Present situation of monthly meetings under pandemic restrictions

Somerton U3A has been unable to hold monthly meetings since February 2020 and it is unknown when these will restart.

Started in October, on the regular 4th Friday Meeting date, we have been having guest speakers via Zoom to which all members are invited.
Starting in the new year we are adding extra speakers, usually on the 2nd. Friday of the month.

Details of these speakers are below. Those members on email will receive the details via the 'Beacon' system so watch out for those.

Why not get together to join in with the Monthly Zoom Meetings? Following the Govt. Guidelines at the time, why not invite another U3A member, perhaps someone who isn't 'on-line' or familiar with Zoom, to join you?

All meetings will start at 11.00 unless otherwise stated.

Under normal circumstances

Monthly meetings are held on the 4th. Friday of the month at the Edgar Community Hall, Somerton.
We open at 10am for coffee (50p) 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 £2.00.

Dates for your Diary
Fri Mar 12th


A ZOOM presentation starting at 11.00 by Mr Alan Jones

I have been fortunate to enjoy a variety of careers, each bringing their own unique experiences and events. A trained nurse, hypnotherapist, BBC journalist and more, they now all provide a wealth of anecdote to fill my talks with fun, information and discovery.

I am a Stand Alone speaker and do not require any technical equipment, so no death by power-point, crashed computer, or lost leads. However, a small table for a few props is helpful and about as technical as I get. I live in Hampshire and regularly travel through the counties of Dorset, Berkshire, Middlesex, Oxfordshire, Surrey, Sussex and Wiltshire.

Fri Mar 26th


11.00 start via Zoom

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’ and 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.
I have been lucky to be a professional wildlife photographer for over 40 years. My first book ‘The Kingfisher’ was published in 1982 and since then I have gone on to photograph and write another 17 books for a variety of publishers and large corporate organisations.

We welcome David back to Somerton U3A for what will be his 3rd. visit.

Fri Apr 9th


A presentation by David Allen

Via Zoom starting at 11.00

Welcome to the extraordinary world of Victorian etiquette! You are all invited to attend a Victorian Finishing School for Young Ladies where you will discover the Do's and Don'ts of courtship, calling cards, dinner party etiquette, and the mysterious language of the fan. Great Fun!

David's Biography

With over 10 years experience, London born David is a very popular public speaker, who is the perfect combination of being both hugely knowledgeable and a very skilled and entertaining storyteller.

Funny, light hearted, but meticulously well researched, his talks are both fun and thought provoking, and are either taken from his own life experience - travelling the world, or in his professional life as a solicitor, actor & professional storyteller – or are based on hours, days and weeks of tireless historical research, trawling through the archives and records dating back to the 1800s.

A performer at heart, David has appeared in a variety of shows for children and adults, including his one man storytelling shows on factual Victorian Murders. With other theatre companies, David has employed his gift for improvisation in various plays with a particular focus on immersive theatre, such as the award nominated Jack the Ripper’s London and Follow the Rabbit.

Fri Apr 23rd


A Zoom presentation at 11.00 by James Taylor

Artist-drawn postcards were the most popular art-form from the Edwardian era to the outbreak of World War II. They entertained, inspired, instructed, motivated, persuaded and lifted up the spirits. Discover the popular themes and styles by the masters of the medium such as Mabel Lucie Attwell, Donald McGill and Fred Spurgin, and the reasons why their popularity waned with the British public.


Dr James Taylor MA (Hons) FRSA studied at the Universities of St. Andrews, Manchester and Sussex. He is a former specialist in Victorian paintings at Phillips Fine Art Auctioneers; a curator of paintings, drawings and prints and contributor to various exhibitions and galleries at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich; and from 1999 an independent author, award-winning lecturer and exhibition organiser.

Talk Testimonials
“Thank you for a really interesting and entertaining presentation on Brilliant British Humour in the Forgotten Art of the Picture Postcard. St Albans U3A”. March 2020.

“Thank you once again for a fascinating, informative and fun talk…on humorous picture postcards”. Lea Valley U3A, January 2020.

And there are many many more! For further info please look at James' website. Steve Davis. Webmaster

Fri May 14th


Raising awareness of this assistance charity

A Zoom presentation at 11.00 by Rosie Blanning

Dogs for Good is a national charity that makes life-changing differences for people with disabilities through the power of expertly trained dogs. Our dogs bring independence to people by taking on many practical tasks, such as retrieving items, helping them get dressed and opening doors.

Fri May 28th



Via Zoom starting at 11.00

From the northern 'snow country' to the southern tropical beaches, Japan is a diverse and complicated country.
See how Japan has integrated very traditional aspects of it's culture into a modern society. Micro cars to beer from machines and public bathhouses to tatami mats, Japan is not quite what you imagine, as traditionalism meets modernism.


I am a professional documentary photographer that specialises in worldwide humanitarian and commercial assignments from my base in Chester. I mentor and speak on a range of subjects from exotic travel locations (I worked for many travel guide publishers), to my international work for charities such as Oxfam, Save the Children and the United Nations. All this has taken me to over 50 countries including Afghanistan, Mongolia, Indonesia, Laos, and Myanmar. I am a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.

Fri Jun 11th


A presentation via Zoom at 11.00

by Mr. John Hope

A journey through time telling over the centuries showing the development and improvement of time telling devices from the sundial through to the atomic clock. Takes the audience through the many formats tried by man to master time telling and how time became more important through the ages.

Includes the rise and fall of the industry in the United Kingdom.

Fri Jun 25th


A presentation by Roger Browne

This talk focuses on the links and influences between Jazz, born in New Orleans, and Musical Theatre, headquartered in New York.

Many of the harmonies, chord sequences, and melodic structures used by the great American composers, for their theatrical creations, were inspired by the music of the jazz greats and many of the great tunes composed, specifically for the stage, have become the basis for much of the jazz musician’s stock repertoire.

In “New Orleans to New York” Roger’s recalls a lifetime of making music from both genres.

As with all of Roger’s talks, “New Orleans to New York” is illustrated with live examples on the piano, and is punctuated with hilarious stories about the people, places and events that have made his lifetime journey in music, so memorable.

Fri Jul 9th


A Zoom presentation by Mr. Paul Robbins

This is an extremely popular talk! Have you ever wondered why Britain has had so many eccentrics? Great British Eccentrics & Rogues is a highly amusing talk which looks at some of the World’s great eccentrics & Rogues who just happened to be British!

Paul takes you on a light-hearted journey that looks at some of the great characters from our past like the Lord who lived in a converted fish tank, a unique singer, a UFO obsessed peer and then to more recent times and some of the great eccentrics of the last 30 years.

Step Back in time is a programme of Historical Talks presented by Paul Robbins BSc (Hons) BA, ISEB Cert, PHF an experienced Presenter, Historian and Author.

Fri Jul 23rd


A Zoom presentation by Prof. Gerald Seaman

I am an international authority on Russian music, having held the post of Professor of Musicology at the University of Auckland for 33 years, before returning to the UK in 1998. Since then I have held various appointments at the Birmingham Conservatory, where I was in charge of post-graduate studies, and as a staff member of Oxford University. For many years I was attached to St. Antony's College as a Senior Associate Member. My publications include a History of Russian Music, the volume Nikolay Andreevich Rimsky-Korsakov: a Research and Information Guide, contributions to Grove's Dictionary and other works. I recently completed a book on Tchaikovsky published by Routledge/Taylor & Francis.
In the past I have lectured at many different universities, including Columbia, Brown and Rutgers in the United States, Canada, Australia, Germany, Russia and elsewhere. In particular, I have had the good fortune to spend considerable periods in Russia, including a whole year when I was engaged in postgraduate study at the then Leningrad Conservatory. During my time in Leningrad, I was given a unique insight into the Russian system of music education, being able to visit music specialist schools (a very rare experience for Western visitors), to attend the Union of Soviet composers and meet with many outstanding musicians such as Shostakovich, Khachaturyan, Khrennikov and Kabalevsky. The talk I am offering, "My Musical Life in Russia or How I Nearly Became James Bond", is completely informal and a-political. My talks at other branches have been very well received. I should also mention in conclusion that I am usually available at short notice in the event that one your speakers is unable to attend.

Fri Aug 13th


A presentation by Ian Buchan

My name is Ian Buchan "Magic Ian" and I am a retired Civil Servant who has been performing magic for children and adults for almost 35 years. I am a member and Past President of Edinburgh Magic Circle with several awards to my name.

During this Zoom presentation I talk about my life as a magician and some of the famous magicians, who most people will have heard of, such as Houdini, David Nixon, Tommy Cooper, Paul Daniels, with some anecdotes thrown in of those who I have met. As expected there are also some entertaining practical demonstrations.

Click on a picture below to see it full-size with more details.