February 2022

Halton u3a member Paula Fox writes "In June 2021 I took a photo of the Mersey Gateway bridge, then chose to paint it for the theme of Bridges in one of the WEA online art classes that I have been logging into since lockdown in March 2020." Thanks to Paula for kindly sharing a photo of her striking painting which you can see in the sidebar of this page. The WEA (Workers Educational Association) runs various face to face courses throughout the country as well as some that are available online. You can find out more here : Workers Educational Association

January 2022

January is an ideal month to pursue indoor interests. If you enjoy investigating family history, 'Introducing the 1921 Census', a free online event is coming up very soon on Saturday 8th January. This will be the last census information that will be available to family historians for the next thirty years! If you are interested you can register for an online ticket through Eventbrite

September 2021

Coming up soon on Tuesday 5th October, 6pm - 7.30pm at Widnes Library - 'Cloch: A 19th Century Tall Ship Voyage' - a local history talk by Ian Bellard. Tickets are £2 and are available to book online at Eventbright or at any Halton Library.

In 1897 Ian’s great-grandfather Joseph T. Rowland embarked upon a two year voyage aboard the Glasgow built barque Cloch. From Liverpool he sailed to San Francisco, South Africa and Chile rounding Cape Horn four times, along the way being inducted into the court of King Neptune as he crossed the equator. In later years he wrote an account of his voyage, the document which provided the inspiration for this talk.

The autumn edition of the national u3a magazine 'Third Age Matters' is out and has been posted to Halton u3a members who have expressed interest in receiving a copy. If you haven't received a copy and think that you should have done please contact the secretary.

There is an excellent programme of online events which members can access via the national u3a website. Talks on offer change regularly and cover a wide range of subjects so it is worth checking out what is available every few weeks or so. This link will take you there : Online events

Did you know that the 6th September - 10th September is annual Zero Waste Week, the aim of which is to get us to think about what we perceive as 'rubbish' as a valuable resource. You can check out some of the excellent suggestions here : Zero Waste Week

August 2021

As well as the 'Third Age' Trust magazine there is another magazine The Oldie' which is aimed at perhaps the more mature market. 'The Oldie' is a monthly publication, which has the aim of providing a " free-thinking, funny magazine, a light-hearted alternative to a press obsessed with youth and celebrity. The Oldie is ageless and timeless, free of retirement advice, crammed with rejuvenating wit, intelligence and delight". You can subscribe to the magazine, register to receive a weekly free e-newsletter with access to a limited number of articles in full or if you are member of Halton Library you can read the magazine in it's entirety through Pressreader. All you will need to be able to do this is your library card number and PIN. Pressreader will also give you free access to a wide range of monthly and weekly magazines as well as newspapers. You can find out more about the magazine here: The Oldie

Garden visiting is a most pleasant way to spend some time on a summer afternoon and members might be interested in visiting a gem of a Warrington garden that is open on Saturday 7th August from 12.30pm -4.30pm. The garden is open under the National Garden Scheme which raises money each year for a number of charities. Refreshments will be available and there will also be plants for sale. Admission is £4.00 for adults, free for children. Tickets can be pre-booked but it is not essential. Full details can be found here : Open garden

July 2021

The Science For Everyone group were recently made aware of an open Facebook group called ' Letter From Widnes', where one of the posters Larry Nield a Widnes writer drew attention to an article in the 'Liverpool Echo' mentioning his suggestion that his hometown and Runcorn should be classed as a World Heritage Site. Larry Neild said he believes the area’s inclusion is justified because of its “critical” role in the industrial age and its waterways. The author and researcher has written to Halton Borough Council proposing that the two towns be nominated as a joint-candidate to join the iconic list of the world’s most treasured sites, despite Widnes having been described in The Daily Post in 1888 as the “dirtiest, ugliest and most depressing town in England”. Larry, a journalist by trade, told the newspaper his idea is that the Mersey Gateway, Silver Jubilee and railway bridges would be the “catalyst” for the creation of a Unesco World Heritage Site (WHS), to reflect their importance in opening up the North West - “particularly Liverpool ”. You do not have to be a regular Facebook user to see Larry's post and replies. You can see them by looking here : Letter From Widnes.

Calling any members who are into quilting! There are many events in the pipeline to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the u3a which is coming up next year including the launch of a quilting competition. The quilt will be a lasting legacy of the occasion. The results will be published in the February 2022 edition of the Third Age Trust magazine. The theme, rules and an entry form can be found here : Competition

June 2021

You may have already been contacted by your health centre about the fact that NHS Digital will be collecting data from patient's medical records from September 2021 to assist in care planning and research. If not you can find out further information about this and how to opt out if you decide to do so by visiting the link here : NHS Digital

This month sees more events taking place for residents and visitors to enjoy under the umbrella of Halton Borough Of Culture, which is an ongoing event running throughout this year and aimed at all generations. You can see the full programme for this celebration of Halton here : Brochure

May 2021

Halton Libraries are running a 'Let's Go Green Festival' during the summer months with a range of events some aimed at both children and adults adults. This will be a "celebration of the outdoors and our planet using art, stories, talks and performance".The programme includes talks, workshops and story walks in the great outdoors. You can see the full programme with details of how to book for any activities that interest you here : Let\'s Go Green Festival

Early May and the swans that were nesting in Victoria Park, Widnes have celebrated the arrival of their cygnets. Do be careful not to go too near especially if you have young children with you as swans are understandably very protective of their nests and young offspring. Members of Halton u3a have kindly shared some photos of the swans and cygnets. You can see photos of them in the sidebar or below if you are using an iPad to look at this

April 2021

Another contribution from a member on the subject of birds with the information that BBC Radio3 breakfast show starting at 7.00am on Sunday mornings is currently featuring an introduction to spring birdsong. This is also available on catch up and there is a short article on the Radio 3 website where you can see and listen to some of the birds mentioned in the programme here : Radio 3

Norton Priory Museum & Gardens in Runcorn will be opening the walled garden and museum grounds on selected days from Friday 16th April 2021. You will need to book in advance in order to visit. There are COVID-Secure measures in place including social distancing, enhanced cleaning and limits on visitor numbers. You can find out more about this local attraction by clicking on: Norton Priory

What more beautiful and fascinating sound is birdsong? Who doesn’t love listening to the birds singing their secret messages to each other, but identification is not easy, especially the persistent one that sounds like a squeaky wheelbarrow. Here it is for you all to enjoy in this YouTube link - the Great Tit. Perhaps he’s calling for some WD40!

For early risers, Radio 4 broadcasts birdsong on Tweet of the Day, every weekday at 05.58, or catch up any time on BBC Sounds free podcasts. If any members have suggestions for anything they have found interesting either about birds or bird song please send an email to the Website Administrator.

Hallton u3a members will be delighted. to hear that the Catalyst Science Discovery Centre in Widnes has recently been awarded the Chemicals Northwest Charity of the Year Award 2021 for a unique community engagement project, funded initially by the Wellcome Trust’s Inspiring Science Fund. The Catalyst's website gives more information about this prestigious award as follows :

"Mental health and well-being were identified as significant issues in the local community, which sits in the 10% most economically deprived areas nationally. To address this, Catalyst partnered with local mental health charity MindHalton to support people living with a mental health condition, launching MindLab in 2018 and offering participants a dual frame for well-being and mental health issues; a therapeutic one and a scientific one. This proved extremely successful with great participant feedback but, due to the pandemic this was paused indefinitely.
However, thanks to funding from the INEOS Community Fund, we were able to restart the programme in August 2020 and have continued providing vital mental health support in our community since. Covering topics such as Anxiety, Resilience and Well-being in a Covid-19 World, participants take part in group counselling led by a qualified counsellor from Mind Halton before undertaking a variety of STEM activities led by Catalyst staff.

The Catalyst presently hopes to reopen on the Thursday 27th May. Visitors will need to book tickets in advance. You can find out more about the Catalyst Science Discovery Centre and Museum here : Catalyst

Halton Libraries will be reopening their doors from Monday 12th April. Once reopened the Choose and Collect and Home Library services will still be available. The Home Library service is for people who love reading, but who are housebound or find it hard to get to their library for reasons such as mobility problems, illness or carer responsibilities. You can receive up to 20 books delivered safely to your door. Email Haltonlea.library@halton.gov.uk for details. The Choose and Collect provides a contactless book collection service from either Halton Lea Library or Widnes Library, Monday - Friday 10-4pm. Contact the libraries for more information.

For all the latest news, services and online events check out @HaltonLibraries on Facebook and Twitter.

Halton Libraries also has a YouTube channel with craft activities to inspire you, instructional videos, poetry, science, reading, stories and more.

Midhurst U3A in West Sussex are producing a weekly newsletter for their members with the aim of providing some light relief in difficult times. They have most generously offered to share the newsletter with other u3as throughout the country. If you would like to have a look at the latest newsletter or back issues you can see it here by clicking here: Keep Smiling.

There are now five eggs possibly six in the swan's nest in Victoria Park, Widnes. (See March below for the first mention of the swans) You can see a photos of them in the sidebar or below if you are using an iPad to look at this page. Hopefully the eggs will hatch in a couple of weeks or so. Last year's nesting swans resulted in two cygnets so fingers crossed for more this time.

March 2021

The u3a Trust is using their national newsletter to keep u3a members informed on the latest government advice concerning Covid 19. It is also filled with information, stories and advice from across the U3A movement on how to keep safe and occupied during this difficult time.
Members can subscribe here to the u3a national newsletter and it you will receive both regional and national update directly into your email inbox.

The latest national u3a podcast went out on the 6th March 2021. You can listen to it by clicking here : u3a podcast

There are two swans on the lake at Victoria Park Widnes and a nest has recently been built where one of the swans spends most of her time on the nest. Apparently there are are four eggs in the nest. In the photo in the sidebar or below if you are looking at this on an iPad, are local residents John and Cecelia McMullen, who were visiting the park and were photographed by Chris Lewis, when they paused to admire the swans. Thanks to John and Cecilia for kindly sharing this photo with us. It's still to early for the eggs to hatch but we hope to have further photos showing the progress of the eggs and hopefully before long some baby cygnets

Every so often a steam train will operate on special trains through Runcorn. Chris Lewis has sent a picture taken a few years ago at Runcorn East station. You can see it in the sidebar. This year it is planned to run two, one on July 18th (11.00) and one on July 20th (07.40). Several more operate through Warrington. If anyone would like more details let Chris know by sending an email to the Secretary.

We have many talented members amongst our numbers and one of them has recently kindly provided a copy of a lovely illustration that she has drawn of St. Lukes Church in Farnworth, Widnes which you can see below.

No doubt many members have been enjoying the antics of feathered visitors to our gardens over the winter months. Below are a couple of photos kindly provided by member Chris Lewis who snapped some goldfinches enjoying a snack at a well stocked bird feeding station. Perhaps you may have some photos that you like to share of the birds in your garden or perhaps the many beautiful flowering bulbs that are in flower now. If so please send them by email to the Website Administrator. Occasionally photos may need resizing to load up quickly onto the website so we may get back in touch.

Click on a picture below to see it full-size with more details.