Chair’s Chat – March 2021
I never was much good at map-reading, but trawling through the latest Roadmap out of Lockdown I did spot a couple of dates that suggest possibilities for our Groups.
From 29th March, the ‘rule of 6’ returns for outdoor meetings, including gardens. This may allow some of our outdoor groups to get together for walks etc.
12th April – community centres can reopen. We are, of course, at the mercy of our local venues deciding when they will reopen, though it’s unclear (at least to me) how many people can be together in an indoor setting at this stage.
17th May - six people or two households can meet indoors. Adult indoor group sports and exercise classes can start up again.
It will be a long haul back, but there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Our Speaker, Mary Smith, certainly stirred memories for some of our members with her talk on ‘A Schoolgirl’s War’. If you have any wartime memories, I would like to hear from you (see page 4 for details of an exciting project).
Our March Speaker will be familiar to many of you. Jack Perks, the famous wildlife and underwater photographer, has spoken to us a few times in the past, and is often to be seen on TV in Countryfile, Springwatch etc. I’m hoping lots of you will be able to join us on Thursday, 18th March, from 1.30.
A couple of sunny days this week has done much to raise the spirits. Let’s hope Spring is on its way.
Best wishes to all
Chair’s Chat – February 2021
Our first virtual monthly meeting was held in January on Zoom, with guest speakers Fool’s Gold.
Over 50 members attended, and the atmosphere was amazing! It was so good to see so many smiling faces and to chat to people at last.
Fool’s Gold entertained us with songs and music and accompanying images to illustrate the story of the 3 lighthouse keepers who mysteriously disappeared from a remote island in the Outer Hebrides in 1900. Despite not actually being there, we had live entertainment and were even able to interact with Steve and Carol using the Chat facility. The story was intriguing. I can’t speak for others but I was belting out the songs I knew, thankfully on mute! Everyone seemed to enjoy it and there was lots of positive feedback.
Following the success of the meeting, and the clearly expressed wish for more, I am delighted to tell you that the Committee has decided to continue with monthly meetings on Zoom. We have booked guest speakers up until May so far (see Programme on page 4). We will also continue the Zoom practice meetings, now extended to include learning about all the mysterious icons on the screen, on a weekly basis.
Good news for our gardeners! We sadly lost our Gardening Group just before lockdown started, but I am in negotiations with Retford u3a for our members to access their online gardening talks through our reciprocal arrangement. I will keep you updated.
Retford also has an active Military History Group which may be of interest to some of our members. Hopefully we will be able to join in with this as well.
I am hearing from many of our members who have received their first vaccination against this dreadful pandemic. Others are still waiting, but hopefully it won’t be too long before we can all benefit from this protection.
Hoping to meet many of you onscreen in the coming weeks.
Chair’s Chat – January 2021
Looking back, this is how I started the Chair’s Chat for January, 2020:
Happy New Year to all our readers!
Yes, it’s the start not only of a brand new year but also of a brand new DECADE! 2020 even SOUNDS better – it has a certain ring to it, doesn’t it? It may be a year of uncertainty for this country, and indeed for the world in general, but on a personal level we can but hope and pray that the year ahead brings each one of us health, happiness and all that we wish for.
Despite a slight sense of growing doom, there was a feeling of optimism for the coming year. Oh for the benefit of foresight, as well as the wisdom of hindsight!
The plans laid out for our U3A in the rest of that Chat proved not to be. Instead, the year proved to be one of cancellations and disappointments, but we are through it now and it is time to move positively ahead into 2021.
My good wishes for the New Year extend to you all for the coming year. We start off in Tier 4; not where we would have wanted to be, but where we may be safest for the foreseeable few months ahead. There is a certain promise that a vaccine will soon bring the chaos to an end, so let’s keep hoping and praying that this proves to be the case.
So what does the year bring for Worksop and District U3A?
Firstly, a reminder about Membership renewal. If you have not already renewed, please make sure that you do so before March 31st. Your payment of £15 (£11.50 Associate) will cover your membership until the end of March, 2022. I hope that you will consider this to be good value, in spite of the limitations imposed on us at the moment.
Secondly, we are holding our first online Zoom monthly meeting on 21st January. We have no idea how many will join us, so it will be something of a trial run to see if there is a demand for this type of meeting, moving ahead. We have the excellent Fool’s Gold presentation of a true story in live music and images, which sounds fascinating. One not to be missed!
Wishing you all health, peace and happiness in the coming year.
Chair’s Chat – December 2020
There’s a hollow ring to the greetings starting to appear all around us: Merry Christmas; Happy Christmas; Peace and Joy at Christmas. This year’s Christmas cards were printed long before there was any hint of Boris the Grinch stealing Christmas. To be fair, it’s not his fault and he is trying, but we all face a very different festive season this year.
On the lighter side – hooray! 1st of December – Christmas jumper season! I have extended my festive wardrobe to include a flashing lights beanie hat and three facemasks with flashing lights. Well, I’m trying to cheer myself up. Feel free to ignore me if you see me on the street!
It has been lovely to see so many people on the screen over the last few weeks. It’s not the same as face-to-face meeting, but it keeps us in touch and we can have a laugh together. Hope to see a few more people at the Cosy Café on Thursday.
With the positive news of vaccines on the horizon, we can look forward to this terrible virus being controlled next year. By Easter we could be looking at some kind of normality. I sincerely hope our u3a can recover without the loss of too many members.
Very best wishes to you all for Christmas and 2021
Chair’s Chat – November 2020
As we move into autumn, we face further restrictions on our lives as a result of Covid19.
This time round, with dark nights and unpredictable weather, lack of face-to-face contact could lead to even greater feelings of isolation. Planning for Christmas seems impossible, and even looking ahead to holidays next summer is clouded by uncertainty.
The current situation is clearly bad news for the u3a movement, and our own branch in particular. Everything is quiet, with few opportunities to follow the interests we would be normally be enjoying. It might be worth group leaders considering whether digital services such as Zoom are suitable for keeping in touch with members. Even of you can’t enjoy your usual activities (Zoom table tennis has yet to be perfected!), joining up for half an hour onscreen just for a friendly chat makes a huge difference and reduces the feelings of isolation and loneliness. So come on, schedule a Zoom meeting, send out invitations to all your group members, put the kettle on and GET TOGETHER.
It is not all doom and gloom. The trees are giving us a spectacular display of colour at the moment. Driving up Sparken Hill is a joy, and most of us can admire the changing colours of nature without travelling too far afield.
What I am missing most it the excitement of this time of year. With Halloween and Bonfire Night, and the anticipation of Christmas, this has always been my favourite time of year. This year, things are just different.
Please don’t forget the Anytime Chat Team, whose contact details appear on the front page of this newsletter. I have enjoyed talking to members who have been in contact, by telephone or email, and it is good to keep in touch.
Chair’s Chat – October 2020
What a difference a month makes!
September’s Chair’s Chat was full of optimism, looking forward to starting back for a number of our Interest Groups in October.
THEN Bassetlaw District Council deferred the reopening of Community Halls until, possibly. 1st November
THEN came the ‘Rule of 6’, limiting the number of people who can meet together in a group
THEN came two sets of Guidelines from the Third Age Trust within a week, with conflicting advice
THEN came a rapid and worrying rise in Covid cases around the country (we are lucky that in this area we still have low numbers)
THEN came a tightening of Government restrictions to curb the rise in cases and spread of the virus
The Committee pondered long and hard on the options these changes presented us with: do we go ahead and encourage groups to start meeting again (in groups of 6 only and subject to risk assessments and strict adherence to Covid compliance), or do we defer a general reopening for a few months? The decision was not taken lightly. At the end of the day, it is up to individuals to decide on whether or not they wish to meet up with others, but the stern warnings issued by Government scientists and medics on Monday 21st September swayed the decision, along with many other U3As around the country, to recommend a delay in returning to public venues, keeping the situation under constant review. This is disappointing, but we feel it is in the best interests of our membership, whose health and wellbeing must be our priority.
On the positive side, the ‘Rule of 6’ meeting up, indoors or outdoors, with the removal of the ‘two households’ restriction, was not changed in the latest announcement. This opens up the opportunity for groups of 6 to meet, with social distancing and the necessary precautions. I hope that our members will take advantage of this, as long as they feel comfortable with it, to maintain social contact informally. Zoom and other media can also continue to offer social opportunities.
It seems likely that we may find ourselves subjected to even further tightening of restrictions in the coming months, or it may turn out that the current measures succeed and the R number reduces.
Let us hope, for all our sakes, that it is the latter!
Wishing you all good health and happiness
Chair’s Chat – September 2020
As I am getting out a bit more, I am sensing occasional moments when life feels ‘normal’: sitting outside the café in Thoresby Courtyard on a dry and warm day, enjoying coffee and cake; even walking around Yorkshire Wildlife Park in a gale-force wind. Then, of course, I am reminded that life is not ‘normal’: face coverings; floor markings; sanitising stations etc.
With the children getting ready to go back to the school, there is the usual September excitement in the air. It always feels more like New Year to me, as the new school year begins and the long summer holiday ends.
At the same time, we have had a busy couple of weeks considering the ‘reawakening’ of our U3A, with the news that BDC is planning to reopen its Community Centres from 1st October. This means that some groups using these facilities have the opportunity to resume face-to-face meetings if they fulfil all the criteria. However, many groups will still be unable to meet due to the nature of their activities.
I am using the Newsletter to circulate information about the immediate plans for restarting activities. Please be sure to read ‘What’s happening in our U3A?’ on pages 3 and 4.
Any plans are, of course, subject to change as Government guidelines shift and change quickly.
General meetings still seem a long way off, sadly. Many of us are missing our friends in the U3A and are feeling cut off from everything.
Let us hope that over the coming months we see even more signs of ‘normality’, albeit a different normality.
Chair’s Chat – July 2020
There is a chink of light at the end of the tunnel, but I can’t help feeling slightly anxious about the return to ‘normality’. Along with the many good things which I’m sure will emerge as a result of the experience of COVID, I see the news reports of increasing unrest, rioting, social misbehaviour and crime, all of which is being put down to ‘pent-up frustration’ after weeks of lockdown. Is our society really so easily influenced?
Still, it has been lovely to see a few more people during the last couple of weeks. We are still awaiting advice from National Office about the future for the U3A, but as usual they are dragging their feet on any positive, practical information. They are advising that we ‘follow Government advice’, which is becoming more and more difficult to do as far as I’m concerned. We can but wait.
The Committee will be meeting by Zoom on the 7th July to consider the way forward. If you have any strong feelings about anything, please contact a member of the Committee so that we can include your views in our discussions.
Meanwhile, Monty and I are well and exchanging late-night greetings. We have a new friend now called Alexa (see elsewhere in the Newsletter). Here is my favourite photo so far. He is licking yoghurt from the end of a teaspoon.
Very best wishes for continuing health and wellbeing…
Chair’s Chat – February 2020
With Christmas and New Year celebrations fast becoming a distant memory and the shops filling up with chocolaty goodies, we can start to turn our thoughts to spring: lighter nights, fields of snowdrops, warmer weather.
Whatever the weather throws at us, we can always find somewhere to go and something to do in our U3A. Our guest speaker this month is Kathy Powis from the Ruddington Framework Knitting Museum. This talk is a must for historians and anyone with an interest in the industrial past. Take a look at their website to whet your appetite. I feel sure that the talk could be followed up with a group visit to look around the Museum, and maybe even have a go at knitting a souvenir! Look out for the sign-up sheet if you would like this to be arranged.
The Travel Group is offering an exciting range of day trips, overnighters and longer holidays throughout the year, so have a look at their table and book your places.
Two visits to Worksop College for a tour of the buildings are taking place in the next few weeks. The Sewing Bee lunchtime sessions at St Anne’s School have resumed, and there are plans for some of our music groups to join the children for their ‘Music all Around’ week in March. Some of the children will also be sharing their own poems with our Poems for Pleasure Group.
The fun goes on with an Easter Bunny Drive (aka a Beetle Drive) on 2nd April, by popular demand! Get your tickets at the General Meeting.
A reminder that the March and April meetings are Membership Renewal days, with the opportunity for Groups to showcase their activities. Could Group leaders please let Roger know which month they will be attending so that suitable arrangements can be made. Renewal fees will remain at the bargain price of £15 for another year.
I can hardly believe it, but the AGM comes round again in May, with the exciting prospect of ‘Confessions of a Coach Driver’ to follow!
Whatever you get up to, LEARN, LAUGH and LIVE with your U3A.
Best wishes to all
Chair’s Chat – January 2020
Happy New Year to all our readers!
Yes, it’s the start not only of a brand new year but also of a brand new DECADE! 2020 even SOUNDS better – it has a certain ring to it, doesn’t it? It may be a year of uncertainty for this country, and indeed for the world in general, but on a personal level we can but hope and pray that the year ahead brings each one of us health, happiness and all that we wish for.
As we look ahead to the coming year for our own U3A, we have much to look forward to. Our speaker programme is packed full of exciting talks, with subjects ranging from Route 66 to Magic, Echiums to Battersea Dogs’ Home, we are guaranteed to learn something new and interesting at our General Meetings. I encourage everyone to try to attend the meetings on the third Thursday of the month, 2 pm at St Anne’s Church Hall, to keep up with all the latest news, meet new people and have fun!
Interest Groups are starting up again after a brief Christmas break, and I’m sure you are all looking forward to getting back into the swing of things. Whatever you have planned for your Groups, enjoy yourselves and keep busy. If you have a special interest that isn’t catered for, PLEASE come forward and we will try to get a new group started.
The Newsletter continues to be a great resource for the sharing of information, so please read it and use it for reference. Contributions from members on ANY subject are welcome, to keep the pages fresh and alive, so don’t hang back. Share your favourite recipe, poem, newsbite, photo etc (yes, even jokes!) – anything that might amuse, interest or inform your fellow members. Please send to email@example.com by the 8th of the month.
Finally, food for thought:
An optimist stays up until midnight to see the New Year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves.
Chair’s Chat – December 2019
‘Tis Christmas Jumper season once again: jolly festive ads and retail gone into overdrive, and time to reflect on the year that is about to end. Where did the year go?
For our U3A, 2019 has been a successful and exciting year, which saw us celebrating our 10th Anniversary, membership continuing to grow, and Interest Groups increasing in number. Members are enjoying retirement, making new friends and learning new things in the true spirit of the U3A, and it warms my heart to see this at every group meeting that I attend.
Also, I would personally like to take this timely opportunity to thank everyone who has helped in any way to ensure our continued success throughout the year. My thanks go to: my fellow committee members for their support and hard work; all the Group Leaders/Co-ordinators and assistants; the Meeters and Greeters; the refreshment providers; the ‘techies’ who set up the equipment; the chair putter-outers, the Planning Groups; the Newsletter Editor; the Webmaster; the Beaconista (is that even a title?), and all who have in any way contributed behind the scenes. Without your help, we couldn’t bring so much pleasure to so many people.
And now for the good news – the Committee is delighted to announce that we now have a new Treasurer-in-waiting! Liz Short has agreed to take over the role from Roy at the next AGM. In the meantime, she will be cop-opted to the Committee so that she can shadow Roy and ensure a smooth handover. Huge thanks to Liz for stepping up to this challenging but crucial office to ensure the survival of our U3A for another three years.
Also new to the Committee is Margaret Hopkins, who will be taking over the role of Speaker Finder which has been carried out by Linda since Ron had to step down. Linda was finding it difficult to be both Business Secretary and Speaker Finder and so there was a vacancy. Margaret will work alongside Linda as a co-opted member until the AGM. Although the Speaker Finder is not an Officer as such, the role is vital to the smooth running of the U3A and our thanks go to Margaret for stepping in.
Of course, the year is not yet over. There will be no general meeting this month, as the December meeting day is usually the Christmas Party which was replaced this year by the Celebration Afternoon Tea, but do not despair! Thursday 19th, usual time and place – St Anne’s, 2pm – you can join in the fun of a Festive Beetle Drive organised by Bob and Ann Fearn. If you have never been to a Beetle Drive, then you cannot afford to miss this opportunity! I LOVE a Beetle Drive, being fiercely competitive by nature, and my name was first down. Book your place by calling 01909 269198. Festive dress, headwear etc is optional. Guess what I’ll be wearing!
Which brings me back to the subject of Christmas jumpers. You may remember that I am a big fan of the Christmas jumper, so you can imagine my shock on hearing on the news this morning that a charity is claiming that they are adding to the plastic pollution crisis! What? MY Christmas jumpers are made of plastic?? The environmental charity Hubbub (more bah Humbug in my opinion) is claiming that the garment has become one of the worst examples of ‘fast fashion’, due to the fact that millions of people buy a new one every year, wear it once and then throw it away. Does anybody do this? My jumpers get dusted down every year and I wear one every day throughout December. When the time comes, they will be recycled via the charity shop, just like all my acrylic (a plastic fibre, apparently) garments. Now I’m as concerned about the plastic crisis as the next man, but to single out the Christmas jumper in this way seems to fly in the face of the many charities, Save the Children in particular, who will benefit from the funds raised on Christmas Jumper Day, Friday 13th December. Personally, I will continue to use as little plastic as possible in other ways, and support the fundraising event by wearing a Christmas jumper with pride.
Finally, on behalf of the Committee, the warmest Christmas wishes to you all! See you next year!
From Sheila, Diane, Linda, Roy, Carol, Roger, Denise, Eric, Barbara, Peter, Chris, Wendy, Maggie, Liz and Margaret
Chair’s Chat – November 2019
Saturday 2nd November, 2019. The rain poured, the wind blew and England failed to lift the Rugby World Cup, but Worksop & District U3A celebrated its 10th Anniversary in grand style. Two hundred people gathered in the magnificent setting of the Great Hall at Worksop College and enjoyed a welcome drink, a delicious Afternoon Tea and an afternoon of memorable entertainment from Matthew Wright on piano, fund-raising singing group Blu Crew singing well-known songs and the delightful children from Ranby House school on piano, clarinet and harp, and their choice of songs from the Chapel Choir. It was a memorable day, and a worthy and fitting celebration of our wonderful U3A. Our Guest of Honour, Anne Taylor, was visibly moved and we are delighted that she could be there. Anne was instrumental in setting up the U3A in Worksop at the very beginning. Sadly, Tony Breed, the first Chairman, was unable to join us but I’m sure he was in the thoughts of many who knew him at the time.
On behalf of all who attended, I would like to thank the Anniversary Planning Committee: Jean Brenchley, Gloria Williamson, Pam Forbes, Margaret and Eric Wade, and Joyce and Tony Honey. The Team planned the event and worked tirelessly for more than twelve months, deciding the what, when and where, making 200+ tissue paper flowers, purchasing drinks, printing and selling tickets, organising entertainers and ensuring every need was catered for on the day. I would also like to thank Roger Westwood, our Master of Ceremonies, for carrying out his duties so well and for providing a fascinating account of the early days. Thanks also to Scarlett Dodsworth, Partnership and Events Manager at Worksop College, and the catering staff and others involved in ensuring that the event ran smoothly. Finally, Thanks to Matthew for his piano accompaniment, to Blu Crew and to Ruth Massey and the children and parents of Ranby House.
Those of you who were unable to attend the event will still be able to enjoy a glass a bubbly and a piece of cake to celebrate our 10th Anniversary. This will be provided at the November General Meeting on the 21st, when the speaker will be wildlife photographer Jack Perks. I hope to see many of you then.
Many of our interest groups are now busy planning their Christmas lunches and festivities. Enjoy yourselves, and why not share a photo or two with the Newsletter?
Chair’s Chat – October 2019
The summer holidays are over - cue Christmas in the shops. No sooner are the suitcases stashed in the loft than the shops are sporting decorations, Christmas trees, cards, as if we need 4 months to prepare. And so the year moves on.
Another thing rolling around again is the regular plea for more help setting up at the General Meeting. This starts at 12.30, and involves setting out chairs and tables, table cloths, sound system, cups etc before the crowds arrive, as well as setting up the PA system. If you think you could help, please arrive in good time so that the load is shared. We have plenty of help now clearing everything away, so thank you to all those who have responded to this.
It would be lovely to have a good turn-out for October’s meeting, as it will set the scene for our Anniversary Celebration next month. Wendy Bain, Archivist at Worksop College, will be there to shed light on our impressive venue and to pass on interesting facts from the history books of the College. A reminder that the last few remaining tickets will be on sale at the meeting or by contacting the team, so don’t miss out!
Another reminder – if you would like to receive your own copy of ‘Third Age Matters’, the U3A magazine, delivered to your door 5 times a year, please add your name to the subscription list at the meeting or contact the Treasurer. The magazine is free, but a small postage charge is made and must be paid ‘up front’ for the year.
Finally, I am looking for a man! Before you get too excited, let me qualify that. One idea I brought back from Conference is that of a ‘Men Only’ group, which exists in many U3As. The Committee quite rightly pulled me back on this on the grounds of exclusion and equality, so our group would be a ‘Mostly Men’ group, with the ladies more that welcome to come along if they wish. The idea is that the Group meets to pursue interests which might have greater ‘man-appeal’ than is generally the case, be it visiting car/aeroplane museums, ‘discussions’ down the pub, sporty things – table football perhaps – in fact it could do anything it wanted to do. So I’m looking for a man/men prepared to take this on and set up such a group. I think it would be good to encourage more men to join the U3A, as well as giving existing members an opportunity to find new interests in the company of (mostly) other men. I welcome any feedback on this idea, and if you think you might be the man I’m looking for, then please get in touch.
Chair’s Chat – September, 2019
I have just had the privilege and the pleasure of representing and flying the flag for Worksop & District U3A at the 2019 Conference and AGM, held at the East Midlands Conference Centre in Nottingham. I had a wonderful time. I listened to speakers, followed presentations, took part in workshops, wined and dined, voted at the AGM, took part in a quiz, spoke to many fellow members from all around the UK, heard a wonderful talk about The Medici, Florence and Golden Age of Art, and even saw a magic show! I picked up loads of ideas for weird and wacky interest groups (bet that’s got you scared!). After two-and-a-half days of total immersion in things U3A, I now feel that I know and understand what the U3A movement is all about, and the more I hear the more impressed I become and the more honoured I feel to be a small part of it. A lot more people are now aware of Worksop & District U3A than before.
Every U3A is an independent body, and it is easy to forget, or even to be unaware of, the vast machine that is working away at National level to keep the whole thing going. Sitting amongst 450 delegates representing 430,000 members in 1,040 U3As in the UK certainly puts things into perspective. National Office has a staff of 14 full-time equivalent workers, and the extent of their activities is vast. Much of their work goes unnoticed by grass-root members, but without it the U3A would not be able to function as one of the largest volunteer-led organisations in the country.
I cannot possibly feed back everything I learned at the Conference, but I will do my best to pass on relevant information over the coming months to ensure that our membership is kept up-to-date as the Trust embarks on its new medium-term Development Plan which will have implications for us all.
Headline news at Conference was the fact that, without telling anybody, the U3A has rebranded itself!
Did you spot the difference? At last - not before time in my opinion - ‘The University of the Third Age’ has been ditched, except for relationships with educational institutions. The strapline under the logo will be the not-so-new Learn, laugh, live, though oddly this version doesn’t appear yet on the National website. The intention is that the stand-alone logo will become recognisable for what the movement does, not what the letters stand for, much as the BBC and the yellow arched M of Mcdonalds speak volumes to everyone as to what they mean. The Trust stopped short of actually changing the name on the grounds of cost, given the huge number of changes that would be needed, and the drive to raise the profile to make the logo universally recognised forms a major part of the Development Plan. Watch this space!
I have much more to say about the Conference, with a very real danger of boring everybody to death, but this will have to do for now as I want to get the Chat done before I head off on holiday tomorrow for a week. See you all at the September general meeting.
Chair’s Chat – August 2019
Firstly, apologies to those amongst you with sharp memories who may have found last month’s Chair’s Chat vaguely familiar. That’s because you read it in July last year. I inadvertently attached Chair’s Chat – July from 2018 instead of the one I had just written! The correct version was distributed by email next day, so hopefully everyone is up to date.
What a fascinating talk we had at the last meeting. In 2018 Chris Vasper undertook the Marathon des Sables at the age of 56 and suffering from MS. His account of the 7-day experience had everyone on the edge of their seats. A mixture of slides and film clips took us across the Sahara Desert and was so vivid I almost felt the blisters! Amazing! We wish him well when he goes back for more next year.
Next month’s speaker is delivering a talk under the intriguing title of ‘Tax, Cars and Toy Boys’. The mind boggles! I have no further information, but I’m sure it will be fascinating.
Later this month I’m attending the U3A Conference and AGM at the East Midlands Conference Centre in Nottingham. The three-day event is packed with workshops, eating and social events, so I’m really looking forward to learning a whole lot more about the organisation and networking with people from all around the country. I hope to come back with loads of ideas of interest to our own branch.
Whether you are off on holiday, visiting friends and relatives, helping out with grandchildren or relaxing at home this summer, enjoy yourselves and make the most of your time.
Chair's Chat - July 2019
At our June general meeting we warmly welcomed The Wells Singers, from North Anston. They sang a medley of familiar and much-loved songs from yesteryear, under their conductor Jim Hardy and accompanied by an expertly produced keyboard soundtrack, and their sheer enjoyment of singing shone through. Many of the audience couldn’t resist joining in with their favourites! It was a wonderful, relaxed and entertaining afternoon, and I would like to thank the singers for all the hard work that goes into preparing for a performance, and thanks especially to our own Denise Gregory, a member of the group, who arranged the visit. I do hope we see the Wells Singers again at a meeting next year.
Our guest speaker at the next meeting in July is Chris Vespa, who will give us an entertaining account of his experience taking part in the Marathon des Sables, a 250km run across the Sahara Desert, described as The Toughest Footrace on Earth: “an extraordinary race for extraordinary people in an extraordinary place”. His presentation is humorous and he is a great storyteller. This promises to be a fascinating talk, not to be missed, along with the opportunity to catch up with all that is happening in your U3A. Tea, coffee and biscuits as usual, and a very warm welcome.
Tickets go on sale next month for our Celebratory 40th Anniversary Afternoon Tea, a memorable event open to all of our members and definitely not to be missed. As well as delicious food, we will be grandly entertained by singing group Blu Crew, Matthew at the piano, and young musicians from Ranby House School. Don’t forget to dig out your photographs and share your memories with everyone. Please let Jean Brenchley have them as soon as possible.
By happy coincidence, our speaker in October is Wendy Bain, retired teacher and Housemistress, and currently chief Archivist at the School, who will be telling us about the history of Worksop College. Since she began delving into the Archives several years ago, Wendy has unearthed hundreds of photographs and documents relating to the School since it opened its doors in 1895 with 5 masters and 44 boys. She will be sharing some of these tales of characters passing through, from famous pupils to eccentric Heads. Even better, Wendy is keen for us to visit the Archives, and to show us around the school buildings. I hope to arrange for a group to visit after we have heard the talk, probably in November or December or early next year. Her talk will be a wonderful scene-setter for our celebration, so be sure to get to the October meeting.
Finally, fingers crossed, I’m delighted to announce that our Travel Group will continue to run. A small group of people have come forwarded to help Bob and Ann with arranging day trips, and possibly weekends and longer holidays, in the future. This is great news, and maybe occasional trips to the theatre could be included in their programme? More details to follow.
Summer holidays are upon us, and most groups are continuing to function whilst some will be taking a break. However you plan to spend your summer, enjoy yourselves and continue to learn, laugh and live with the U3A!
Chair's Chat - June 2019
Wasn’t it lovely to listen to the young musicians who entertained us so admirably at the AGM? It’s always heart-warming to hear young voices, and the instrumentalist were superb. What a great way to round off the afternoon, following the important, though less than riveting, business of the AGM. St Anne’s Primary school is keen to further links with our U3A, so if you have a group that you think could join the children for an activity I’m sure the Head Teacher, Mrs Middleton, will be pleased to hear from you.
Following the elections, I’m delighted to welcome two new committee members – Peter Fillingham and Maggie Loxton – and wish them well in their future efforts to support our U3A. We also have two members who have expressed an interest in coming along to see how the committee works, with a view to perhaps being co-opted onto the committee.
In case you missed the AGM, I’m pleased to announce further details of our VSE – Very Special Event! You will all be aware by now that 2019 is our 10th Anniversary, and our Celebratory Afternoon Tea is to be held in the Great Hall of Worksop College on Saturday 2nd November, starting at 1 pm. Following a welcome drink, Afternoon Tea will be served and enjoyed accompanied by pianist Matthew Wright, Musician in Residence at Ranby House School. Entertainment will then be provided by Blu Crew, the Group many of us enjoyed at last year’s Christmas Party, who will be performing a set piece and playing dance music, and children from Ranby School. The highlight will be the ‘Photo Display Through the Years’ – will you recognise yourself in 2009? This will illustrate the development of Worksop & District U3A over the last 10 years and I, for one, cannot wait! Tables seat 10 people, and tickets, £10 each, will be on sale at the August general meeting onwards. Details of how to get your tickets will appear in the Newsletter and on the website. Please note that the Anniversary event will replace the Christmas party this year.
Chair’s Chat – May 2019
As I settle down to put together my twelfth (gosh – that’s hard to spell!) Chair’s Chat, it is time for a bit of reflection.
Twelve busy months, twelve Committee meetings, twelve Chair’s Chats, and I and our U3A have survived (relatively unscathed, I hope!). It’s hard to believe that a year has gone by since I stepped into the Chair’s shoes at the last AGM. It has been an interesting year. I have learned a great deal about the U3A, I have met many more members and made many new friends, and I have increased my monthly tally of groups that I attend to about 12, or it will be when I venture tentatively into the new beginners’ Thai Chi group next week. I have learnt to sing in public (no comments, please!), to make clay pots, to do cryptic crosswords, to speak a bit more Italian, to almost keep up with the boys at table tennis, and how to play Mah Jong. I’ve enjoyed many lovely strolls, even more lovely lunches, and continued to thrash the steel pan. I have tried to learn more about Natural History, but there are still too many birds, butterflies and trees for my tiny brain to remember, and enjoyed knitting and nattering with the Craft group. I have had a delightful holiday, and been to the theatre a few times so see high-profile productions. Most of all, I have enjoyed the company of like-minded people, shared the laughter and a few tears, and kept myself active and interested, which is what the U3A is all about.
I hope as many of you as possible will attend the AGM next week, Thursday 16th May, 2.00 in St Anne’s Church Hall. We promise to keep the boring stuff to a minimum so that we can enjoy watching the children from St Anne’s primary school, who will be joining us, and the afternoon will be rounded off with tea, coffee and CAKE! Yes, CAKE.
A reminder that the Travel Group and Theatre Group are looking for new leaders/co-ordinators. Please think about whether it’s for you. Also, don’t be shy if you have a lurking skill/passion that you could share with others and consider starting up a new group. Belly Dancing has been suggested! The Committee will support any new start-ups, and new ideas are welcome.
Best wishes to all
The Framework Knitters Museum talk due to be held at the June general meeting has been postponed at the Speaker’s request. An alternative speaker will be arranged.
Chair’s Chat – April 2019
I’ve just been away for a long weekend break with my family to Ashbourne, in Derbyshire. We went glamping – a first for all of us. Our accommodation was a Safari Lodge – a large tent with an upstairs bedroom and all mod cons. Yes, genuinely under canvas but with a double bedroom, fully equipped kitchen, shower room, sitting room and dining table complete with TV downstairs, three beds on the upper level and our very own hot tub outside the front door. Real camping, but without the hassle of putting up tents and even the odd touch of luxury. Not everybody’s cup of tea, but we enjoyed ourselves and got to see most of the attractions on offer in the Peak District, including the Plague Museum at Eyam. Three nights is enough, especially in early April. The nights were freezing, and on the last night there was a howling gale all night!
If this puts you in the mood for holidays and travel, then a reminder that our own Travel Group is in need of new leadership. This does not necessarily mean organising holidays abroad, but could simply be planning a one-off day trip to your favourite local destination and liaising with a coach company or local tour operator. Perhaps you could give this a try and build up to weekends and holidays, or perhaps a team of travellers could get together to keep the Travel Group going by sharing the planning.
Similarly, our Theatre Group is now looking for new co-ordinators. Tony and Joyce Honey have been running this group for a number of years, but now feel that they would prefer to step aside and let someone else have a go. We are blessed with several excellent theatres in Sheffield and Nottingham, offering professional productions, as well as our local amateur theatres, and because transport is arranged this is the only way many of our members can get to the theatre. It would be a shame to lose the Group. Our thanks go to Tony and Joyce for sharing their love of the theatre with fellow members over the years. If you feel you could take over this thriving and much-loved group, please speak to Tony and Joyce, or Roger, the Groups Co-ordinator, for more information.
The March General meeting saw over 100 people renewing their memberships, looking at the Interest Group displays and enjoying the opportunity to sit and chat with friends over refreshments. This will be repeated at the April meeting, with more Groups showing what is on offer in our U3A. A reminder that even if you have paid to renew your membership online, you still need to complete and return a Membership Form so that we have your signature granting permission to use your data in order to comply with GDPR.
The General Meeting in May is, of course, our AGM, to which all members are invited and given the opportunity to vote for the next Committee. After the business of the meeting, a group of children from St Anne’s School is coming along to entertain us, so it should be a lovely afternoon. Please make every effort to attend the AGM and exercise your vote. It really does count, even in these days of on-trend voting, where if you don’t like the ourtcome you can vote again, and again, or have a referendum, or risk no deal on May 16th! Enough political chit-chat – just use your vote, If you can’t make it to the meeting, please use the voting papers you have received and return them to the Business Secretary.
Chair’s Chat – March 2019
A big thanks to those who helped out at the General Meeting last month. The setting up and clearing away went much more smoothly and was done quickly – a bit too quickly in the case of those who got turfed out of their seats before finishing their cup of tea! Apologies – and noted for next time! Please feel free to stay on and drink your tea at leisure. The lay-out will be a little different this month and next, as there will be no speaker. Please take advantage of these two meetings to come along and renew your membership, sign up for the Third Age Matters magazine (£2.90 for the year’s postage) and look around the Interest Group displays to see what’s on offer. Stay and chat to friends, and enjoy a relaxed cuppa.
Which brings us to the May meeting – our AGM. You will be receiving the relevant documents well in advance, including the Minutes of the last AGM. Please read these carefully, as there will be a limited number of copies available at the meeting. The AGM is, of course, very important to the running of our U3A, so please make every effort to attend on Thursday 16th May, 2pm. All members welcome.
We heard at the last General Meeting the sad news that Bob and Ann Fearn have decided, after many successful years, to hand over the reins of the Travel Group. The Group has enjoyed many memorable holidays, day trips and outings over the years, all immaculately organised by Bob and Ann. They will continue to co-ordinate the existing holiday bookings. On behalf of all the members who have benefitted, I would like to thank Bob and Ann for the hard work and dedication they have given to running the Travel Group. If you are a keen traveller and feel you could possibly fill their shoes as Group Co-ordinator(s), please speak to them as I’m sure they will offer every assistance.
Remember that membership renewal is now due. The easiest way to do this is through the website, by Paypal or BACCS transfer, or you can pay by cash or cheque at the March and April meetings or by post to the Membership Secretary. However you decide to pay, a completed and signed renewal form is required as your signature to give data protection permissions must be renewed annually.
I’m now off to steel band practice, as we prepare for our busy summer schedule of gigs and performances, so I’ll leave you with this thought:
“You don’t stop laughing when you grow old, you grow old when you stop laughing”.
Best wishes to all
Chair’s Chat – February 2019
You will all have read the letter from Linda, our Business Secretary, seeking a successor for when she has to leave the Committee in 2020. Also, our Treasurer has included a note to members in this Newsletter.
I cannot over-emphasise how important it is to fill the two vacancies on the Committee at the AGM in May. We have only two vacancies this time, but the crunch will come next year (2020) when as many as 7 members of the Committee will have to step down, having served for 3 years, including replacing the Business Secretary, Treasurer and Vice-Chair. Another 3 of us will have only 1 year left to serve. REMEMBER, NO COMMITTEE, NO U3A! We must start planning for this NOW!
Becoming a Committee member involves attending a 2-hour meeting once a month, on the first Tuesday morning, nothing more. In your first year you will get to know how the Committee works to support the U3A, and get the chance to shadow the executive officers (Chair, Vice-Chair, Business Secretary, Treasurer) if you feel you may aspire to one of these roles in the future. Nomination forms will be sent out with the Agenda and can be submitted prior to the AGM. Meantime, have a chat with any Committee Member to get the inside story. Please give this some serious thought.
Still on a serious note, I am appealing for help at the monthly General Meeting to prepare the Hall and clear up afterwards. From 12.45, a team of helpers is required to put out 100 chairs and 8 tables, put tablecloths on, set up the PA system and prepare the kitchen for teas and coffees. Our regular team do a sterling job providing refreshments when the speaker has finished, but they can always do with a few spare hands in the kitchen to help with the washing up and putting away. If you can spare an hour to get to the meeting early and lend a hand, it would be much appreciated. At the end of the meeting, everything must be cleared away. One easy way to help would be if able-bodied members could stack the chairs in the row they have been sitting five-high at the end of each row. Folding table cloths and putting down tables also takes time, so perhaps you could help with this. Let’s share the load and avoid having to go down the route of rotas and regular commitment for the few.
On a lighter note, we welcome a new Group to our list: Social Dancing will take the form of a weekly Tea Dance, Friday afternoons at Crown Place Community Centre, off Sandy Lane. We’re promised a full range of types of dancing. Please support this exciting venture. The first session will be Friday 1st March. Thanks to Les Daniels for setting up this group.
At the General Meeting on Thursday February 21st we will welcome our Speaker, Kevin Murphy, who will present ‘We had a POW for Christmas’, giving an insight into our local area after WW2.
The March and April General Meetings give groups the opportunity to show what they have to offer to members, and the chance to renew your membership if you haven’t done so online via the website. Do come along and enjoy a chat over coffee and biscuits.
Best wishes, Sheila
Chair’s Chat – January 2019
Welcome to the first Chair’s Chat of 2019! Hopefully by June I will have got used to it and stopped writing 2018 on all cheques and communications!
I’m delighted to start the year with some good news for all our Members. Due to an increase in membership numbers, and hence more income from subscriptions, we find ourselves in a healthy financial position and able to offer a reduction in the 2019 – 2020 membership fee from £18 to just £15. This is incredible value for everything that is on offer in our U3A and, to borrow a phrase, every little helps.
Your subscription includes £3.50 capitation paid to National U3A and a Beacon fee, and also covers the running expenses of our organisation such as speaker fees, room hire for Committee and General Meetings, and ongoing expenses such as equipment maintenance. Our membership fee has been the same since Worksop & District started out 10 years ago, and after reviewing our income and outgoings our Treasurer has concluded that a reduction is justified for the coming year. Your membership is due for renewal on 1st April, and you can renew online by BACS transfer or Paypal (no Paypal account required) or at the March and April General Meetings, or by printing off the membership form from the website and sending it with a cheque to the Membership Secretary.
During this period we will also be collecting the £2.50 postage charge for an annual subscription to Third Age Matters, the U3A magazine delivered 5 times a year to your door. If you don’t already subscribe, check out the past copies available at the meetings and see what you are missing. You may regard this as a worthwhile investment of your membership savings! Just add your name to the subscription list with your £2.50 to begin receiving your copy.
Yes, mention above reminds us that 2019 is a very special year for Worksop & District U3A. On 2nd November, 2009 a group of people got together for the first ever meeting of our local U3A and the rest, as they say, is history! The event must not go unmarked, so please see the article in this Newsletter for news of how we plan to celebrate the occasion.
In the meantime, enjoy your Group meetings, spread the word amongst the uninitiated of Worksop, and here’s to a happy, healthy and thriving year for us all.
Very best regards