RCPS Press Report 26th November 2015

Our most recent speaker, Bob Watson delivered a different presentation to the usual, choosing words as a priority over pictures in order to explain his Life of Sobriety talk. Sobriety is the name of a Humber barge, saved, refurbished, customized and still in use nearly four decades on to provide experiential learning opportunities for disadvantaged children, young people and adult offenders nearing the end of their sentence. Bob was a classroom teacher in a secondary school for twenty-one years before a year teaching in northern Nigeria resulted in an epiphany that confirmed that learning and education could take place, not just in a classroom, but also by utilizing the outdoors beyond the confines of a building. Further work on City Challenge, the then urban arm of the Outward Bound movement, and the philosophy espoused by the late Alec Clegg, then Chief Education Officer of the West Riding of Yorkshire, influenced and cemented his belief in the value of education beyond the classroom. So began a thirty-seven year association as Bob developed the Sobriety project, based in Goole, becoming its Director until his recent retirement. The Chairman of the Sobriety project was, for many years, Mick Stanley, now a City councilor and a previous Mayor of Ripon. Bob’s priority was always with the needs of the people coming to the project rather than with the waterways per se. Bob described the history of the Aire and Calder Navigation system, early beginnings of the project, explained about Tom Pudding coal boats and showed pictures of the hoist used to lift them, turn them over and discharge their coaly content into waiting ships for transportation to the London Gas Company. He also spoke about and gave examples of how the project has helped vulnerable young people including many excluded from school, and offenders, to develop new skills, draw confidence from their work and relationships and go on to have productive lives and make positive contributions to society. Much more of this can be found in his recently published book, A Cuckoo in the Curriculum (A Life of Lessons), available from bob.watson@which.net Bob was awarded an MBE in 2006 and after hearing of his inspiration in engaging and taking others with him to develop the Sobriety project, one understands why it was richly deserved as was his less sustainable, but still appreciative applause for his input to RCPS.
Looking to the end of the month, we are getting quite excited at hosting Mark Littlejohn, Take a View’s Landscape Photographer of the Year 2014, on Monday 30th November at The Arches, Holy Trinity Church, Ripon, HG4 2EY at 7.30pm. To get such a winner is real coup, particularly since this is not the first time his work has received praise from judges. He has received commendations for his entries into the same competition previously and this year he was Runner Up in the Adult Classic section of the same competition with his image of Aira Point in Mist, Ullswater. In 2012 he won third place in the prestigious International Photography Awards in Los Angeles and also, in 2012, Pentax used a number of his images in the Salon de la Photo exhibition in Paris.
Mark is most at home in the English Lake District; in fact he claims to be a hill walker turned photographer. He has lived in the area with his family for over thirty years and has been running workshops in the North Lakes area for the last two years. During the summer months he works on the Ullswater Steamers, which is something he loves doing. Mark is a talented and passionate photographer who is completely in touch with the landscape he works in.
Having seen Mark’s work on his web-site I think we shall be in for a really good evening. Members, please invite family, friends, colleagues because for the ridiculously low price of £3 for visitors, (refreshments 50p), this event should not be missed by any keen photographer, walker, lover of the outdoors, in fact, anyone!