Somerton

Events

Monthly meetings are held on the 4th. Friday of the month at the Edgar Community Hall, Somerton.

We open at 10am for coffee (30p) and the chance for members to meet and chat.
The meeting will start at 10.30 and after announcements and any business will be followed by our guest speaker.

The meeting closes at 12 noon.

Please join us.
Members free. Non-members £1.50p


Dates for your Diary
Meetings
Fri May 24th

A.G.M.

Following the A.G.M. we will have Kirsty Jenssen, Service Manager for the Royal Voluntary Service, responsible for the Home Library Service talking to us.

Kirsty writes,
"The Royal Voluntary Service ( previously WRVS) mobilises volunteers to support those in need, in hospital and the community. By inspiring the gift of voluntary service, we keep people happy, healthy and connected. Our volunteers work alongside the NHS and within communities to create more time to care. I will share with you the Royal Voluntary Service journey over the last 80 years since its inception and the work our volunteers do in South Somerset through the Home Library Service".

Royal Voluntary Service volunteers help in all sorts of ways:
• They provide practical help and companionship, deliver books to those who love reading but can't get to their local library and drive people that can't get out and about to GP or hospital appointments, shopping trips and to local social events and activities.
• They run clubs and groups in local communities where older people can socialise, take part in interesting activities and enjoy something to eat and drink.
• They provide exercise classes, activities and companionship for older people in hospital and support them with their return home.
• They run hospital welcome desks and over 230 hospital shops, cafés and trolley services.
• We also run national campaigns to raise awareness of the issues associated with an ageing population and about the impact of voluntary service.
I will focus on the Home library service and some of the community work we are setting up across Somerset.

Fri Jun 28th 'A Freezing Horror': The wreck of the Halsewell, 1786.
An illustrated talk by Mr. Philip Browne.

One of the most dramatic shipwreck disasters on an English shore will be the subject of our talk by Dorset writer, Philip Browne. Drawing on his recent prize-winning book he will describe the terrible events that shocked the nation when a huge East India Company ship was wrecked on the Purbeck coast. On board were the Captain's teenaged daughters, his nieces and several other young ladies, bound for India in search of rich husbands. Despite the dramatic rescue of some of the crew, Captain Peirce and all the young ladies were drowned. In 1786, the peculiar circumstances of this disaster caught the public imagination and filed the newspapers for weeks. More than two centuries later, the story of the Halswell still has the power to move us.

Our Speaker
Philip Browne was born and educated in Ireland, graduating from Trinity College, Dublin with a B.A. and a Higher Diploma in Education. He taught English in a Dublin secondary school before emigrating in 1973 to the U.K. Then followed nearly 40 years working in education, first as a teacher and subsequently as an education adviser with Dorset Education Authority. Since retiring in 2010, he has researched and written the historical biography, 'The Unfortunate Captain Peirce and the Wreck of the Halsewell East Indiaman, 1786', published in 2016 by Hobnob Press. It is his first book. Phillip is married with two sons. He continues to live in Dorset, an area that he loves.

Copies of the book will be on sale after the talk at the discount price of £10. In July, it won the Hall & Woodhouse Dorchester Literary Festival Writing Prize 2018.
Fri Jul 26th

The Genes of Isis

Why Ancient Egypt is known as the Mother and Father of All Things

Somerset author Dr. Justin Newland will give this lively, illustrated talk. He will discuss what this means and how it impacts our lives today.
Justin will also reveal how this period of history inspired his debut novel, 'The Genes of Isis', an epic fantasy and supernatural thriller set under Ancient Egyptian skies. The story is a weave of two threads: the Ancient Egyptian myth of Isis and Osiris and the story of the flood in the Book of Genesis.

Copies of Justin's book will be on sale after the talk.

Fri Aug 23rd

Enrolment Day

Open to members and non-members alike. A chance to sign up, re-enrol browse and chat to the Group Leaders as Somerton U3A showcases the 50+ Groups available to join.

Fri Sep 27th

The M.G.M. Musical Story

MGM and some of the musical films and stars from the great days of Hollywood

Speaker - Terry Merrett-Smith.

For Terry this will be a return visit to U3A. His interests have always been in nostalgia and record collecting of the early years. Terry presents a programme on Hospital radio and has also been a guest several times at BBC Radio Bristol and Somerset.

Fri Oct 25th

Not for King and Country

Kathy McNally

This talk is about the King Edward VIII and the twice divorced Wallis Simpson. It has romance, intrigue and espionage. After eighty years the truth is emerging, piece by piece about the events that shook an empire.

About our Speaker.
For most of her professional life Kathy was involved with research posts, books and authors. She studied at Strathclyde University for her first degree in Modern European History. While living in Scotland she acted as a Publishers' Reader for new authors of children's books and was a judge for the prestigious Carnegie and Greenaway awards on several occasions. Kathy was also as a freelance researcher and broadcaster for BBC Radio Scotland.

Currently she travels widely as a Guest Speaker including on P&O cruises giving talks about spying and espionage. When at home she indulges her passion for horse racing. One of her favourite race courses is, as might be expected, Taunton.

Fri Nov 22nd

Blue Peter - Behind the Badge

Adventures behind the lens - hot rocks and high places.

Luck played its part a when Alex joined the Blue Peter programme in 1975. The presenters were John Noakes, Peter Purves and Lesley Judd. He describes pivotal events in broadcasting and memorable encounters with an erupting volcano, gorillas in Uganda and a beard of bees. These and other events like John Noakes climbing Nelson's Column secured his position as a producer for 36 years. Others caused a stir like LuLu the baby elephant who ran amok and created probably the funniest moment in Blue Peter history.

ALEX LEGER Television Producer, Director and Cameraman

Alex Leger has led an extraordinary life. For 36 years and working for the BBC he was a prolific film maker. He produced Blue Peter, the iconic children’s programme, and other programmes.
He has survived sandstorms, landmines, erupting volcanoes, food poisoning, difficult presenters and flying bullets to make over 600 films across five continents. Although, he would say, not all turned out in the way he expected. From his first adventure encouraging John Noakes to climb Nelson’s Column through to persuading Helen Skelton to wear a beard of bees, and from flying with the Red Arrows to bluffing cocaine paste smugglers in the high Andes; he can truly say there has never been a dull moment. It is unlikely that there is another tv producer alive today who can begin to match his experiences. He is a great raconteur and his talks are lavishly illustrated with film and video clips and enriched with many behind the scenes anecdotes.
Devon born, Alex was educated at Exeter School before leaving to spend a year as a VSO volunteer in the Solomon Islands. On his return he studied industrial engineering and management sciences at Loughborough University. He then joined the army on a permanent regular commission before joining the BBC in 1973 as a junior management consultant. Three years later came an opportunity to work in television programme production where he stayed for the rest of his BBC career.
Alex started public speaking in 2012 and speaking engagements include national conferences, literary festivals, cruise ships and local groups.

Fri Jan 24th 2020 The speaker this month is David Boag.

David has visited our U3A before when he gave us a brilliant illustrated talk about Kingfishers! We look forward to what will be a tremendous start to our new year.

David writes: 'I am a wildlife photographer and the author/photographer of 18 published books. My first book 'The Kingfisher' was published in 1982 and contained a wealth of unique photographs illustrating the life of this remarkable bird.
Encouraged by my publishers and driven by my enthusiasm, my next book was about another spectacular bird, and 'The Atlantic Puffin' was published a couple of years later.
For several consecutive years my work became the subject of the television programme 'Out of Town' and I have since been involved with both television and radio, either in an advisory capacity or as a knowledgeable guest or presenter.
I lecture regularly throughout the country to a wide variety of natural history, photographic and general interest audiences. On numerous occasions I have spoken at major conferences for organisations such as the National Trust, the RSPB, British Trust for Ornithology and the Royal Photographic Society.
A more confidential aspect of my work are the books I have created for prestigious, private estate owners. I have produced over 20 of these one-off, handcrafted tomes that are leather bound, photographic essays; regarded as heirlooms by my clients
I regularly led African wildlife safari trips to destinations that included Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
More recently I was asked to undertake a corporate commission to photograph, write and design a book about the wildlife and natural beauty of a quarry! This led to several more major commissions throughout Britain and Ireland and eventually to working for 3 years in the USA.'
Fri Feb 28th 2020

The Splendid Isolation of Tristan da Cunha

An introduction to the island's wildlife, history and the way of life of it's people.

Tristan da Cunha is the world's most isolated inhabited island, home to fewer than 250 islanders who are all farmers and rely on a flourishing fishing industry which provides their main income.
Tristan is an active volcano, last erupting in 2004 and famous for the 1961 eruption which forced it's population to evacuate to the U.K.

A presentation by Richard Grundy who worked as a teacher on the island between 1982 - 85 and now works on a voluntary basis to help the community by editing the Tristan Govt. website - www.tristandc.com and the Tristan da Cunha Newsletter. The latter is a full colour magazine style publication, printed in Glastonbury and sent to Tristan da Cunha Association members across the world, as well as to every family on the island.

Fri Apr 24th 2020

GARDENERS ???? TIME

The Sartin experience of the trials, tribulations and triumphs of gardening in verse and song.

The Speaker is Bonny Sartin.
Bonny was for 50 years a member of the Dorset folk band ‘The Yetties’. The band retired in April 2011 and since then he has continued entertaining various organisations with a mix of historical talks, poems, readings and songs, mainly with a Dorset bias. He comes from a singing family. When Robert and Henry Hammond toured Dorset during 1905/6/7, hunting down the singers of the old songs, they collected 111 from the Sartin clan.
The core of the Sartin family have lived in Dorset for over 350 years so Dorset is well and truly in his blood and in his heart. Spare time is often spent cycling the bridle ways of Dorset or walking the footpaths.

Fri Oct 23rd 2020

England in Tune

An unashamed ‘Celebration of Englishness.’

Not the jingoistic ‘Last Night of the Proms’ style but a collection of music, readings, poems by our own countrymen including Flanagan and Allen, John Masefield, Noel Coward, A. A. Milne … and many more, which combines a merry mix of subject matter in word and song with something to suit most tastes.

Our speaker for this month writes:-
'I have been working with pianist and accompanist, Sheila Furneaux for some thirty years from the times when we used to put concert parties together with a group of friends up to our branching out as a duo just over ten years ago.
Initially we started our double act with a talk entitled ‘Glorious Mud, the life and times on Flanders and Swann’, which we illustrate with live songs and pictures. We quickly discovered that this style of entertainment was unique and much appreciated and as we had to increase our subject range as groups asked us back for a second, third or, in some case, more times!
We are very lucky to be approaching our 1000th performance, which we will achieve before the year’s out, and are gratified and surprised by the general response to our ‘hobby’, which you and the Somerton U3A have kindly supported.'

Fri Nov 27th 2020

Wildlife of Dartmoor

John Walters

John Walters is a life long field naturalist who explores the natural world through field sketching, photography and video. He grew up on Hayling Island in Hampshire and has lived in Devon since 1990. He works as an ecologist, artist and public speaker and is based in Buckfastleigh. He has published several books and guides including The Wildlife of Dartmoor and has appeared in many television and radio programmes.

www.johnwalters.co.uk

The talk will use photographs, field sketches and video clips to explore the amazing variety of wildlife to be found in Dartmoor National Park including cuckoos and their meadow pipit foster parents, dancing adders, ring-running roe deer and the worlds largest slug!

Other Events
Wed May 22nd

Somerton Area Dementia Action Alliance

are holding a meeting at Edgar Hall on Wednesday 22nd may at 2pm to start the "safe places" scheme in Somerton. The scheme is with Wessex House/Avon & Som Police and if anyone is found wandering or confused in this area then they can be looked after safely until Police can find out where they live. We will have a "live" scenario to discuss and answer any questions on the scheme. Could you please let all your members know.

As the Somerton U3A have been big supporters of the dementia friends scheme where we are aiming to have 500 friends in this area we will be holding 3 sessions on that day for anyone who might have missed the last ones. They will be 12noon, 1pm & 3pm. Please spread the word. Please see the NEWS Page for further information.
Judi