Category Archives: General

26 May 2019

Dee Sheard displayed her digital keyboard memorabilia 🎹and entertained us with some🎶🎶 tunes, followed by Peter Gateley talking about 🏛🏫Georgian Buildings in Liverpool’

28 April 2019

A Debate was chaired by Mia Faza
‘Habitual offenders should forfeit their benefits and Council Homes’. 
Refreshments(of course) and   a sing-a-long with local guitarist 🎸🎙Ken Waters

June 2019 Competition Winners

Topic 1  Memory  click for slideshow

Topic 2  Contrasting Colours  click for slideshow



Our next meeting at Haskayne Village Hall is on 5th September 2019

The outing to Muncaster Castle on 27th June will depart from Washway Farm at 9.00 PROMPT.

There are still 4 places left for the trip at a cost of £23.00 pp ,

Please contact Alan Starkie no later than 20th June if you are interested





Novel Digital Healthcare

Wednesday 5th June 2019

We had a return visit by the NHS North West Innovation Agency with presentations and demonstrations of novel healthcare products. organised by the NHS North West Innovation Agency who are tasked with making the NHS better, safer, faster and more cost effective by introducing new healthcare devices, often for personal use.  We had demonstrations by Alertacall, with an improved personal alarm system; Fastroi, a care management software system; and Hospify, a healthcare communication system similar to WhatsApp but which is compliant with the new GDPR regulations.  The cream teas provided by the Innovation Agency were also gratefully received!

Visit to Woolston Eyes – 14th May 2019

Nine members of the Bird Watching group attended this our fourth visit to this ‘Site of Special Scientific Interest’. Access to the site is restricted to permit holders and our thanks go to reserve volunteer David for unlocking the gates for us and helping with some of the sightings.


The site is well known as the home for probably the largest breeding site in the UK for the rare black-necked grebe.  This year there are 26 of them although we only saw a fraction of this number as many were on their nests hidden among the reeds.

Amongst the total of 39 species recorded another special highlight was the sighting of a Garganay.


Click ‘Continue reading’ for the full list of species seen:

Continue reading

Visit to Marbury Country Park – 9th April 2019

Seven members of the group attended this our second visit to Marbury Country Park near Northwich, Cheshire.  Marbury is an extensive site with a wide range of habitats and on this occasion a total of thirty two species were recorded.  The highlight was the sighting of three Green Sandpipers.

Click ‘Continue reading’ for the full list of species seen:

Continue reading

May 2019 – Beowolf

The session:

Started a new topic considering some of the heroes who belonged to the Germanic and Scandinavian people who lived in Britain alongside the Celts.  This will include Beowulf, Sigurd, Siegfried and some of the characters from the Icelandic sagas.

1/  Beowulf as the model for the Germanic warrior hero.  Beowulf, the young warrior from Sweden is eager for adventure so that he can win fame and fortune.  He travels to Denmark where Hrothgar and his followers are being terrorised by the monster Grendel.  Beowulf kills Grendel and also Grendel’s Mother, and returns to Sweden in triumph.

2/.  In the fullness of time, Beowulf becomes the leader of his people, the Geats and we learn that he proved to be the model king- generous, fair, just, honourable and the unfailing guardian of his people.

3/.  He was finally killed while fighting and killing a dragon to protect his people.  Beowulf the warrior hero without a flaw; courageous and honourable to the end.

April 2019 – Merlin completing the topic

The session:

Completed the loose ends from the Arthurian Legends looking at Merlin

1/.  We finished off the story of how Merlin brought the stones of Stonehenge to Salisbury Plain from Ireland, to act as Aurelius’ war memorial to the British warriors who died fighting against the Saxons.  When Aurelius was killed, Merlin transferred his services to Uther Pendragon; and the rest of Merlin’s story we already know.

2/.  For the rest of the session, we discussed the poem “Gawain and the Green Knight” in which Arthur’s knight Gawain is tested by the Green Knight, passes the test and is declared to be a true and honourable man.

2018-2019 Local History Indoor Meetings

We returned to our indoor meetings in the S&G HQ on Tuesday 2 October. By drawing together some of the events of the Great War that we had covered and some that we had not yet presented, our October and November meetings concluded our commemoration of W.W.I.

Tuesday 2 October meeting included a film, Defeat to Victory. The film centred around the 2nd Salford Pals Battalion of the 16th Lancashire Fusiliers as they prepared for the Battle of the Somme (1916). Authentic and deeply moving, the footage revealed what it was like to go `over the top` and how British tactics changed after the appalling consequences of that first day (01.07.1916).

Tuesday 6 November we reviewed war events from 1916-18 and Daniel Tyler joined us to relate some of the crucial incidents that led to the memorable time and date 11 am 11.11.1918. The Twenty Year Armistice was the title of Daniel`s presentation.

Members shared letters, documents and other memorabilia relating to W.W.I.

Tuesday 4 December – Muck, Fylthe and Executions. It was time to revisit the Tudor era as we mixed facts and fun whilst sampling some themed food and drink. Led by the `Lord of Misrule` with special guest, one of Henry VIII`s wives. Cost was the princely sum of 3 Groats (or £3 in `modern` money).

No meeting in January.

Tuesday 5 February – Medieval Manuscripts. Illuminated manuscripts are an interesting resource for understanding some aspects of medieval life, not only in castles and palaces, and they provide an insight into everyday life at the time. Brian Farrimond brought along examples of medieval manuscripts and told us more about them. As it was the first day of the Chinese New Year we began our meeting with fortune cookies and our horoscope for the year. Jasmine and green tea was available and enjoyed by all.

Tuesday 5 March – The Architecture of Lord Street, Southport and Bed and Breakfast in Southport. One of the most well-known streets in our local history is Lord Street, Southport, a fine example of a Victorian canopied boulevard. But have you ever stopped to look up at the interesting buildings? Julia Clayton’s illustrated presentation highlighted some of the architecture of Lord Street. We continued our afternoon with Jill Newsham’s presentation of some of the historic venues that have provided bed and breakfast for visitors to Southport over the years.

Tuesday 2 April – The Patients View of Health (19th century)

Author and Historian Elizabeth Roberts joined us to talk about her research including interviews with Lancashire folk and how they coped before the NHS. Members may have family remedies that they would like to share.

Novel Digital Healthcare

On Wednesday 5th June, the Science Group welcomes the return of the NHS North West Innovation Agency to demonstrate a range of new digital healthcare products. For further details see the Science Group page.

Dances in May


  • Corelli’s Gavotte a lively longways dance, with lots of right/left challenges!
  • Bouzer Castle a longways dance that we danced last week , but to a different tune.
  • The Temple of Health a 3 couple dance from the Ken Sheffield collection. Grimstock Heys and diagonals.
  • another 3 couple dance Dunant House Waltz, by Colin Hulme 1993.
  • A Lady Remembered a John Wood longways dance.
  • another longways dance Freeford Gardens by David and Kathryn Wright.

11.05.19 Elfrida calling…

  • (The) Farmer’s Joy a longways Joseph Pimentel dance.
  • Trip to Sherringham a 4 couple dance.
  • very appropriate for dancing in May, Spring Fever  a 3 couple dance to the tune Shades of Green.
  • Orange and Blue a 3 couple dance from 1815.
  • A Fig for Bonaparte a longways dance from Thompson collection 1804.
  • Birthday Reel (although we don’t have any birthdays to celebrate today.)
  • Young Ph(y)llis of Wakefield a longways dance from The Elephant’s Stairs C.D album by Persons of Quality.

18.05.19 June calling..

  • Childgrove a longways dance pub. by Playford 1701 reconstructed by Cecil Sharpe & others to include Cecil Sharpe siding.
  • Happy Hey(s) a 3 couple dance.
  • The Belle of Greenboro a Gary Roodman dance from 2012.
  • Dunant House Waltz a 3 couple Colin Hulme dance, x2, with 1/2 heys and changing along the lines.
  • Wooden Shoes longways dance.


  • Wooden Shoes a longways dance which first appears in 1701 pub. by Playford.
  • The Ruby composed by Bert Eccles from West Kirby Folk Dance Group.
  • Pilgarlic a nippy 3 couple dance. According to the Phronistery ( a dictionary of obscure words)

A Pilgarlick is ‘a poor wretch, self pitying person’ although it could also refer to a bald headed man. I think a current politician may refer to the Phronistery………no prizes for guessing the right one!

  • Roll the Line
  •  Criss Cross Jig a 5 couple dance.
  • and our last dance in May is Holborn March a longways dance from 1740.



Visit to Heysham Nuclear Power Station

Wednesday 15th May 2019

On the 15th May 37 of us set off to Heysham to visit the nuclear power station.  After a tour of the displays at the visitor centre, a talk on nuclear power generation and a safety and security briefing we were kitted out with our high vis jackets, safety spectacles, hard hats, ear defenders and electronic security passes.  We were then split into groups and shepherded  through the security systems by our 8 guides (no opportunities for wondering off or dallying) and finally were were in Heysham 2, which housed one of two nuclear reactors on site.  We were not disappointed – a visit to the reactor top to see the refuelling system was followed by a visit to the control room and the turbine hall with our expert guides fielding all the many questions fired at them.  After shedding all our gear 37 rather tired U3A members happily snoozed their way home on the coach.

If you want a fascinating trip run by highly competent staff who are dedicated to their jobs – visit Heysham Power Station!

West Lancashire Dementia Hub-Talk by Peter Horton

The West Lancashire Dementia Hub – launched in May and its monthly meeting – will now take place at the Age UK building (the Wellbeing Centre) in Moorgate, Ormskirk, each third Wednesday from 2.00 – 4.00 p.m.

On 19th June there will be a short talk by Peter Horton from Age UK Lancashire on ‘Local Dementia Services’.  There will be an opportunity to meet representatives of the local agencies and organisations that support those living with dementia, their carers and families.  U3A members are providing the ‘meet and greet’ service.  There will be tea/coffee throughout the afternoon.

Second Chance

Pat Morton, who was recently featured in the local Champion newspaper, is a member of several U3A groups including Poetry, Italian and Film Appreciation. She has now turned her hand to writing, and her first published novel is titled, “Second Chance”.

When I retired from teaching I needed to do something creative. I joined the U3A then started writing. I wrote poetry, articles for magazines and two novels. I love the U3A so when I started my second novel it seemed right to set it there – although the characters are fictitious, you will probably recognise some of the settings and situations. I don’t expect to make a lot of money but will be happy if my book gives pleasure to some U3A members.

Continue reading

U3A Website Workings

The Web Team consists of :

  • a Web Manager who maintains an overview of the website content
  • a Groups Editor who keeps an eye on the Group Pages and updates those that do not have a Group Author
  • a Media Manager who manages the WordPress Media Library

The Web Team is assisted by a very large number of Group Author who can update their own pages.  Find out if your Group has its own Author and ask them to make any changes required – a great way of making updates promptly and accurately.

The U3A IT Manager looks after the running of the website and can be contacted if you spot errors in the Workings of the website not related to content

Pam’s Speaker Meetings

Many thanks to Andrew Thwaite, who kick-started the 2019 programme in February with an entertaining and informative talk on the history and manufacture of chocolate. A great many people braved the elements that wet and windy morning and were rewarded with a most enjoyable talk and freshly made chocolate!

Our next Speaker Meeting was in April, when Carolyn Kirby spoke about her debut novel ‘The Conviction of Cora Burns’. Carolyn’s novel has attracted considerable favourable comment in the press and online – more details here.

Carolyn writes:

My novel ‘The Conviction of Cora Burns’ will be published in the UK and USA in March 2019. This is a historical thriller set in 1880’s Birmingham about a troubled young woman, Cora Burns, who was born in a gaol and raised in a workhouse. Haunted by memories of a terrible crime, she seeks a new life working as a servant in the house of a scientist, Thomas Jerwood. Here, Cora befriends a young girl, Violet, who seems to be the subject of a living experiment. But is Jerwood also secretly studying Cora?

The novel is inspired by some real Victorian lives and events. My talk will give an insight into the research that underlies the fictional narrative of the novel and will highlight three controversial Victorians: Arthur Munby, W. T. Stead and Francis Galton. This will be followed by Q and A’s and a chance to buy a signed copy of the book.

May 2019 visit to Erdigg Castle

Our trip to Erdigg Castle in Wrexham – a National Trust location






If you are experienced in Photography/Photo. Enhancement, please come and share your knowledge with us.

If you are new to Photography, we are a friendly group who will always be pleased to help with advice on Camera equipment and how to take better pictures.

Submitting Competition Entries – a reminder

Please ensure that your competition entries are submitted in the correct format – i.e. as JPEG files – and at a resolution of at least 1024 x 768 pixels.  Please also remember to rename the files to include your name and the competition topic, e.g. Joe Bloggs – September Topic 1

May 2019 Competition Winners

Topic 1   Seven    click for slideshow


Topoc 2    Glass  click for slideshow

The Malcolm Jacques Trophy

On Tuesday morning, 7th May, we played an away match at Hesketh Bank against their Team.

Their Team

Our Team


We began with the Singles Matches.

Bill and Craig

Mike and Rich

Sheila and Dave

Dave and Laurence

The Singles were played first and although Ormskirk won all four, two ended as Black Ball games.

After coffee and biscuits we played the Doubles:

Sheila and Craig against Bill and Dave, which they won, then Dave and Rich against Mike and Laurence which we won on a Black Ball.

So the overall score was a win for Ormskirk by 5 to 1.


Croston Open Gardens

A message from Croston to the Web Team, that will be of great interest to U3A Gardeners:

We are delighted to announce that the village of Croston will be opening its gardens to the public on Sunday 23rd June between 11am and 4pm. Now in its third year, following a relaunch after the floods of 2015, the event has become incredibly popular with over 700 visitors in 2018.

Each year we aim to surprise and inspire our wonderful visitors and this year is no exception. We have seven brand new gardens and two delightful remodels from previous years, including a stunning wildlife garden, a magnificent Georgian garden with pool, wilderness spaces and some incredible planting schemes. The day is not all about the gardens though; we have an Alice in Wonderland-themed art installation at Charlie Holt’s studio, and we are delighted that the completely refurbished Croston Recreation Ground will be officially reopening on the day.

After securing the necessary funding, and an inspiring landscape design by The Potting Sheds, this space will once again be open to the public; complete with accessible pathways, beautiful planting, play areas and an adult gym, the area promises to become a much-loved place to play and relax for all ages.

Finally, we have an enchanting new location for refreshments, ticket sales and stalls where visitors can indulge in a well deserved slice of home-made cake and a cup of tea or glass of prosecco.

Tickets will be on sale on the day for £5, and will cover entry to all the gardens. There is no charge for accompanying children, but unfortunately dogs are not allowed in some of the gardens. It will be possible to purchase tickets in advance from Feather & Twigs on Town Road, Croston, or from The Potting Sheds, Cedar Farm, Mawdesley.  Arrangements can be made for group bookings via email at The tickets will illustrate the garden route, car parking, toilets and the hub for all activities on the day.

All proceeds from the day go to ‘Croston Together’, a village charity supporting community projects and once again, we are delighted to have The Potting Sheds and Maria B Evans Estate Agents as our amazing and generous sponsors.

Do follow Croston Open Gardens on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter for further updates as 23rd June approaches. We can’t promise the same glorious weather we have experienced every year to date but we can promise a warm welcome.

Solar Energy: Its Journey from the Sun to Your Kettle.

Wednesday 1st May 2019

Professor George King, Manchester University physics department,  explained how solar energy from its birth in the sun through its journey to earth can be harnessed and how we can store this solar energy when the sun isn’t shining.  We had everything from atomic physics to the economics of different forms of renewable energy generation.  A very topical talk considering the current concerns over global warming.  Since the meeting, one of our members, Brian Bennett, has reminded me that a book George King referred to “Sustainable Energy – Without the Hot Air” is available to download from , alternatively Brian, , will lend you his copy of the book!

What is Science and How do we Use it?

Wednesday 3rd April 2019 – What is Science and How do we Use it?

In April our own Professor Bill Hale discussed the topic of “what is science” based on his work with government and academic research councils and involvement with many research laboratories.  With a wide range of examples, and a number of the more amusing aspects of his global scientific wanderings, Bill entertained and engaged the audience for a full two hours.

April dances. See 12th for the 1st of April!!

They say variety is the spice of life, we test that theory in April as we have three Dance Mistresses:- June, Clare and Elfrida.


Clare is calling the dances today with live music from Frank on violin/fiddle, Ian on guitar and Will on concertina. Many thanks to them for giving up their time and making a most enjoyable session.

  • Upon a Summer’s Day a 3 couple dance from 1651 pub. Playford.
  • Auretti’s Dutch Skipper a new longways  dance for us, traditional Regency dance from 1756. Pub. Rutherford.
  • Trip to Richmond another new longways dance, music and choreography by Kate Riley 1956.
  • I care not for these ladies a circlular dance by Kitty Creelman Skobela 1969.
  • The Alderman’s Hat a lively 3 couple dance from 1774 pub. Thomson.
  • Young Phyllis of Wakefield 1714 pub. Walsh.
  • The Hop-picker’s feast another new 3 couple dance for us. Pub. 1786 Thomson.
  • the next 2 dances are also new ones. Mr. Heywood’s success a longways dance.
  • Half Hannikin the circular version from 1651 pub. Playford.


Elfrida calling today, many thanks to her.

  • 1st April a longways dance circa 1733.
  • Indian Queen an old favourite, a longways dance reconstructed by Cecil Sharpe 1922.
  • Birthday Reel most appropriate as we have a cluster of Birthdays to celebrate. A 4 couple dance x2 to the tune Connaught Water.
  • still on the Spring theme Spring fever a 3 couple dance x2, to the tune Shades of Green.
  • (The) Farmer’s Joy by Joseph Pimentel 2012, tune by Adam Broome and played by the band Gold crest.
  • Leaving of Liverpool a 3 couple dance to the tune Rigadoon and played by band Brass Tracks.
  • Guildhall a longways dance by Naomi Alexander.

No Dancing on Good Friday.

We welcome back Dancing Mistress June with thanks to her. Several new dances to keep our feet and brains going!

  • Rostillion by John and William Neal 1726. a longways dance.
  • Belle of Greensboro a Gary Roodman dance 2012 to the tune of the same name by Lydia Ievins.
  • Scotch Cap a 3 couple dance pub. 1651 Playford, with a contemporary variation by Andrew Shaw.
  • Bouzer Castle Playford dance from 1679.
  • The New Slip a longways dance.
  • and finally Holborn March another longways dance from 1742.

Even though we missed a dancing session, we seem to have done a lot of dancing, thanks to all concerned.

Some Seasonal Local Walks

A Local January walk around Aughton


A February walk around Mere Sands, Rufford


A great walk in July 2018 around Haigh Hall


A Gallery of Walks from the Past


Click or tap on any photo to see a slide show of bigger pictures!

Gallery of Past Walks

Click or tap on photographs to enlarge. 


The Grand Final

The Grand Final between the winners of the Knockout Competition and The League Competition was played on Tuesday 9th of April.

The Match was between Bary and Cliff.

The winner would receive The Calvert Trophy.

Me Presenting Cliff with The Calvert Trophy

As Barry had won the Knockout Competition he also received a Trophy.

Me presenting Barry with his Trophy.

Guest Visitors

At some Thursday Horizons Meetings  there is a Guest Visitor.  This typically is a representative of an organisation (usually local) providing information of relevance  to the  U3A membership or perhaps a demo of an activity likely to be of  interest to members.

Information on Diabetes

On Thursday 20 June, we welcome Joanne Sephton as our ‘Guest at Horizons’.  Joanne works for the West Lancs Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and takes the lead in the diagnosis and management of diabetes.

She will be with us all morning, so do come along and speak to her if you have any concerns at all about this condition.

Janice Tasker: – Ceramic Artist

Janice is an accomplished artist who has a wealth of experience in the field of ceramics. She makes and decorates her own tiles, which she then uses to create beautiful mosaics, often using driftwood or reclaimed timber for the base.

On Thursday 4th July Janice will be demonstrating how to create a mosaic at Horizons, with a view to leading a workshop on Saturday 28th September. Do come along and watch her at work. If you would like further details please contact our Speaker Meeting Secretary, Pam Ball, on 07974 749362.

Visit to Martin Mere WWT reserve – 12th March 2019

Despite the poor weather in the morning, which had prompted the change of venue, nine members of the group attended this visit and were rewarded with a good morning’s bird watching from the comfort of the excellent facilities at this site.  Four members of the group stayed on for a while after lunch by which time the weather had improved though still very windy.

Click ‘Continue reading’ for the full list of 51 species recorded:

Continue reading

24 Mar 2019

The Welsh Kingdoms of Old England’ – a very interesting presentation by Edmund Moynihan.  After our refreshments Tony Crimlisk & the U3A ‘UKULEERS’🎵🎶 entertained us plus supporting dance troup from our Musical Theatre Group.  

24 Feb 2019

A Talk from Pete Trigwell about  Punishment 🔐through the ages.  Followed by a quiz  and tea☕ & cakes🍰 for a treat.


Many dances in March….

    and under the Arch…..

Five Friday dance sessions in March with the addition of a joint dancing session with Upholland U3a country dancers.

1.03.19 Jim’s Birthday requests:-

  • Childgrove 1701 longways Playford dance with Cecil Sharpe reconstruction.
  • Geud man of Ballangigh a longways dance 1728.
  • Black Nagg a short sharp 3 couple dance from 1657, still popular after all these years.
  • and a more contemporary dance Marching to Praetorius by Gary Roodman 1996 a 2 couple square set dance.

and Marion’s Birthday request although Tim may have had some influence with the choice?

  • St. Swithin’s Day Hornpipe a 2 couple dance
  • Indian Queen a longways dance.
  • (The ) Whim of the moment this includes an Allemande dance figure. Longways dance published by Thompson 1791.

8.03.19 Elfrida recording. Some more of ? Marion’s Birthday requests

  • Welcome in the May longways, lots of double figure 8’s !!
  • Broom, the broom, the bonnie bonnie broom 4 couples longways. Playford style with starbursts.
  • Trip to Bavaria, another 4 couple dance, one of our favourites, another of Marion’s birthday choices. Lots of half turns and counting 4s for the beat. As June said we are getting better at this, so it’s not as much fun as the chaos it used to be!
  • Peace be with you a 1986 contemporary longways dance by Fried de Metz Herman.
  • Nonesuch, did it twice, 4 couple dance 1651.
  • Nampwich Fair, longways. A good session.


  • Young Phyllis of Wakefield 1714/15 dance with interpretation by Andrew Shaw.
  • A Lady Remembered a John Wood dance with a haunting tune. We remember the loss of former country dancers Mona, Chris, Rosemary and recently Barbara M. All lovely people and great characters.
  • Sailor’s Wives a 3 couple dance with Chevron figures.
  • Welcome in the May see last week.
  • Sea Breezes a June Jones 3 couple dance.
  • Gasconne a 1710 dance with contemporary interpretation by Pat Shaw.


  • Portsmouth ?1670/1701 longways Playford dance. Remember ‘the Billy Bunter theme tune’.
  • Revolution de la France a longways dance.
  • Captains Maggot a 3 couple dance from 1696.
  • Trip to the Dome a large circular contemporary dance.
  • Of Noble Race was Shinkin Playford 1698. Another mystifying title.
  • Kensington Court 1695 longways dance.

Many thanks to Upholland U3a Country dance group for inviting us to join them for more dancing on 26th. and many thanks to June for calling and to Frank & his fellow musicians for providing the lively LIVE MUSIC,

29.03.19 Elfrida’s Birthday requests:-

  • Orange and Blue a 3 couple dance.
  • Hen Run a longways dance, music and choreography by Bernard Bentley. (apologies for miss naming him in an earlier post)
  • Ranelagh Gardens longways dance.
  • Meillionen a 5 couple Welsh dance, giving particular importance to the steps.
  • The Disbanded Officer pub. by Playford 1787/89

and to end an enjoyable but busy month Spanish Jig longways 1721.


Beginner’s Tap Dancing

The recent six week introduction to tap dancing for beginners was a great success and several of that class have taken the brave step to join the regular Thursday class.  However, not all were able to do so.

Due to the enthusiasm expressed by the new tappers, we have started a regular beginners’ class.  We have secured the services of a great teacher and the Women’s Institute has been made available to us once again.

If you would like to join the Tap Dancing – Beginners Group – new members welcome – please ring the coordinator, Irene on: 01695 578263.  If she cannot answer your call, please leave a message and she will get back to you.

Happy tapping!

Speaker Meetings

Speaker Meetings are held at 10.30 on specified Thursday mornings throughout the year. From September onwards most meetings will be in Christ Church Ministry Centre. Coffee is available in the Scout & Guide HQ (very nearby the Church and its Ministry Centre) from 09.30 to 10.15 before the meeting. Everyone is welcome, so bring family, friends and neighbours.

Speaker Meetings in 2019

Here is the latest information from our new Speaker Secretary for 2019 – Pam Ball.

See Pam’s Speaker Meetings for info on this year’s events so far. 

On Thursday 6th June, a large audience welcomed local resident, writer and photographer, Peter Rimmer,  who presented a fascinating and informative talk on Morecambe Bay. 

Peter is a freelance writer and photographer from Southport, now living in Ormskirk. He was awarded a Master’s Degree in Photography by the University of Bolton in 2013, and has self-published a Photo Book “The tide’s the very devil” about Morecambe Bay and its shrimp fishermen. Peter specialises in Paralympic and disability sports as a photojournalist.

Peter writes

The illustrated talk is based on my Photobook “The tide’s the very devil: Morecambe Bay in photographs” describing the hazards, dangers and isolation of the Bay; some of its rich history; crossing the sands; shrimp fishing – the catch, landing, boiling and picking of shrimps; and the men and women involved. Shrimping is a family business where the traditions are handed down, and remain largely unchanged from one generation to another. The opportunity to use old family photographs enables me to compare and contrast the practices of today with what went before, showing similarity and difference.

The title of the talk comes from the first line of the chorus of On Morecambe Bay, a folk song written by an old school-friend from Southport and recorded by Irish folk singer Christy Moore. Kevin Littlewood was inspired to write the lyrics following the tragedy in February 2004 when 23 Chinese cockle pickers died after becoming trapped by rising tides at Hest Bank. It is a poignant reminder that the tide dictates every move on the sands.

The solitude, isolation and scale of Morecambe Bay were apparent on my first venture out on the sands sitting on the back of Michael’s tractor. I wanted to capture the feeling of isolation and show the wide open spaces. I also wanted to illustrate some of the features of the Bay such as myrings, footprints and tracks in the sand. Including aerial shots from a balloon. I discovered a rich history of literature and painting which under-score the story of life on the sands, and provide an external context largely unchanged today.

Looking ahead

On Thursday 5th September Harold Hoggarth will speak about The Civil War in Lancashire.

Lancashire resident Harold has been delivering talks to community groups for over 12 years. He speaks on a wide range of topics including local history, music, theatre and puppetry, ornithology and geology. Through his talks he raises money for five different charities including Romania, RNLI, Bible Society, Action for Pulmonary Fibrosis and Cap (Christians Against Poverty).

Harold writes

Harold Hoggarth

The English Civil War lasted from 1642 until 1660. Lancashire at that time was divided into six regions called “Hundreds” Of the six Hundreds of Lancashire only Salford and Blackburn were on the Parliamentary side. In the early part of the war, people in Lancashire generally volunteered to fight for their own principles even when these split communities and sometimes even families. Lancashire played a leading part in the course of the war in the North of England and so it is worth knowing about.

This talk and the accompanying PowerPoint was prepared by my friend Bill Wilson before he moved to Canada. He then left it with me to deliver on his behalf.

7th November – John Winter: Blame it on the Beatles – and Bill Shankly

I would be very pleased to hear from any members who would like to give a talk, or maybe you remember a past speaker you would like to hear from again.

Please email any ideas to  or phone 07974 749362.

A Message from the Speaker Secretary:

  • These meetings are open to the public.  So do invite your friends even if they are not U3A members.
  • Parking can be tricky on Thursday mornings.  So, if you can, please consider car-sharing or alternative modes of transport.  The handy half-hourly  310 Ormskirk – Liverpool bus stops very nearby on Holborn Hill. Some members ‘get active’ and walk, while a few even cycle now and then.

Past Speaker Meetings

Much appreciation and hearty thanks to Sue Watkinson, who has recently ‘retired’ from the Speaker Secretary role, for a wonderful series of Speaker Meetings over her time of office. The variety and quality of the speakers arranged by Sue was truly excellent. Please take a few minutes to view and recall the extensive and interesting range of Past Speaker Meetings organised by Sue (as well a few from her predecessors).

DVD recordings


The Speaker Meetings are recorded on DVD. DVDs can be obtained from Bill Evans at a cost of £3.

To order one, phone Bill on 01695 312479 or contact him at Horizons.

Away Match at Southport

On Wednesday morning, March 27th, we visited the Ash Street Snooker Club in Southport to play a team from the Club.

Our Team [Barry, Dave, Eddie & Cliff]

Southport Team [Tony, Martin, Steve & Cyril]

The match started with four Singles matches with mixed fortunes.

Tony v Cliff

The result was a win for Cliff, 63 to 35.

Martin v Barry

The result was a win for Martin, 52 to 23.

Dave v Steve

The result was a win for Steve, 81 to 18.

Eddie v Cyril

The result was a win for Eddie, 45 to 17.

So the teams were all square at the finish.

After refreshments we then played the Doubles.

Barry & Dave played Cyril & Matin which Southport won, 58 to 34

Cliff & Eddie played the final match against Steve & Tony and won the match, 64 to 38.

This meant the Match finished 3 -3 so the scores had to be used to find the winners.

Ormskirk – 247     Southport – 281.

So Soutport won by a mere 34 points.

What a really close Match!!

Keyboard Gallery


A fine performance from Pat and Dee


Deep concentration during practice

Click on the movie to see the group in action.


Phil Sanderson celebrating U3A’s 5th anniversary in style


Digital Keyboard Music group celebrating their 10th Anniversary


Past Meetings 2019

In January Cliff Porter, training officer and Geoff Todd, membership officer from Liverpool and Merseyside Beekeepers Association presented “Where would we be without Bees”. The emphasis was on how to encourage bees in to the garden. Several myths were dispelled.


On 13th February Anthony Brougham presented “Miracle Planter”.

On 13th March Steve Halliwell, Public Speaker, Author and Biographer presented a talk on “Holker Hall – The Park and Gardens”.

Past Meetings 2018

The October meeting was an informative talk by Maureen Sawyer, a garden designer and consultant, on the A-Z of garden gems. In November – Matthew Smith from Brighter Blooms presented ‘Weeds ~ to love or to loathe’, a topic that effects all gardeners. This talk aimed to get you thinking about weeds differently. Samples of Mare’s Tail and Nettle tea bags were on offer and a variety of bulbs were on sale.

On 27 November, five members visited the World of Glass, St. Helens to attend a talk by Marcus Chilton, Curator at RHS Bridgewater, on ‘The Making of RHS Garden Bridgewater ~ plans and progress’. Members are already planning garden visits and trips for 2019.

The December meeting comprised a fun quiz with a twist, prizes and mince pies. The winning team was “The Girls”, well done!

Drama Group

Tickets for our next production “Two Weddings and a Conference” are now sold out for both Friday 12th April and Saturday 13th April.

Thank you to everyone who has bought tickets.  We look forward to seeing you.

Finance & Resources Subcommittee

This webpage is currently under review and redevelopment

The Finance & Resources Subcom­mit­tee (F&R) meets several times a year, usually a week before the Management Committee (MC).

Subcommittee members are:  Alan Starkie (Chair), Vacant (Treasurer), John Tomlinson, Derrick Fewings, Iain Smart, Sally Kirby, David Blanchflower
F&R responsibilities include:
  • Its main business is to consider applications from Group Leaders and others to provide funding for a special event or function, or to authorise the purchase of equipment.
  • It is also responsible for safeguarding the organisation’s assets, providing appropriate insurance and financial reporting to the MC.
  • In recent times, the U3A’s migration to the new Beacon accounting and membership system has occupied much of F&R time, especially in maximising its potential for greater transparency and in facilitating financial reporting and membership records.

Check the Subcommittee Terms of Reference (TOR) for more detail.

For information on Policies and Procedures relating to Finances and Resources in our U3A, please contact a member of this Subcommittee.


  • members of the Finance & Resources Subcommittee are usually to be found at the Treasurer’s Desk during the weekly Horizons Meetings  on Thursday mornings in the Scout & Guide HQ.  If you do not spot an appropriate officer quickly, don’t hesitate to  enquire at the Welcome Desk.
  • email
  • phone the answerphone number on the Contact Us webpage and leave a message for the Treasurer / the Subcommittee.  The answerphone is usually checked weekly, but there could be some delay in a response to your message.


Some forms, for example for Paying-in, Expenses and Funding, can be accessed via a new Forms link located in the sidebar menu of this Subcommittee webpage (and the other ‘admin’ pages relating to  committees etc).

If you cannot download a Form, then  contact the Finance & Resources Subcommittee for copies. Some forms, record books and information  sheets (such as those relating to Assets and Resources)   may also be available in print at Horizons Meetings on Thursdays at the Scout & Guide HQ.

March 2019 – King Arthur – Tying up the loose ends

The session:

Started tying up the loose ends from the Arthurian Legends by looking at the origins of Merlin

1/.  Merlin seems to be a composite figure whose story was added to over time.  We covered Llallogen/Lailoken, Merlin/Myrddin, Ambros/Emrys and Merlin Ambrosius.

2/.  In the North of England, Llallogen/Lailoken, was the bard poet to the King of Carlisle and was driven mad by the events at the Battle of Arfderydd.  At the time it was thought mad people could see the future.

This story seems to be combined with the Welsh legends which have Merlin/Myrddin as a wild man and prophet who lived by the River Conwy.

People moved from the North to Wales so it is feasible that these characters could become combined.

The records which exist such as the Welsh Annals and Welsh Genealogy match up with the timelines and geography generally attributed to Arthur.

Merlin is the Latin name for Myrddin.  Myrddin has more than one version of his tale.  Each tale has some mystery for his birth as a boy with no father to the issue of a nun and an incubus.  The progeny of a spirit father would have gifts.  There are different versions for his end in a cave or in a house of glass.

3/.  Nennius has Ambros/Emrys as a boy with no father.  Selected for sacrifice for a fortress which would not stand he talked his way out of it by explaining this was due to a pool underneath and two dragons on red and one white and giving predictions for the future.

4/.  Finally we looked at Geoffrey of Monmouth’s version which brought together a number of different sources.  The sources for Merlin are similar to those for Arthur and include Gildas, The Venerable Bede, Nennius, The Welsh Annals and then added to by Geoffrey.   Geoffrey was the one who really made the connection between Merlin and Arthur.  His Merlin was called Merlin Ambrosius

5/.  We looked at the Prophecies of Merlin which were translated by Geoffrey of Monmouth from the Ancient Welsh long after the time of Merlin.

February 2019 – King Arthur building the legend contd

The session:

Continued Sir Thomas Malory’s “Le Morte D’Arthur”

1/.  Despite previous events the relationship between Guinevere and Lancelot developed and Arthur heard that Guinevere had committed adultery with Lancelot.  Arthur was bound to sentence Guinevere to death and condemned her to be burnt at the stake.  Lancelot got to hear of this and rescued Guinevere just as the fire was being lit.  He took her to his castle Joyous Garde at Bamburgh, Northumberland.  This split the knights between Arthur and Lancelot.  Arthur laid siege to the castle, there were many casualties and eventually the Pope had to intervene.  Lancelot was given safe passage to Brittany and Arthur reclaimed his queen.  Sir Gawain persuaded Arthur to follow Lancelot to Brittany to attack Lancelot whilst leaving Mordred in charge.

2/.  Mordred forged documents to show that Arthur had been killed.  Mordred tried to force Guinevere to marry him.  Guinevere locked herself in the Tower of London and Mordred received news that Arthur was returning from Brittany.  A number of knights were loyal to Mordred and there was the battle of Camlann where 100,000 men were killed.  During the battle Mordred inflicted a fatal wound on Arthur who then managed to kill Mordred.

3/.  The Death of Arthur – Arthur knew that he was mortally wounded and asked Sir Bedivere to take Excalibur and return it to the lake.  Twice he hid Excalibur and pretended to return it to the Lady of the Lake.  On his third attempt he returned the sword to the Lady of the Lake.  Arthur then asked Sir Bedivere to carry him to the water’s edge where a barge arrived to take Arthur’s body.  On the barge were 3 ladies, one of whom was Morgan Le Fay, and they carried off Arthur’s body to the other world to heal his wounds.

Malory tells us that the next day Sir Bedivere came across a hermit at a small chapel near Glastonbury.  He was beside a recent grave and said that a group of women had brought the body of a knight for burial (thought to be Arthur).  Sir Bedivere changed his life and devoted himself to fasting, prayer and penance.  Guinevere entered a Benedictine convent and Lancelot joined Sir Bedivere in his life of prayer.  6 years later Lancelot became a priest and after Guinevere’s death he took her body to the chapel at Glastonbury and buried her next to Arthur.  After Guinevere’s death Lancelot wasted away and died.

4/.  Sir Constantine became king after Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table were disbanded.

January 2019 – King Arthur building the legend contd

The session:

Continued Sir Thomas Malory’s “Le Morte D’Arthur”

1/.  The story continued and it was interesting to see the impact on the story of the life and times of Malory, there was a bitter civil war.  Although he used the existing stories as sources he added in his own interpretation and elements to the story.  One particular character “improved” upon by Malory was Morgan Le Fay who in earlier stories was a loving sister to Arthur became an almost James Bond-like villain in her attempts to remove/kill him in his version.

2/.  The concept of Camelot was introduced by Chretien de Troyes and included by Malory.  Malory first suggested that Camelot was Winchester however later in the story writes as if Camelot and Winchester were different places.  The Round Table was also introduced as a wedding present to Arthur and Guinevere and was big enough to seat 150 knights.  Malory set out the rules of Knightly Conduct.

3/.  Merlin was introduced as a magician who could see the future along with his nemesis a water sprite called Nenive/Nimue/Vivienne who was one of the handmaidens of the Lady of the Lake.  She tried to manipulate Merlin, wheedling knowledge from him.  Merlin knew what was going on because he knew everything but was powerless to do anything about it.  Merlin knew his time with Arthur was limited and tried to give Arthur as much information as possible.  He told Arthur to look after his sword as a woman would try to take it.  Once Nenive had gained as much information from Merlin as she could, she trapped him for eternity in a cavern.

4/.  Arthur went on a hunting trip with Sir Accolon and King Uriens of Gore.  They got lost in the forest and found themselves in the other world.  Arthur was faced with having to fight to rescue the others but Accolon gets a secret message from Morgan Le Fay telling him he has to fight a battle to the death with an unknown knight.  She gave him Excalibur which was taken from Arthur while he slept.  Arthur, the unknown knight, agreed to fight and Morgan Le Fay manoeuvred it so that Accolon and Arthur fought each other.  During the fight Arthur realized that his sword wasn’t Excalibur and Nenive took pity on Arthur and made Accolon drop Excalibur so that Arthur could pick it up.  Arthur revealed who he was and Accolon spared him and crossed Morgan Le Fay.  Morgan Le Fay stole the scabbard of Excalibur and threw it into a lake.  Morgan couldn’t resist one final attempt to kill Arthur so sent him a special cloak.  Nenive advised Arthur not to try the cloak on and had it put on a handmaid who instantly dropped dead and then burst into flames.  Arthur then left Morgan Le Fay in the Land of Gore.

Arthur gathered an army and set off to Gaul to kill a giant and then went on to conquer Rome.  Rome had insisted that Arthur should pay taxes to them.

5/.  We considered the story of Lancelot du Lake.  Lancelot became Queen Guinevere’s champion and bound by the conventions of courtly love.  However the relationship between Lancelot and Guinevere moved beyond courtly love and gossip soon started to spread.  To protect Guinevere Lancelot tried to distance himself but Guinevere was unhappy with this.  Lancelot faced many trials.

Guinevere and her party of knights and ladies were kidnapped by Sir Meleagant.  Guinevere managed to smuggle out a message to Lancelot to rescue her.  After the rescue Guinevere released Sir Lancelot.