Alton

Anniversary

This Link has been added so that information, articles, etc regarding our forthcoming 25th Anniversary Celebrations can be published.

If you have any special memories, we are intending to compile an Album entitled, "What Alton U3A means to me!"

Short anecdotes can be written on small cards (It would be nice if you were to include your name and the approximate year you joined the U3A), available from your Group Leaders or from the Community Centre Receptionists.
They will then be collated for inclusion into the proposed Album and put on display at our AGM in June.

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Following our Annual General Meeting on June 15th for those attending we will be having a Cream Tea as a part of our 25th ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATIONS.

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Wednesday 11th July – 25th ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION CRUISE

Continuing our Celebrations we have organised a day out in Henley which includes a 2 hour cruise on the Thames from Henley. During our cruise we will enjoy a Celebration tea including Sandwiches, Scones and Cream!!! plus there is a Licensed Bar for you to purchase a Jug of Pimms or whatever takes your fancy!

There will be Free time on arrival in Henley for a walk along the Thames or a wander around this charming little town to purchase some lunch before embarking on our Tour boat.

Coach timings are approximate and will be confirmed later. Four Marks 9.45am, Sainsbury’s 10.00am and Bentley at 10.15am.

THIS EXCURSION IS INTENDED SPECIFICALLY FOR U3A MEMBERS at £35 per head and are strictly limited to the boat capacity of NINETY

To apply for tickets please contact Paddy Barnes on 01420 89116, to whom you should send your cheques. Alternativley you may wish to pay by BAC's and mark your ,"Anniversary Celebration"

PLEASE NOTE THAT ALL PAYMENT must be received by March 31st to enable Boat booking to be finalised

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From Archaeology to Pork Pies:

A personal recollection of the early years of Alton U3A Submitted by Morris Hopkins

The Université de Troisième Age began at Toulouse in 1973 from where it spread across France, mainly to cities with universities with which there was local collaboration. In the early 1980s the movement reached the UK but changed its nature in that the branches were independent of other academic bodies and so relied on the principle of self-help. The outreach from the first branch in Cambridge to other centres was rapid, particularly to market towns the size of Alton.

And so it was that, 25 years ago, Alton U3A was founded, prompting the celebration of our Silver Jubilee this year.
The impetus for our origin in the summer of 1993 came from the friendship of Gerald Davies - who was about to become the first chairman of Alton U3A - with an old soldier who was chairman of the recently established Farnham U3A. This was typical of the way the U3A movement developed and was repeated a few years later when Alton helped to kick-start Petersfield U3A.

What do I remember of our early years? (And, if my memory has failed, let other founder members correct me). Our first director of studies was Nina Siggs who recruited some 15 course leaders for the edification of about a hundred founder members. Some very long-standing courses began in that first year. On the academic side there was, for example, the Archaeology group led by David Davis, who was to become the second chairman of Alton U3A, from 1994 to 1997. Then on the more social side, there was the Scottish Dancing directed initially by Penny Carmichael, then Ron & Stella Burnett, and currently Robin Poulter, who leads a group which is still as popular and energetic as ever.

A more unusual course on the U3A menu (sadly, short-lived) was Cookery conducted in the kitchen at All Saints church hall. Those student chefs were very ambitious when they baked pork pies which would have stood up to competition from Melton Mowbray.
One of the successors of Nina as director of studies was Carolyn Goodrham who was in office at the start of a rapid increase in the number of courses on offer, which has peaked at about 40 this year. Carolyn also introduced an annual forum, or study day, beginning with Famous Altonians whose potted biographies were delivered by half a dozen speakers. Topics in subsequent years have included geographical subjects like India and historical ones such as Victorian Britain.

Following Davies and Davis, I was chairman of Alton U3A for the last three years of the twentieth century. One of the most pleasing aspects of this rôle was welcoming guest speakers at the Friday afternoon Monthly Meetings, 7 or 8 each year. As today, we had a very broad range of subjects. Two of the speakers were at my own invitation : Patrick Sandford, who was at that time the Artistic Director of the Nuffield Theatre, Southampton; and Michael Scott-Joynt, the then Bishop of Winchester. A bonus arising from these meetings was the reporting of them in the local press during my time. The Alton Herald was very cooperative, with the result that the U3A got frequent, excellent publicity.

Having reached the Millennium, I will end my recollection of the early years of Alton U3A, but, reader, please remember that, to quote Shakespeare, “Old men forget”.