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Meeting Reports

Jennyruth Workshop - May Meeting

In spite of it being a very cold day, with strong winds and heavy rain, giving many reasons to stay in comfort at home, there was a good attendance at the May meeting.

The presentation by staff and workers from the Jennyruth Workshops, Ripon, was both informative and enjoyable.

The workshops exist to provide training and support for those in the community requiring extra help and encouragement both in the world of work and socially. In a presentation which was headed by worker Jonathan and supported by Tony, a member of staff, a slide show took us into different aspects of the workshops. Here the workers are trained in the use of tools and also a variety of crafts, making gifts for sale to raise funds for the support of the Workshops.

There could be 28 workers at any one time. Besides photographs of the productive side there were some very happy 'snaps' of social occasions.

The Workshop was very proud to have won  the Prince Andrew Award for service to the community and Jonathan was shown with Prince Andrew - a very proud moment.

After the talk there was an opportunity to ask questions when much interest was shown and to buy goods that were sold in aid of the project.

Altogether it was a happy and friendly afternoon, just the thing for a ' wintry' May day.

Marion Green

July Meeting - Keith Barber – “A Trip down Memory Lane

Keith Barber recalled his childhood in Leeds, having been born in a back-to-back house with no electricity, no inside toilet and no supermarkets, but having a very happy childhood.

Keith’s presentation showed pictures of key items representing the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s and members clearly remembered many of these. He referred to BHS, which was not “Before the Health Service”, but Before Health and Safety and admitted that many of the activities of previous decades would not be allowed now. Tin baths, clip rugs, icy windows and the dividend (divi) from the Co-op were all associated with the 1940/1950s. Pictures of gas masks, Anderson shelter, Cod Liver Oil, concentrated orange juice plus the ration book all marked the war years and the 1940s and rationing did not in fact end completely until 1954.

The street was the playground for children in these decades and hopscotch, marbles and football were enjoyed in a relatively “car-less” area. Evening entertainment was the radio but the 1950s saw the television becoming available to most families, originally having just the BBC. Programmes started at 5.00pm (first hour for children) and ended at 10.30 with the National Anthem, interrupted by the “interlude”.

The talk ended with a list of Yorkshire sayings and Keith commented that laughing makes you feel better. Certainly, members came away smiling and remembering times gone by.

Jeannette Wilson


David Shaftoe:  Open Country::  “Out There Together

Open Country is a charity that was set up in 1990 as a result of many of the old institutions closing down

and disabled people losing many of their activities. It was originally a three-year pilot project and was aimed

at providing access to the countryside for people with disabilities. It is accessible to individuals with all

disabilities i.e. sensory impairment, head injuries, mental, physical and learning.

The Charity is involved in many aspects of the countryside including conservation and everyone has something

to offer. The quality of the work produced is good and members often work with other sectors of the community. There are 24 activity groups with something for everyone - a tandem-cycling group, walking groups, allotments, swimming, wheelchair accessible outings, creating wildlife habitats and pot-holing which is particularly enjoyed by blind people since it is their normal environment.

One third of members are in residential homes, one third on their own and one third with carers, who also join in with activities. There are 125 volunteers who are the back-bone of the charity and provide 10,000 hours of unpaid volunteering. There are publications and leaflets available plus a website which shpws areas that are accessible for disabled people. The Charity works with land owners and Yorkshire Water, the National Trust and the RSBP have gone above and beyond in helping with access.

There is no funding available and the Charity needs £200,000 a year to function. It relies on donations, grants and project works. David ended by commenting that nowadays most charities employ a fund-raiser and there has to be new means of raising money.

A most interesting and informative talk enjoyed by all.

Jeannette Wilson


“Doctor turned Author” by Carol Tetlow

Our talk today was given by Carol Tetlow, a retired G.P. turned author. Carol introduced herself by saying she lived in the Yorkshire Dales with her husband, cats, labradors and donkeys. She went to medical school in Nottingham and did various house jobs in London, Southampton and Orkney.

It was whilst working at Bradford and trying to decide what she wanted to specialise in that she realised how important patient contact was to her and that she should go into General Practice.

Carol shared lots of anecdotes about the patients she had treated and we could all identify with lots of her stories. She uses her work-background as the theme for her novels which are set in a fictitious G.P. surgery in the Yorkshire Dales.

Her fee and a percentage of her book sales are donated to Breast Cancer U.K - a charity close to her heart after her sister was diagnosed with breast cancer, but who is now well.

Jennifer Chan