oct 2.  Mr Duncan Verity       Concorde–Up in Flames

Oct 9.  Mr David Alred            Nidderdale Heritage II

Oct 16. Mr Tony Brown          In the Kingdom of the Ice Bear

Oct 23. Mr Trevor Moody      Comedians of Our Good Old Days

Oct 30. Mr Alan Barker          I Wish


Mr Stephen Caldwell  Living & Working in Windsor Castle

Nov 13. Mr Geoff Queen         An A to Z of Europe

Nov 20. Mr Philip Solity          An Amusing Insight into Road Traffic Law

Nov 27. Mr Neil Ramshaw     Some of My British Sporting Heroes

Dec 4.   Mrs Jocelyn Brooks   An Egyptian Odyssey




Jan 8.   Mr David Davies          The Big Winter Freeze 1947

Jan 15. Mr Frank Ellis              At the Drop of a Hat

Jan 22. Mr Roger Oldfield       The Yorkshire Residency Test

Jan 29. Mr Tony Burkill           The English Lakes

Feb 5.  Mr Malcolm Johnson   Famous for 12 Minutes

Feb 12. Mr John Taylor            Ten Johns and Two Freds

Feb 19. Mr Terry Mike Williams  The History of New Park – Part 2

Feb 26. Mr Eric Jackson            The Barnbow Munitions Works

Mar 5.  Mr Edward Rowe         Bye Bye the Neighbourhood


Mr Clive & Mrs Kath Richardson     The Woman Who Didn’t Exist

Mar 19. Mr Jeff Jacklin              The N.H.S….It Only Hurts When I Laugh

Mar 26. His Honour Judge Derek Clarkson Q.C.

The Lighter Side of the Law

Apr 2.   Mr Peter Wilson            Back to Front


Mr Keith Tordoff  M.B.E.  The Background and History of Sweets

Apr 16. Members Morning

——————EASTER HOLIDAY——————


May 7.  Spring Lunch –to be finalised



Six Forum Members , including the immediate past Chairman and current Chairman , attended Roy Howard’s funeral at Stonefall on June 28th. Roy’s daughter and granddaughter spoke at the service and brought with them a selection of the things Roy enjoyed—a copy of The Times which he read every day; his Scrabble set; a box of Thornton’s Chocolates; a guide to Norwegian fjords etc. Some of us knew about Roy the climber of mountains; Roy the veteran of Harrogate Photographic Society and Roy the accomplished ballroom dancer but we also learned that he was a fine violinist at a young age and had a successful career as a Higher Executive Officer in the Civil Service. He was proud of his role in the Harlow Men’s Forum and his unique distinction of being Chairman three times with his contribution to our group being recognised with his award of Honorary Life Membership. His joke book, from which he quoted at the beginning of each meeting, was on display!!

The Minister at the service then read a tribute to Roy from Forum Member and his friend George Wells who did so much to help Roy and his wife Hazel in their later years as their health declined and indeed , sadly, Hazel was too ill to attend the service. It was Roy who persuaded George to come to one or two Forum Meetings with him becoming one of our most committed attendees always eagerly anticipating each new season. and he latterly brought Roy to meetings which he would not otherwise have been able to attend. George commented on Roy being a quiet but very kind man with many varied accomplishments.



Roy Howard …Funeral Arrangements

The funeral for Roy Howard will take place at Stonefall Crematorium/Cemetry on Thursday June 28th at 11 a.m.


Passing of Honorary Life Member Roy Howard.

It is with sadness that I have to advise of the death of Roy Howard at the age of 89 after a long period of deteriorating health.

Roy was the Londoner who came to Harrogate as a child and went to Harrogate Grammar School before a career as a Social Security Officer. In his younger days he was a great walker and Joss Naylor the Cumbrian fell- runner was his cousin. Roy, it seems, once climbed Ben Nevis in the early morning and was dancing in the Royal Hall in the evening. Ballroom dancing was another of his many interests. For many years he was a keen member of Harrogate Photographic Society. He joined the Forum nearly 20 years ago, spoke to us three times and was three times Chairman, a unique distinction. He was elected an Honorary Life Member after the death of his friend George Mountford who was our first Honorary Member.

Our condolences go to his family and his presence at the Forum will be missed.

Funeral details will be entered here when known.