Thorpe Bay

The View From The Chair


Well, the light can now be seen at the end of the tunnel! It is suggested that all restrictions on our movement and gathering will be lifted on a date that is "not before June 21st" of this year. Please note that "not before". Do not be disappointed if, due to changes in the rate of recovery, that date is pushed back. Maybe all of that is just me being pessimistic, but I can safely say that 21st June is the earliest date that all restrictions will be lifted. Please check the “Roadmaps” shown on this page.
We will be considering offering you meetings in the real world from that date onward, but it will all take a lot of organising. The Committee of Thorpe Bay U3A will not sanction or support any activity that is not inline with the Governments rules and guidance.
It is the intention of the Committee to retain, for most of this year, a General Meeting each month, probably the first Thursday of each month, that will be on Zoom and free for all of our members. The Meeting on the third Friday of each month will become a real-world meeting, but only once we have a suitable venue. This venue may restrict the number of members who can attend. The Committee will be addressing details like this in the next 4 months.
Even once restrictions on congregating are eased, we may still be expected to remember the manta of “Hands, Face, Space”. I feel that the site of facemasks will be the norm for a long time to come.

“Don't you know that a midnight hour comes when everyone has to take off his mask? Do you think life always lets itself be trifled with? Do you think you can sneak off a little before midnight to escape this?” Søren Kierkegaard from Either/Or volume II 1843


Just a short message today, but it will end with a quote, so read on!

Many of you will have had your first dose of one of the vaccines. Some will even have had two doses, lucky you! (I hate needles but I will still be rolling up my sleeve when I get called).

However, can I remind you all that you should not rush outside and resume your old life yet.

The first dose only gives you limited protection, and after the second dose you will not be fully protected for two or three weeks.

Even then please stop and think, you may be protected but you can still carry the virus and pass it on to others who may not have had a vaccination!

So, I suggest that for a while yet, you follow the sentiment of my quote of the day. It is the final line from the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz. Dorothy says "There's no place like home"


I have just been watching the New Year's Day Concert from the Musikverein in Vienna. Riccardo Mutti and the Wiener Philharmoniker were playing to an empty concert hall, with just the applause from listeners online to greet them at the end of each piece. A rather strange atmosphere but still there were some positive points to the whole event. The orchestra and Maestro Mutti were willing to play for the audience around the world, and we were all able to listen to the Radetzky March, by Johann Strauss Senior (or Vater as the graphics on the screen informed us), just as Strauss intended it to be heard without the clapping and foot stamping it is usually accompanied by at these events (or maybe he did have that in mind?).

There is no sugar coating it, this year has been tough. But it has also shown us how resilient we can be, and it has given us pause for thought. As we look forward to a new year, we should be more grateful than ever that we have been able to continue life with the help of technology, the same way that the Musikverein enabled an audience to encourage the musicians. For us, even the humble telephone has played its part.

To all of you who have adapted to new ways of meeting and socialising, you do it with character and aplomb. We are forever grateful for your hard work and dedication.

Now, with light at the end of the tunnel, we look forward to 2021. We bring with us hope and renewed enthusiasm for what we do best - creating new experiences that you'll want to come to, again and again.

However, just because we can see an eventual end to our current woes, that does not mean that we can rush out and ignore everything we have learnt over the past 9 months. We hope that the Vaccine will be effective, but it will take many months before sufficient numbers have been vaccinated to allow us to assess whether it has given us the protection promised. Many of you will already have been given a date for your first shot. This does not mean that you will be able to go back to your old life. Not yet. Just because you may have immunity to the Virus does not stop you carrying it from a source outside your bubble and passing it on to your families. Once the scientists have confirmed that the vaccine has controlled the spread, they and our Government will let us know that we can go out and socialise again. Until then, please continue to follow the "Hands, Face, Space" advice and keep yourself, and others, safe.

Once the Government have given us the all clear, we, as a U3A, will have a team ready to help you re-establish the thriving community we used to have. It will be a slow return, we may have to find suitable venues, we may have to limit numbers, but return we will. I would not be surprised though if some groups carry on using online video meetings as it would answer the problem of "How do I get to my meeting in the rain?"

Now go back to your chairs, do some seated exercises, and get ready for your first Group meeting of the year.


H.M. Government have made their announcement, and it has been decided that Southend-on-Sea and Essex will be in Tier 2 from the 3rd of December.
U3A National Office and Thorpe Bay U3A support the decision to limit meetings outside to just 6 people, and that there should be no mixing of households inside. Unfortunately, this does mean that U3A meetings will be restricted for the foreseeable future.
Interest Groups can only meet outside but must have no more than 6 members attending. Please stick to this figure and do not bend the rules by having two sets of six next to one another.

We encourage you, instead, to meet using electronic methods such as MS Teams, Zoom, Skype, or WhatsApp and to join us on Zoom each month for our regular presentation. Next month we have for you David Stanley of the Music Man Project.


The Thorpe Bay U3A AGM is coming. Please check your email inboxes and fill in the voting form that is attached. Details of how to get the form back to us is on the email. We need your votes to enable us to continue as an organisation. If you have any difficulty printing or emailing the form please feel free to email with your voting choices and member details written in the email.


On behalf of the Thorpe Bay u3a committee, I have some good news and some bad news for you this week. First, as is conventional, the bad news.

Following the Government's statement, the National Office of the u3a, and the Committee of Thorpe Bay u3a fully support the decision, has said that no face-to-face u3a meetings should take place during the lockdown.

We know that many of our interest groups are meeting using Zoom and other online video systems and we would encourage you to all to expand your horizons and take part in, or organise, some of these meetings.

The good news? Two pieces actually.

We are buying in a small number of U3A diaries (with the old logo on them). If you would like to buy one (cost £3.00 each) contact us via the website contact button or email

The second bit of good news is that we have another Monthly Zoom Meeting this month. It will be at 2:00pm on the 20th of November and the presenter will be our previous Chairman Barry Linton who will be asking us "Where is there life in the Universe".
I am sure Barry will be posting the details on Facebook and by email shortly.


Details for meeting other people have been nice and easy for a while and little has changed for any of our members who live within the Southend-on-Sea Unitary Authority boundary. Groups of six from multiple households can meet indoors or outdoors but they must follow social distancing guidelines.


If you live outside the Southend-on-Sea area, for example Great Wakering, Little Wakering, Barling, Rochford, Hawkwell, Hockley, Rayleigh, Thundersley, Hadleigh, Benfleet or Canvey, the rules have changed. In these areas you may no longer mix indoors with anyone who is not from your household. It is still permissible to meet in groups of less than six outdoors if you are following distancing rules.

This means that Thorpe Bay U3A may still hold small gatherings indoors and outdoors but members from out of the Borough may not attend if it is held indoors.


And so we travel on!

This month we have another Zoom presentation for you all.
We are delighted to welcome back Mark Smith who is the Medals expert on the Antiques Roadshow.
Mark has enthralled our audience on the history of the Victoria Cross, and this time his talk is entitled

"From Dunkirk to The Blitz".

He will be able to show us a number of photographs and objects.

The talk will last about 50 minutes with time allowed for Q&A.

Zoom access details will be sent out nearer the time.


Yes! It is true! We have another Zoom based Monthly Meeting.
After the success of the presentation in August (over 100 computers logged on to the talk, some with 2 members watching) we have invited Dr James Taylor back for another presentation. Be warned, for logistical reasons it is not on the usual 3rd Friday of the month but the 4th. So the announcement looks like this

On 25 September at 2:00pm Thorpe Bay U3A invites you to a fascinating Zoom talk on the subject of:

Careless Talk Costs Lives

Art & Design on the Home Front in World War II

Presented by Dr James Taylor, FRSA, a former curator at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich.
An invitation and link will be sent to all of you shortly.

I do hope you all enjoy it, because we are arranging a talk from Mark Smith (the Antiques expert) for October and in December we are hoping to have David Stanley telling us about his involvement with the Music Man Project and also playing some clips from his talented youngsters.

We will update you when we have the full details.


A reminder to all members.
It is time to renew your membership for TBU3A 2020/21. £12.00 for membership to take you up to at least September 30th next year.
You can pay online, by post, or drop in to the sessions in the Large Lounge at STBBC, enter by the Fire Escape door from the Car Park, do not go through the Church. Your last Drop-in session is on Tuesday 8th September at 2:00pm. (Well, not really your last chance, we may arrange something later in the year if necessary)
We are setting up more Zoom presentations and have some Interest Groups meeting (in groups of 6 maximum) outdoors or by Zoom. The next Newsletter will be along once we have some more articles.
We still have something for you despite the current restrictions.


Some Groups have decided to carry on their meetings online via E-mail or Zoom and you are to be congratulated on your actions. A small number of Groups are starting to meet in the great outdoors to have a little more of a social interaction.
I need to remind this latter group of the restrictions still in place.

Quoting directly from the website

The UK Government is continuing to ease restrictions in a manner that is safe, cautious and consistent with our plan.

This means that from 11 July you can:

Meet in groups of up to two households (anyone in your support bubble counts as one household) in any location - public or private, indoors or outdoors. However, it remains the case - even inside someone’s home - that you should socially distance from anyone not in your household or bubble.

Continue to meet outdoors in groups of up to six people from different households, following social distancing guidelines

Please, continue to follow the advice from the experts and the UK Government. Do not hold U3A meetings inside, do not hold U3A meetings outside in groups of more than 6. Always wear face coverings and socially distance at 2 metres if possible. Finally, remember that the U3A insurance is still invalid and you will have no financial support should an accident occur.


We are aware of the need to keep all of you, and ourselves, safe and healthy, and free from the Coronavirus that has blighted our lives for the past 3 months. For that reason, the Committee have decided to move the renewal date for membership to October 1st, 2020. Your current membership card will remain valid until then and you will be able to join in any Thorpe Bay U3A activities that may take place. Some of your Interest Groups are continuing using electronic communication and these seem to be both popular and successful.

The new membership year will then continue for the 12 months from October 1st, 2020 up until September 30th, 2021. The fee for the coming year will the same as the past few years at £12.00 and the fee to attend the Monthly Meeting will remain at £1.00. If, due to any external factors, we are unable to renew the memberships by October 1st, we will let you know.

The gradual relaxation of lockdown measures revealed by the Government on May 10th, 2020 does not incorporate social gatherings in time for either the July or August General Meetings and we have cancelled the Speakers for both months. Similarly, Interest Groups will be unable to physically meet until we have been given permission by the Government.
Reinstatement of subsequent monthly meetings will be reviewed at the next Committee Meeting. The reinstatement of Interest Groups, once officially sanctioned, will be gradual. We have a small team who can offer help and guidance.

So, as you have heard many times recently, I urge you to follow H.M. Government’s guidance; remember to Social Distancing if you do go out, wash you hands if you touch anything outside, and avoid public transport if possible.

I freely admit that there are better wordsmiths than I, so today I will end with a quote that you may recognise, even though it is from a Disney movie and not the pen of A.A.Milne as is often stated.

“You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart…I’ll always be with you.”

Christopher Robin - (Pooh’s Grand Adventure: The Search for Christopher Robin)

Stay Alert, Save Lives.


Hello to you all.

Over 12 weeks into the pandemic and we are all still avoiding the infection, known as COVID-19 caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2, by isolating and social distancing. I know that it is difficult, but, be reassured, we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Unfortunately, we do not know how far it is to the end of that tunnel or how fast we are travelling towards it.
Try it next time you are on a train, without information you cannot determine the speed of the train or the distance to the mouth of the tunnel, even though you may be able to see the glimmer of light at the end. In the dark you have no way of finding the points of reference you need to judge the speed of the train, nor, until it is close, can you tell if the tunnel mouth is getting bigger.

To keep you occupied during the lockdown I suggest that you follow our Facebook Group, also consider whether your Interest Groups could “meet up” using a conference facility such as Zoom or MS Teams, and if you are a Craft person or a Writer get some work completed and send pictures or copies to the editor of our very own E-magazine. (What name can we give it it!!! We have been searching for over a year, I will give a prize to the best idea submitted to )

We are waiting for experts, hopefully medical and political working together (and maybe railway engineers), to give us enough information to determine how much longer we will be in this tunnel. I urge you not to jump from the train until it is out of the tunnel, and even once is clear it will be safer to wait until it has pulled into a station! When the “All Clear” has been given and we are free to go out again I know you will all find it difficult to restart your lives and return to the same pattern that you used to have but you will have to do as much as you can to be “normal” again. Do not forget, you might still be expected to continue with some practices such as social distancing or wearing a mask in public.

The Thorpe Bay U3A Committee are planning how to restart Interest Groups and General Meetings once advice is given that we can gather again. Our first offering is likely to be a Picnic on one of the Gardens or Commons along the riverside. We will find some way to provide a party atmosphere, but you may feel happier to have your own food and drinks with you.

The membership renewal season is coming up and we are trying to remove the worry about getting money to us and a new card in return. Leave your money and cheques in your pockets and handbags! We are extending the validity of your 2019-2020 membership card until such a time that we can deal with the renewals in a sensible manner. So, you will all still be members until the start of the new membership year, on a date that we are still to decide.

The last time I sat down at my keyboard I quoted from Joseph Chamberlain in 1898 and Winston Churchill in 1940.
This time I go back a little further, to about 500BC, and collection of military treatises called “The Art of War” attributed to Sun Wu. From those I have two passages for you:

from Chapter XI, verse 32,

“The principle on which to manage an army is to set up one standard of courage which all must reach”,

and Chapter XI, verse 67,

“Walk in the path defined by rule and accommodate yourself to the enemy until you can fight a decisive battle”.

I hope that you will all have the courage needed to get through this challenging time and that we will be victorious in the battle against the current enemy.

Until the day, soon and when trains allow, that we all meet again, Stay Safe, Keep Well.


250 years ago today on April 7th, 1770 saw the birth of the poet William Wordsworth in Cockermouth. He was, from 1843 to 1850, the Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom. In 1807 he published a book of some of his work called "Poems in Two Volumes" which included the poem "Composed upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802" (he didn't seem to go in for short snappy titles!)

I reproduce it here for a few reasons. I worked for 20 years at St Thomas' Hospital, which overlooks this bridge in London. It is the same Hospital that the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, is currently being looked after in the ICU. Finally, it is a poem that looks at the current beauty of, a still and inactive, London and also asks us to look forward to the rising of the new day.

Earth has not anything to show more fair:
Dull would he be of soul who could pass by
A sight so touching in its majesty:
This City now doth, like a garment, wear

The beauty of the morning: silent, bare,
Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples lie
Open unto the fields, and to the sky;
All bright and glittering in the smokeless air.

Never did sun more beautifully steep
In his first splendour, valley, rock, or hill;
Ne'er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep!

The river glideth at his own sweet will:
Dear God! the very houses seem asleep;
And all that mighty heart is lying still!

I hope all of you will be looking forward to the day that we will be able to take a walk across Westminster Bridge and please think, Boris contracted the infection during the meetings he was still undertaking. How about you remain home reduce the risk of being exposed to SARS-CoV2.

Keep Safe, Stay Well


I am sure that you all are getting as bored as I am being at home all day, every day because of the Coronavirus known as SARS-CoV2 that causes an infection we know as COVID-19.

I have to remind you that the self-isolation is important, this virus is spread by contact such as by touching other infected people or hard surfaces they have touched or by contact with small moist droplets any infected person may have spread into the atmosphere (Yuk!) as they breath or sneeze.

There is help at hand though! I know that some of the Interest Groups are keeping in touch with one another by telephone and e-mail and some enterprising Groups are still having meetings, virtual meetings that is, using software such as Zoom or Skype to continue with some of their activities. I have noticed that the Table Tennis groups have suggested virtual table tennis but I am not sure how they will manage that. Some of the food and drink groups have arranged to have a meal or glass of vino together as they sit in front of the cameras on their computers or phones. Difficult to clink glasses together in a toast but someone will find a way to do that! If you need help setting up such a system drop us a message and we will put you in contact with someone who has managed to get such a group going.

If you go onto our closed Facebook Group, U3A Thorpe Bay, (go on, give it a try, big-brother may be watching but which of the 60 million people in the UK will he chose to watch? You? Very unlikely!). There you will see all of the pictures and messages being passed around by our members in an effort to make our current lives prettier and nicer. This week we are holding a virtual Arts and Crafts display, perhaps you want to join in to show everyone how you have been filling the freetime you have.

One last little thing though. Can we please keep postings of advice and instructions down to just official government ones and papers from reputable, peer reviewed journals only. There are some inaccurate and even dangerous pieces doing the rounds. If you are unsure about a message you have received from a friend please e-mail it to me on and I will look at it for you. Generally though if it says something like "a friend at work has been given a message from someone who works in a hospital somewhere" it is probably false information.

I will now end this missive with what is becoming the traditional sign off

Keep well, keep safe.


The three of us were sitting in Sid’s Café yesterday when Misty suggested that we needed to do something to help with the current crisis. Now, Misty, Combo, and I, Clogg, are all over 75 years old but Misty still insisted that we join the local team providing medical help. Well! You can imagine what sort of difficulties we had.

In a military fashion, he took us to Auntie Bradshaw’s emporium to kit us out with a uniform. If you know Auntie you will know that anything is available there, but at a cost, and true to form she did find something for us. I have no idea why we need three old ARP helmets and “excellent condition” World War Two respirators but they have got to be more sensible than the Hostess Dinner Trolley that Auntie sold us to carry our equipment on.

In a short time that seemed just like a change of scene in a film we were back outside Sid’s. As you can imagine, when Jasmine saw the heated trolley, she thought we were complaining about the temperature of the food she served and unceremoniously flung us out onto the square.

The training for volunteers was in a village hall a sort distance across the moor and we had only one way of getting there, the trusty Land Rover driven by Edison. Combo and the Hostess trolley went on the flat bed at the back and Misty and I sat in the passenger seat. The journey sort of went OK for about half the distance then with a loud bang the engine ceased to be, and we were left stranded outside a convivial hostelry. Need I say more? After several pints of the landlord’s best falling down water three of us climbed to a comfortable spot overlooking the town while Edison used a large wrench to tinker with his beautiful piece of engineering.

We never did get to help with the emergency and the helmets and Hostess trolley are lying somewhere on the top of the moor.


Good Morning Campers!


Just a reminder to all of you out there that we have had to cancel our Knobbly Knees Contest by the Costa del Sol Pool opposite the Donkey Derby Track this afternoon due to the lack of Knobbly Knees in the Camp.

In addition, Ernesto will not be able to serve his famous Cottage Pie in the Dining Hall today and his Jelly Trifle will not be available for the foreseeable future as someone put all of the Jelly Powder into the Costa del Sol Pool.

This evenings entertainment was due to be your Camp Green Coats on the stage of the Palais Ballroom with the master of ceremonies Jovial Jaccky Jetson. However, since all of the Green Coats were in the Costa del Sol Pool last night when the Jelly Powder was poured in, they are all unable to be in the Palais Ballroom until we have freed them.

So, tonight we urge you all to stay in your Deluxe Chalets and listen to a recording of last years final of the Sunshine Golden Prunes Talent Competition. The winner has let us know that they are still enjoying their year's supply of Sunshine Golden Prunes and expect to be able to visit us again at the end of the year, if they can find some more toilet paper before then.



Following our earlier decision to cancel the Monthly Meeting due to be held on Friday March 20th we have now also taken the decision to CANCEL THE MEETINGS SCHEDULED FOR FRIDAY APRIL 17TH AND FRIDAY MAY 15TH.

We hope to have the Speakers, Sherlock Holmes, Tim Moorey and Mark Smith, visit us at a later date, once everything is back to normal.

Changes to the June and July meetings will be announced once we have sufficient information to make a rational and reasoned decision.

Our guidance for the Interest Groups is as follows.

We are not instructing Group Leaders to cancel the meetings of their Interest Groups. There is, at present, no guidance from National Office or Government to restrict small gatherings. The decision to cancel an Interest Group Meeting is with, first, the Group Leader and, second, the members of the Group. If you are asked by a Group Leader not to attend a meeting please accept their decision.

Please remember that if you have signs of an infection, or you are in a high-risk group due to poor immune system or treatment for other problems, you should self-isolate and not attend any of your regular meetings.

Due to the changing advice from Government we may amend these measures without notice.

During the current medical situation we may be asked to cancel all meetings. This is not required at present and is unlikely to happen but may occur in the next month or two. Check back here for any updates.

To Group Leaders - If you are uneasy about placing yourself and your group members in a position of risk then you have our full support to cancel the meeting if you wish. We, the Committee, will back you irrespective of the location where you normally meet, your home or a booked venue. If you have to pay for a room that you do not use please contact the Committee to discuss the problem.

To U3A members - If you feel unwell please remain at home and follow the Government advice. Phone 111 or Contact for further information. Do not attend your Doctors surgery.
If you are worried about catching any infection or you feel that you are in a high risk group then contact the leaders of any group you would have been attending and let them know that you will not be present.
You may be contacted by a Group Leader who is cancelling a meeting. They have the full support of the Committee to do so and we ask that you accept their decision.

Due to the speed of change of circumstances we will not be able to send advice by the postal services.

There is little risk, at present, of infection by COVID-19 in this area but we suggest you practice the Government's suggestions for handwashing as this will also cut down the risk of contracting any of the other seasonal illnesses.

If you wish to see the U3A National Office's statement please click on the "COVID-19" link on this page. The message will also give you a link to the website for the up to date recommendations.



Following the Committee Meeting this afternoon it has been decided that we should cancel the General Meeting on Friday.

We decided that the turnout may have been very low and also that we shouldn't expose our members to unnecessary risk. So, unfortunately, there will be no Speaker or Meeting this month. We hope to arrange for a visit on an alternative date from Sherlock Holmes sometime in 2021.

At present we have not taken a decision on whether to continue with the April Meeting, we will let you all know when we have heard all of the Government's statements and when we have a feed back from you all.

We are not yet going to dictate to Group Leaders about their Interest Groups. The decision for the Group meetings is with the individual Group Leaders and the members of their Groups. Please accept that some Groups may not go ahead if the Leaders feel that they are in an "At Risk" category.


Up-date on the current situation

To Group Leaders - If you are uneasy about placing yourself and your group members in a position of risk then you have our full support to cancel the meeting if you wish. We, the Committee, will back you irrespective of the location where you normally meet, your home or a booked venue. If you have to pay for a room that you do not use please contact the Committee to discuss the problem.

To U3A members - If you feel unwell please remain at home and follow the Government advice. Phone 111 or Contact for further information. Do not attend your Doctors surgery.

If you are worried about catching any infection or you feel that you are in a high risk group then contact the leaders of any group you would have been attending and let them know that you will not be present.
You may be contacted by a Group Leader who is cancelling a meeting. They have the full support of the Committee to do so and we ask that you accept their decision.

There is a Committee Meeting on the afternoon of Monday 16th March. If there is any change in our advice it will be communicated here, and by all methods available to us. Due to the speed of change of circumstances we will not be able to send advice by the postal services.


"May you live in interesting times" is allegedly a form of threat or curse used in China, but is more likely a 19th Century invention of Joseph Chamberlain who came from Camberwell and was later resident in Birmingham. He was father of the Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain.
Well, we certainly are living in interesting times with an on-going medical situation that, if you believe the Red-Top Newspapers, could close the Country down.

So to give you something to look forward to I have a list of newly announced events occurring in your U3A.

This month's Speaker on Friday, 20th March will be Sherlock Holmes (Yes, really!) who will be explaining why he knows who Jack the Ripper was. He may also tell us the name of Whitechapel's most infamous resident.

Next month, we have the return of Mark Smith on Friday, 17th April. He will be continuing the story of the Victoria Cross.

Wednesday, June 3rd is National U3A Day and we intend to join in with a number of other local U3As to raise the profile of the U3A whilst clearing some or all the rubbish from Joscelyn Beach in Chalkwell. Once we are exhausted by our labours, we will crack open a bottle of Bubbly (fizzy pop of course, but not Corona!) and have a picnic to celebrate. We haven’t yet worked out what to do if it is raining but maybe some of you will have ideas for that.

Tuesday, June 30th at Shoeburyness and Thorpe Bay Baptist Church, we are having a special concert. We will have 200 tickets on sale from next month, at just £1.00 each. The programme will include performances from some of your very own performers. Including a Ukulele Ensemble, the Guitar Band, the Play-Reading group, the Tap-Dancing group, and more.

Friday, December 11th sees a return to our monthly meeting by The Music Man Project. These young performers were warmly welcomed by you all when they last came to perform for us. Please speak to me if you need to be reminded of David Stanley and his hard working singers and musicians. Tickets for this event will be £1.00 each and will go on sale during the Summer.

Coming up in the Summer is also our renewal date for membership. After allowing you to have a discount on the Membership fees for a number of years we are having to return the annual membership fee to £16.00. This is still great value at only £1.33 per month and in return for the extra outlay we have a special offer that you all will enjoy, but more of that next month.

During the current medical situation we may be asked to cancel all meetings.
This is not required at present and is unlikely to happen, but may occur in the next month or two.
There is little risk, at present, of infection by COVID-19 in this area but we suggest you practice the Government's suggestions for handwashing as this will also cut down the risk of contracting any of the other seasonal illnesses.



Here we are at the beginning of another new year.
My suggestion is that this year you try something new. We have over 100 Interest Groups covering more than 50 subjects for you to try, we are going to be pushing to get more of our members to join some of the smaller Groups we have. In addition we will be advertising a Current Affairs Group and a Creative Writing Group shortly. So watch the web-site and listen out at the Monthly Speaker Meetings for more details.
As usual, I will add that if there is a subject that we don't cover then contact us and we will help you to set up a new group. It may take a while to arrange but I am sure that we can satisfy your needs, the only exceptions we make are that we cannot sanction anything that may be dangerous, remember the problem we had when we ran the Lion Taming Group! You don't need to be an expert on the subject, remember that all of the Group can contribute to the learning process, but we will need someone to co-ordinate these new groups. We will give advise and guidance to who ever takes the role of running an Interest Group. So, step forward and offer your services to our membership. Who knows? You may enjoy it!


Well, we have come safely through Friday the 13th. We were still waiting for further information following the eruption of the Volcano on Whakaari or White Island in New Zealand that had occurred on Monday, but we got through Friday without further mishaps. It was, as every year, World Violin Day and most importantly it was the Thorpe Bay U3A monthly meeting. This month, being December, we had some festive fun for you.
The meeting commenced with a performance by the Southend Harmony Singers. A local choir formed in 1975 and led since 2006 by Janice Gray. The choir have won many trophies at the Southend and Leigh Music Festivals, whilst continuing to entertain audiences throughout the borough with their lively and varied concerts. They entertained us for 40 minutes, finishing with a medley of seasonal songs.
After refreshments we came to the main act. A pantomime performed by many of your very own members. Written for us by a Shoebury & Thorpe Bay U3A member, Steve Bishop, and directed by Carole Jonas it was the tale of everyday members of a U3A in Thorpe Bay. The pantomime was enthusiastically received by the audience, and the actors enjoyed every minute of the show (Oh yes, they did!). There were many great moments from the cast, although I am not sure about the antics of that nasty villain who managed to forget which scene he was in at times!
My thanks and those of the Committee go out to the Southend Harmony Singers and to all the talented performers who entertained us so well and managed to make it such a successful afternoon.


I hope you are all looking forward to a wonderful afternoon's entertainment on Friday.
We will open with half an hour in the company of a gifted choir in the shape of the Southend Harmony Singers. Then after the obligatory tea or coffee and biscuits we will have some of our own members treading the boards to bring you "Thorpe Bay - The Pantomime". I am sure you will recognise some of the characters and their performers (Oh! Yes you will!) and will be ready to join in and give them your full support.

Don't forget that, as has become expected for our December meeting, it is one week earlier than the usual date and will start half an hour before the normal time at 1:30pm (13:30).

See you there!


Having just returned from an hour of Pilates in the local gym it has reminded me just how much we need to keep moving.
There is an old adage Use it or lose it! and I have to remind you all that this is as true for us as for a teenager (I know we are all teenagers at heart).
We do have a number of groups that include some exercise. We have the London Walking Groups, Local History Walking, Walking for Health, and one of our longest running Groups the Walking Group who have pre-planned routes for the serious Rambler (if I am allowed to use that description).
We also have Cycling and various Dancing Groups, more sporting pastimes such as Ten Pin Bowling and Table Tennis. Have a look at the list on the Groups page and see what you fancy.
I can't guarantee at this point that any of those will have spaces but if they don't then perhaps you can help set up another group to provide that activity to others waiting to join in.
In addition, if you know or want to take part in an activity that we don't list then contact our Group Co-ordinators via the contact page on this web site and we will provide help and support for your new venture (with some big festival coming up we may be slow in responding but we will get back to you).
Some disciplines or activities (such as Pilates and Yoga) we cannot offer without a trained teacher as we do not want to risk injury to any of you, but perhaps you do have a suitable qualification and wish to impart your knowledge to others?
By this time next year will we have one of our members competing in the World's Strongest Man or Woman competitions?



My thanks to Barry Linton for stepping up at short notice to fill the session left vacant by the non-availability of Pam Jones the ex-Chairman of the UK U3A.
Barry managed to end his presentation at exactly 3:00pm (much to his own surprise) and I think we all learnt something new from his presentation on Cyber-Crime (Yes! Even Me!).
So don't forget, if you wish to live in a modern world, not just online, you must take some simple but important steps.


Just a reminder to you all - The Monthly meeting is on Friday 2:00pm at Shoeburyness & Thorpe Bay Baptist Church.
Be prepared to learn how to protect yourself from Cyber Crime. This is not just online but also the protection of your Debit and Credit Cards whilst out on the street.


Now a call out to you all.

Our U3A is an organisation run on your behalf by volunteers. The volunteers come from within our own members, in other words YOU!

All of the Group Leaders / Co-ordinators are volunteers and the Monthly Meeting can only continue with the support of the volunteers.
We do not expect that any one person should work 24/7 to provide their services to help us survive, rather we would like to see many, or even all, of the membership taking part in running our business.
None of the roles are onerous and many just involve a few minutes work or attendance at the Monthly Meeting.
If you feel you are able to lead an Interest Group, and remember you do not need to be an expert in the field you are studying just able to contact other members of the Interest Group each month, or act as a member of the Refreshments Team, or a Fire Steward at the Monthly Meetings.

Additionally we will, or even do, need Committee Members to run Thorpe Bay U3A. Anyone who comes forward for this will be helped to understand the tasks required by shadowing existing Committee Members and then taking over from them in a later year whence they, too, will have a shadow they can train up for the future. For instance, do you want to look after this website or our Newsletter or e-magazine? Do you want my job in a few years time?

So please consider whether you can help us make our U3A even greater than it is now!
Contact me or any other Committee member and we will give you more information.

If you wish to contact me directly please use the following e-mail address

Kevin Eason
Thorpe Bay U3A


As promised a couple of titbits that some of you may find interesting.

On this date in 1922 - British archaeologist Howard Carter and his team found the entrance to Tutankhamun's tomb in the Valley of the Kings in Egypt.
If you want to see the treasures that were removed from the tomb they will be on display for the last time in this country from the 2 November 2019 - 3 May 2020 at the Saatchi Gallery in the Kings Road London.

And in 1890 – The City and South London Railway: London's first deep-level tube railway opened between King William Street and Stockwell. The C&SLR was the first major railway to use Electric driven engines. The tunnels now form a part of the Northern Line.


Welcome to all of you who have visited this page wondering what is behind the button!

I hope you had an uneventful All Hallows Eve last night and are now able to relax without the threat of hundreds of young children pleading for chocolate and candy.

At all sorts of odd intervals I am going to be typing short messages that may be useful to, or interesting to, all Thorpe Bay U3A members.

So check back whenever you visit the website and see what I have for you.