Shipston-on-Stour Area



Update January 2021

Happy New Year to you all!

What a difficult year 2020 was! Although life is far from normal as we have just been moved into tier 4 at least now with the Oxford vaccine approval we can all hope that we will reach the light at the end of the tunnel soon. Let’s make 2021 a year to remember, and for much better reasons than we will all remember 2020.
Let this be the year that we see Shipston on Stour Area U3A bounce back to life! As you will see below, there is a lot happening and the committee would like to hear from you if there is anything you would like us to arrange for your enjoyment. We will do our best, but also why not think about what you can do for our U3A. The best way to re-invigorate is to re-start existing groups, for the next months at least using virtual platforms, but looking forward to the day when we be able to meet again in person. We are also keen to hear from you with suggestions for new groups. The committee would be very willing to help and provide advice if necessary. Contact Lynne, the Interest Group Co-ordinator, for an informal chat
Let us all work together!
Are you nervous about using Zoom?
If you would like to become more involved by participating in virtual groups, or perhaps running a virtual group, help is at hand. There are online tutorials available in January including ‘Introduction to Zoom’ and ‘Zoom for Group Leaders’. Book your place on the u3a website by clicking on the online events page now.
Additionally, if you would prefer to speak to one of the committee we can offer advice and help: or

January monthly meeting
January’s talk will be given through Zoom by Graham Sutherland. He had originally been booked to give it to us in person in Townsend Hall but, of course, that is no longer possible. His Zoom talk will be at 2 pm on Tuesday, 26thJanuary and will last 50 to 55 minutes.
It is entitled “Wish You Were Here - How holidays have developed”. Graham looks at how holidays have grown since the days of medieval pilgrimages and the idle rich to the institution of bank holidays. Later, these were followed by statutory breaks for all workers. He talks about the differing types of holidays that have come and gone, and the ever-present holidays at the seaside, often with standards of dress and tyrannical landladies. Did you want a static or moving holiday? How did you entertain yourselves? All these and other aspects are discussed.
The meeting is open to members and is free. Numbers are limited to 100 so pre-booking is necessary. All members with email will be sent an invitation to register for this event through Eventbrite. Subsequently, those registered will be sent an email with a link to the talk. There is no need to download Zoom, just click on the link up to 10 minutes before the time of the talk and follow the instructions.

Your U3A is a thriving organization with over 40 groups, some of which continue to meet in these difficult times. We are, however, urgently looking for a volunteer Secretary to join the existing friendly Committee.
This is an important role requiring some administrative/IT expertise and good communication skills. The main duties will be drafting Agendas, taking Minutes, circulating information across the Committee, maintaining contact with U3A HQ and remaining up to date on its advice.
For more information please contact the Chair, Caroline Green on
In addition, we are looking for volunteers to join our Committee. At present it is short of normal strength, which puts an additional burden on existing Committee members at a time when they are working hard to adapt to the restrictions arising from COVID19. Anyone interested in joining should contact Caroline as above. We’d love to hear from you.

The u3a National Newsletter
You may remember that I wrote about the u3a National Newsletter in the December Update. I hope that many of you have signed up for it to be delivered directly to your inbox. It is easy to sign up, just scroll down from and fill in a very simple form.
Meanwhile here is the link to the December issue.
To whet your appetite of what you will find in the Newsletter here are a few of the national events. Some of these are charged for but other are free to u3a members. Follow the links to register.

Forthcoming events include:
14 or 18/01/21 - the Role and History of the National Trust. Free event.
27/01/21 - A Taste of Japan: a series of short talks. Free Event
11/01/21 – Egyptology: Rock Cut Tombs in the Valley of the Kings. Free event.
28/01/21 – Van Gogh in Arles with the National Gallery £5.50

Explore what else is on offer by following these links:

News from the Interest Groups
Whilst the Covid-19 restrictions still curtail some Groups, others are still active, as set out below.
• Ancient Greek - via Zoom.
• Art Appreciation – via weekly email
• Book Group - via Zoom with the current book being Half a World Away by Mike Gayle
• Current Affairs - via Zoom.
• Latin - via Zoom.
• Mindfulness and Meditation - via Zoom.
• Spanish Conversation – via Zoom.

In the light of the move to tier 4 the Walking from Shipston is suspended until further notice.
The Painting and Drawing Group, whilst not meeting, are having email contact with suggestions for art projects. Contact Jean Olsson at
As some of you will know virtual group leader meetings will be held in January. If any group leader had not responded to the invitation please contact Lynne asap. After those meetings we will be in a position to give a further update on which groups are operating and how.
If you are interested in joining a group, whether currently active or not, please make contact with the leader via
We are looking for volunteers for leaders to come forward for the 'dormant' groups, without leaders. This does not have to be a long term commitment but as a short term way to keep those group members informed of any developments etc. Please contact Lynne if you would like to act as an interim leader so that you can be invited to join our update sessions for Group Leaders in January. Groups currently without a leader include Amblers, Photography and Wine Appreciation.

Contributions for UPDATE
I would welcome members’ ideas and contributions for the monthly UPDATE.

Therese Woodward

Some Pictures from the groups - see photos in the pdf version of Update at the top of this page
Walking from Shipston group

Drawing/Painting group