Morpeth & District

News Items


Morpeth & District U3A


Greetings to you from your U3A committee.

We hope that our members have avoided the coronavirus and its consequences. This email is intended as an update on our current plans.Future Newsletters will be issued when circumstances change.

Future Meetings
We have had to cancel the Strawberry Tea at Storey Park planned for Tuesday, 7 July 2020.
On our wish list we hope that we may resume our monthly meetings in September.

Each month the current newsletter will be added to our website and emailed to members.


Courtesy of Ponteland U3A newsletter, we have information regarding Borrowbox, which allows you to access ebooks in Northumberland Libraries.

1. Download “Bolinda Borrowbox” from your app store
2. Log onto
3. Click “Northumberland Libraries Website”
4. Choose “online system”
5. Scroll down to “Access digital Library 24/7”
6. Click “visit Borrowbox”
7. Enter your “Library membership number”
8. If you have not used the library online before and do not have a pin number; click on “forgot your password; then follow the instructions.
You can download and borrow books for 3 weeks onto your IPad or tablet.

The U3A national organisation is planning a national promotional day for the U3A in October, with a motto of Learn, Laugh and Live.
This year marks the 25th Anniversary of the founding of Morpeth U3A.

Neil McCole – Chairman

Morpeth & District U3A


Greetings from your U3A committee. We now live in interesting times whereby our lives are regulated by government edict.
We hope that our members have avoided the coronavirus and its consequences. The isolation has had its effects on us all.
This abbreviated issue of the Newsletter is intended as an update on our current plans. Future Newsletters will be issued when circumstances change.

Future Meetings
The Strawberry Tea at Storey Park will be held at 2pm on Tuesday, 7 July 2020. Entertainment will by the Bedlington Ukulele Band. (Provisional)
The General Meeting on Tuesday 29 September at Morpeth Rugby Club will feature the AGM. (Provisional)

Group News

Art – Cuthbert Regan
One of our group came up with two interesting ideas:-
1) Draw/ paint something in the garden or house. Alternatively, photograph a scene whilst taking daily exercise and then turn it into a picture at home (to comply with Govt. instructions). Next photograph one's masterpiece and email to other members of the group for appraisal.
2) Make use of time at home by improving one's skill level by watching programmes such as 'The Joy of Painting' by Bob Ross on BBC 4. I also believe YouTube has tutorials on a wide range of subjects.
Hoping to let you know for a future issue about how we get on!

Art Appreciation – Chris Tipple
I am turning a series of presentations I used to give "live" into an on line format. They currently go to the art appreciation group, though later ones will also be offered to the music appreciation group.
They are all in the territory of history/biography/art/music and are aimed at a lay audience, not at experts. Titles so far issued are "Turner on the Tyne".
"John Martin; From Haydon Bridge to the Mouth of Hell" and "Birds of a Feather? Thomas Bewick and John James Audubon"

They are accessible on any Microsoft device since 2007 [inc] or on the current libreoffice so most members with a lap top or computer should be able to enjoy them.
Anyone who would like to go on my circulation list should e mail me on

Craft Group 1 – Jennifer Sinton
I keep in touch with my group by phone.

Digital Photography (1) – Watson Warren
I am encouraging my Digi Group to refresh the images presented on the Group website page.

French 2 – Lena Crawford
We have decided to keep in touch in the following way. I write to them by e-mail once a week, in French, and then they can each reply to all so that we are all having to do some thinking in French and also translations. I also have some genuine well written e-mails in French sent from French friends that I can pass on for further reading.

Gardening Group – James Howells
The plant swap on May 13th at Hepscott is cancelled. Bichfield Tower Garden is now closed this year so our visit on 10th June is also cancelled.

German – Erika Fox
The German group is keeping in touch by email discussion about our daily lives during lock-down and quizzes and video clips in German.

Music for Pleasure - Bridgit Coxon
I've sent a couple of chatty messages to the group. It's not a subject that can be managed remotely, it's very much a meeting, listening and talking group. I'll keep sending "round robin" type emails and information about YouTube screenings from ROH and the Met which we could watch then comment on.

Play Reading – Lena Crawford
I will write to them from time to time on a social basis just to see if they are ok. On the subject of plays people might like to know that the National Theatre are going to stream live productions each Thursday evening at 7 pm for a couple of months. They will be showing some of their most successful shows. I have seen quite a lot of these and they do them brilliantly. The NT website explains all.

Reading Group 2 – Jean Robinson
I am keeping in touch with my reading group by phone.

Reading Group 6 – Jean Haworth
We have been group emailing. So far we have not tried to continue the group reading material, but are taking the opportunity of wider reading, and sharing titles with each other. We're also sharing personal efforts to get through this 'lockdown' and generally supporting each other. Most of us have been in this group together for several years which does make communication easier.

The U3A national organisation is planning a national promotional day for the U3A in October, with a motto of Learn, Laugh and Live.
This year marks the 25 Anniversary of the founding of Morpeth U3A.

Neil McCole – Chairman

Posted: 26 April 2020 @ 21.10


Committee and general meetings have been cancelled until further notice.

All excursions have been cancelled.

All group meetings should be considered as cancelled until further notice, unless the group leader notifies individual group members otherwise.

The committee will notify all members by email or post when the restrictions cease. We estimate that this may take at least 12 weeks, so little may change before the end of June.

The Morpeth U3A website will be updated when further news becomes available.

Neil McCole
Posted: 22.03.2020 @ 07.59


The Regional U3A Committee have cancelled all meetings and events until further notice, pending advice from government guidelines.

Information on restarting activities will be published on Morpeth U3A website or the Regional U3A website.

Individual groups may use their discretion on holding meetings or activities; subject to advice from government guidelines.

W Warren
Website Co-ordinator
Posted: 17.03.2020 @ 13.08


Coffee Club meetings are cancelled until further notice due to the Coronovirus outbreak.

Watch this space.

W Warren
Website Co-ordinator
Posted: 17.03.2020 @ 09.50


As a result of the recommended precautions to protect our members from the COVID 19 virus, the committee of Morpeth U3A has made the following decisions.

The General Meetings on 31 March and 28 April are cancelled.

Timing of meetings held by individual groups will be subject to decisions made by group leaders.

Excursions by groups may be cancelled.

A future Newsletter will be sent when we can resume our General Meetings. Information updates will be available on our website.

Neil McCole
Posted 16.3.2020

Morpeth & District U3A

NEWSLETTER February 2020


Welcome to the February Newsletter.

Speakers at the General Meeting

At the next General Meeting on February 25th, Freda Thompson will talk about "Mr Grainger's Market". Built in 1835 the Grainger Market was the largest indoor market in Europe at that time and a great banquet was held to celebrate its opening. The Market has now played an important part in the city’s shopping experience for almost two centuries and is still thriving today.
The speaker at the General Meeting on the 31st March will be Dr Ray Lowry talking about "Funny Bones and Wisdom Teeth" - a comical look at being a health professional.

Group News

Art Appreciation Group: On March 19th the Group will meet as usual at Morpeth Methodist Church at 2pm. We will be looking at a DVD on "Treasures of the Indus" and discussing it. Our first venture outside European art for quite some time. Just a reminder too, that we will be making a joint trip with Mid Northumberland U3A to the many attractions of Bishop Auckland in July

Craft Group 2: Please note change of day for meeting to Wednesday morning rather than Thursday.

Gardening Group: In March there is a change to the programme. On Wednesday March 11th David Parkins presents ‘A Woodland Returns’. As a young boy David saw bulldozers obliterate a forest to build a by pass. He resolved to replace those trees with another wood. When he retired, he purchased land at Gorfenletch and planted thousands of trees including 20 different species. He will tell the story of how he did it.
This meeting is at Hepscott Village Hall starting at 2 pm. Any queries contact James Howells.
Excursion to Harrogate Show – open to all.
On Friday 24th April the Garden Group are running an excursion to Harrogate Spring Flower Show. Rated Britain's top gardening event by Which?, this prestigious event, features beautiful show gardens, great shopping, live entertainment and the biggest exhibition by florists and flower arrangers in the country. A coach will pick you up from selected points in Morpeth around 9 o’clock and take you directly to the Great Yorkshire Showground returning around tea time. The cost of this day out is £40 to include the coach fare and admission to the show. The trip is open to all members of Morpeth U3A.We will be taking bookings at the February General Meeting – please make cheques out to Morpeth U3A. All bookings required by the end of February. Contact for the trip is Pam Turner.

German Conversation: Please note change of day to Wednesday afternoon instead of Thursday.

History Group: The History group currently has room for one more member. However, if anybody would be interested in joining a second History Group (days, times, frequency of meeting and venue to be decided) please contact me via the Group Coordinator tab on the website and I will look into setting up a second group with the help of the current group leader who is happy to help set up a second group but not run it.
Sarah Howells Group Coordinator

Local History Group: Excursion to Museum of Flight and Dunbar – open to all.
On Thursday 14th May the Local History Group are running an excursion to the Scottish National Museum of Flight at East Fortune Airfield in East Lothian. There are many iconic aircraft on display in hangars around the site but the highlight is the Concorde. Your chance to board the supersonic aircraft and learn the legacy of this amazing plane.
Then we board the coach for a short trip to spend the afternoon in nearby Dunbar. Time to spend as you please. Dunbar boasts the John Muir Museum (John Muir was an early environmentalist who inspired America’s National Parks ) and the Town Museum - both free entry. The harbour and castle remains are easy walking distance from the drop off point. Alternatively just browse the shops and cafes. The trip is open to all members of Morpeth U3A. Details of the day and booking forms will be available at the February General Meeting. Cost is £27 , please make cheques out to Morpeth U3A. Contact for the trip James and Sarah Howells.

Lunch Club: The next meeting of the Lunch Club will be held in the Primo Piano Restaurant, Morpeth, on Monday, 2nd March 2020, at 12.30 pm. Please add your name to the sign up sheet if you would like to attend.

Quiz Group: The regular meeting of our Group will be on March 5th at 7 30pm at St Christophers’ House on Kirkhill. Our league performance this year puts us firmly "mid table" with 3 wins and 3 losses, but all the games have certainly been enjoyable. Our programme continues with away fixtures to Whitley Bay on March 2nd and Gateshead on March 30th. New members always welcome.

Reading Group 6: We would welcome a new member to join our group. We meet at 2p.m. on the second Friday of each month at one another’s homes. We read mainly modern fiction and take turns to choose the book to be discussed. If you are interested please contact Jean Haworth..

Walking Groups:

Amblers: Walks take place on first Thursday of the month, leaving the Rugby Club car park at 10.a.m. Next Walk – March 7th in Craster, leaders Jackie Jones and Jo Wills.

Four Milers: Walks take place on the 3rd Wednesday of the month. Leaving Morpeth Rugby Club car part at 10 a.m. Contact Jo Wills for details

Five Milers: Walks take place on second Tuesday of month. For details contact Eileen Harber.

Longer Walks: This group meets on third Tuesday of the month. Walks approx. 8 miles. Leaving Rugby Club Car Park at 9.30.a.m. Next Walk 17th March Leader Pauline Fleming.

Wine Appreciation Group: Our next meeting will be held on Friday 27 March at 7.30pm in St Robert’s Church Hall, Oldgate, Morpeth NE61 1QF. Tickets will be £12 each. Will those wishing to attend please email Neil McCole.


Each month the current newsletter will be added to our website and emailed to members. For members without access
to emails, a printed copy will be available at each monthly general meeting; the remaining members will receive copies by post.
Volunteers to join Morpeth U3A Committee The Morpeth U3A organisation is healthy and thriving, we have over 240 members. At our AGM in June we will elect Committee members for the coming year. The positions vacant include chair, vice chair, business secretary, web co-ordinator and a person to manage the audio visual equipment. We request volunteers to ensure that we maintain the operation of Morpeth U3A.

Membership Members are encouraged to promote the organisation and recruit their friends by word of mouth. Online applications for membership should be submitted on our website: Click on to “Contacts” then send your email to the Membership Secretary stating you wish to become a member and providing your name and email address.


The U3A national organisation is planning a national promotional day for the U3A on the Wednesday 3 June. With a motto of Learn, laugh and live.
This year also marks the 25 Anniversary of the founding of Morpeth U3A.

Neil McCole – Chairman


The Quayside, St James’s Park, The Theatre Royal, Grey's Monument, Grey Street and The Hancock - these are some of the many jewels in Newcastle's crown. Near the top of the list must be the magnificent Grainger Market. Freda Thompson has spent many years visiting the Market and has assembled an excellent photographic record which supported her talk on Mr Grainger's Market to Morpeth U3A. Grainger Market built by Richard Grainger with the renowned Newcastle architect John Dobson was opened in 1835. Now a Grade 1 listed building it is the largest covered market in Europe. Freda talked about the many changes the Market had gone through over the years, including the use of a semi underground section as an air raid shelter during the last war.

Freda Thompson’s talk was at the monthly General Meeting of Morpeth and District U3A. The meeting which attracted over seventy members takes place at Morpeth Rugby Club and always features interesting speakers. The U3A is much more than this however. On our website are details of the 34 special interest groups that make up our U3A from play reading to local history. There are three walking groups covering all levels of ability. There is a Foodies Lunch Group which eats out once a month in and around Morpeth.

If you are interested in joining our U3A or just want to find out more there is lots of information on our website at