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Meeting Reports

The speaker for the 10th October meeting was Andrew Thwaite who has been in chocolate and baking all his working life but as a Chocolatier he now trains, demonstrates and speaks on the art of working with chocolate.

Andrew gave a brief history of the harvesting of the beans right through to the final process which is mainly in Belgium.  Andrew told us that, in the process, fat is added to the chocolate beans with a larger percentage of fat being used by the main manufacturers than Andrew uses – obviously less fattening!!

The members were delighted that Andrew was not only talking but demonstrating the process of chocolate-making. Chocolate had been heated in a microwave (melting it over a pan of hot water is no longer advised) and was then placed in moulds which were refrigerated for a short time to harden. Members were advised not to store chocolate in a fridge since it will absorb smells from other products thus ending up with a very different taste, plus a white covering.

He related a tale he had been told from an employee of one of York’s main chocolate producers - a chocolate dipper who had dentures paid for by her employers since the continual cleaning of the “dipper stick” by licking had caused her teeth to decay. An unlimited supply of free chocolate might also have contributed.

Finally, after an interesting talk and demonstration, a tray heaped with delicious chocolates was handed round the hall for everyone to sample. An excellent end to the talk.


Jeannette Wilson



The Speaker for our November meeting was Norman Oberheim who entertained us with ‘Photographs and a Lively Talk. As a keen photographer and member of a Camera Club his photographs were many and varied and of the highest standard. We went through the seasons with children sledging, snowdrops in a churchyard, crocus’s on The Stray, snow on the hills in Scotland and through various events and places that he had visited during the year.  Most memorable of these were photographs taken of Lincoln Cathedral from the Castle Walls, the Tall Ships event in Hartlepool and several photographs taken at Whitby of the harbour and beach and ended closer to home with Swaledale sheep at Kilnsey Show. The meeting was very well attended so many of our members were able to enjoy the excellent presentation.

Gillian Oldfield



The speaker for our January meeting was Patti Gold who entertained us for 50 minutes with reminiscences of her wonderful career in show business.

Starting at the age of 3 when she joined a school of dancing in Leeds, progressing through appearances as a Sunbeam and in the chorus in Leeds pantomimes, onto summer seasons in coastal resorts and appearances at the City Hall, Sheffield and at the Batley Variety Club. She worked on Worker’s Playtime which was recorded in various venues in Leeds and visited Gracie Fields at her home in Capri! She has appeared with many famous comedians who were household names in our younger day – Mike & Bernie Winters, Les Dawson, Vince Hill, Tony Christie – to name but a few.

In the course of working on cruise ships she has been round the world five times. It was a wonderful trip down memory lane for many of us and it was a very enjoyable start to our 2019 programme.

Gillian Oldfield


Our talk on Wednesday, 13th February was given by Anne Richards and went by the title  “Remembering the 1970’s”.

Anne started by apologising for being unable to show her slides as her equipment was unsuitable for such a large group as ours, but she delivered her talk with enthusiasm for the subject.

We didn’t really learn anything about Anne apart from being told that she enjoyed walking and youth hostalling. She started by describing a holiday she had taken with a friend in 1971 to the north of Scotland, travelling in their Hillman Imp via Motor-rail  from York to Inverness.

Visiting Iona seemed to be the highlight especially having to alert the ferryman by standing on a rock and waving a handkerchief! This also brought back memories from one of our members who had visited Iona on family holidays before there was even a cafe. As the friends continued their journey across Scotland they were caught in a traffic jam, and had the pleasure of seeing Concord flying past to a local air show. ( In the 70’s I was working in London and also remember seeing Concord near Heathrow, it was such a beautiful plane I had to stop the car, and watch its progress.)

Further into the 70’s   she then started having holidays abroad, courtesy of Freddie Laker who introduced budget air travel. I’m sure that rang a bell with everyone!

Anne talked about the Queens Jubilee celebrations when beacons were lit across the country, and how she and some friends had gone to Ingleton to see the beacon there. ( Again that brought back a memory I had forgotten about – I was in London so went to Windsor Great Park to watch the Queen light the beacon there.)

Fashion was briefly mentioned, not mini skirts, bell bottom trousers, or platform shoes, but wedding dresses – I’m sure we all remember ours with high necks and long sleeves.

It was a shame we didn’t have the slides to accompany the talk, but I’m sure our members enjoyed remembering their own experiences of the 1970’s.

Jennifer Chan


The speaker for our March meeting was Lesley Newman who gave us a very interesting talk about four men who had been prominent in Leeds and who are buried in Beckett Street Cemetery.

The actor was called John Langford Pritchard who performed on the York Theatre Circuit that included many Yorkshire towns and he also produced performances for charity.

Joshua Cawthra was the singer who was also an organist and choir master at Leeds Parish Church and sang in several of the Leeds chapels and the Mechanics Literary Institute, now the Leeds City Museum.

The surgeon was William Price who initially was a naval surgeon but who returned to Leeds as a surgeon at The Dispensary and eventually joined the Leeds Medical School when it opened at Leeds University.

John Hope Shaw was the solicitor whose office was in Albion Street Leeds. He became Mayor of Leeds and laid the foundation stone of the Town Hall under which copies of Leeds and London papers, coins and the names of all the people who had been involved in achieving the building were buried.

The funerals of all four men were very well attended with many people lining the streets en route to Beckett Street Cemetry.  A most enjoyable talk on a very unusual subject!

Gillian Oldfield