Wirksworth & District

Past events

We have removed any news item from the main news page after one month, but rather than delete it we thought members, new and old may wish to see a selection of what we have been up to in the past.


October's speaker was Jack Roper from Derbyshire Wildlife Trust.
Jack gave us a very interesting and informative talk about Autumn, it's meaning and happenings in the nature world at this time of year.
He also highlighted the work of the DWT and the need for support from members to carryout this valuable work in protecting wildlife.
His talk was enthusiastically received and he inspired many of our members to take out membership of the Trust.
Watch this space as we hope to invite Jack back in the Spring to tell us about the time of the at the beginning of the life cycle.

September - Wirksworth Festival
The Photography group made it's debut at this year's Wirksworth Festival.
They shared the wedding suite at Haarlem Mill with Derby University.
20 members showcased 60 photos with further number being shown on a rolling screen.
There were a variety of positive comments from visitors which were documented in a note book.
Just a few -
'A wide ranging and impressive display makes me want to pick up my camera
'Thank you - really beautiful photos showing what is there when you really look...
'Fantastic exhibition and space. Well done everyone
'Loved it, such diversity and quality'
And one which reflected the combination of Derby University with the University of the 3rd Age
'Very well laid out space and lovely to join young and young at heart - all pioneers in their own right. Thank you'
In addition around 30 U3A "buisness cards" were picked up so hopefully some more members for WU3A.
The photography group are very grateful to Mike Lewis (coordinator) for his inspiration in initiating the exhibition and for all his hard work in organising it.


Our February meeting at Mt Cook Activity Centre was enthusiastically and well attended.
We were given an introductory talk by Colin Adams, Chief executive who told us how the centre was developed from building site to welcoming it's first guests in just under 5 years.

We were then shown around the site to see the accommodation and the many activities on offer, from bush skills to a zip wire.

The centre can now accommodate up to 240 people in en suite rooms , pods or camping under canvas.

Their mission:
"To provide access to the outdoors and outdoor activities for all, especially young people and those who would not otherwise have the opportunity."

All ages of groups are welcome, from primary school children to adult corporate team building events and even our own U3A members.
Many members showed interest in the possibility of a summer's evening archery with a licensed bar, or for the more adventurous, the zip wire experience.

To learn more about this exciting centre please click on the link at the side of the news page.

Both Mount Cook Centre and the adjoining National Stone Centre are looking for volunteers in a wide range of opportunities. .
If you are interested please contact him on colin@nationalstonecentre.org.uk

March coffee morning - speaker Kieron Huston of the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust
Thank you to Kieron of the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust for a very interesting and informative talk on the wild flowers of the White Peak at our March coffee morning.
I’m sure he surprised many of us with some of his facts regarding the rarity of many plants nationwide but thriving in high concentration in White Peak.
Narrowing the habitat down even further within the White Peak the fly orchid is found only in the southern area and no further north than the Via Gellia. Hopton being one of the top sites in the country for seeing this unusual orchid.

DWT are working with farmers, land owners and quarries to maintain and improve grasslands and hay meadows and help prevent further decline of some of our beautiful wild flowers.
Please see the link to Derbyshire Wildlife Trust for more information on their valuable work.

At our April coffee morning we welcomed Rhodri Green from the Bee Conservation Trust who gave us an informative and entertaining talk on the Bumble Bee.
These bees are sadly in decline and struggling to survive in our changing world of paved gardens, intensive agriculture, meaning the loss of flowering meadows and hedgerows, and climate change.
In the last 75 years Britain has lost 97% of it's wild flower meadows and 2 species of bumblebee have become extinct.
Bumble bees are vital for the crops we eat and without them we could have a food shortage since many of the eco systems which depend on them could decline or disappear altogether.
Rhodri explained how we can help this beautiful creature by simply doing nothing! - Leave the dandelions on the lawn, don't pull up the herb Robert. I'm not sure some of the gardeners in the audience were too keen on that idea but there are many other ways we can help by planting bee friendly flowers, or by becoming a volunteer or supporting the Trust.

If you would like more information about the work of the Bumblebee Conservation Trust please click on the link at the side of the News page or on the Links page

At our September coffee morning we had a very thought provoking and interactive talk by our publicity officer, Sheila Harding on her work in Sheffield with The Development Education Association which aims to promote understanding of international development issues and human rights with children and adults in the UK.
The talk promoted some interesting thoughts and discussion around what we see as essential parts of our lives compared with those of refugees from war torn countries, using the recent evacuation of people from their homes in the near disaster of the Toddbrook reservoir at Whaley Bridge.
Many thanks to Sheila.

September - Wirksworth Festival
Following the success of last years exhibition the Photography group exhibited again at this year's Wirksworth Festival.
They used the wedding suite at Haarlem Mill.
25 members showcased 60 photos with further number being shown on a rolling screen.
There were a variety of positive comments from visitors which were documented in a note book.

The photography group are very grateful to Mike Lewis (coordinator) for his inspiration and enthusiasm in leading the exhibition and for all his hard work in organising it.


February 2020 - Nominations for an Oscar
Gavin Muschamp was the brainchild behind a very successful "Wirksworth U3A's Got Talent" show held in Middleton village hall. The hall was packed with members and many others from the area.
Such were the numbers that raffle tickets sold out and we had to improvise on scraps of paper.
We were treated to a wide repertoire of poetry, readings and music from blues to soprano, We finished the evening's entertainment with a lively selection of songs from the UKWirks ukulele band, before the audience danced away a delicious buffet with a disco.
Many thanks to Gavin and his work party for such an enjoyable and successful evening.
Photos courtesy of Mike Lewis
You can also seen some additional photos sent by Phil Richards by clicking on the following link

February 2020 Solo diagonal run across America
We had a very exciting and inspiring talk from Eric Keeler, a young man who raised £12,500 for the charity Spinal Research by running solo diagonally across America.
Eric set out from his home in Chesterfield in April 2018 and returned home at the end of the same year having completed a 3,700 mile run across the States from Maine on the North East coast to San Diego on the South West coast. His only companion was a running buggy which carried everything he would need for the next 7 months.
A number of photos gave us some understanding (although difficult to fully comprehend) of the terrain Eric crossed, from mountains to desert with temperatures reaching 48 degrees Celsius.
From surviving a near collision with a careless trucker to fortuitously avoiding a number of tornados.
His only weapon to fend off any attack by animals was some bear spray, a pocket penknife and a stick.
In total, Eric's fundraising has raised £22,000.
If you wish to know more about this incredible feat you can see more by seeing Eric's blog on www.CornerToCorner.run
or you can donate to the charity, Spinal Research by clicking on the link on the right hand side of this page.
Many thanks to Eric who held us all spellbound with his exciting account of his adventures.

Eric would like to thank all members who came along to his talk and contributed to the charity Spinal Research. He raised £90.00.