West Midlands Region

Talks and visits

Many u3as hold regular talks or visits. Here are details of speakers that have offered to talk to u3as, and of places throughout the Region that may be appropriate for visits. We've created a separate section about charities in case you're interested in their topics.
If you discover that any of this information is out of date, please let us know! And if you know of a good speaker, or interesting local place to visit, please let us know about them, too. Thanks.

N.B. If you want to run a talk for many people, paid-for Zoom can be a good choice. If you need to speak to 100 people or less, consider using Microsoft Teams: it's free and time-unlimited, whereas free Zoom cuts off after about 40mins. See our Online Tools webpage for details.


Ken Kelly Favouring a multi-media style, Ken is an experienced, innovative and engaging presenter having spoken extensively at UK conferences and overseas. His bio and range of talks are shown in the right hand column. Just click on the file.

Fiona Joseph author and speaker, talks on local 20th century history, e.g. about Beatrice Cadbury, and the Cadbury workers in WW1, and Shugborough. She also runs Creative Writing workshops. For more info, see her website: http://fionajoseph.com/info/. Email her on fiona@fionajoseph.com

Professor Colin Terrell talks about "Brain function – and maintenance" A light-hearted and non-jargon history of increases in the knowledge of brain function from 1850s through to the present use of magnetic resonance imaging – followed by recent large scale research based guidelines on how to keep an over 65-year-old brain active. Colin is based in Cheltenham, will talk to groups in the W Midlands in return for a donation to a local charity. Email: CT@aspirepsychologists.co.uk

Interested in Spies? Paul Barwick presents various gripping tales of espionage: The murder of Alexander Litvinenko by Russian assassins using the radioactive nerve agent Polonium 210, the strange death of Mi6 spy Gareth Williams, whose body was found inside a locked sports bag placed inside his bath. And “The White Mouse” tells the story of WW2 spy Nancy Wake, a brave woman who lived with the daily threat of death. Paul lives in Watford, Hertfordshire but will travel. Email him: paulbarwick999@gmail.com.

Bert Flitcroft, ex-Staffordshire Poet Laureate, Madeley & District u3a, offers talks, workshops etc. about poetry. Contact him: bflitcroft@btinternet.com or www.bert-flitcroft poetry.com

Nigel Metcalfe, nigel.metcalfe3@virginmedia.com, lives near Lichfield, offers many talks (costing £30-£50), e.g.
The Man Who Mapped the Arctic: Life & Times of Admiral Sir George Back (1796-1878) This talk looks at his 5 Arctic expeditions, and his life at home and in public.
The History of Some Familiar Shops and Brands e.g. WH Smith, Boots, Bluebird Toffees, Dents Gloves, Typhoo Tea.
A History of Personal Hygiene Myths & truths from ancient to modern times.
That’s the Way to Do It – A History of Punch & Judy From its roots in 16th Century Italy, to England in 1662, to modern-day seaside shows. Mr Punch makes a personal appearance during the talk and demonstrates his unique voice.
The Early History of Electricity in the Home The origins of electrical generation, the National Grid and the history of electrical appliances.
Maritime Disasters Around British and Irish Shores Seas around Britain have more shipwrecks per mile than anywhere else in the world!
Transatlantic Liners – Speed & Style 1910-1940 was the Golden Age of the transatlantic liner. We look at the ships, the companies that owned them, and liners as troopships in World War II.
Piers of the Realm – An Exploration of English & Welsh Seaside Pleasure Piers The history of the pleasure pier from the first at Ryde in 1814 to the present day.

David Moore morturn@hotmail.com, based near Lichfield, presents a variety of talks:
1.The Story of Clean Water in the Black Country & the Fight Against Cholera
2.Weeping Angels - Interpreting the symbolism found in Victorian cemeteries
3.John Snow, the father of epidemiology, & the story of the Broad Street Pump
4.The Severn Vale, and the ships' graveyard at Purton In Gloucestershire

"Nursing Through Shot & Shell" : Ian Dickins, idickins@hotmail.co.uk, describes how Beatrice Hopkinson, a Territorial Forces Nursing Service Sister, worked throughout the First World War. Ian lives in Lichfield.

The story of Mary, Queen of Scots by David Templeman, Templeman3@tiscali.co.uk

Jenny Mallin, jennymallin@yahoo.com, tells her family's history £65/talk:
1. The story of Benjamin Hardy who sailed to Madras with the British Army in 1798, fought in India for 22yrs, and settled there - 5 generations of his Anglo-Indian family lived there.
2. My ancestors' professions in the British Raj.
3. My family history: how 5 generations lived for almost 200yrs in India during the Raj.
4. Grandmother's kitchen at Christmas - a British Raj lifestyle; how they celebrated.
5. Full steam ahead: how India was opened up by the railways.
6. The memsahibs and their servants, from 1617 on.
7. My great-aunt Constance: the story of her life as wife of a British official in Burma in the 1930s, when life was opulent, glamorous and stylish - and changed overnight.
8. A grandmother's legacy: How I researched my ancestors' lives.
9. My travels around India: an entertaining account of my travels.
10.The 170yr-old recipe book begun in 1844, passed down the generations.

Alan Hopkin, based in Derbyshire, was in the music business for 60 years. He now gives talks about the changing face of popular music in the 20th century and how the "rock book" affected the whole music trade, music in education and music as a career. Contact Alan on 01335 324242, email hopkinstrings@googlemail.com

John Hope speaks about his varied life experiences, e.g.
1. "Come Fly With Me. Mining Village in the Midlands To Dayak Village in Borneo" - places where he worked during his career in the RAF; "Let Me Fly Again. Newark to New Delhi via New York": experiences of international business; "Extra time: how John and his wife narrowly survived the Tsunami in Sri Lanka in 2004." See John's website: hopetotalktoyousoon.com. Contact him via email: speakerjohnhope@gmail.com

Publishing and Creative Writing frank@thundersprint.com

Forensic Detective hassle@hassle28.plus.com

Role and History of being a Toastmaster mchopkins@btinternet.com

Tuneful Tubes? One-hour light-hearted, history & demo of wind instruments Tubes

Life and work of artist Michelangelo Merisi, aka Caravaggio kjbonser@hotmail.com

Electric Cars Stephen 07917 842277

Need a musical show? Look at https://www.foolsgoldacoustic.co.uk. Steve & Carol Robson present Fool’s Gold Acoustic Music. Contact them on 0795 7948116.


Dogs Trust is the largest dog welfare charity in the UK. Our Supporter Relations Officers offer FREE talks to community groups about all aspects of their work and, where possible, bring a four-legged friend with them. If you'd like a talk, go to our website, https://www.dogstrust.org.uk/our-centres/, find your nearest rehoming centre, then scroll down their webpage to find your local Supporter Relations Officer.

Leonard Cheshire Famous for setting up "Cheshire Homes" we explain how these came about and talk about our UK & international work, disability equality & inclusion and more. Our speakers are free of charge. Email: speakers@leonardcheshire.org; 07720337130 (Lisa Oliver). See our website, www.leonardcheshire.org/speaker

Guide Dogs Our speakers give entertaining, informative talks about how the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association helps people with sight loss. Although it's a serious subject, speakers include amusing anecdotes about life with a Guide Dog. Our branch covers Worcestershire, E Herefordshire & N Gloucestershire. Call 07584 288493. 01886 880816, or email jean.emberlin@btinternet.com. We don't charge fees or expenses but welcome donations.

The Macular Society Do you know the 5 habits for good eye health? Would you know what to do if you woke up one morning with wonky vision? Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the biggest cause of sight loss and the older we are, the greater our risk. Around one in every 200 people has AMD at 60. By the age of 90 it affects one person in five. The Macular Society is the national charity for anyone affected by central vision loss. Our team of volunteer speakers and staff cover the UK so if you would like an inspiring and informative talk about looking after your vision please contact Stella Black. Stella.black@macularsociety.org

FREE WASTE REDUCTION TALKS Charity "Garden Organic" offers a Zoom presentation to groups anywhere at no charge. We're working with Staffordshire County Council to reduce waste by training volunteers to raise awareness of this topic. To arrange a talk contact Rob Whitehouse, Waste Reduction Projects Coordinator, tel: 07971280985. www.gardenorganic.org.uk


The Old Rep in Birmingham run private tours for groups: email boxoffice@oldreptheatre.co.uk

Royal Crown Derby's Visitor Centre inc. factory tour. Click Royal Crown Derby

Tours of Birmingham's Jewellery Quarter & Balti Triangle. Contact munroandy@hotmail.com

The Mechanical Art & Design Museum, Stratford Click MAD Museum

Cotswold and Oxford Guided Tours by Blue Badge Tourist Guides Click Tours

Pork Pie-making in Melton Mowbray Contact clare.odonnell@brocklebys.co.uk

Sudeley Castle & Gardens, Winchcombe For further information click Sudeley

Farleys House & Gallery For further information click Farleys

Belvoir Castle For further information click Belvoir

Tour/Presentation about the Bullring & Grand Central shopping centre Roseannah.Playle@bullring.co.uk

Tour of Walenty Pytel's Studio and Gallery, Ross on Wye Contact: 01989 780138

Silverstone & British Motorsport - Past, Present and Future Click Silverstone

David Parr House, Historic House in Cambridge see details in the right hand panel. Contact Fleur Elkerton .