REPORT SENT TO MORPETH HERALD 29 JULY 2021
MORPETH AND DISTRICT u3a
Morpeth and District University of The Third Age is more commonly known as Morpeth u3a. Nationally there are over 400,000 u3a members in groups up and down the country. Like many community groups we have faced the challenges of the pandemic with activities curtailed or held online. Fortunately that is now changing. We have just held our AGM with some new officers on our committee and we have a new venue for our monthly general meetings . Our three walking groups are meeting and active and many of our interest groups are coming out of hibernation!
Every month we hold a general meeting with an interesting speaker and presentation – many of these have been reported in The Herald. Our next general meeting is on 28th September and features Harry and Kath Gilbert talking about the scenery and wildlife of Botswana. We have a new venue for this – St James’s Community Centre in the centre of Morpeth. St James’s has been recently refurbished to a very high standard and we are looking forward to welcoming our members there.
There is lots more information about Morpeth u3a on our website www.u3asites.org.uk/morpeth
(NEWSLETTER July 2021)
The last eighteen months have been tough – for everyone. There has been illness, loss, loneliness but also many instances of resilience, caring and courage.
Organisations and groups have been affected in different ways. Here in Morpeth u3a we have been fortunate in having a committee, a group of people who gave and still give time and energy to the health and well-being of our u3a. We have survived but some u3a groups have not. With lockdown easing now is the time to look forward and plan.
At the recent AGM I was appointed Chair – you may know me from the Quiz Group, the Foodies Lunch Club and the Theatre Visits Group. I also write the articles on our activities for The Morpeth Herald. Stepping down after years of excellent work as Business Secretary is James Howells. Neil McCole has stepped down as Chair but is still on the committee as Website Co-ordinator. Other members of the committee are on the attached sheet.
What we do need is a Secretary. With Sarah Howells looking after Groups and minutes and James still looking after the Beacon IT system we have made the role of Secretary much less onerous. The key jobs are dealing with correspondence and issuing – with the Chair – agendas and papers for the monthly committee meetings. If you think you can help please contact me – you will have our grateful thanks and of course our full support.
A new home for our monthly meetings
Our September monthly meeting will be in a new location – St James’s Community Centre in the middle of Morpeth. There are several advantages to this : the whole building has been refurbished to a very high standard; the main Hall holds 115 and is light, airy and spacious and the audio visual equipment is up to date and easy to use. Facilities at St James’s are very good – refurbished toilets, disabled access and a fully equipped kitchen for teas and coffees. Chairs and tables will be put out ready for us and cleared away afterwards. Importantly, this will cost us about half the cost of the Rugby Club. St James’s itself is less than a five minute walk from the Bus Station and main car parks. The committee have booked the main hall from September through to June 2022. This is to secure our booking at what is likely to prove a very popular venue. We can, however, cancel with appropriate notice. After the September General Meeting we shall review the pros and cons of using St James’s. I shall be particularly interested in finding out how easy or not it was for members to get to – knowing that no single answer will emerge from this!
Our first general meeting is at 2.00 on Tuesday 28th September. It will be at St James’s and the speakers are Harry and Kath Gilbert with an audio-visual presentation entitled Wild in Botswana. This will be our first face to face meeting for some time and will be a good opportunity to renew friendships over a cup of tea or coffee. We will abide absolutely with any Covid restrictions at the time but right now it seems good to go and I look forward to welcoming you to our new base.
Steve Morris, Chair.
First of all, I would like to thank all the group leaders for either running groups via Zoom or more recently restarting physical meetings (outdoors and indoors) or just for keeping in touch with group members by phone or email. A couple of groups are no longer running and some have new group leaders. If anybody has an idea for a new group please get in touch with me. Remember, the u3a is run by the membership for the membership. If any other group leaders would like their news in the next newsletter please get in touch with me.
Sarah Howells, Group Coordinator.
After our Zoom meetings we resume face to face meetings at Hepscott Village Hall on Wednesday 8th September at 2 pm when Barry Mead will talk us about the restoration of Cresswell Pele Tower Walled Garden which would have allowed residents of Cresswell Hall to enjoy warm weather fruits and vegetables. It will be good to meet old and new friends in person after a year and a half.
Group leader : James Howells.
Play Reading Group.
During the restrictions, Play Reading continued on Zoom and that worked out very well. We are now back to meeting in the Methodist Church Hall and would welcome a couple of new members. First Tuesday of the month from 2.15 in the afternoon until about 3.30/3.45
Group leader : Lena Walsh.
French Conversation continued on Zoom for those who wished to join in. We now meet in the Methodist Church Hall on the first Wednesday of the month (10.30 am) and as we are no longer meeting in the leader’s home, we can accommodate more people so please contact me if you would like to join the group. There is still an option to join in via Zoom for those who are still reluctant to meet in public buildings.
Group leader : Lena Walsh.
The German group now has continued meeting during lockdown via Zoom and now has 7 members and meets once a month (variable dates) in a member’s home.
Leader Erika Fox .
Craft Group 1
We will be restarting in September in the Sun Inn on Monday afternoons. Contact group leader for further information.
Group leader : Jennifer Sinton.
Reading Group 3
This group had its first physical meeting in the Joiners in July and discussed "Little White Lies" by Philippa East. This was the writer's debut novel and it is a mystery influenced by the writer's first profession of clinical psychology. The book is well written with no gory bits. There are lots of subplots but the narrative is easy to follow and we thought it a good read. The book to be discussed next month is "The Island" by Victoria Hislop. We meet on the 1st Thursday of the month. Please contact Hilary Wheeler for further information.
Group leader Hilary Wheeler.
The August walk will be on Tuesday 10th August around Paperhaugh. Meet at the Rugby Club at 9.30 am.
Walk leader and Group Leader : Eileen Harber.
The Longer Walkers
The August walk will be on 17th August starting from Whalton. Meet at the Rugby Club 9.30.am For information about the walk contact James Howells.
Group leader: Jenny Ellis.
All walk arrangements are now back to pre-Covid status.
Music for Pleasure
This group met again in July.. The group has a new leader.
Group leader : Anne Van Der Willik.
Local History Group
A committee meeting will be held in July and information about future meetings will be communicated via the newsletter and General Meetings.
Leader : Don Potts.
The Third Age Trust Membership Renewal Form should be completed annually by existing members, to ensure that the details held by U3As are correct. These forms will be issued, for completion and return to the Membership Secretary (details on the forms) at the end of August, as our membership year runs from 1st September to 31st August the following year.
Morpeth & District u3a
Chair Steve Morris
Vice Chair Vacant
Treasurer Geoff Morgan
Membership Sec. Bob Richardson
Minutes Sec. Sarah Howells
Co-ordinator Linda Morris
Co-ordinator Sheila McRobert
Website Co-ordinator Neil McCole