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Season 2022-2023

Meeting Reports



Last entry for the 2021/2022 season

On Thursday 28th April we held our Annual General Meeting which was followed by our retiring Chairman, Bill O’Rourke, concluding his excellent series of “mini-talks” on the history of Harrogate town centre.

I think we have all enjoyed and learnt from these recollections - especially those members who are long-standing Harrogate residents. Bill now retires as chairman and his place will be taken next season by Chris McDevitt. Bill has agreed to take over as our Social Secretary with the aim of reinstating our much-valued outings and other social activities.

Following the AGM our members adjourned to the Ascot House Hotel where they enjoyed our traditional End-of-Season lunch.

This season has been our first one as a mixed group and we are much encouraged by the fact that 25% of our membership are now ladies. We are intending to have a marketing campaign in the autumn with a view to recruiting more women to join the Forum.

The 2022/23 season kicks off on Thursday, 6th October and, as usual, we will be having an excellent programme of talks.


6 October

For the first meeting of our new season and we were delighted to open the year with a strong attendance, particularly of new lady members.

Our guest speaker was Stuart Ward who, as a semi retired IT engineer, has focused his interests into photography and diving and visiting parts of the world that the majority of us may never see.

His talk was about the Svalbard, an archipelago also known Spitzbergen which lies halfway between Norway and the North Pole and falls within the Arctic Circle. A complex of islands comprised of rugged Arctic terrain, fjords and glaciers, it remains under Norwegian sovereignty as it did when it was a centre for whaling in days gone by.

Stuart explained how he and his group used a 100 year old sailing boat to tour the many islands and fjords and the necessity to employ small rubber dinghies to enable landing on the mostly inaccessible rock strewn shorelines. A haven for wild life, Stuart illustrated his talk with some beautiful photographs of whales, walruses, penguins, Arctic foxes, and the wide variety of sea birds that inhabited the islands. The highlight was the rare sight of a group of polar bears playing and socialising as they enjoyed the carcase of a washed up whale.