STOKE FERRY & DISTRICT LADIES GROUP – July

Minutes of the meeting held on July 4th
Mrs Armsby welcomed 15 members.
APOLOGIES were received from Sheila Smith, Joy Beckett & Ann Prodromou.
ARISING Mrs Gillian Smith said that at present she only has 14 names down for the mystery tour on Aug 1st. She hopes that a few more people will come forward to make it viable, & will have a word with Harrods. Meanwhile she asked that members pay in advance if possible, & the money will be refunded if the outing has to be cancelled.
CORRESPONDENCE a letter was received from Carol Nicholas-Letch concerning the centenary celebrations to mark the end of World War one. The benefice will be holding a special service at Christchurch Whittington, & a planning meeting is to be held at a later date if anyone has any ideas to enhance the occasion.
Mrs Horgen gave a card to Mrs Hazel Hearne for her birthday later in July. There will be one member’s birthday in August.
No jobs will be needed for Aug, so these were arranged for September.
ROTAS
Teas Jean Carter & Yvonne Self
Door & raffle Wendy Quadling & Joy Beckett
VOT Janet Burns
The speaker will be Helen Cross, talking about providing water to deprived villages in Ghana.
Arrangements for the Harvest Supper will also be discussed in Sept.
Mrs Armsby then welcomed Keith Lawrence, the antiques expert, who is a frequent visitor to our meetings. This time his fun quiz involved identifying the use of 15 different spoons. This proved a bit difficult with such names as demi tasse & berry. However one team managed to guess all 15 correct. Keith then explained the history & value of his collection. He was thanked by Anita Horgen.
The raffle was won by Carol Thulbourne, Jenny Elsey & Gillian Smith.
The meeting ended at 9.15pm.
Claire Lankfer
(secretary)

Ron’s Ramblings

The NHS
It was good news that the government is intending to increase the funding for the NHS, a long overdue decision. It is disappointing, however, that they have rejected the suggestion that there should be a hypothecated tax to fund the NHS, despite the evidence that such a tax would be popular and that many people would be happy to pay more tax if they were sure that it would be going to the NHS.
Somehow they have managed to convey the impression that the NHS is becoming cripplingly expensive but they are trying to get us to forget that the reason that the NHS has been having such a difficult time is that it has been underfunded for the last eight years.
Of course the NHS is expensive but it should be remembered that, even with this latest cash injection, the funding, as a proportion of GDP is lower than it has been in the past, furthermore, it is claimed by those that should know, that it is cheaper, on a per capita basis, than the health services in all other leading western nations, sometimes costing as little as one third. The NHS is very efficient, surely we should ensure that it is well funded, rather than suffering the seemingly grudging support from our government.

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RAF Museum Cosford

A friend and I recently visited this museum and found it to be a rewarding and enjoyable experience. The downside was that it is a long way from here and it is not a pleasant drive, A14, M6, M54 all roads carrying dense traffic, nevertheless it was worth the suffering.
The museum is a separate part of a working RAF station, the main exhibits are displayed in four different hangars.
There is a War-in-the-Air hangar in which you will find the many of the famous aircraft from World War II. There are too many for me to list but I was especially pleased to see a Bristol Beaufighter. This was a very successful aircraft, similar in its roles to those of the famous deHavilland Mosquito (which was also present) and overshadowed by that outstanding plane. The Beaufughter had considerable fire-power and proved very capable as a ground attack fighter and as an anti-submarine weapon, it could carry bombs or depth charges and air-to-ground rockets, in addition to cannon and machine guns. Equipped with radar it was an excellent night-fighter and submarine hunter. With the aid of its radar it had the ability to coast in on a target quietly which led to the name given by the enemy of ˜Whispering Death”. To the best of my memory this example at Cosford was the first I have seen since the war days. Also there was a Boulton Paul Defiant, the first time I had seen one of this type ever. Boulton and Paul were a company based in Norwich. In appearance the Defiant was rather like a Hurricane with a turret behind the pilot. Intended for attacking bombers the extra weight of the turret and the gunner prevented it from competing with the Messerschmitt 109s of the Luftwaffe on speed and manoeuvrability, making it unsuitable for front line combat, although it did have some success against the enemy in the early stages. It went on to other uses including a career as a night fighter where it could pursue its intended role against the bombers. A very rare sight was a Focke-Wulf 190, the only time I had seen one of those before was when it was in the air above me in a hostile role, I am not sure if there is one flying anywhere. There were a few WWI planes and some post war examples including the Harrier.
A most interesting hangar was the Test Flight, this housed a number of research and prototype aircraft produced by the British aircraft industry. A fascinating collection, some of which barely came to the notice of the public, but all contributed to our knowledge and to future designs. Outstanding for me was the Fairey Delta FD2, built by the Fairey Aviation Co as a research plane for supersonic flight. It proved to be a very successful design and received plaudits from its pilots for the manner in which it flew. Using a delta wing and a droop nose, considered necessary because of its very long nose, it went on to provide much valuable information that was subsequently incorporated in the design of Concorde. The company thought it would be good to use it to break the world speed record for level flight, the Ministry did not support the proposal but the company carried on with the idea themselves. There were complaints over the sonic booms that occurred over southern Britain and much testing was performed over France, the Dassault company was very cooperative and it is said that much of the design of the successful French Mirage fighter used information obtained from the FD2. In 1956 the FD2 went on to establish a new world speed record of 1132mph, exceeding the previous record held by an American plane by over 300mph. In my mind it is a beautiful aeroplane, it looks right and helps to maintain the strength of the old adage, ˜if it looks right it probably is right”. Also present in the Test Flight hangar was the only surviving Saro SR53. This was a prototype of mixed power, turbojet/rocket, interceptor fighter from the 1950s, intended for defence against the high flying Russian Bear bombers. The performance of the SR53 at altitude with rocket power was outstanding. I was pleased to see it again as I played a significant part in the development of the rocket engine and witnessed some of the early flights at Boscombe Down. Unfortunately, like the FD2, it was a victim of government spending cuts. There were other planes there, many would be familiar to readers including the TSR2 and the prototype English Electric Lightning.
The Cold War hanger had planes from slightly more recent times. Cosford is the only place where it is possible to see all three of the ‘V’ bombers together, the Victor, Valiant and Vulcan, intended for carrying atomic bombs. A later version of the so successful Canberra is on display along with the Javelin and Lightning and many others including a MIG-15 and MIG-21. There are examples of the oh so frightening missiles for sending nuclear weapons on their course to massive destruction, a Polaris and a Thor. The Thor was an American ground to ground missile capable of reaching Moscow from the UK, what I did not know was that there were 20 Thor squadrons, each with three Thors, based in the UK by 1961.
Other hangars include one devoted to the RAF and its history with many interesting exhibits and another hangar devoted to aircraft used by the RAF for training and for transport in which you can find a variety of small planes and a deHavilland Comet and an Argosy. There are aircraft outside for which they have yet to find room for dry storage. Perhaps the most interesting, because it is rarely seen or spoken of these days is the large (for its day) Bristol Britannia, a big turbo-prop plane, intended for long flights noted for its quietness and efficiency. A Nimrod, Catalina, Vickers VC 10, and Hercules were among the others outside.
We spent several hours there and could easily have stayed longer if time had permitted.
Ron Watts

Meet Shirley Cordner Part 1

On the day I was born in Peterborough – 31st March 1956 – my Mum turned up at the Gables Maternity Home in a black car decorated with white wedding ribbons and with a ‘Just Married’ sign hanging on the back. Seeing her condition as she climbed out of the car, the nurses welcomed her with a hearty round of applause! Being Easter Saturday, the taxis had been booked decorated for weddings.
My Dad breathed a sigh of relief, glad to see me. As I was late arriving, he had been worried that if I didn’t come before 1st April, he’d miss out on his tax refund.
Eighteen months later, my brother Terry was born. This time it was a home delivery. We were lucky to live near the city park which became our adventure playground. As cars were few and far between in those days, we could also play out in the street.
My Mum tells me that our milk was brought to us by horse and cart and I was allowed to feed the horse everyday. When I got measles and had to stay in bed, the horse refused to budge from our front door until I was brought out to it wrapped in a blanket.
Nothing particularly memorable happened during my school years, but when I left and wanted to join the Police Force, I was refused because I needed to wear glasses, not allowed at that time. So I went to Southfields Catering College in Leicester for 2 years and studied Catering Management whilst living at the YMCA along with other students. During that time, I can remember us organising the odd march for higher student grants.
But to pay my way I worked weekends and holidays at a Co-op Filling Station. We filled the cars with petrol, checked oil, wiped windscreens, and took their money and Co-op Dividend number. It was there that I met my partner for the next 30 years. Michael Addison was born in Wereham and spent his childhood around Northwold. When he was 16 his family moved to Peterborough.
On leaving College my first position was with Lyons as a trainee manager in the shop at the foot of St. Paul’s cathedral in London. Shop and tea rooms were upstairs with a large restaurant downstairs, which filled daily with office workers paying with luncheon vouchers. A Lyons cup of tea had to be perfect, so before serving the public, we had to pass our Tea Making Certificate.
On my first night, I was told to sit on the kitchen worktops with the rest of the staff and the Chef came round with a large steam hose and blasted under the ovens. I was shocked to see the floor become a moving mass of black cockroaches.
But I soon found London a lonely place and became homesick. So after 6 months I returned to Peterborough and joined M&S in the food section for the very busy Christmas period. The best part was at the end of the day when we could buy ‘out of date’ food for half price. It helped pay the rent for my board.

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