At our Monthly Meeting on Thursday 6th July 2017 Group Leaders exceeded all expectations and gave us the best displays showing us how much pleasure their Group Leadership gives their members in their chosen subjects from beautiful Floristry giving us lots of ideas to use at home; to Quilting and Card Making in all its colourful beauty; the mysteries of discovering treasures with Archaeological digs; Walking Groups that not only keep us fit but help us to discover parts of Essex otherwise unseen. We loved seeing the mysteries of Psychological Research and the stories and discoveries from Family History research. The Theatre Group gave us an amazing artistic and theatrical exhibition. The Photographic Groups showed the artistry of film alongside the creativity of Ceramics. We were thrilled that the Bridge Group actually played a game during the afternoon. We all enjoy chatting and our Knit and Natter group have produced an array of knitted toys in the process. Competitiveness and friendly rivalry is enjoyed by our Ten Pin Bowling Group. Our first ever group ten years ago was visiting Essex Churches followed by a pub lunch and today we can boast four groups and the displays depicted many of those visited. Book Group 2 gave us précis of books read and enjoyed and recommended to others to read. We have six groups which are described as ‘Serendipity’ – seeking out treasures and stumbling on to wonders to enjoy – quite a few discoveries over the last ten years. Many have enjoyed the Holidays organised by Roger’s Walking Group, David’s Serendipity Group and Harry’s Gardening Group.

Both Social and Educational Events have formed an integral part of our calendar. The exhibition board showed many, from dances, discos and jazz night to race nights, Christmas Lunches and quizzes plus talks, study days and speakers lunches.

The movie collage of photographs prepared by Bob White, which everyone so enjoyed, reminded us of such happy days shared with friends in our group activities and events over the years.

The day was enhanced by the three invited guests to speak about the journey of our Rayleigh University of the Third Age.

Local MP Mark Francois spoke about his pleasure at being at our first meeting and hoped to be at our 20th Anniversary.

Lord Petre came resplendent in his uniform of the Lord Lieutenant of Essex. He is to retire after fifteen years and he said seeing how wonderful retirement can be with such a self motivating organisation as U3A gave him hope for his retirement years to come.

Our Guest of Honour U3A Joint Founder Eric Midwinter has written and said:-

“...the day itself was a great pleasure. I was delighted to be part of so vibrant and well-organised occasion. Your welcome was warm and friendly; the atmosphere was decidedly U3Aish”.

Photographs taken by Jackie Soilleux, Joint Group Leader, Digital Photography 2