Stoke-on-Trent South

News Items

NEW WRITING GROUP - Write Your Memoirs
There has been a positive response to the twice monthly “Write a Life” group led by Jo Austin, which is based at Stoke Library from 2pm till 4pm, twice monthly on Tuesday afternoons. The title of the group has now been changed to “Write Your Memoirs” and there are still places available. This provides an opportunity to record your life story or that of someone close, using memories of events, objects, people and places.

You and your memories are very important. Have you ever thought how years down the line folk are going to know what it was like living in the second half of the 20th and early 21st centuries? Newspapers will show what happened but how will they know about what Stoke-on-Trent was really like? By talking & writing about your family, home, workplace, holidays and hobbies we can make sure that life in our city is remembered. If you go along to Stoke Library on the 1st & 3rd Tuesday of the month at 2pm, you will be very welcome.

Group Leader Jo Austin offers step by step support and no previous experience is needed. If you are interested in joining or require any further information, Jo can be contacted on 07854 077187.

Our total membership was 476 at the last count, an increase of 12 since November 2018. It’s also a slight increase when compared to January 2018.

Next month, letters will be circulated to remind everyone about membership renewal which is due at the end of March (except for anyone who has joined us very recently).

If you attend the next monthly meeting please remember to collect your letter as this will help to reduce postage costs. Please ensure that you complete and sign the form and return it with your payment.

If you know anyone who is interested in joining, application forms can be printed from our website or obtained from Alan Stevenson on 01782 395760.

Since the meeting on 31st January was the first of 2019, we would like to wish you all a very Happy New Year. We were delighted to welcome Kath Reynolds for the first time, who delivered a talk titled "Goose Grease and Brown paper." The talk was excellent and enjoyed by all, so a big thank-you to Kath.

At our next monthly meeting we will be distributing membership renewal forms plus a notification letter about our AGM in May.

The AGM letter will include a form for any important issues you wish to raise during the AGM, and an application form which will need to be completed if you wish to join the committee.

Further information will be included with the letter and we urge people to consider applying for committee roles.

On Friday, 29th March 2019 the West Midlands Regional U3A Conference will be held at The Priory Rooms, Birmingham. The theme will be: Keeping Vibrancy in your U3A! Further details will be circulated later.

The Garden and Nature Lovers’ group will not be meeting on 8th February, but will meet instead at 10.30am on Friday, 15th February at Trentham Gardens (Row K of the car park) to car share for a visit to Rode Hall Gardens for their extensive display of snowdrops. The cost is £5 admittance plus the £1 U3A attendance fee. As the weather can be unpredictable, particularly at this time of year, please check with Fay or Chris to ensure the visit is going ahead.
On Sunday, 24th March we are planning to visit an NGS Open Garden at The Beeches, Rocester, meeting at the same time and place. The cost will be £4 admittance plus £1 U3A attendance fee.

If you are interested in joining this group, or taking part in either visit, please contact Fay Howell on 01782 658659 or Chris Whitfield on 01782 960327.

Over 20 members attended the Christmas meal at the Tollgate in December and once again the food was lovely and it was a very enjoyable evening. We are planning to return to the Tollgate soon for a curry evening. No date has been confirmed but is likely to be a Friday or Saturday mid Feb or early March.

A table has been booked at the Saracen’s Head, Meir for 7pm on Saturday, 23rd February. A deposit of £5 per person will be required as soon as possible. Menus will be available soon as food will need to be pre-ordered, but they are already available on the website at The Saracen’s has been renovated and is now a steak house with an excellent reputation. They also do quite a good selection of alternative dishes besides their selection of steaks.

Fay has arranged a date of Saturday 6th April for the next visit to Baby Russets, and this is certain to be popular. For bookings and enquiries please contact Fay Howell on 01782 658659.

The group’s next meeting is brought forward to Tuesday, 5th February and will be at the usual venue, the Hem Heath, meeting at 12.30pm. The group normally meet on the second Tuesday of each month and Group Leader Rita Wright can be contacted on 01782 489155.

The Tenpin Bowling evening booked for Thursday 31st January 2019 was cancelled due to warnings of inclement weather. Michelle was hoping to change the date to an evening during February, however, Hanley Cinebowl have changed their special offers and the best deal now is on Tuesday evenings and consists of two games for £7.50 (no food or drink included) with selected drinks at half price.

Would anyone interested in the tenpin bowling evenings please contact Group Leader Michelle Tittle-Wang (01782 657564 or mobile 07753 264402) to let her know if you are happy with this deal and the change of evening.

IT GROUP (formerly Computer Group)
If you need to learn about technology or brush up on existing skills, our IT Group can probably help you. The group is led by Joe Neilson and meets fortnightly on Monday mornings at Adderley Green Care Centre.

Whether you have a laptop, tablet or smart phone, it’s worth giving the group a try if you need any help. Whatever the problem, e.g. Windows, coping with technology to get the best out of your holiday photos, or perhaps even lack of confidence with Facebook, give Joe a call on 01782 852042.

The new dance classes will re-commence on 14th February after a short break, and now is a good time to give it a try as you won’t need to worry about having missed too much. The group will meet 6pm to 8pm at St Paul’s Church Hall, Longton Hall Road, Blurton, and thereafter on a fortnightly basis at the same time and venue.

New members are very welcome to come along and join the fun, which consists of ballroom, Latin and disco, plus occasional party dances, etc. Whether you wish to learn new dances, brush up on your dancing skills, or just enjoy a really pleasant social evening, Group Leader Chris Whitfield can be contacted on 01782 960327 or mobile 07939 621499.

Members of the Open Craft group have been learning a very diverse range of skills, such as knitting, jewellery making, glass painting, flower making and ribbon weaving to name just a few. They have recently been making bracelets and earrings using memory wire.

Group Leader Joan Crozier shows members the basics for whatever crafts they choose to try then if they wish, they can practice or improve their skills either at home or in future meetings.

Meetings are from 11.30am to 1.30pm on the second and fourth Thursday of the month at the Redhouse Residents Association Community House, Longton, ST3 2LR. If you would like to join the group, Joan can be contacted on 01782 213459.

Joan also leads the Parchment group who meet at the same venue and same time on the first and third Thursday of the month and it’s fascinating to see some of the work produced.

The National Office produce monthly online newsletters and members can register to receive these by email. You can sign up to receive your copy at

The newsletter includes details of current research projects, study days, entertainment, etc. which may interest some of our U3A members. It is worth signing up if you haven't already done so.

Would anyone be interested in trying indoor Curling? Val Greatbatch has been negotiating for hire of a room and equipment at Penkhull Village Hall. If there is sufficient interest we may start a group there in March, possibly from 1pm to 2pm on Tuesday afternoons.

With indoor curling the stones are much lighter than those used in the standard game so they are easier to handle. The game is suitable for people with mobility problems such as arthritic knees and hips and the game can be played while sitting. If you are interested in leading or joining this group, please contact Val Greatbatch on 07881 367509 (mobile).

If the sport proves popular we may purchase our own equipment so that we can offer an alternative day and venue.

The next Local History meeting will be at 10.30am on Tuesday, 5th February in Room 6 at Longton Central Hall. Please use the rear door (along the path to your left before the double doors).

The next free film at Stoke Film Theatre will be at 7.45pm on Wednesday, 13th February and this will be:

When Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show Came to Stoke – 1903/04
Buffalo Bill’s 1903-1904 UK tour started and finished in Stoke. The company wintered here in a railway train of special carriages built in Stoke, which then transported the company on their year-long tour, beginning in Stoke and ending in Hanley. Actual archive films from 1898 to 1910 bring the show to life, along with posters, photographs and recorded tribute performances

If you would like to join the group, please contact Phil Rowley on 01782 330337.

The Indoor Bowls Group currently meets weekly at 1.30pm on Wednesday afternoons, at Berryhill Retirement Village, Arbourfield Drive, ST2 9RJ. In April the Crown Green Bowls season commences and we will be returning to the Florence Bowling Club.

Since Dave will be unable to lead both groups, indoor bowling will then be suspended unless anyone would like to take over from him. If you are interested in either group, please contact Dave Darby on 01782 317408.

The next meeting will be at 10.30am on Tuesday, 5th February at Central Hall, Longton. The theme will be “Valentine’s Day, Past and Present”. You are welcome to bring along any treasured valentine’s cards, etc., and to share your special memories or observations over a cuppa with friends.

Suggestions for future meetings are always welcome. If you would like to suggest topics for future discussion, or have knowledge or skills to share, please contact Val Greatbatch (07881 367509), Chris Whitfield (01782 960327 or 07939 621499), or Trish Rowley on 07939 209054.

Mary and Mike Cresswell have organised another Musical Curry Night at Sangam 2, Glebe Street, Stoke for 6pm on Sunday, 17th March. The proceeds will be for the Chernobyl Children’s Project (UK), which is a very worthy cause. This is a ticket event, and includes food and music by the Cheadle U3A Ukulele Band.

These evenings are very popular and always good fun. Tickets cost £19 each and are available from Mike and Mary (Tel: 01782 658002 or by email to: Take your own drinks.


Birmingham Rep’s Spring season starts with Blue/Orange, by Joe Penhall. The play is brilliantly witty and very relevant in modern Britain, covering issues from race and identity to politics and the NHS. Our U3A has been offered £10 tickets for selected performances from 11th to 16th February. Quote Coupon Code BLUETEN when booking. The price only applies for groups of four or less. To book, simply visit the website at or call the box office team on 0121 236 4455. Booking fees apply and tickets are subject to availability.

The 2019 International Gilbert and Sullivan Festival takes place in Harrogate from 7th to 18th August. However, the same shows will be performed in Buxton from 24th to 29th July.
Performances by the National G&S Opera Co will feature new productions of The Gondoliers, The Mikado and The Yeomen of the Guard plus a re-run of the hugely successful current production of The Pirates of Penzance. Ticket prices range from £18 to £37, with 10% discount if you decide to take a group of ten or more and are available from Monday, 4th February 2019 via the Box Office (Tel: 01422-323252 or online at

A new project is being started to build small items capable of movement and being controlled. Items built will then be pitted against each other in a series of challenges. You may have heard of “Raspberry Pi”, “Arduino” or “Picaxe”, which are all programmable devices, and will aid the use of sensors being used for the more advanced challenges. So, the challenge will clearly be of interest to coding creators too.

The proposed venue is Conference Aston in Birmingham where the U3A Science Network is holding its 2019 meeting in August 2019. To register your interest, contact Michaela Moody ( or Barry James at stating to which U3A you belong, any experience you have with robotics or coding, and whether you’d actually like to participate in the challenge. Please include your email address and a preferred contact number.

Items for publication in the next newsletter will need to reach Fay Howell by Friday, 22nd February 2019. Tel: 01782 658659 or email: