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Meeting Reports

At our Branch Meeting on Wednesday 11 March seventy members were treated to a wonderful audio-visual presentation by Spellbound Productions.  Firstly we travelled to scenic Wensleydale where we visited Hawes Creamery and admired the colourful gardens and then on to the village of Askrigg. We journeyed over the hills to Reeth, the capital of Swaledale, and saw some beautiful wildlife: squirrels, birds, ducks and swans. Wonderful waterfalls cascaded down and we had a demonstration of some most impressive, colourful felt-work. More village scenes followed, ending with a steam train at Bedale. Then we were transported to Venice for the Carnival which, unusually, took place in a snowstorm. This did not detract from being able to enjoy the atmosphere and very colourful costumes. Then back to Yorkshire and the Tea Pottery in Leyburn which manufactures very unusual designs of teapots. Finally, we went to China and saw the Terracotta Army and more scenery. A wonderful whistle stop tour which was appreciated by all the members who were present.

Gillian Oldfield


Branch Meeting - 16th October

For the first meeting that we had been able to have a speaker since March 2020 we were very pleased to welcome David Mason who took us on a very interesting visit to Hackfall Woods. He introduced the subject by giving us some information about the Woodland Trust and the woods and forests they oversee. He outlined the history of Hackfall which was mentioned in the Doomsday Book and was acquired by the Aislabie family in 1750. James Ramsden who was the M.P. for Ripon from 1954 – 74 formed a Trust and, since then, the woods have been improved an dcared for. He showed us some slides of lovely paintings by JMW Turner.

After this introduction, with the aid lovely slides he took us on the walk which is 4.5 miles long and pointed out all the interesting features which include a waterfall and a number of very interesting buildings with spectacular views over the countryside. We all felt that we had had a wonderful afternoon in lovely countryside and have every intention of including it in our walking programme for 2022 when the bluebells are in flower.


Gillian Oldfield


On a dull November afternoon 64 members were treated to a most enjoyable illustrated talk given by Greta and Chris Knight on their cruise from Southampton to Cape Horn. The first port of call was Barbados and then they journeyed down the eastern coast visiting many interesting places with Spanish influence. They reached the Panama Canal with many locks and visited Panama city. They flew to the Galapagos Islands for a four day visit and then made their way to Santiago, the capital of Chile. This was a World Heritage Site with many buildings made of wood.

Journey’s end was Cape Horn on the southernmost tip of South America from where they flew back to the U.K. The cruise lasted for 73 nights and Greta took many photographs to illustrate the life and culture of South America.

Gillian Oldfield


Our first Branch Meeting for 2022 was held on 12th January and was attended by 55 members. We were treated to a wonderful insight into ‘The History of Diamonds’ by Robert Bolton. After ensuring that all the doors were locked(!), he laid out a very impressive array of diamond jewellery on the table. He then commenced his talk and selected two committee members to take each item round the audience, one by one, for everyone to be able to have a close look at them all. They comprised rings and brooches in various settings and sizes. He was a mine of information about the history and talked about the jewellery owned by rich and famous people including the diamond engagement ring that Richard Burton gave to Elizabeth Taylor. When he had finished speaking he was surrounded by members of the audience who wanted to discuss various aspects with him. A wonderful way to start our meetings for 2022.

Gillian Oldfield.


Branch Meeting - March

Sixty-nine members and friends were very pleased to welcome Sue Wood to their meeting to hear her illustrated talk on ‘The History of the Valley Gardens’ which had been postponed from 2020. She introduced it by describing the history of the discovery of the waters and the impact on the visitors to the town. Then, with the aid of an extremely detailed selection of illustrations, she showed how the gardens developed over the years. Several members were reminded of their working lives spent at The Royal Bath Hospital as, understandably, the building, which was opened by the Earl of Harewood in 1825, featured in the talk.

Gillian Oldfield