Lancaster & Morecambe


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***** Upcoming Meetings and Events *****

Mon 24 FebRefreshment Group 12:30 Lancaster Friends Meeting House
Tue 25 FebLancaster Monthly Meeting 10:00 for 10:30 Dukes Theatre Presenter: Elaine Hale Alexander Technique
Wed 26 FebMorecambe Monthly Meeting 10:00 for 10:30 Torrisholme Methodist Church Hall Presenter: John Bamber France from top to bottom
Tue 10 MchDrama Group 14:00 Lancaster Friends Meeting House
Wed 11 MchFilm Appreciation Group 14:00 Lancaster Friends Meeting House Film: "Trading Places"
Thu 12 MchThe King and I Special Event trip to Liverpool Empire
Mon 16 MchGeography Through Pictures Initial meeting 14:00-16:00 Lancaster Friends Meeting House
Tue 17 MchHistory Group 14:00 Lancaster Friends Meeting House "The Curious Story of The Atom"
Wed 18 MchChair’s Drop-in 12:00-13:30 Lancaster Friends' Meeting House
Tue 24 MchLancaster Monthly Meeting 10:00 for 10:30 Dukes Theatre Presenter: Joe Ravetz The Disfiguration of American Democracy, Part 2
Wed 25 MchMorecambe Monthly Meeting 10:00 for 10:30 Torrisholme Methodist Church Hall Presenter: Gary Hart The Workings of Parliament
Sat 4 AprThe Taming of The Shrew Special Event trip to Blackpool Grand Theatre


Your Committee Mary Waters, Chair

At the recent AGM you elected five members to the committee who hadn’t previously been elected; some had been previously co-opted and others are new members. The new committee has already co-opted two additional members to the Committee. It all sounds a bit confusing and I thought should explain.

Under the previous constitution you could elect up to 10 committee members depending on how many vacancies there were. In addition, but without going into detail, the committee could co-opt another 2 members. This would enable the Committee to fulfil its responsibilities. For example, when we needed a new secretary, the Committee co-opted Elisabeth Battersby-Hill to take up this role. Again, when we were advised that the Beacon administrator needed to be a Trustee, we co-opted Peter Jenner on to the committee.

There were several concerns with this previous constitution, one being that the committee size was limited to 12. This meant that as our U3A grew in size and the responsibilities of the committee also expanded, increasingly the committee members were having to do more. For example, the work of the Groups Coordinator increased from 80 groups when she began office to over 105. At the same time she has taken on new responsibilities such as keeping track of the references of outside speakers, a new committee responsibility.

Under our new Constitution, adopted at the AGM, the maximum committee size increased to 15 with the maximum number of elected members increasing to 12. We have already co-opted 2 new committee members under the new constitution, Yvonne Mawtus to help the treasurer and Phil Wraith as a general committee member.

The committee’s responsibilities expand because all committee members are Trustees with legal responsibilities set by the Charity Commission which Trustees are obliged to follow. Trustees are also obliged to ensure the Principles of the U3A are followed. National Office sends regular advice to help U3As ensure they are meeting these responsibilities in the changing world of complex legal decisions affecting all U3As and/or charities.

Committee members are also answerable to you. We need to know what you want in order to make Lancaster and Morecambe the U3A that meets your U3A needs. Our U3A is unique in many of the things we do and ways we operate. This is why it is important for you to let us know what you want, be it through the Chair’s Drop-in, meeting Committee Members at Monthly Meetings or contacting Committee Members using the contact list sent monthly.

Your new committee now comprises the 12 members listed in the attached contact details. I’d like to welcome the new members to the Committee and hope that you get to know your Committee over the coming year.

Chair’s Drop-in Mary Waters, Chair

I’m trying a new format for the Chair’s Drop-in. I will begin with a short discussion on a topic followed by the general chat about anything else you want to discuss.

The topic this month will be the structure of the U3A – nationally and regionally. Many new members are unaware of the overall structure because they joined to participate in a specific group or activity but now are interested in knowing more.

Please let me know if you have a topic related to the U3A you would like us to discuss.

This month’s Chair’s Drop-in will be at the Lancaster Friends' Meeting House over lunch between 12:00 and 13:30 on Wednesday 18 March.

You are welcome to bring a bite to eat or just have a cup of tea or coffee and a biscuit. The Chair’s Drop-in is free and you are welcome to bring a friend.


Lancaster Monthly Meeting: February 2020 Jill Grindey

Alexander Technique The February Lancaster Monthly Meeting will be held on Tuesday 25 February 2020 at 10:00 for 10:30 at the Dukes Theatre. The speaker, Elaine Hale, will make a presentation on "Alexander Technique"

Elaine Hale worked in Theatre and in Education for over 20 years as actor, script writer, facilitator and teacher and has been teaching the Alexander Technique since 2008. She is a member of The Society of Teachers of The Alexander Technique. Elaine describes the technique as a unique practical realignment for the whole self that anyone can learn and benefit from.

Elaine was introduced to what she describes as "this amazing tool for life" as a trainee actor in the early 1990's. That was a hundred years after F M Alexander, also an actor, not only cured his recurrent breathing issues but found a way to enhance all spheres of his life through his painstaking process of self investigation.

Since 2012 Elaine has been working with people with MS, Parkinson's, Motor Neuron Syndrome and COPD, both privately and at Cancer Care, saying that people in the midst of illness or bereavement find the technique calming and uplifting.

Elaine, with all her expertise and experience, sounds like an excellent person to tell us about the Alexander Technique and its many benefits.

Morecambe Monthly Meeting: February 2020 John Ellison

France from top to bottom The February Morecambe Monthly Meeting will be held on Wednesday 26 February 2020 at 10:00 for 10:30 at Torrisholme Methodist Church Hall. The speaker, John Bamber, will make a presentation on "France from top to bottom"

We are welcoming back one of our previous speakers in John Bamber. John was for many years a keen explorer and when he previously talked at Morecambe he discussed the organisation of a race to the magnetic north pole.

On this occasion he is going to show us large numbers of pictures of the highest and lowest parts of France. He will take us up Mt Blanc and down the deepest of caves. This will cover similar material to a talk he gave 5 years ago at Lancaster. It should be another treat.

Lancaster Monthly Meeting: March 2020 Jill Grindey

The March Lancaster Monthly Meeting will be held on Tuesday 24 March 2020 at 10:00 for 10:30 at the Dukes Theatre. The speaker, Joe Ravetz, will make a presentation on "The Disfiguration of American Democracy, Part 2"

Joe Ravetz was born in Pennsylvania, USA, and graduated from university there. Before retirement he lectured in British and American Politics at Central Lancashire University.

Many of us will have heard Joe's excellent lectures before, at both Lancaster and Morecambe Monthly Meetings. It's two years since he last spoke at The Dukes for us, and his talk, "The Disfiguration of American Democracy" was very much enjoyed by members.

This month, the sequel! Among many other things, Joe will talk to us about the continual undermining of democratic ethics in America and the continuing polarisation there. Also about the dangers of trade deals with America.

Much has happened in American politics since Joe's last visit here, and Joe asks if American democracy can recover. His talk this month is sure to be as interesting, informative and enjoyable as his previous ones were. It's a not-to-be-missed occasion.

Morecambe Monthly Meeting: March 2020 John Ellison

Houses of Parliament The March Morecambe Monthly Meeting will be held on Wednesday 25 March 2020 at 10:00 for 10:30 at Torrisholme Methodist Church Hall. The speaker, Gary Hart, will make a presentation on "The Workings of Parliament"

This month we are having something a bit different at the Morecambe monthly meeting. Gary is the Senior Education and Engagement Officer for Parliament Outreach in North West England. He delivers talks and interactive workshops on their behalf. Feedback from their events shows that the overwhelming majority of attendees feel they have a greater understanding of Parliament and feel better able to engage with its work. Other U3As who have had him strongly recommend his sessions.

It will be good to hear about how Parliament works from a non-party perspective. Hence we are greatly looking forward to this meeting at Torrisholme.


The King and I: Save the date - 12 March 2020 Special Events Team

The King and I The first trip we have organised for 2020 will be to the Liverpool Empire to see an award winning performance of The King and I. This glorious production is directed by Tony Award winner Bart Sher (South Pacific & My Fair Lady - Broadway) and is a once in a lifetime opportunity to see this fabulous performance as you have never seen it before.

We have managed to secure 50 tickets in the front circle.

Be sure to book your place early! Download The King and I booking form.

The Taming of The Shrew: 4 April 2020 Grand Theatre, Blackpool Special Events Group

The Events Group have booked 51 tickets for the matinee performance on 4 April of "The Taming of the Shrew" performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company at the Grand Theatre, Blackpool.

Download the Taming of the Shrew booking form.

We expect a strong response so early booking is advised.


Desperately Seeking "Refreshment" Helpers for U3A LFMH groups Yvonne Cunningham

After many years refilling the biscuit boxes and making sure no one goes without a "cuppa" Margaret (Stokes) is set for a well-earned retirement at the end of the month.

Unless we can recruit quite a few volunteers to the newly-forming "Refreshment Group" the provision of refreshments at the meetings will CEASE. Groups will become responsible on an individual basis for their own "drinks and nibbles."

There will be a meeting for all those willing to help keep the refreshment provision going on Monday 24 February at 12:30 in the William Stout Room. The more people who sign up to help the less time any individual will have to commit. Please consider joining.

For more information please contact me.

Environmental Issues Group Stephen Young

The last year has seen a surge of interest in climate change and environmental issues, reminiscent of the 1990s after the Rio Earth Summit. In recent months we have had Greta T., Extinction Rebellion, Attenborough's assessment of the planet's future and reports warning about the lack of progress since Rio. The election campaign highlighted the urgent need for action over the next thirty years.

At this Group's first meeting in November, we discussed the international dimensions and the role of Lancaster City Council. The Council declared a climate emergency last spring and is developing a wide ranging action plan involving the Council, local groups and businesses, guided in part by a Citizens' Jury.

Our meeting on Thursday 27 February will focus on two issues. First what are the prospects for the environment under Johnson's government; and as a result of his Brexit strategy? Second, where has plastics recycling got to in Lancaster? Bring your ideas - and your plastics queries! The 26 March meeting will focus on the Eden Project proposals.

Apart from presentation/discussion sessions, we also hope to have outside speakers. At the first meeting people clearly enjoyed sharing their sources of information and their knowledge of local issues. The Group's focus within this vast arena will emerge more clearly over the coming months.

Film Appreciation Group Stephen Breuer

Trading Places The March 2020 film is "Trading Places" (1983, 112 min) directed by John Landis.

Randolph (Ralph Bellamy) and Mortimer (Don Ameche) Duke are rich commodity brokers who make a bet of $1 over the issue of nature v. nurture. To settle it they arrange for their managing director, Louis Winthorpe III (Dan Aykroyd), to be framed, fired, impoverished and thrown on the street while his job and home are given to a poor street hustler, Billy Ray Valentine (Eddie Murphy).

Valentine uses his street smart to become very successful in his new career and overhears the Duke brothers settling their bet and planning to throw him back on the street. He seeks out Winthorpe and with the aid of his butler, Coleman (Denholm Elliott), and Ophelia (Jamie Lee Curtis, a tart-with-a-heart-of-gold), nurse him back to health and tell him of the bet. They combine to form a plan to get their own back on the Dukes the best way they can: by bankrupting them. How this is done and where the gorilla comes into it, you will have to come and see. It is a superb ensemble piece with Aykroyd, Murphy, Elliott and Curtis at the top of their game and the two old-timers, Bellamy and Ameche, show they have still got it.

Come, see it on Wednesday, 11 March at 14:00 at the Friends’ Meeting House.

History Group Ian Saunders

History Group The History Group will next meet at 14:00 in the main Meeting Room of LFMH on Tuesday 17 March. Any U3A member is welcome to attend. This month the speaker is Ian Saunders who will describe "The Curious Story of The Atom". Throughout, the emphasis will be on history not on science. No maths will be involved.

When asked what single idea would be the best to help mankind revive society after Armageddon and a new Dark Age, Richard Feynman chose as his message, "Hey guys, everything is made of ATOMS." There is a very long history of the concept that all matter is composed from tiny indivisible particles. For over 2000 years it was unproved and controversial, from abstract speculation by Greek philosophers, through confused theories in early chemistry and right into physical investigations of the nature of matter about 1900. During the 20th century knowledge of the atomic basis of matter became of huge importance in many areas of life in particular enabling advances in aspects of medicine, consumer goods and electronics.

Highlights of that story are explored in the talk which looks at what really happened behind simplistic accounts in science text-books. We shall learn about some people forgotten and some ideas lost along the way, while hearing why ATOMS, as a basis for matter, can be considered the most important discovery ever made.

Wanted: Wannabe Actors Keith Walker

Want to be an actor? Why not join our small but enthusiastic group of actors.

No experience necessary. We want to have serious fun working together creatively.

We meet every second Tuesday of the month. Next meeting Tuesday 10 March at 14:00 at LFMH - see you there.

Any questions? Please contact me.

Robot Constructor's Challenge 2020 Peter Fitton

Robot We had a dismal day at the national U3A Robot Constructor's Challenge event last year. Our poor old robot, hastily built but lovingly transported all the way from Lancaster to Stafford, failed to work. We scored "nul points".

This year we are determined to improve matters.

Cannock Chase U3A will host the 2020 robot constructor's challenge sometime in late September or early October and we have registered to take part in the event. Between then and now we think the best way to progress things is to set up a Robotics Group.

The inaugural meeting of the Robotics Group will take place at LFMH on Thursday March 19 from 10:30 to 12:30. We have booked a room with a hard floor and hope to use it as a test track. Why not come along and help, or just come and whet your curiosity. All members are welcome.

Email Peter Jenner, Beacon admin, or Peter Fitton, Webmaster, for more information and have a look at the Robots page on Cannock Chase U3A website for more information about the challenge event.

New Group Liz Hooley

I’m always happy to hear ideas for new groups – do get in touch if you would like to suggest a new group (especially if you are willing to be the Group Leader).

How about a recorded music appreciation group – listen to and discuss CDs (any genre)? If interested, please email me at Groups Coordinator.

Geography Through Pictures Liz Hooley

It has been suggested that a new group could be formed which would give the opportunity to members to discuss a place where they have lived or visited and share information about the culture and geography of that place.

An initial meeting will take place at LFMH on Monday 16 March at 14.00-16.00 to discuss this idea. It will need a Group Leader (or Leaders). Please let me know if you are interested but unable to attend the initial meeting by emailing Groups Coordinator.


U3A Communications Workshop 23rd April 2020, Liverpool Quakers Meeting House

U3A National Workshops The National U3A office is offering a workshop on Communication in Liverpool on Thursday, 23 April which you may be interested in attending.

The interactive workshop aims to generate discussion and ideas around how to communicate effectively both to your membership and in raising the profile of the U3A externally. The ojectives for the day include:

  • to discuss effective use of social media
  • to consider and review the different methods of communicaton
  • to discuss and identify the different messages that the U3A wants to convey
  • to consider who your audience is and the best way to reach them.

The day will run from 10.30am with refreshments upon arrival. The workshop will start at 11.00 until 15.30pm. It will be facilitated by National Office staff and volunteers. This event is offered by the Third Age Trust with no cost for attendance. Lunch and refreshments will be provided.

For more details and to register online, go to the TAT Communications Workshop Liverpool website.


Continuing Learning Group Lancaster University Lunchtime Lectures Nigel Cole U3A/CLG Representative

CLG Wednesday Lunchtime Lectures are held on the University campus in Fylde Lecture Theatre No 3 at 13:00 every week in University term time. Access is facilitated by frequent bus services to the campus from Lancaster.

The lectures are free (a nominal donation of £1 to defray costs is appreciated) and all are welcome. After the talk we break for coffee and then, for those who would like to continue the debate, we reconvene to hold an informal and friendly discussion about the issues raised.

These are the remaining lectures this term before we break for Easter. We will be back on 22 April.

26 FebDr Fiona FrankPodcasts: What You Didn't Need to Know
4 MchElena SeminoWhy Metaphor Matters
11 MchElisabeth Suri-PayerLancaster University Health Innovation Campus
18 MchTBAPlease check Website

For the latest detail and any late changes please check the CLG website or find us on Facebook senior learners or on Twitter CLG. To contact us send an email to Lancaster University Senior Learners.


Puzzler Maths Group

Maths Group A number lock has a 3 digit key. You have to find the correct combination to open the lock. The hints for this puzzle are shown below (best of luck!):

  • 6, 8, 2 - One number is correct and in the right place.
  • 6, 4, 5 - One number is correct but in the wrong place.
  • 2, 0, 6 - Two numbers are correct but in the wrong places.
  • 7, 3, 8 - Nothing is correct.
  • 7, 8, 0 - One number is correct but in the wrong place.

The answer will be published on the Mathematics Group page next month.