On Thursday 13th February our talk was by Patti Gold entitled “My Life in Show Business”
and we were particularly pleased to welcome sixteen lady visitors. In a very lively
and entertaining talk Patti told us that her first professional appearance was in
a Leeds Grand Pantomime when she earning just over £9. She also made frequent appearances
at Batley Variety Club with such well-known stars as Frankie Vaughan, Lulu and Gracie
Fields who even invited her to her island home in Capri. In July 1980 she married
her husband Stuart and in his role as musical director he often accompanied Patti
in her appearances. They later appeared with such stars as Freddie Starr, Victor
Borge, Les Dawson and Frank Carson. Together they have travelled throughout the world
- to Sydney, New York and other such far flung places as Spitzbergen and the Falkland
Islands. Patti then concluded by saying that she has been blessed with a wonderful
life meeting many interesting people and travelling to numerous fascinating places.
On Thursday 20th February we welcomed Keith Tordoff, owner of the sweet shop in Pateley
Bridge, the oldest sweet shop in the world dating from the 16th century. This small
shop contains a range of traditional sweets held in glass jars on wooden shelves,
including such favourites as pear drops, barley sugar, and liquorice sticks. We heard
that sweets originated from medicinal backgrounds and were used originally to treat
various ailments and that apothecaries were often situated close to confectioners.
Referring to the history of confectionery we learnt that liquorice was introduced
to Pontefract in the 14th century although now it it is mainly sourced from Turkey.
This fascinated talk ended with a generous offer from Keith to sample some of his
products and this offer was gratefully taken up by most of our members.
On Thursday 27th February our speaker was Harry Fairburn on the subject of “Evacuation
in World War II” He commenced his talk by speaking of preparations by families for
the war which included the building of “Anderson Shelters’”as rudimentary air raid
precautions constructed with corrugated iron roofs. He then spoke of the ‘phoney
war’ being that period after declaration of war but before commencement of hostilities.
We then heard of the distribution of evacuees throughout the country and the procedures
for choosing evacuation centres. Some towns and cities such as Harrogate and Coventry
were initially regarded as neutral although in the case of Coventry that decision
was rapidly reversed after commencement of bombing. Photographs were distributed
at the meeting and Harry spoke of the gas masks issued to each child. On reaching
distribution centres such as Harrogate children were met by the local welfare officer
and allocated different host families.
On Thursday, 5th March our speaker was Geoff Blackman with a talk entitled “Living
He commenced by giving an introduction to Shetland with the aid of a map which indicated
that it is made up of 100 islands that lie110 miles north of mainland Scotland and
west of Norway. It is dependent on ferries and air links for transport being considerably
disrupted by recent developments regarding the Flybe airline. The islands’ economy
has benefit greatly from North Sea oil and there are excellent medical facilities.
Shetland is popular with tourists especially ornithologists and has a number of folk
festivals. Geoff then showed us views of Shetland’s scenery and typical winter scenes
with massive waves crashing on the rugged coastline. Geoff then told us of a particularly
rough voyage from Lerwick to Aberdeen that he had experienced. This was a thoroughly
enjoyable talk as evidenced by the number of questions from members. It was aided
by excellent photographs.
On Thursday 12th, March our speaker was Andy Fox, North Yorkshire Police who, despite
projection difficulties, succeeded in providing us with a succinct and detailed talk
on the subject of ‘Computer Scams’. As a Financial Abuse Safeguarding Officer he
receives reports of 130 scams each week and his role also requires him to visit fraud
victims. Andy described the various types of fraud included, firstly those related
to Amazon or Microsoft, sometimes leading to locking of computers or even unlawful
access to bank accounts. He then referred to common frauds relating to telephone
calls that claimed to be from HMRC which suggested that action should be taken on
unpaid tax bills. Another type of scam referred by Andy was a phone call that claimed,
untruthfully, to be from the Police. As he explained, such calls tend to taken at
face value and he emphasized the need to check such calls, perhaps by phoning back
on a different phone. Lastly he turned to the question of internet security and ransom-ware
scams stressing the need to back up data. This was an extremely valuable and practical