Shipston-on-Stour Area



UPDATE May, 2022

There are various announcements and general news contained in this Update Bulletin in respect of our Interest Groups. So please read on! Hopefully you may be inspired to consider trying out a new skill or a new interest.

April’s Monthly Meeting in the Townsend Hall proved to be very popular with almost a hundred members and visitors attending David Paterson’s illustrated talk on Warwickshire’s famous novelist, George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans), novelist, poet, journalist, translator and one of the leading writers of the Victorian era. We learned that her novel Middlemarch has been considered as one of the greatest novels in the English language.


Click on the link below if you wish to access the news from the March edition of the National u3a newsletter

We welcome the following new members:
Gillian Ablewhite, Susan Baines, Jaswant Baines, Mavis Baldwin, Mary-Jane Barnes, Sheila Birkettt, John Birkett,Michael Clay, Angela Colmer, John Darbyshire,Rachel Davies, Andrew Dawson, Shirley Dawson,Pamela Edwards, David Gardner, Phyllida Gardner, Julie Hale, Steven Hale, Fionnuala Hall, Nigel Hall, Jennifer Hicks, Robin Hicks, George Houghton, Jennifer Hounsell, Cheryl Hunnisett, Margaret Hunter, Lillian Hutt, Theresa Janssen, Zosia King, Jennifer Lidsey, Patricia Macpherson, Paul Macpherson, Graham Pemberton, Julie Saunders, Nicola Williamson, Jennifer York,


Last year, during the coronavirus crisis, we held our Annual General Meeting by correspondence to avoid a physical meeting of members and the unnecessary risks which that would involve. This year we propose to hold a physical meeting in the Townsend Hall, at 2.00 pm on Tuesday, 28 June.
Every Shipston-on-Stour Area u3a member will receive a copy of the agenda, the chair’s report, the annual accounts and papers relevant to meeting resolutions. These will be sent out by early June to give each member time to consider them prior to the AGM. People who do not use email will receive hard copies.
In order to comply with the requirements for a quorum, we will need a minimum of 20% of our current membership to attend on June 28. We very much hope for your cooperation on this exercise.
Your executive committee has been working hard on your behalf to keep the u3a going in Shipston. We have had some changes of roles during the year. Our chair, Thérèse Woodward, will not be continuing in that role.
All members will receive a form to fill in should they want to stand to become a member of the executive committee. We welcome any member to assist in running the activities of the Shipston-on-Stour Area u3a and the form also provides an opportunity to volunteer.
Furthermore, if you have any ideas you would like to propose for the u3a, the AGM is the ideal opportunity to do so. All members will receive a ‘motion’ form to complete if they want to make a proposal.

Martin Sirot-Smith, dressed in 16th century costume as Lawrence Washington, Lord of the Manor of Sulgrave in 1539, will show through a Living History performance, how history has successfully been made to come alive for the visitors to the Manor.

Visitors are welcome
Entry including refreshments £2


Allotment Group: We still have room on our u3a allotment at New Street in the centre of Shipston for a budding gardener. The space will be your own to grow what you like. It’s the right time of the year to get growing, and it’s a lovely community at the allotments, so if you are interested please contact Christine Russel
Amblers Group: The Amblers Group offers members the chance to walk together for shortish and more gentle walking. It aims to be more flexible to meet the needs of the group. There will be a meeting in The George, Shipston in the ‘Parlour’ on Thursday 5th May at 10 am for anyone interested in joining the group. This will give everyone a chance to decide when and how they want this group to operate.

If you are unable to attend the meeting but would like to receive information about when the group will meet please contact Jenny Shepperd

Proposed New Playreading Group 2: As the Playreading Group is currently full, the aim is to try and establish a second group. To achieve this, a meeting is to be held on Thursday 12th May at 10 am in The George, Shipston (in The Parlour) for members interested in joining this group. Everyone welcome.

It is expected that the group will meet monthly in a venue to be decided upon by the new group’s members and at the meeting, the members can decide what meeting day suits everyone, and when and where the first meeting will be held. The general running of the group and the administration of the group can also be decided.

A playreading group gives members the chance to study a script and take various parts and study their characters. There is then the chance after reading through the script to discuss the piece and explore the lives of the characters.

If you have any queries or would like to let us know you are coming to the meeting please contact Jenny Shepperd

Ukulele Group: Shipston u3a has the opportunity to start a new ukulele group led by an experienced teacher. This group would be for absolute beginners or those with only a little experience of playing. You don’t need to be able to read music or play any other instrument and it is very easy to get started. If you are interested but don’t have a ukulele, there will be information at the first meeting about the different types and costs. Ukuleles don’t have to be expensive but group members will need their own instrument. To start, this would probably be a house group based in Tysoe, but if the group is too big then it would move to a hall, possibly in Tysoe or Brailes. The group would have to fund the cost of the venue between themselves as well as a contribution towards printing any music that is required.

If you are interested then please contact Jenny Shepperd

Family History Group: This popular group is having its first meeting on Friday 6th May 10.30-12.30 am in the Scout Hut, New Road, Shipston. For more details: Helen Pendery

Singing for Pleasure Group: Marion Lowe is hoping to get this group meeting shortly. If you are interested in joining (no auditions, everyone welcome to come and sing purely for pleasure) then please contact her. She would also be delighted to hear from anyone who could provide some musical support (not accompaniment) by playing the melody to the group on keyboard or any suitable instrument.
Contact Marion

If you are interested in joining a group, whether currently active or not, will you please make contact with the leader via the Groups page on this website.
Ancient Greek: Tuesdays at 2 pm. By Zoom. Contact Terry Babbage

Art Appreciation: Second Wednesday of the month. Contact Jim Saxton

Book Group: Meets at The George, Tuesday afternoons monthly.
Contact Bernadette Drewett

Bridge Group (social): Wednesdays pm Catholic Church Hall. Contact Gerald Smith.

Current Affairs: Meets at The George, Shipston, 10-noon, 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month. Contact
Drawing and Painting Group: The Drawing and Painting Group has been fortunate to have the help of an excellent new member, Sue Bains. Sue has been giving instructions on figure drawing. If you think you might like to have a go, our group is very welcoming. We have some very experienced artists and newcomers who are having a first-time experience in Drawing and Painting. We meet on the second and fourth Friday of the month in the Scout Hut Hall starting at 10 am for 2.5 hours at a cost of £5 per session to include refreshments. If you are interested, please contact Jean Olsson.

French Returners. Alternate Mondays 10.00am by Zoom. Please contact Christine Russel.

Garden Visits Group: The recent visit to Evenley Wood Garden, Northamptonshire was very successful. For forthcoming visits please contact Group Leader

History Group: Meetings held on the afternoon of the fourth Wednesday of the month, and new members welcome. Enquiries to Maggie Wood

Italian Group: Italian classes meet on Tuesday mornings, in a member’s home. Contact

Jazz/blues: (Pavilionaires jazz group) Rehearsals 1st, 2nd and 4th afternoons at 2 pm. Contact Paul Dowler.

Knitting and Craft. Tuesday afternoons. Contact Zwena Wakeham

Latin: Advanced: Monday mornings 10 am at The George, Shipston.
Improvers: Zoom on Wednesdays at 2.30. Contact

Lunch Groups: For information please contact Christine Hale
For the Sunday lunch group please contact Sue Sparks

Mindfulness and Meditation: Mondays 3-4 pm. via Zoom. If you wish to join this group please contact Jane Grafton

Music Appreciation: For details please contact Sue Sparks

Nature Group would welcome new members. We have great fun chatting about any aspect of nature and more!! We enjoy sharing any photos we have taken and get up to date with each other’s recent interesting observations Contact Phil Randall.

Orchestra: ‘Fosseway Café Orchestra’ is changing its name - in future, the orchestra group will be known as ‘Fosseway Chamber Orchestra’.
The orchestra play a wide variety of music, mainly classical pieces. Our players are normally Grade 4-7 but we welcome anyone who can play 4 reliable notes. So, if you learnt to play a musical instrument at school or started later in life and would like to play pieces with others, why not come along and join us at our weekly meetings? Tuesdays 9.45 – 12 noon in Stretton-on-Fosse Village Hall. We are always keen to welcome new members, particularly string players and as we think Shipston maybe the only u3a with an orchestra, we want to continue to hold that distinction. For more information please contact Christine.

Poetry Group: meets once a month, usually on the last Friday, although this is flexible. New members welcome. Please contact Maggie Wood.
Scrabble Group: Wednesday afternoons, alternate weeks. If you are interested in joining this group contact Geraldine Hiller

Spanish conversation: meet every Tuesday morning from 10am till 11am at The George, Shipston. Anyone interested in joining the group please contact Trevor Hobday

Pilates: For details please contact Caroline Green

Playreading Group: Friday afternoons monthly by arrangement. The play the group will be reading in May is Noel Coward’s “Blithe Spirit.”

Table Tennis: An eventful month for the table tennis group. Two sessions were cancelled in April due to COVID and other issues but, yet again, we have sprung back with a total of 12 new starters! Some from the Open Day and some from other sources. The two induction days conducted by our coach Chris have enabled them to become comfortable with the new rules and playing in general. They have now joined the group and are already contributing. We are now looking forward to a lively May! We meet at the Townsend Hall, Thursdays 1.30-3 pm. If you would like to give us a try please do contact

Theatre Visit Group: Group meetings held on the second Wednesday of the month 10:30 to 11:30 am in the Scout Hut. Anyone interested in this group please contact Elizabeth Bean.

Walking Group meets on the first Thursday of the month. Thursday 5th May 7.3 mile walk starts at 9:30am prompt from Whichford. Please contact Group Leader Jim Saxton

Walking from Shipston is to be renamed ‘The Shipston Five Milers’ to more closely reflect how the group has developed since we started 18 months or so ago, when we could only walk as a group of six and car sharing wasn’t permitted. Now the group has decided to extend the group parameters! The new name reflects two aspects of our walks. Five miles long (walking pace 2.5 miles an hour) and the start point will be no further from Shipston than 5 miles. We aim to walk every Wednesday starting at 10am, alternating between a Shipston walk starting at the Bridge carpark, the following week will start from outside Shipston. If you wish to join the group, please contact Thérèse Woodward.

Wine Appreciation Group: At the Open Day on the March 22, five new members showed interest in joining and were added to the membership list. I look forward to seeing them again at our next Zoom meeting on the May 18. On the April 20, a group of 14 of us attended a very enjoyable tasting of 6 varied wines at Sheldon’s Wine Cellars, Shipston on Stour. Unfortunately, not everyone who showed interest was able to be accommodated due to space and logistical limitations. My thanks to Amanda Rowley from Sheldon’s who organised and led the event.
Our next three meetings are a mixture of Zoom and ’live’ tastings and are on the theme of Italian wines.
• 18th May: Zoom, Southern Italy, probably Sicily (TBC)
• 15th June: Zoom, region TBC
• 20th July: ‘Live’ tasting subject to being practical. This will be confirmed, along with region/theme nearer the day.

I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible at these events. If you are interested in joining us and are not currently on my list, please send a message to Geoff Olsson

Shipston Music Society present LEAMINGTON SINGERS, Friday 20th May 7.30 pm
Methodist Church, New Street, Shipston:

“Divertimento – Live at Last” – an inspiring and joyful collection of pieces – from Sullivan to a fiendish Finnish polka, via the Beatles and the King’s Singers. Plus an exclusive selection of British and Commonwealth music from the last 70 years to mark the Platinum Jubilee”

All welcome, tickets on the door £8.00: free to Music Society Members.
More information from 01608 662514


I would so welcome members’ ideas and contributions for the monthly UPDATE newsletter. In particular, news from the groups is always of interest.

Jackie Finlay (Editor)