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Meeting Reports
For our first meeting of the new year 81 members enjoyed our usual  cup of tea and chat with friends which was followed by a very interesting talk by Sue Wood, Horticultural Officer for Harrogate Borough Council.
Her illustrated talk gave us an excellent insight into all the various aspects of her work in our beautiful spa town. Starting in the council’s greenhouses at Harlow Hill she showed us where all the flowers are used – roundabouts, hanging baskets and flower beds around the district.
She described and showed us the beds which have been designed for the anniversaries of various organisations such as the W I, Girl Guides etc and this year we will see a green, white and purple flower bed to celebrate 100 years of women getting the vote.
She described the work in the district cemeteries and the grass cutting, of which The Stray is obviously a major part.
A pedestrian counter at the entrance to The Valley Gardens indicates that at least three million visitors walk through the gardens and enjoy the wonderful floral beds and the New Zealand Garden for which money was donated.
A delightful feature around the district is that of carvings on felled trees, the best being Alice in Wonderland figures in Ripon Spa Gardens and another at Conyngham Hall in Knaresborough.
Sue answered a variety of questions and, after being thanked by our Chairman, Mary Bradley, we all made our way home feeling so pleased that we live in such a wonderful town.
Gillian Oldfield
NHSRF (Harrogate Branch): Meeting 14th February

Before the start of the Business Meeting, John Rostill (Chief Executive) of the Retirement Fellowship addressed the members and said how delighted he was to be attending a meeting of such a successful branch – one of the most successful, if not the most successful, in the country!
He particularly asked whether there was anyone willing to take on the role of Regional Representative for Yorkshire and stressed what an interesting and fulfilling role it was. The person involved would travel to the various Yorkshire branches, meet other members and have the opportunity to attend national meetings in London.  He stressed what an important role this was and mentioned that Gillian Oldfield had been the Regional Representative in the past.
John also spoke about Ethel Armstrong and the various roles she had played in the Fellowship and how pleased he was that she had received an MBE in the New Year’s Honours.
2018 was, he said, a very important year for the NHS – the 5th July 2018 was the 70th anniversary of the introduction of the NHS and many events were taking place to commemorate this important anniversary. These included services at Westminster Abbey and York Minster.
Val Muscroft, ex Vice-Chairman, Chairman and at present Minute Secretary, had been invited to a Royal Garden Party and was taking Brenda Hawkswell-Stock as her guest

Jeannette Wilson
Fellowship Meeting: Wednesday, 14th February 2018


Helen Whale, Senior Community Fund Raiser (Yorkshire) for the British Red Cross gave an interesting and informative talk.
The Red Cross was started by Henry Dunant, a Swiss businessman who witnessed the horrors of the Crimean war and was so appalled that he recruited support and so started a worldwide organisation which is now established in 190 countries, is non-political and provides help wherever there is a disaster.  Henry Dunant’s work was recognised when he was awarded a Nobel Prize.  
The British Red Cross started in 1870 and has provided help and during wars and national disasters - e.g. floods.  In the UK there are Emergency Response Units that co-ordinate people and materials.  The British Red Cross are experts in providing water/sanitation and logistics and is able to set up a field hospital (with its own electricity) and food areas within 24 hours.
Helen also highlighted more local projects, including providing wheelchairs and other aids to assist independent living, organised in conjunction with local hospitals, including Harrogate and Leeds.   A new project is helping combat loneliness and isolation and the Co-Operative Society is supporting this venture.  The local Charity Shops are also an important part of the British Red Cross’s fund raising, also the annual week appeal which is held on the anniversary of Henry Dunant’s birth (8th May).
The Red Cross has always helped with refugees and initially established a messaging service which continues to this day and successfully arranges for relatives to be reunited.  

Jeannette Wilson