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Tuesday 13th: North London Branch ‘Eastern European Heritage Railways’ by Stephen Wigg & Gordon Rushton.

Wednesday 14th: Dorking Branch ‘Docklands Light Railway’ by Mark Davis.

Thursday 15th: North West Branch ‘L&Y Loco’s at work’ by John Sloane.

Friday 16th: Central London Branch ‘Southern Steam Childhood’ by John H Bird.

Thursday 22nd: Croydon Branch ‘AGM & Members Pictures’ slide & digital, note earlier date to avoid Easter.

Monday 26th: Brighton Branch ‘India’ by John Beckett.


Tuesday 3rd: Bedford Branch ‘Steam Around the North East & South West in the 1960’s’ by Peter Groom.

Tuesday 10th: North London Branch ‘Liverpool Street to Kings Cross via Cambridge’ by Richard Crane.

Wednesday 11th: Dorking Branch ‘The Patriot Project’ by John Barrowdale.

Thursday 12th: St Albans Branch ‘That was the Year that was: 1968’ by Geoff Plumb.

Thursday 19th: North West Branch ‘AGM & Members Pictures’

Friday 20th: Central London Branch ‘Steam in Turkey’ by Peter Robins.

Monday 23rd: Brighton Branch ‘Photo’s from the Bill Jackson Collection – Part 2 1954’ by Brian Jackson.

Thursday 26th: Croydon Branch ‘Transforming Victoria Underground Station’ by Kathryn Waghorn Project Planning Manager.


Tuesday 1st: Bedford Branch ‘The Railways of Scotland’ starting in 1961 by Les Nixon.

Tuesday 8th: North London Branch ‘Travels with my Video Camera’ by Jim Pentney.

Wednesday 9th: Dorking Branch ‘Rail Investigation Board’ by Rowan Joachim.

Thursday 10th: St Albans Branch ‘Planning a Main Line Rail Tour’ by Mathew Hill member of support crew for Princess Elizabeth.

Friday 18th: Central London Branch ‘How Steam was my Valley’ by Chris Haydon Jones.

Monday 21st: Brighton Branch ‘To be advised’

Thursday 31st: Croydon Branch ‘Scottish Steam in 1950’s & 60’s’ by David Kelso.



8/3 Brian Ringer paid his first visit to the Branch with the first part of ‘Strictly Freight Only’, the title being a tribute to Sir Bruce Forsyth, who like Brian was an alumnus of the Latymer School, Edmonton. He joined the railway in 1975 at Acton Yard and apart from a very short spell in the EWS charter unit had no involvement with passenger trains. Brian examined and illustrated the changes in rail freight, which at one time earned twice as much as passenger traffic.

Road competition was already eroding traffic when the 1955 Modernisation Plan was published. Brian regarded it as a missed opportunity. In his view, investment in huge marshalling yards such as Tinsley would have been better directed towards improved wagons, all with continuous brakes – air, not vacuum.

An amusing case study showed how the cumbersome handling methods of the day impaired efficiency. Beeching’s view was that the future lay not in wagonload traffic but block trains such as the Tyne Dock to Consett operation leading to the development of the merry-go-round coal train and increased carriage of iron ore and finished steel in bulk. He also set out the liner train concept which is still with us albeit in not quite the form originally proposed.

Brian was scathing about some of the less efficient diesel classes and the profusion of small shunters which he blamed on too much regional autonomy. The electrified West Coast Main Line provided much extra capacity, sufficient to accommodate what was left of the Great Central’s traffic. Time ran out all too soon. The Branch thanks Brian for a very interesting and informative evening and looks forward to more.

On 6/2 the Branch welcomed Brian, also known as George Sullivan once again with the fourth and final instalment of the presentation on the Cromford and High Peak Railway created by the late Ian Lyman
. Tommy Tomalin, who had played a key part in the fieldwork, was also present. An unfortunate technical hitch delayed the start of the meeting.

This instalment covered the section from Hindlow to Whaley Bridge. The complexities of the changes made to the railway after it had come within the purview of the London and North Western in 1862 stemmed from its original conception as a canal which had led directly to the alignment chosen. Much of the original alignment was replaced by deviations in 1876 and 1892 and then closed, only for partial re-opening to take place later as traffic developed.

These complexities were described with remarkable lucidity but the value of explanatory maps has seldom been greater. Photographs illustrated how visible many of the abandoned sections were after over a century of disuse – here a dry stone wall, there a sharp curve in the grass. Such fixtures and fittings as had existed were faithfully and comprehensively recorded, though not always without difficulty.

In thanking the speaker Branch Chairman Bill Davies paid tribute not only to Ian Lyman and his cohorts but to those whose vision created the railway and those who had the foresight to photograph the line in its heyday. Without them there would have been no presentation for those present to applaud warmly.

On 2/1 the Branch welcomed former Branch Chairman Chris Jones and his illustrated presentation on ‘The railways of Wales’.
Chris spent his formative years in Swansea and had an uncle, Mark Smith, who rose to become Chief Civil Engineer of the Western Region. Armed with these credentials he set out to explore the Principality and its railways. Contrary to some beliefs, Wales was not the exclusive preserve of the GWR, for both the Midland and London and North Western had significant presences. Chris made good use of maps to explain this and many of the other complexities of what was probably the densest railway network in the world. The eclectic selection of photographs portrayed much that is bygone and not just the coal traffic for which South Wales was renowned.

Among the aspects covered briefly was the special train on the Neath and Brecon for the 19th century opera star Dame Adelina Patti, a selection of railtours covering such locations as Barry Pier, Walnut Tree Viaduct and the Merthyr to Abergavenny line and the replacement of Brunel’s Wye Bridge at Chepstow, doubtless courtesy of Uncle Mark! The slides were supplemented by sound recordings from Peter Handford and some black and white film of the Brecon and Merthyr in in its last months.

Slightly on the edge of strict relevance, but interesting nonetheless, were two shots of the Newport Transporter Bridge. Time ran out before the show could be completed and the Branch is left wondering what other tales could have been told.


Tony Sullivan presented ‘British Railways Steam Specials’ for our meeting on 29/2.
Many of the tours were provided by the various major enthusiast groups at a diverse range of locations. In a number of shots Tony invited us to identify the locations which taxed the audience, some being at locations that haven't seen any rail activity in many a long year.

The Harborne branch being just one example. There were even locations that Tony had failed to record but sadly the audience were of little help!Tony also included tours with preserved loco's bringing back memories such as the Bulmer specials.For your scribe the shot that really typified the era was of 46235 on the SLS Pacific Pennine Railtour at Skipton on 12th July 1964. The train was on the platform, which was crammed with people, the former Grassington platforms could be seen in the background, stabled branch line coaches, tour participants strewn across 6 running lines whilst Tony shot the scene off the signal box, utopia.

A good evening's entertainment with many interesting pictures. Sadly we had to cut short due to power failure and the onset of snow.

On the 22/1 the meeting heralded the New Year in fine form with Keith Carter presenting ‘Branch Lines on Film’.The first film was entitled the Marlow Donkey - 100 years, taken in 1973, where we were able to enjoy again the celebrations. Next up came some of Keith's own film, mainly of the Sussex Rambler tour organised by the Brighton Model Railway Club in 1979. On this trip Beeding Cement Works and Lavant were visited, believed to be the last passenger train to visit both branches, utilising a class 73 locomotive and 4-TC set. This was followed by a short film taken on the Bridport branch taken during 1972/3 before the branch closed in 1975.

Keith took us to the break with a film which showed a varied selection of branch lines.After our tea break Keith ran a shortened version of the classic film Oh Mr Porter which had us all chuckling at the merry antics. He then showed Piccadilly Line to Shanklin which featured the old class 485/486 ex LT units on the Isle of Wight. Keith produced his piece de resistance at the end of the evening with a superb film showing the Isle of Wight in the 1920's.

Central London

The branch welcomed Peter Lemmey on 16/2 with French Nostalgia,
a look back at mainly steam on both standard and narrow gauges in France. The collection of pictures included scenes recorded by Lance King, Hugh Ballantyne and John Snell as well as Peter's own images. Main line locomotives seen included classes 231D 231E, 231G, 231K, 241P, 141R ,140C, 141TA and 141E. Of particular note was a 130B Mogul, rebuilt from an 0-6-0 design constructed in the 1850s.

Locations of steam action varied from Calais Maritime to the line from Marseille to Cannes and Nice with a 141R-hauled Le Mistral express recorded in the mid 1960s and Rennes in Normandy. The narrow gauge scene was well represented with images which included the Vivarais line, not far from Lyon, in its working days plus what is now the CdF de la Baie de la Somme and the PO Corrèze system. The 60cm line of the Pithiviers system, near Orléans was visited on the first day of the sugar beet harvest in 1962.

At the peak of its fortunes there were over 700 miles of 60cm lines in rural France to serve the sugar beet growers. The classic diesel railcars were also noted, as they were very much a part of the metre gauge passenger services. Of particular interest were modern pictures of a classic PLM french-style station, which was actually in Algiers. Likewise, a GM diesel at Oran station was compared with a much older image of a PLM-design pacific in the same location, showing not much had changed in many decades!

The last picture shown was appropriately one of the preserved 231 G 558 at Dieppe Maritime on a railtour similar to those in which the Club has participated in more recent years. The regular working steam-era of french railways is now a long time ago but it was good to see that it has been so well recorded for the benefit of future generations.

The Branch gives grateful thanks to Peter for a superb evening's railway entertainment.

The branch began the New Year programme in fine style on 19/1 with Ian Silvester and ‘Videos of South Africa 1995 and 1999’. The scenes, from a pair of organised railtours, were originally recorded on Super VHS tape and Ian outlined how the transition to digital format was made. The result was two hours of superb entertainment as all the well-known classes of SAR steam locomotive were recorded, mainly on runpasts, in glorious lighting conditions in both spectacular mountainous scenery and on more level ground both early and late in the day. Maps of the lines covered helped to set the scenes in context along with glimpes of the local life and activities.

The Garratt classes GO, GEA and GF featured as well as the Cl. 19D 4-8-2, Cl. 24 2-8-4 and 25NC 4-8-4 locomotives. Lesser common ones, to this writer at least, were also seen such as a Cl. 23 4-8-2, 16DA and 16E Pacific’s, Cl. 6J 4-6-0 and Cl 7A and 7B 4-8-0s. The classic one-off Cl 26NC No. 3450 The Red Devil was also seen in action on the Kimberly to Bloemfontein line.

One of the most interesting scenes was the sight of a steam-hauled train running down the main street in Fauriesmith on possibly the last occasion this happened, to the great amusement of the local populace! The writer particularly enjoyed the spectacular sights of steam over the Kaimans River Bridge, near Wilderness, on the George to Knysna branch and a double-headed train, with a GEA and 19D, working over the line from George to Oudsthorn where the line runs along a ledge carved out from the mountains.

The Branch gives grateful thanks to Ian, who was accompanied by his wife Virginia, for his technical expertise on preparing the videos and for his time and effort in providing us with such an enjoyable evening's entertainment.


A well known presenter on behalf of Irish railways, Leslie McAllister, visited the branch on 22/2 to give a talk entitled ‘The history of the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland- the first 53 years’. Leslie has been active in the RPSI for many years so, with a digital assembly of photographs from the archives, he told the story of preservation in the two countries, the north and the republic.

The preservation developments in Ireland have been much the same as in the UK and the enlargement of Whitehead depot, overhaul of several 'classic' Irish engines and acquisition of coaches proved a stimulating story.

But the audience were also shown how the RPSI had visited virtually every line in Ireland with steam over the half century and each attendee was given an A4 size map to make these journeys more comprehensible. So thanks to Leslie for his lively and well presented story which made an interesting evening.

The meeting on the 25/1, comprised a welcome return visit by David Jackman who gave a well presented digital talk entitled ‘A 21st Century Odyssey. Part 2 : Germany’ . The speaker has travelled extensively in Europe in recent years so gave a full review of the services operating in Germany at the present times, based on his own photographs, with details of the specification of the trains and locomotives in use. In addition to the main DB fleet, he included private operators and remote holiday season only branch lines and eased any possible bewilderment with some enlightening maps. Our thanks to David an interesting and well researched talk.


The speaker at the Branch meeting on 14/2 was Club member David Heal with a presentation of ‘Steam on Video’ The first film David showed was taken on the West Somerset Railway in 2014 and featured locos 6960 Raveningham Hall, 7828 (running as Norton Manor) and 2-8-0 3850 seen both from the lineside and the train as they travelled through the country and seaside scenery along this attractive line.

The second film was taken around the Bernese Oberland in Switzerland and featured steam traction on the rack railways to Schynige Platte, the Brienzer Rothorn and over the neighbouring Furka Pass between Oberwald and Realp as well as the PS Blumisalp on Lake Thun.

The final part of David’s programme followed a six day IGE railtour around South West Germany in September 2011 and featured some 11 steam locos on the main line as well as two heritage lines. The tour ran from Karlsruhe via overnight stops at Limburg, Trier, Weil am Rhein, Ulm and Stuttgart back to Karlsruhe. Highlights included double-heading with 4-6-2s 01-0509 and 01-1075 and again with 4-6-2 01-1533 and 2-8-2 41-018, a traverse of the highly scenic and tortuous Wutachtalbahn museum line topped and tailed by 2-10-0 52-7596 and 2-8-2TT 93-1360 and a trip with 0-6-0T 99-7203 on the preserved metre gauge line at Amstetten.

David was thanked by his audience for a varied and entertaining evening.

Regular speaker Donald Wilson returned to the Branch on 10/1 to give a presentation on ‘Incredible India’ recounting five journeys he made to that country between 1985 and 1993. At that time roads were still poor and vehicle traffic, especially private cars, limited and the railways were the main means of travel with a mixture of broad gauge (5ft 6ins), metre gauge and narrow gauge (chiefly 2ft 6ins) lines. With the massive increase in population and road traffic, many metre gauge lines have since been converted to broad gauge and the narrow gauge lines converted or closed and steam has all but disappeared, so Donald’s pictures showed many scenes which have now vanished.

His presentation concentrated on North India and particularly on the narrow gauge although the impressive WP 4-6-2s and WG 2-8-2s, and the equivalent YP and YG classes on the metre gauge were also seen. The narrow gauge lines featured included that to Tantpur near Agra, with its ZA 2-8-4Ts, the Katwa to Ahmadpur line near Calcutta and the Dabhoi lines near Baroda in the west. Two of the now well known Hill Indian Railways were shown, the Simla line with its unique diesel railcars and the 2ft gauge Darjeeling line and its B class 0-4-0Ts.

Donald also visited sugar factory lines at Saraya, Ryam and Motipur, each with its own unique collection of elderly locos, and concluded his talk with a look at the line from Jaynagar across the border into Nepal, now rebuilt to broad gauge. As always, his photos included fascinating scenes of rural life around the railway as well as the trains themselves. Donald was warmly thanked for a most entertaining evening and has been booked to return in January 2019 with a look at Pakistan.

North London

On 13/2 2018 Bryan Cross presented a selection of ‘Photographs from the collection of the late Peter Bland’.
The afternoon commenced with a brief biography of Peter. Bryan explained that Peter went to University as an engineering student. At the same time Peter developed an interest in railway photography which resulted in a collection of some 6,000 photographs. For his day job Peter eventually became the Borough Engineer for the London Borough of Islington.

Bryan then moved on to giving us a taste of Peter’s prowess as a photographer. The photographs shown were from 1947 onwards and reflected a change from private railways in the “Big Four”, to railways in public ownership. One example of how British Rail dealt with the new situation was changes in livery. Bryan cited the case of 46224 Princess Alexandra which left the works on 2nd of May 1948 in LMS Black, returned to works to be repainted in BR experimental Blue 0n the 19th of May 1948. This was followed by a further livery change to Green livery in 1952, exciting times perhaps.

The locations visited in the UK included Southend Victoria, Feltham, Ware Crewe in England. In Scotland Edinburgh, Stirling, Forfar and Inverness. Industrial railways were also well represented. Bryan continued the talk with an illustrated tour of Ireland undertaken by Peter Bland from the 9th to 22nd June 1951.

Peter visited several locations in both the North and South of Ireland. Photographs of 5’3” and 3’ gauge lines were included. Many of the photographs were taken at industrial sites in addition to passenger lines. The photographs are of high quality and very enjoyable. Bryan’s enhanced the presentation with the excellent use of graphics which enabled the audience to plot Peter’s progress along the routes chosen.

Bryan also provided some historical background to steam engineers in Ireland and some were well known in the UK. Among them H.A. Ivatt, R.E.L. Maunsell and J.A.F. Aspinall. Overall the afternoon was a fascinating reminder of the diversity of railways on both sides of the Irish Sea in the 1040’s and 1950’s. Having seen the first 100 or so photographs, I cannot wait to see the next 5,900. The branch would like to say a huge thank you to Peter Bland, and to Bryan Cross for his excellent introduction to this historic collection of photographs.

The meeting on 9/1 ‘Archive Videos’ consisted of three videos compiled from material gathered at least 50 years ago. The first video recorded the final years of steam on the Southern region of British Railways. The scenes encompassed Bullied Locomotives working from Waterloo to the Bournemouth and the Exeter routes. The video was relevant to me as this was the steam route most used by myself. The next presentation concentrated on the railway system during the 1920’s. The starting point concentrated on the formation of the” Big Four”, from privately owned companies.

Detailed explanations were offered concerning the railways not quite big enough to be absorbed into the large groupings. Amongst them the Southwold. Railway. The bulk of the video was divided into four chapters devoted to the emerging railway companies. Commencing with the Southern Railway. There was an excellent combination of photography from various locations on the railway and detailed explanations of the locomotives in use and their builders. The builders mentioned were Urie, Drummond and Wainwright.

There were excellent scenes from Folkestone and Dover harbours where passenger ferries were seen. On the Midland Railway notable locomotive designers mentioned were Kirklees Sam Johnson and Fowler. Amongst the examples seen were the famous 3Fs. The sequence included views of the St Pancras and the London Tilbury and Southend Railway. The audience was reminded that North London Line had its roots within the Midland Railway. The Great Western Railway segment noted the way in which the Great Western retained its individuality and style even beyond Grouping. There were excellent shots in all weathers of both goods and passenger services. Churchward was noted for his designs resulting in Castle and Kings, the designs for which, survived in many instances into last days of steam.

London Midland and Scottish this section started off in Scotland featuring St Enoch, Aberdeen and Edinburgh. Many locomotives from the Highland and Caledonian were featured including the Jones Goods. Moving south of the border the film concentrated on Fowlers in their various wheel arrangements. Scenes were shot around St Pancras and included views of Kentish Town. When the LNER was formed Robinson was recruited from the Great Central he was offered the role of CME he declined it in favour of Nigel Gresley who then became involved in the development of the fleet. Many Gresley designs were illustrated. Steam powered railcars were also included. Views of Darlington, Newcastle and York were included in the video.

The final part of the of the afternoon was devoted to a historical video about the tram system in the UK, mainly concentrating of the first half of the 20th century. Locations visited included London, Manchester and Edinburgh plus many more cities. The presentation showed the transition from horse drawn trams to the development of electric trams and their eventual demise in so many towns and cities.

Overall a worthy representation of the history of the tram. It was a very interesting afternoon and I would like to thank our compiler for bringing these gems to our attention. In respect of the Big Four presentation, it was like the Ken Nunn collection had been brought to life for this I would like to thank all the contributors.

North West

On 15/02 Paul Shackcloth paid a welcome return with the second part of his splendid series on "Lancashire & Yorkshire Locomotives at Work". Starting in Yorkshire where his previous digital show had ended, and ranging over a period of some seventy years, Paul showed views in the Wakefield, Goole, Doncaster, York and Sheffield areas. As might be expected, the large classes of 0-6-0's and 2-4-2 Radial tanks were seen in quantity although many were in rare and fascinating locations.

Particular gems were Highfliers at Scarborough, York and Sheffield Midland, Pugs working in Goole docks, an 0-6-0ST at Goole Engine Shed Cabin and scenes of a Radial on the huge viaduct at Penistone and another on a Cudworth service on the unsafe looking Oaks viaduct at Barnsley.

Moving into West Yorkshire, the Leeds area and the depths of Bradford Exchange were visited before a view of 50455 a Todmorden on its last trip from Blackpool to York and pictures of various 4-4-0 classes. Crossing the border into East Lancashire the L & Y strongholds of Rose Grove, Accrington and Blackburn produced more loco types including 0-8-0's, a Baltic tank, an experimental compound 4-4-0 and the stationary boiler former 0-4-4T at Accrington.

The Preston area saw various 4-6-0 Dreadnoughts on WCML services to Carlisle, a nice Beyer Peacock built 4-4-0 and an 0-6-0ST working the Butler St goods yard shunt. Excursion trains to Blackpool and Fleetwood had various types in action although the ubiquitous and versatile Aspinall 0-6-0's tended to dominate. Three particularly dramatic scenes showed an 0-6-0 and a Radial racing each other neck to neck on the four track section near Lea Road, another 0-6-0 seen from below crossing Kirkham flyover and a Highflyer blasting away from Poulton.

More Dreadnoughts, Baltic’s and stationary boilers were seen around Blackpool together with a Steam Railmotor at Fleetwood. Moving to West Lancashire, Railmotors were again in evidence at Altcar, together with Pugs and 0-6-0T's on Liverpool docks, a "British Railways" liveried M11375 at Bank Hall and more 4-4-0's at Exchange station. Scenes at Wigan and on the WCML produced fish trains at Farington, both large and small boilered 0-8-0's around Wallgate and a smart 51474 shunting the exchange yard at North Western.

So concluded another stunning selection of scenes which were fascinating not simply for the locomotives but also for the rolling stock, the railway infrastructure and their period urban settings. Paul was warmly thanked for this further delve into the magnificent MLS collection and part three, dealing with L&Y locomotives outside the two counties, is eagerly anticipated.

The Branch meeting of 18/1 was a digital presentation by Peter Malone entitled ‘A European Steam Miscellany’.
True to his title, Peter produced a very wide array of pictures from a dozen countries mainly in the 21st century. He started with scenes in Germany and with a major steam event at Dresden Altstadt depot where various ex DR pacific’s and tank classes were on show together impressive Czech 475 and 498 locos. Associated steam specials included an 01 and a 95 tank pacing each other on a steeply graded route.

The Krauss pacific on the Dresden miniature railway provided a contrast before a splendid series of night views of steam around Altstadt depot and turntable. Scenes of the many derelict locos at Falkenburg depot followed before much happier views of restored locos at Chemnitz.

Switzerland then saw many spectacular snow scenes with steam ploughing, the Brunig rack tank 1067 and RhB 107 all in action before moving on to Hungary. Here the Locomotive Grand Prix held at the former Budapest Nord depot was the focus with many types on display and in action including GWR 5521 and locos from Austria, Serbia, the Czech Republic and Poland. A visit to Istvantalec Works produced a sight of the steamlined 4-4-4T whilst a railtour saw the preserved 4-4-0 in action on a line crossing a golf course! In Poland the action in the Wolstyn area saw Ol49 and Pt47's in use whilst a Px48 was working at Gniezno.

Finally before a break, scenes in Bulgaria produced the splendid 05 pacific and the equally impressive restored 2-12-2T. Restarting in Portugal we saw 2-8-4T's at Contumil depot and in the Douro valley and various other types at Regua, Entroncamento and Faro. A brief spell in France saw another Portuguese Mallet, this time in action on the CF de Provence, the NB built 140C at Andouze and the 141R at Breil du Roya.

Spain saw visits to the wonderful museums at Azpetia and Gijon with their huge range of locos on show whilst other scenes included El Entrego museum, the remains of the Rio Tinto system and various plinths around the country. Denmark, Norway and Sweden then produced an interesting selection ranging from a compound E class pacific to many early British built machines. The evening concluded with an comprehensive look at most of the surviving ex DR narrow gauge systems with their 2-10-2T, Mayer, Mallet and 2-6-2T types all in action. This was a dazzling show accompanied by an informed commentary and Peter received well deserved thanks for all his efforts in putting it together.

St Albans

St Albans Branch: were able to welcome a distinguished visitor to open their 2015/6 season when Chris Green, the former MD of Network SouthEast, gave a presentation on 10.9 entitled 'The InterCity Story', based on the book of the same name. Mr Green's presentation was divided into four parts, namely the roots of using InterCity as a brand name (1960-1982), Sectorisation (1982-1994), Privatisation (1994-Present) and Conclusions. Mr Green said that in the early days, much emphasis was placed on raising the average speed of the passenger trains involved, a process which was aided by the introduction of new technology, in particular the High Speed Train fleet and main line electrification.

At the time of writing, frequency of service is the main selling point, with a miscellany of timetabled services being seen on all major trunk routes. Mr Green followed his talk by a question and answer session, during which time many topics, including HS2, were aired. The St Albans Branch would like to thank Mr Green for a lively and thought provoking evening's entertainment.