BURLEY PROBUS CLUB: The President, David Sowman, welcomed 30 members and guests to the 884th meeting of Burley Probus Club, held in Salem Church Hall on Tuesday, April 15. After a short business session, Dr Dennis Warwick, a Probus Club member and prominent local historian and author, then took the floor. Dr Warwick gave a fascinating hour’s talk about William E Forster, an adopted son of Burley-in-Wharfedale and philanthropist, who over several decades in the Victorian era had made a huge impact on the local scene as well as rising to prominence as a national politician. Forster was actually born in Bradpole, Dorset, in 1818 into a Quaker family, moving to Yorkshire when he was relatively young. Forster worked in various textile companies before a chance meeting with William Fison, an established local industrialist. In due course they went into partnership and bought the previous cotton-mill Greenholme Mills complex in Burley-in-Wharfedale. Here now successful worsted wool manufacture was to take place for many years, with up to 5,000 employees working there at one time. Given his upbringing, Forster remained a leading Radical throughout his life and accomplished much on the local welfare scene. He was elected as a Liberal MP for Bradford in 1861, eventually joining the Cabinet and becoming Minister for Education in 1868. Forster was the architect for the very important and far-reaching Education Act 1870, which for the first time ever nationally provided part-time schooling for all children aged between four and 11. Later in that decade he became Chief Secretary for Ireland, which proved to be a most daunting and difficult role for him to fulfil. Forster remained an MP until his death in 1886; his funeral service was in Westminster Abbey, but he was buried in God’s Acre in Burley, where very recently a new headstone has been erected following a successful campaign by Dr Warwick and Cllr Dale Smith. Also memorial crosses to both William E Forster and William Fison stand outside the Queen’s Hall, Burley; Forster’s Victorian statue is likely to re-appear in the currently redeveloping Forster Square, Bradford, with its new retail centre. William E Forster married Jane Arnold, daughter of Matthew Arnold, the nationally-famous headmaster, author and poet. The Forsters’ main residence was “Wharfeside”, a mansion which Forster had built near the mills and in fact still remains. They had no children of their own, but adopted four of their orphaned nephews and nieces. The vote of thanks to Dr Warwick was given by Fred McHale. The President announced that the next meeting would be on Tuesday, April 29, when the speaker would be David Alred, his subject being “Transport and Steam”. Guests including ladies will be most welcome; there is a £2 entry fee to defray uucosts.

METHODIST CHURCH: Easter All Age Family Worship on Sunday April 20 was led by Rev John Lambert and Mrs Jill Pullan, celebrating the good news of the resurrection of Jesus after the sadness and sacrifice of Holy Week. The congregation also shared in Holy Communion. Coffee will be served as usual on Tuesdays from 10am in the Church Fellowship Area, and next Sunday’s Morning Worship on April 27 at 10.30am will be led by Mrs Fiona Kendall. That afternoon a Lambing Service will be held at Norwood Chapel at 2.30pm, led by Mrs Lindsey Hurst of Bramhope. On Bank Holiday Monday, May 5, Burley Methodist Church will be serving refreshments at Norwood Chapel between 10am and 4pm with proceeds for Church funds. Our Youth Gospel Choir, Shine, will be singing there at 11.30am, so we hope many people will come to enjoy a day out in Nidderdale and refreshments and music at Norwood Chapel.