ANNALS 2018/2019


The 41st season concluded with 64 members registered on the records.

Sadly the death of Honorary Life Member Roy Howard was reported during the close season and the new season started with 63 members.

“Calendar of Meetings” and “Welcome Back” note were issued to all members including a second Calendar for members to involve potential interested friends/neighbours. Normal external distribution for information and advertising took in Harrogate Library; Harrogate Tourist Information Office; our local Harlow News Correspondent (Harrogate Advertiser) Charlotte South and also our Church Contact Rosalind Crew who includes details on the Harlow Methodist Church Website with links to Nidd Valley Methodist Church.

Oct 2: First meeting of new season opened by Chairman Michael Cochrane and welcomed visitor Geoff Maidment. Roy Smith gave Treasurer’s Financial Update and John Taylor paid tribute to the late Honorary Life Member Roy Howard.

Oct 9: New Member Rob Edenbrow welcomed. Although John Taylor announced at last A.G.M. he was stepping down as Programme Secretary at end of season no replacement has yet come forward nor a candidate for Second Vice Chairman.

Nov 6: First Open Meeting of season with 42 members and 7 guests. New Member George (Ginger) Hornsea came on board.

Nov 13: Rob Edenbrow dropped from membership due to ill-health.

Nov 20: Our occasional visitor from Seahouses Roger Howell made his first appearance of the season.

Nov 26: Defibrillator secured for Harlow Methodist Church via Harrogate Council/ Harrogate Lions Community Fund and installed on December 7th.

Nov 27: Death of Dr. Edward Broadhead former Forum Chairman reported.

Dec 11: First Class Xmas Lunch at Ascot House Hotel attended by 58 members and guests. £186-80 collected towards Defibrillator installation and training costs.

Final attendance of our President Reverend Christine Gillespie who was leaving the area.


Jan 8: Sad death of our Registrar Derek Simpson advised.

Jan 15: Death of former member Mike McKevitt reported after prolonged ill-health.

Jan 29: Death of former member Dr. Brian Blakey reported.

Feb 5: Visitor Mr Godfrey Alderson welcomed.

Feb 12: Godfrey Alderson joins as member.

Feb 19: Matthew Jessup, Tom Snelling’s grandson attends as guest.

Feb 26: Matthew Jessup, grandson of Tom Snelling again attends meeting.

Mar 26: Ken Burcher dropped from membership…moved to Suffolk.

Apr 2: Matthew Jessup in attendance as guest.

Apr 23: Dropped from membership Keith Acum and Peter Weatherill (non attendance); Grahame Devonport and Peter Wood (both ill health). Also George Thomas (deceased).

Death also advised of former member and Registrar Dennis Smith.

Apr 30: 42nd A.G.M. held.

May 7: Spring Lunch at Hollins Hall attended by 17 members and 13 guests. Presentation made to John Taylor, outgoing Programme Secretary, in recognition of his outstanding service to the Forum over a long period of time.

Season concludes with 57 members registered on records.


I have posted a summary of Tuesday’s A.G.M. for Member’s attention.



In Attendance: 26 members present. In the absence of a President Chairman Michael Cochrane took the proceedings.

Apologies: 6 offered.

Passing Members: John Taylor (Programme Secretary) paid tribute to Dennis Smith and George Thomas.

Chairman’s Remarks: Michael Cochrane commented on the wait for a new President until new season; confirmed another successful year; thanked John Taylor for the Speaker’s Programme and stressed the need for volunteers to fill vacant Officer positions.

Minutes: Minutes from 42nd meeting agreed correct; no changes or matters arising; approved by the meeting attendees and signed by the Chairman.

General Secretary’s Report: 3 new members in last season and 10 members dropped from membership for various reasons saw 57 members registered on books, a reduction of 7 from previous season.

Programme Secretary’s Report: Slight dip in attendances but held up well in range 36-38. Speaking Programme saw excellent member support supplementing stimulating and entertaining talks from regular visitors and some welcome new Speakers. John’s last report after 12 years in office.

Treasurer’s Report: Verbal report given.

Proposals accepted by meeting;   Church Donation of £886; Secretary Honorariums £150; Annual Subscription increased to £5 with weekly fees remaining at £2.

Contingency amount in bank account to cover initial maintenance/ parts costs of Church Defibrillator thanks to member donations.

Finances remain in good order.

Election of Officers 2019/2020:

PRESIDENT:                                                          Vacant.

CHAIRMAN:                                                           Richard Wright.


GENERAL SECRETARY:                                         Neil Ramshaw.

PROGRAMME SECRETARY:                                  (Acting) Neil Ramshaw.

TREASURER:                                                            Roy Smith.

REGISTRAR:                                                             David Hill.

CHURCH CONTACT :                                               Mike South.

CATERING OFFICERS:                    Tom Snelling; Roger Bancroft; Richard Brooks.

RESERVE (Catering):                       Edward Rowe.

AUDITOR:                                          Chris Butterfield.

All confirmed by meeting attendees.

ANY OTHER BUSINESS: Incoming Chairman Richard Wright took over proceedings and gave an initial address. Thanked Michael Cochrane for his efforts; exhorted volunteers to come forward to fill vacancies and stressed the need for more social interaction within the Forum to increase member awareness of each other. Also gained agreement for John Taylor to be provided with a memento to reflect his outstanding Forum service.

Malcolm Wood offered members an alternative method of giving a Forum talk…Q&A or Interview Style.

May 7th Spring Lunch at Hollins Hall for those booked.

First Meeting of 43rd Season Tuesday October 1st 2019 10 a.m. for 1030 a.m.






Sad News…deaths of George Thomas and Dennis Smith

It is with regret that I have to advise you of the passing of Member George Thomas who has not been seen at Forum meetings for some time due to a long period of ill health.

The death has also been reported of Dennis Smith , a former member and Registrar of the Forum this week.

Our condolences are sent to the families of both men and I am assuming funeral details can be found in the Harrogate Advertiser.


Chairman Michael Cochrane opened the final “normal” meeting of the 42nd Season at 1030 a.m. and advised of four apologies.

Under “Initial Notices” the last call for the April 30th 2019 A.G.M. was made in respect of proposals and nominations for office with a number of vacancies required to be filled. It was also the last day to book attendance at the Spring Lunch on May 7th 2019.

Today’s Meeting was the popular “Members’ Morning” with five members lined up to offer a short ten minute discourse on a subject of their choice.

First out of the pavilion to entertain was Mike Tutt who told us about his break in Belgium last year, an 80th birthday treat by rail on which he and his wife travelled under the Channel to Brussels with an expectation of seeing the spring flowers in Holland. Unfortunately his good lady suffered a sidewalk fall and experienced a genuine break in her shoulder and the memories became more of the European Medical system and its associated costs.

The next Speaker was Matthew Jessop (Tom Snelling’s grandson and supported by his mother in the audience also!!) who spoke well and knowledgeably about the Old Harrogate Railway Station and Goods Yard from about the mid 19th century to date. Accompanying his talk were some rail artifacts that were passed around the audience.

Long standing member Malcolm Wood then took centre stage to regale members with some “Hair Raising” episodes experienced by himself, his father and one taken from the Oldie magazine. All the cases had logical outcomes but at the time caused initial goose bumps and concerns to those affected.

Fourth man out was Alan Barker who reminded the audience of his North Eastern heritage, his long-standing missionary work in Harrogate and shared some anecdotes and amusing tales with the gathered assembly.

To complete the morning’s performances our Treasurer Roy Smith gave members an overview of the upcoming World Cycling Championships later this year ( September 21st–29th) and the chance to see for free a world sporting pinnacle event with the best cyclists in the world and the accompanying caravan of supporters and teams with Harrogate being the main competition town. The cycling routes will take in and pass through West Park, Otley Road, Beckwithshaw, Penny Pot Lane, Cornwall Road , parts of the Duchy, Harlow Moor Road and Drive, Ripon Road, Swan Road and back at the finish in West Park. His considered advice to those listening –if you like it ,make arrangements to watch it; if you don’t, arrange a holiday!!

With the morning’s proceedings concluded Chairman Mike asked the thirty attending members to show their appreciation in the normal way.



The background and History of Sweets

Michael Cochrane opened the meeting and welcomed the members, guests and the speaker Mr Keith Tordoff MBE.

This mornings talk was the The background and History of Sweets.Keith had a table covered in bags of sweets, over twenty packets!

He explained that the Oldest Sweet Shop in the World has been trading continuously since 1827 and this was confirmed by the Guinness Book of records in 2014. The building itself dates from 1661.

Keith told us about the various sweets and their ingredients, often liquorice. He spoke of Pear Drops to Raspberry Bon Bons.

Keith’s talk was entertaining and well received by the audience.

It is worth a look at his web site: for further information.


Chairman Michael Cochrane opened the meeting at 1030 a.m. by advising of four apologies. Matthew Jessup (Tom Snelling’s grandson) was again in attendance as a guest.

Under “Initial Notices” a reminder was given about the Spring Lunch at Hollins Hall on Tuesday May 7th 2019 and the fourth call for the A.G.M. on Tuesday April 30th 2019 was made with any proposals/discussion items to Secretary Neil Ramshaw by Tuesday April 16th 2019. The Officer Nomination form was again available and its becoming urgent for some take up of positions to be made.

Today’s Speaker was Forum Member Peter Wilson whose topic was “Back to Front”. Peter recounted his biography to members being born in 1933 reminding us Hyperion won the Derby that year; failed his eleven plus in 1944 (blamed the War!!) but still went to grammar school and then Sheffield University studying architecture with two life changing events in 1955 namely marriage and National Service. For many years Peter was the staff architect for the well-known firm of John Collier. He stressed the importance in his life of making time for hobbies and in particular for him photography and sailing. Backed up by a comprehensive slide show the audience were treated to many of his photos and sketches taken over the years of places visited including Arran, the South of France, Suffolk  and Milton Keynes. He had detailed photographs of shops departed from the Harrogate scene such as Preston’s Photographers and Beardmore, Dobson and Sons Hardware and Ironmonger’s.

More revealing were the internal photographs Peter showed of his former property in Westminster Drive and the amount of space taken up in storage by his work and hobby materials. A move to Beckwith Crescent saw the establishment of “The Wilsonian” which acts as a workshop, studio, gallery, library, museum and drawing office…very much an upmarket man cave!! He entertained members with stories of how his pipe-smoking days came to an end at the hands of his fourteen year old daughter and Monday rice pudding day was similarly ended by his daughters who used a piano stool to effect the disappearance of the offending dessert. His father’s motor bike adventures were shared including a court appearance of said pater and his vehicle!!

The conclusion of the talk was illustrated with pictures of vintage cars and places such as the Tate Gallery in St. Ives.

Comments and questions were taken at the end and the Vote of Thanks on behalf of the thirty-six attendees was given by Peter Staples.




The meeting opened at 1030 a.m. with Chairman Michael Cochrane advising of three apologies. He also told members that Ken Burcher (now into his 90’s) is living with his son in Suffolk and will probably not attend again and we wish him well. It was a pleasure to see Tom Snelling’s grandson attend as a guest again.

Under “Initial Notices” John Taylor informed  members about the Spring Lunch at Hollins Hall on Tuesday May 7th 2019–paperwork and menu choices made available. Menu choices and full payment to be made to John Taylor no later than Tuesday April 16th with the caveat that there is a limit on numbers of forty.

The third call for the A.G.M.  regarding proposals and nominations was made and a list of Officer vacancies displayed.

Today’s Speaker was the Forum’s own His Honour Judge Derek Clarkson Q.C. with his topic being “The Lighter Side of the Law”. For the next hour members were regally entertained and instructed by recollections and anecdotes from the legal world. He started his talk by advising that it had been pointed out that the Courts of Law provide the “… best free entertainment there is” encompassing all forms of theatre albeit with a serious front,. Derek told us about Justice Charles John Darling, a 19th century and early 20th century legal figure, who introduced appropriate jokes into his trials. We were told about the Muslim witness who took an oath to “…. to tell anything but the truth” and the young girl aged nine who addressed the Judge as “Your Majesty”!! Length of jury service and jurors provided a source of amusing memories as did the story of the forty-two year old promiscuous  farm labourer. Hearing issues; falling asleep in court; pomposity and sometimes unpleasantness all provided their lighter legal moments and clever and witty interchanges between Judges, Barristers and Defendants also promoted light relief into the serious business of the legal process.

There were a few tales of pranks being played on each other by Barristers and Judges in trains and hotels which showed the human face of these imposing figures!!

The audience, as usual, had enjoyed the morning’s reminisces with questions and comments at the end. Richard Wright gave an amusing and appreciated Vote of Thanks on behalf of the forty-one attendees.




Chairman Michael Cochrane opened the meeting at 1030 a.m. advising of five apologies.

Under “Initial Notices” Neil Ramshaw General Secretary gave the second call for the April 30th A.G.M. and stressed the urgent need for members to come forward to fill the vacant Officer positions.

Terry Byrne advised members that he would be doing his A.E.D. talk on April 11th and 15th respectively at the Green Hut starting at 730 p.m.

Today’s Speaker was Mr Jeff Jacklin who had spent thirty years in the N.H.S. at Director level both in permanent and interim roles. His talk “N.H.S.: It Only Hurts When I Laugh” was positioned to both educate and amuse.

He started by sharing some impressive statistics on the N.H.S. which illustrated its enormous size and scale, being the biggest employer in this country and the fourth biggest in the world with 1.38 million employees. The strength of the N.H.S. was predicated on three things namely its Volunteer Base, Foreign Nurses and Doctors and the Goodwill of the Public. An interesting issue arising from surveys he had carried out was that the main issue of complaints (a remarkably small total overall) was Hospital Car Parking.

Jeff talked about the establishment of the N.H.S. in 1947/ 1948 and the bleak situation that preceded its creation particularly for the many citizens who didn’t have the financial resilience to pay for healthcare in times when there was no public healthcare provision in place. The N.H.S.’s main features would be cradle to grave provision; all pay and all benefit and free services at the point of delivery. There were some negative views to overcome from rich people, doctors and the general public itself and these were addressed by Aneurin Bevan the Labour Minister for Health.

Jeff then took his audience through some milestone dates from 1948–1998 which included the birth of the N.H.S. ; Prescription Charges being introduced, cancelled and reintroduced; Polio and Diphtheria Vaccination Programmes to the launch of N.H.S. Direct.

To conclude his talk we were shown the vast amount of paper involved in Patients Medical Records and the need to computerize. Finally some Medical Bloopers brought an amusing finish.

The talk was well supported by slides and video clips and enjoyed by members  as evidenced by comments and questions raised.

The Vote of Thanks on behalf of thirty-five attendees was given by Edward Rowe.





Chairman Michael Cochrane opened the meeting at 10 30 a.m. advising of four apologies. He welcomed the guests, particularly the ladies, to this Open Meeting which would be the final Ray Coggan Memorial Meeting.

Under Initial Notices General Secretary Neil Ramshaw gave notice of the A.G.M. on 30th April 2019 with any proposals, motions for discussion to be provided to him by April 23rd latest. He pointed out the number of offices that will need to be filled going forward into next season and asked members to seriously consider stepping forward as individuals or possibly in pairs to fill said vacancies— more discussion at future meetings.

Today’s Speakers were Mr Clive and Mrs Kath Richardson whose talk was intriguingly titled “The Woman Who Didn’t Exist”!!

The joint presentation focussed on a Margaret Burns who was born in 1889 at Whitehaven Cumbria to an ordinary working class family–her father Jacob was a Coal Hewer– and domestic moves to the Durham Coalfield Areas took place early in her life. The story was sad, poignant, dramatic but true and involved a surprising twist at the end. It followed her growing up, losing her mother at the age of four, her father’s remarriage and Margaret’s move into employment as a nursing assistant at the age of sixteen determined not to follow a life of domestic drudgery. However she met her first husband miner John George Purvis, became pregnant, married and started producing babies at regular intervals. The tale then moved onto tragic events in World War One, more babies, death on service, eviction, abandonment and a second dysfunctional marriage. The scene then moved to Manchester with bigamy rearing its head and then a period of domestic stability and the final denouement  of “How The Woman Who Didn’t Exist” became so titled and who died in 1962.

A surprising unexpected twist concluded the talk which was supported by slides and presented in a lively, entertaining and amusing manner.

A number of questions/ comments came from the audience at the end and the Vote of Thanks on behalf of thirty two members and eleven guests, mainly ladies, was given by Richard Brooks.