Category Archives: News

News items

North West Region Project

We are part of the North West Region of u3as,  all 100 plus of them.  From time to time the regional committee organises events and projects for their membership.  “My Street” is the latest one with an aim of fostering local and regional involvement, pride and awareness – a sense of place to present to the outside world.  It’s described as a Collaborative Project.

The project will be a collection of images – photographs, paintings, drawings, embroideries, accompanied by some words to tell the story behind the image.    It can be done by individual u3a members or groups. The image should be of the local area – the street where you live.

If you would like to take part or to find out more about this project then use this link for My Street – North West Region of u3as Collaborative Project.

Speaker Meetings

Speaker Meetings are back!

The following dates have been confirmed – these meetings will all take place via Zoom, for Aughton & Ormskirk u3a members, at 11 am on the date shown. Put the dates in your diary and email speakerteam@aughton-ormskirk-u3a.co.uk to register your interest, including a phone number please. I will send you the meeting codes in due course.

If you don’t feel comfortable using Zoom, help is at hand! Follow this link to see what’s available: Zoom Support Page

Note: Some devices have trouble linking directly to your email using links on our website such as the above.  In this case, just load your email app and copy or type the address into the To field and carry on with your reservation.

4th March          Stephen Wells: The Curious Incident of Agatha Christie

1st April             Andrew Thwaite:  Title to be confirmed, but definitely chocolate related!

3rd June            Fool’s Gold: Musical duo

8th July             Carolyn Kirby: Women with Wings

Stephen Wells

Stephen Wells talks about The Curious Incident of Agatha Christie

On Thursday 4th March professional entertainer Stephen Wells will speak to us on ‘The Curious Incident of Agatha Christie’.

On December 3, 1926 the then 36-year-old Christie left her home in Sunningdale and drove her Morris Cowley towards Surrey. The next morning the vehicle was found abandoned with a fur coat and a driving licence left inside.

Her disappearance sparked an extensive manhunt, with over 1,000 police officers and 15,000 volunteers searching for the author, as well as newspaper adverts urging any members of the public with information to come forward.

This fascinating talk looks in detail at what really happened, takes an in depth look at her most famous novels and examines the famous portrayals of her celebrated detectives Miss Jane Marple and the Belgian sleuth Hercule Poirot.

Stephen has appeared on numerous television and radio shows and has also worked extensively for cruise lines such as Cunard and P&O. He has been a member of the Magic Circle for 45 years and regularly speaks to u3a, Probus and WI groups in the Yorkshire area. Do make a note in your diary for what promises to be a very entertaining talk!

Andrew Thwaite

Thursday 1st April will see the welcome return of chocolatier Andrew Thwaite, who entertained us in 2019 with a demonstration of chocolate making, accompanied by amusing anecdotes and samples at the end. At the time of writing Andrew has not confirmed the title of his talk, but it is sure to be equally entertaining.

 

 

 

 

On Thursday 6th May we will welcome Mason Bee expert John Whittles, who will explain the importance of this tiny, endangered creature, and how we can help safeguard its existence. Mason Bees are gentle, solitary bees who make their nests in hollow spaces, not in hives. They are very important and efficient pollinators, and their numbers are in decline.

 

On Thursday 3rd June we will be entertained by Fool’s Gold, alias Carol and Steve Robson. Carol and Steve have been performing their unique shows for some while – long enough to rack up over 100

Carol and Steve Robson

0 performances which have been delivered to audiences all over the UK. Since the pandemic began, they have adapted their performances so that they can be delivered very effectively via Zoom.

Steve and Carol write:

Dark Light is the new Fool’s Gold zoom show for 2021. It has been created as a wholly new show specifically for Zoom using some of the clever functions available to build a fascinating and creative show. This time we have connected the songs to one story: a fascinating mystery based on a wholly true history from 1900 … and it’s amazing how many songs of the time that you will know, smile, and sing!

Many of you will remember Carolyn Kirby, who spoke to us last year about the background to her first book, The Conviction of Cora Burns. Carolyn will be speaking to us via Zoom on Thursday 8th July on

Carolyn Kirby

the subject of the background to her new book, When We Fall. A gripping second world war thriller, When We Fall was chosen by The Times and Sunday Times as one of the ten best historical novels of 2020,  and is due to be re-launched in the spring.

Carolyn says: “This illustrated talk tells the story of how I came to write When We Fall through the lives and careers of four female pilots of World War II.

The original inspiration for my novel lay with the amazing airwomen of Air Transport Auxiliary who overcame many barriers to fly warplanes from factories to RAF airfields during the war. My talk will focus on three of these women, including Amy Johnson, highlighting the glamour, excitement and daily dangers they faced in the skies above wartime Britain.

Flying in even more perilous skies was the Polish air force pilot, Janina Lewandowska, the real life character who is at the heart of the fictional story of When We Fall.
Janina was a pioneering aviator and the only female victim of the notorious 1940 massacres of Polish prisoners of war by the Soviet Union at Katyn – the real event that underpins my novel.

Using photographs and visuals, I will explain how, over more than ten years of writing, my novel was shaped by the lives and fates of these remarkable women.”

The talk will be followed by an audience Q & A and a chance to buy a signed copy of the novel.

Full details will be published nearer the time, but in the meantime, if you are interested in watching any of these talks, please email speakerteam@aughton-ormskirk-u3a.co.uk, and I will send you the links in due course.

I will post further updates as and when I am able to confirm them.

Pam Ball


See Pam’s Past Speaker Meetings for info on last year’s events.

Please email any ideas for Future Speaker Meetings to Pam Ball, our Speaker Meeting Organiser,  at:

speakerteam@aughton-ormskirk-u3a.co.uk  or phone 07974 749362.

The Census is coming! 

As everyone knows, the Census comes once every 10 years.

And this year, it’s on 21st March.

If you have questions such as Why do I have to complete the census? What information do they want? or Is it used for more than just family history research? you can get the answers from Lauren Mullen, the Census Engagement Manager for West Lancashire, who has offered to talk to us via Zoom.

If you wish to join this Zoom session, please email webteam@aughton-ormskirk-u3a.co.uk and we will send you an invitation to a Zoom meeting to be arranged in mid-March.

See also Lauren’s email about the Census.

Diana’s Funeral

Diana’s Funeral by Margaret Kitchen

Journalists go out on assignments with the intention of observing, questioning and reporting. We don’t go with the idea of expressing our personal opinions.

So when, the day before Princess Diana’s funeral, I was boarding the London bound train, I was ambushed by a local TV company asking for my views, I was taken aback. In the maelstrom of the hysterical days since August 31st I had been busy reporting on the situation and had not had much time to consider what I thought.

I can’t remember what I said before they released me to gain my seat. However, the ride from Liverpool to the capital gave me time to think. I am not a royalist and I was aware that Diana had clearly been duped into a loveless marriage at the tender age of 19. Her experience and the tragic outcome was clearly a lesson for other bedazzled young women who need their own family to open their eyes.

Dusk was falling as the train pulled into Euston and I took a taxi to Kensington Palace, Diana’s home, where crowds had gathered. I walked among dazed, sad people and watched grown men cry and couples comfort each other. Candles flickered and the smell of the mountain of dying bouquets filled the atmosphere like heady incense. This was a very un-English scene. It reminded me of Mexico in the cemeteries on the day of the dead, when ancestors were remembered.

Yet, later that evening I dined with friends in a restaurant about a mile away where there was not a hint of mourning. Chat and laughter filled the packed room as people relaxed after a busy week of work. It was no different from any other Friday evening. Yet it was so different from the anguished scene nearby.

I had planned to rise early in the morning to take my place on Whitehall among the crowds to cover the procession to Westminster Abbey. As it turned out, however, all the hotel guests were awoken at 5am by the fire alarms ringing loudly. We dashed out into the street, wearing our coats over our nightwear, thinking this might be a dramatic omen for the day ahead. Instead we found the alarms had gone off by accident.

It was 7.30am by the time I walked into Whitehall to find a spot to stand to watch the procession and try to interview some of the mourners. It would be another three hours before the cortege appeared; it was going to take some stamina to stand there on that chilly September morning with no bathroom facilities available.

As I walked on I could see the crowds on both sides of the road. People had got up much earlier than me to get a good vantage spot. As I got nearer I was struck by the stillness of the crowd. Then I realised that it was largely silent. It was quite unlike most gatherings. People were already paying tribute to the deceased Princess who had died in a Paris tunnel. It was humbling.

I stood among some families, mostly Londoners, who told me, grimly, that Diana should not have come to this. There were flashes of anger in their eyes along with sadness. The Royal family was not top of their favourite people list.

Eventually the gun carriage carrying Diana’s coffin came into view behind us and some people began to cry and others let out sounds of grief. The white floral tribute at the back of the coffin spelled out the word ‘mummy’ and shoulders shook at the sight of it.

Then came the unforgettable scene of the two young princes walking between Prince Charles, Prince Philip and Earl Spencer, their father, grandfather and uncle. It was not the grown-ups we were all focussed on, but the sight of the boys. Prince William, aged 15, with his head bowed and his body looking frail; Prince Harry, aged 12, doing his best to maintain a mannish ramrod stance while his face told a bereft tale.

Parents glanced at each other as the youngsters passed, silently asking each other why these boys had been coaxed to undertake such an ordeal before the watching world. ‘Cruel’ was the unspoken word between them.

I rushed back to my hotel room to file copy and found the Filipina maid sitting on the bed watching Earl Spencer in the Cathedral condemning the Royal family. “Who is he?” she asked me, her eyes full of tears. “Diana’s brother,” I replied. She nodded sagely while I wondered where he had been throughout his sister’s suffering.

On the train back to Liverpool, a conductor soon turned up and asked me if I had been to the funeral. Absent mindedly I said yes, I was covering it for my paper. His face glowered and he threw my ticket on the table.

“It’s you lot that killed her,” he shouted and walked out of the carriage.

Did we?

Signs of Spring

Since entering social isolation started early last year, we have covered the times and seasons in various website ‘galleries’ filling them with items sent in by our talented members. To refresh your memory, do revisit:

  • West Lancs in Bloom – galleries set up following a request, early on in the first lockdown, to members for photos taken when  pottering in the garden or out on their daily walk.
  • Gardening Group Gallery – a cornucopia of beautiful summer blooms.
  • West Lancs in Autumn  – gallery of great photos (plus a poem) with a seasonal theme.
  • Christmas Card Gallery – a seasonal webpage contains a miscellany of festive contributions sent in by our talented members.  It started off as photos of cards designed by members to convey greetings within our u3a, then expanded to include crafts, a poem and short stories.

The first lockdown started in March 2020, so we missed late Winter and early Spring. This new Gallery, on the theme of  ‘Signs of Spring’ aims to fill that gap. We wish too that it will give members cheer that warmer and brighter weather is on its way, new life is returning to the world and there is renewed hope for a safer and more carefree future.

Many, many thanks to all contributors so far. This Gallery is work-in-progress.  If you snap any other ‘Signs of Spring’ in your garden or on your walks in February or March, please do send them to us at webteam@aughton-ormskirk-u3a.co.uk.  As well as flowers, bushes and trees, we particularly welcome relevant images pics of birds, bees, butterflies and other insects, new life in farm or field such as lambs, and country and garden wildlife awakening from winter slumbers.

Moving Forward into Spring

(Click on any picture to move through the slideshow.)

* Note – According to Wikipedia, the Green Man is a “legendary being primarily interpreted as a symbol of rebirth, representing the cycle of new growth that occurs every spring.”

Many of the first photos sent in were of snowdrops.  So here is a poem from our resident poet, Judy. Although written a few years ago, it is particularly pertinent to 2021.

The Snowdrop

Leading us into a warmer direction
Taking us forward away from the snow
Away from the wind and the cold that will go.
As we see Spring colours starting to brighten
And the days grow longer in order to lighten
Projecting the warmth that will help us to cope
We will all move forward into seasons of hope.

Judy Ingman, Jan. 2018.

Early Spring Bulbs and Flowers

 

Early Buds and Greenery

Speaker Meetings are back!

The first meeting took place via Zoom at 11 am on 4th February when Julia Clayton  provided us with a fascinating talk on the topic of What did the Spartans do for us?  Details of this and future Speaker Meetings already arranged for 2021, including how to sign up to attend, can be viewed on Pam Ball’s Speaker Meeting webpage.

If not familiar with joining in remotely, check out Zoom Support for help.

Geology Lectures for u3a Members

Although the Earth/Geology Group is currently suspended locally, the National u3a is putting on free Geology talks that members can attend via Zoom. Full details and booking are available on the online events page of the National u3a website. There are a couple of relevant topics in March.  They are repeats of very popular talks earlier in the year.  Be aware – places at u3a online events have to be limited and are snapped up.  So sign up ASAP!

Census Day – 21 March

Lauren Mullen is the Census Engagement Manager for West Lancashire, working very closely with local councillors and West Lancashire Borough Council to raise awareness of the Census.

Lauren is encouraging us to take the Census seriously, and has this message for all of us:

“The census is coming. By taking part, you can help inform decisions on services that shape your community, such as healthcare, education and transport.

The census is a unique survey that happens every 10 years. It gives us a snapshot of all the people and households in England and Wales – the most detailed information we have about our society.

It’s important that you fill in your census questionnaire. Without the information you share, it’d be more difficult to understand your community’s needs and to plan and fund public services.

In one way or another, your information touches the lives of every single person living in England and Wales, whether it’s through using census information to plan new schools, doctors’ surgeries or bike lanes.

Because these things matter to us all, everyone needs to complete the census. Do not worry, government officials dealing with applications you’ve made or payments or services you receive cannot see it.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) runs the census in England and Wales and is independent from government. Your details are protected by law and information published is always anonymous.

Census Day is Sunday 21 March 2021. You can fill yours in online as soon as you get your access code in the post. If your household circumstances change on Census Day, you can let the ONS know.

Everyone should have the support they need to fill in the census. If you, or anyone you know, needs help, there’s a wide range of support services available.

These include a contact centre that can give you help over the phone and guidance in a range of languages and accessible formats, including paper questionnaires and large print.

If you need help or have any questions, visit www.census.gov.uk

Lauren adds, “This year the Census will be taking a digital first approach and as such I want to work with local community organisations to help engage the local community with the Census and provide additional help and support in the lead up to Census day.

I have been asking groups and organisations whether they would be willing to post information on their websites and social media pages and print an article in any publications they send to their members. We also have posters that we can send off to centres in use. I have also been advising that I am able to host virtual meetings with the community to give more information on the Census too.

If this is something you would be able to help get involved with please contact me on lauren.mullen92@field.census.gov.uk

Kind Regards

Lauren Mullen”

Pilates via Zoom

The Pilates tutor, Laura Gornell, has sent this email to u3a Pilates Group Coordinator, Lorna:

Hi everyone,

Hope this email finds you well. It has been a very strange year for us all and I am sure we didn’t expect things to last this long. However we have the vaccine now and spring is around the corner.
I am sure you are missing your pilates as much as I am missing teaching you but we are still not able to get back to the Hall just yet. However I would like to give you the opportunity to try my online classes via “Zoom”.
You can try your first class for FREE and below is my website so you can contact me or you can call or txt me.
I am still able to observe you well, as I have set up a studio at home with a large screen to see you clearly.
Lots of people are using Zoom to keep in touch with family and friends and it is now part of most of our lives. You may even be doing other U3A activities via this platform.
Please give it a go, I am sure you will be glad you did. A few of the U3A members are already attending and feeling the benefit.

TIMETABLE : Some of these times are not on the website yet as they are new.

Monday-

  • 8.30am
  • 4.30pm
  • 7.00pm

Tuesday-

  • 8.30am
  • 7.15pm

Wednesday-

  • 8.30am
  • 10.50am

Thursday-

  • 8.30am
  • 7.30pm

Friday-

  • 8.30am

CHECK OUT MY WEBSITE BELOW – I WOULD LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU

pilatesdefined.co.uk

STAY SAFE! Hope to see you soon
Love
Laura xxx

m: 07801 658210
e: lgornell@yahoo.co.uk

Note: These classes are not exclusively for u3a members.

Zoom Support

Spurred on by social isolation from friends and family, many Aughton & Ormskirk u3a members have entered into the world of videoconferencing.  A favourite platform is Zoom.  A good number of our A&O Groups have already been running successful remote meetings for a while now.  See Our Virtual u3a. And, good news! This year, the monthly Speaker Meetings have restarted using Zoom.

If you too would like to give Zoom a go, then you may be asking one of the following questions.  Skip those that don’t apply to your query and current level of expertise.

FAQs relating to Zoom

  1. As an A&O Group Leader, how can I use Zoom to arrange remote meetings with my Group Members?  A&O u3a has two Zoom licences which enable group and other  meetings to run without a restriction on duration. Refer to the Zoom Sessions Calendar to book a slot.
  2. How do I create and use a Zoom Account so that I can set up and / or join  Zoom sessions for my own use?  Check out on the National u3a Office website for How-to-Guidance Notes to find out how to create a personal Zoom account for use on your Mobile Phone, Tablet or Desktop Computer.  National u3a also runs very professional and informative Tutorials on using Zoom for various circumstances.
  3. I have been invited to a u3a Zoom meeting. Can I join in without downloading the Zoom app? Yes, just use the browser link provided on the invitation eg to a Speaker Meeting or a Group Event.  (You do not need to logon to Zoom using the username and password mentioned on the invitation.) If you do not wish to download and install the Zoom App, you can join a Zoom meeting direct from your browser – for details see either of the following:
  4. I would like to try out Zoom for the first time, but don’t feel confident in following the routes mentioned above.  Can anyone provide me with more individual assistance?  The Monday and Tuesday Computer Helpers are still around offering personal IT support to members remotely.   We can set up a practice  zoom session with you, guiding you through by email and phone and then Zoom itself. See IT  Support Contact details below.

IT Support Contacts

Email:

elearning@aughton-ormskirk-u3a.co.uk

webteam@aughton-ormskirk-u3a.co.uk

Phone:

Local members can refer to the A&O u3a February 2021 enews for Computer Helper names and phone numbers

January 2021 enews

The latest enews was sent out by the enews Editor to all members with an email address on Monday 25 January. If you are not receiving your monthly enews, check your Spam folder. If not there, check with the Membership Team that they have your correct details on record

If you have missed an enews deadline (noon on the day of sending), and have some u3a content you would like to publicise on this website, contact the Web Team.

You can use the web forms for the enews Editor, the Membership Team and the Web Team on the Contact Us webpage to get in touch, selecting appropriately from the ‘drop-down list’ on the form as you fill it in.

My Experience as an Oxford Vaccine Trial Volunteer

This letter was sent in by one of our members:

My Experience as an Oxford Vaccine Trial Volunteer

As with most people it has been a switchback ride for me ever since the first national lockdown last March. Even before then I stumbled across the YouTube channel of health expert John Campbell who calmly anticipated the pandemic as early as January and I felt a mounting anxiety turning to disbelief with the slow response in the UK. Looking back on those times I realise how depleted my current energies are since the days of sourcing face masks and making hand sanitiser out of rubbing alcohol and sending out thermometers to those I thought were vulnerable.

Continue reading

Change to u3a Membership Year 

An imortant message from Aughton & Ormskirk u3a Treasurer, Derrick Fewings:

In case you missed the article in the December 2020 mini-magazine, please note that the next membership year will now commence on 1st October 2021 and that no membership renewal payment is required in advance of that date. The annual membership subscription will remain at £15. Future membership years will run from 1st October to 30th September.

Note that the mini-magazine referred to above was Newsletter No 2, emailed in mid-December to all members with an email address on their Beacon membership record.  Those without email were sent a printed A5 version by post or via hand delivery.  These occasional Newsletters, currently in place of the long-standing quarterly Magazine, should not be confused with the monthly enews.  These are emailed to members at the end of every month – too frequently for printed copies to be posted.  So if you know of any member without an email address or not on the Internet, perhaps you could print and deliver a copy for them to read or phone them with any important u3a news.

December 2020 enews

The latest enews was sent out by the enews Editor to all members with an email address on Monday 28 December. If you have not received it, check your Spam folder. If not there, check with the Membership Team that they have your correct details on record

If you missed the enews deadline, and have some U3A content you would like to publicise on this website, contact the Web Team.

You can use the web forms for the enews Editor, Membership Team and the Web Team on the Contact Us webpage to get in touch, selecting appropriately from the ‘drop-down list’ on the form as you fill it in.

u3a emails

If you have set up an email address for the first time (or you have changed your email address), please don’t forget that you can logon to update your u3a Beacon details for yourself.  Or  if you need it to be added, changed or checked for you on your Beacon membership record, contact the Membership Team.

It is important (especially during time of lockdown and tiers) that your correct email address is on the Beacon system.  This ensures that you, as a member of Aughton & Ormskirk u3a, will receive useful emails such as the monthly enews,  the occasional special Newsletters (currently in place of the Magazines) and important notifications from the Chairman, the Management Committee and other u3a Committees and Officers. It is also an easy and secure way for Group Leaders to contact their members.

Zoom Sessions Calendar

Various groups now meet using Zoom. Our local U3A now has two licences which enable groups to have meetings without a restriction on duration. It also means that two Zoom meetings can take place at the same time.

For further details, and to book a meeting slot, contact Willem Wiechers by email at: elearning@aughton-ormskirk-u3a.co.uk

Folklore/Mythology

The group has begun zoom sessions on the 3rd Monday morning of every month. The next meeting will be on 21st December, when we will be talking about Black Dogs, Boggarts and other supernatural creatures in British folklore. For further details, please contact June Jones by email at r.jones45@btinternet.com

November enews

The most recent enews came out on Monday 30th November (last Monday of the month). If you missed the deadline and want items posted in the December enews, please send them to the enews Editor

In the meantime, if you want u3a information posted on the website, contact the Web Team.

The Third Age Trust also has a National Newsletter containing government information on covid-19 along with very interesting, entertaining and useful advice, stories, titorials and ideas from across the U3A movement on all manner of topics.  Members of u3a can subscribe for this other National Newsletter to be emailed to them monthly.  (Members can also access archived past issues from that same page.)

Christmas Card Gallery Guidelines

At an Autumn Zoom meeting of the Communications Subcommittee, a suggestion came up of publishing a u3a Christmas Card Gallery on the website. If that idea appeals to you, please do get creative and produce a ‘Christmas Card’ using your talents and skills in painting, drawing, cartooning, textiles and other crafts, hand-made cards etc. Then just send a photo of it to the Web Team for publication.  See those we have already received in our Christmas Card Gallery..
For practical and technical reasons, there have to be a few guidelines:
  • it should be your own work, or you’ll need to check that included photos, clipart etc are free of copyright
  • it should be a single page
  • send in your digital ‘card’ as an attachment in an email to webteam@aughton-ormskirk-u3a.co.uk if you already have it stored electronically (or take a photo or scan it and send that file)
  • greetings text can be included in the image on the page and / or on the gallery ‘caption’ area which will appear below the card in the gallery.  Include your caption in the email message when you send in your card file attachment
  • the recipient(s) of the greetings should not be personal or individual, though the sender(s), ie the card maker(s), can name or identify themselves as they wish

To further explain this last point …….  we are looking only for u3a-related greetings to recipients at the Group / Committee / u3a friends level.  Therefore suitable greetings (appearing on card or caption or between both might be along the lines of:

  • “Happy Christmas to members of the Such-and-Such Group from Josephine Bloggs”
  • “Joe Bloggs sends Best Wishes to all his u3a Friends”
  • “Christmas Greetings from the Web Team to our Website Visitors”

For further guidance, please ontact: webteam@aughton-ormskirk-u3a.co.uk

Covid-19 advice on u3a activities

Following the introduction of government restrictions, the National U3A has published some Covid-19 advice on u3a activities.

You can also read messages from our Chairman Alan Starkie and Trustee Sue Watkinson about what our u3a is doing in the meantime.

Of course, any restarting of activities in the foreseeable future will involve assessment of risk and acceptance of some required changes to behaviour (social distancing) and additional tasks relating to hygiene. Our work to date on this subject is given in this Covid-19 Risk Management presentation.

Maths Week – 9th to14th November

With increasingly gloomy weather and restrictions on venturing out, why not give your brain some exercise instead of your feet!

The national u3a website has always had some great resources, and now has a new winter learning programme with links to some intriguing activities.

Among the many online events are three Zoom sessions for anyone with an interest in maths

All three of these online events are part of the u3a series of events to tie in with Maths Week 2020 which runs from 9th to 14th November.

If these whet your appetite, you may be interested in the weekly Maths Challenge run by the national u3a – with 30 week’s worth (and counting!) of challenges to have a go at!

Our Virtual u3a

A number of Groups (and Organisers of other events and individual members) are being very innovative in carrying on remotely! See below for the examples we know about so far. Please send the Web Team examples of u3a Remote Activities that we don’t yet know about. 

You will note that a good number of remotely active Groups use Zoom.  If you need help with this videoconferencing platform, either as a u3a Group Leader or Participant, check out the new Post called Zoom Support.

Continue reading

Health and Wellbeing Reports

Member Julia Bate has organised a series of talks on matters relating to health and wellbeing for 2020.  Unfortunately, after  a good start, talks  arranged for March and April had to be cancelled till further notice due to the Coronavirus lockdown.

More recently, however, Julia has had Zoom meetings with the Patient Safety and the Patient and Public Involvement Groups attached to the North West Coast NHS Innovation Agency. Do take a few minutes to check out Julia’s interesting reports from these meetings:

Julia’s Reports from Zoom Meetings

2021 meetings
2020 meetings

Email address for Julia: wellbeing@aughton-ormskirk-u3a.co.uk

Online Talks and Tours

A message from Pamela Ball, the Speaker Meeting Organiser, about Free Online Talks:

UK Tours Online are offering a number of online talks via Zoom which may be of interest to members. Most have to be paid for, but there will be a free one on Monday 7 September entitled Saints, murderers, heroes, crooks: the worst and best of British monarchs. Also on 25 August there will be a talk on Seven treasures of the British Museum – this one is available to us for a donation (you choose the amount) to Prostate Cancer UK. Register for either or both here (you will need to scroll through a bit!).

Shine a Light on Beacon

Still in the dark about the  U3A Beacon Membership System?  Then let the Membership Team enlighten you.

For example, among other things:

  • existing members can renew membership online
  • members can update their own personal details on the Beacon database (useful if you change your email address and still want to receive the enews and Management Committee communications)
  • group leaders can easily communicate with their group members via Beacon email

Chairman’s message about re-opening

Many members are asking questions about re-opening our U3A. The Management Committee has been actively discussing the situation and examining the latest Government rules. You can read the Chairman’s statement (sent to members in a special Beacon email on 3rd July) about the steps we are taking to ensure a safe continuation of our activities.

MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIRMAN

There have been many announcements from Government detailing when and under what conditions businesses can open from 4th July. As a result, many members have raised the question of when our U3A will be operational.

Government rules on how organisations such as ours can re-open have been examined and as a consequence, there are several steps we need to take in order for us to make it as safe as possible for us to start Group activities again.

There are obligations on the owners of venues that we use such as Scouts & Guides, Aughton Village Hall etc.
Before we can commit to using any facility, we must be sure that they have been deep cleaned and how they will conform to cleaning regulations.

These and a whole raft of other topics will need to be negotiated and agreed before we continue with our activities.

When we can eventually restart meetings, we should not expect things to continue as before the lockdown.

We shall have to plan and allocate where and when meetings can take place, taking into account the size of the group; how many people a facility can accommodate within distancing rules etc., and if the wearing of masks will be mandatory or not.

For example, face to face Groups such as Bridge under present rules will probably have to wear a mask for the duration of the meeting.

It is also more than likely that Horizons will not be reactivated for some time.

There are many more rules for the committee to consider before we can give the go ahead to continue with meetings and meet our friends again.

Uppermost in our thoughts is that, according to the scientists, our generation is identified as being very vulnerable to Covid-19 and we must take very cautious steps when moving forward.

Even when we can continue, every member must be responsible for their own health and safety and should bear this in mind before attending U3A meetings.

I hope that a successful vaccination against Covid-19 will be found and we will all be vaccinated, rules and regulations will no longer be needed and we will be able to freely meet again.

Until then we must cope with how things are.

The Committee will strive to restart our U3A and we will inform you when it is safe to do so.

Keep Safe; Keep Well

Alan Starkie
Chairman

Gardening Group-Garden Visits & Photos

Lockdown 2020

All meetings are currently postponed until further notice.


Hello Everyone. Helen here from the Gardening Group. I do hope that you are all staying safe and well and enjoying your garden or outdoor spaces. 

Garden visits

For anyone that hasn’t heard, the National Gardens Scheme have started garden openings with an online booking system for visits so that numbers are limited and social distancing can work. 

79 Crabtree Lane – which our group visited last year is opening this weekend – Sunday 5th, Monday 6th and Tuesday 7th.

Hazel wood  – which our group was due to visit this year is also opening this weekend – Saturday 4th, Sunday 5th and Monday 6th.

Just go online to ngs.org.uk and click on ‘book a visit’.

Photo gallery of our groups gardens .

Following on from the earlier success of the West Lancs in Bloom galleries on our U3A Website, the Web Team are wondering if Gardening Group members would be interested in a special gallery to add to our Group Page with recent pictures of your gardens?  West Lancs in Bloom was nearly exclusively Spring Blossom, so we were thinking of a gallery this time with a theme like Our Summer Gardens during Lockdown.

Contributions can be emailed as attachments to webteam@aughton-ormskirk-u3a.co.uk.  As the website is public, contributors should avoid the appearance in a photo of recognizable people or obtain permission from those appearing. Please provide suitable short captions for your photos and say whether you would like your name to be included or not.

Looking forward to seeing your lovely gardens. I’m amazed at how resilient many plants have been to the recent extremes of weather, gales, heatwave, drought and torrential rain ! 

Stay safe and healthy,

Pam & Helen

Creative Writing Group During Lockdown

When we heard that we’d no longer be able to meet up for our usual monthly sessions, the Creative Writing Group decided that we’d still like to write something every month and share it via email. We knew it wouldn’t be half as enjoyable as getting together but it was better than nothing. However, with the next ‘meeting’ several weeks away, someone suggested we created a WhatsApp group so we could keep in touch in the meantime. What a great idea! National lockdown was looming but we were prepared.

We’ve got to know each other surprisingly well. Through the WhatsApp chat we’ve heard snippets of lives past and seen present day photos from daily walks. We’ve even had the odd glimpse into each other’s homes via Zoom. Strangely, during this time apart, acquaintances are becoming firm friends.

One day, a bit of banter on WhatsApp sparked a couple of lines of fiction and everyone joined in adding their own couple of lines. Before we knew it we had a page-worth of words that could have been lifted from a spy novel. It was a bit of fun so we decided we’d have a proper go with a new story. We’ve written seven so far, including one round of poetry. The six of us keeping ourselves amused with these exercises are set in a new order every time and then write two or three paragraphs each, usually two rounds per story.

Follow this link to see our most recent creation!

With all of this, plus our short story competition entries, we’ve done more writing in the last three months than most of us ever do under normal circumstances and we’ve thoroughly enjoyed this aspect of lockdown.

Bridge Group during the Lockdown

John and Joan, Leaders of the Bridge Group, have sent the Web Team some very interesting news about what the Group has been doing to keep going during Lockdown. What an active and adaptable Group!

 

During the lockdown, we have been in touch with all the group members with a regular email contact as well as by phone. We know that all our members are coping pretty well with all the restrictions, although two members of the group have had to be hospitalised due to falls, but are recovering well. Many members are becoming more IT savvy, using online platforms to communicate with each other and to play bridge.

Just before the lockdown, one of the group, Nick Dowrick, was about to start his ‘beginners’ bridge lessons.  Following a trial with some willing volunteers from the group, who had some expertise in the game, using Zoom and Bridge Base online, he started the lessons with 12 keen students, a few weeks ago.  All the feedback is very good and the students have praised Nick’s patience and knowledge.  We hope that they continue to enjoy the lessons and look forward to welcoming them to our bridge sessions when we get back to normal.  However, the two metre social distancing rule will cause some great difficulties for us!

We also have some budding poets in the group, who have been using their extra leisure time to put pen to paper – we have ‘published’ the poems on the group emails for all to enjoy.

Joan and John

Gardening Group – June

All meetings are currently postponed until further notice.

Hello Everyone. Helen here from the Gardening Group. I do hope that you are all staying safe and well and enjoying your garden or outdoor spaces. Thank you to everyone who has emailed with comments or photos, good to hear from you. I hope you all enjoyed the quiz in the last email, here are the answers to that one and a new quiz for this month.

Continue reading

Science During Lockdown

A new virtual group – Science during Lockdown – has been specially set up for these strange times.  It features a Daily Science Snippet, Science Jokes and Cartoons, Illusions, online Science Quizzes that any member can try out and links to Coronavirus articles.

2020 AGM

Due to ongoing restrictions on our activity, the 2020 AGM of the Aughton & Ormskirk U3A, scheduled for 21 May, was postponed. You will be advised of a revised date in a future update.

As per established practice, you will be invited to propose agenda items for that rescheduled AGM. If appropriate, we will also advise you of vacancies for Trustee and Management Committee positions and invite nominations. The usual timetable for such activities will apply.

In the meantime, members of the Management Committee and the Trustees will continue in their current roles.

Poems for Lockdown

This Post was the response to a request for poems from the Web Team, in early May 2020 (during the coronavirus lockdown),  for members to read on our U3A Website.  The result below is an eclectic mix penned by known poets and by our own talented U3A members. Many, many thanks to all contributors.
Please note – This particular post is now complete.  But members are always welcome to send in contributions for publication on the website  sharing their many and varied literary and artistic talents eg poems, stories, paintings, cartoons etc to:

Continue reading

Gardening Group – May

All meetings are currently postponed until further notice.

I like gardening – it’s a place where I find myself when I need to lose myself – Alice Sebold.

Hello Everyone –  Helen here from the Gardening  Group.  I do hope that you are all staying safe and well and enjoying your garden or outdoor spaces. Garden centres are now opening so we can get on with planting up lovely colourful summer baskets and containers. For anyone isolating many are still offering local delivery and online ordering.

Continue reading

Our u3a in Times of Social Isolation

Garden trees in Spring

New leaves under a pandemic-blue sky (an Aughton Garden, April 2020)

Check out our website News page and the Coloured Alert Box and Sidebar Links on the Front  Page for ideas on how we can all keep in touch and active during these unusual times. Please send your own ideas and activities that might be of help and interest to other members, and the community at large, for inclusion to: webteam@aughton-ormskirk-u3a.co.uk

Latest Website initiative – the not-currently-relevant Events Menu Item has been temporarily exchanged for another called Keeping in Touch.

And don’t miss out on the many, fantastic opportunities open to members on the Third Age Trust (TAT) website. There is something for everyone there – from Maths to Mindfulness, from Keeping Well to Keeping Fit (with Mr Motivator, no less).

 

 

Latin in Lockdown

Leader of the Latin & the Roman World Group, Dennis Morley,  has sent the Web Team the following example of their activities during Lockdown.  The Group is certainly being kept busy.

Lockdown for the Latin Group means just a change of method, as the group have continued their course without interruption.

Although “red ink” assessments are not used, there is a lively exchange of translations and comprehensions. This week we are looking at some “Cicero” to see whether Boris was affected by his rhetoric.

I attach a selection of cuttings from local and national rags all of which contain some “errors”; a big part of Latin in translating from English is to strip the language down to its most literal form.

See how many errors you can spot! Responses published in next edition.

Lapsus Linguae u3a

The Association this year argued that schools could only afford a 2% increase for teachers, meaning the remaining 0.75% would need additional funding.

This legislation will mean that myself and many other families will, hopefully, not have to endure   the torture of not knowing where their loved one’s remains can be recovered from.

I do not know if this follows a decision to purge the party of moderates like us, or if it was a crude attempt to see us fold under pressure.

The Church of England has published official advice that sex is only good for married heterosexuals only.

Pervert jailed for abusing girl now sent down for rape.

Labour MPs can barely look one another in the eye, let alone be bothered to seriously challenge the government.

For more than 25 years, she only told a few people close to her about the encounter.

Re-cycling is well established in kitchen and grocery products, with Tesco announcing last week that it was removing certain shrink-wrapped multipacks.

People doubtless go to church for all sorts of reasons. But I’d advise anyone looking for friends to inspect a church’s advice on relationships.

At a summer camp in Ohio, I complained to colleagues about the state of my hair, due to the wind.

Remember that not all the attendees would be fervent followers of Jeremy.

Still, if there’s one upside to Brexit it’s that hopefully we will be seeing a lot less of Farage.

 

Play Ukulele!

Tony Crimlisk, Leader of the Ukulele Group has sent in the following message and kind offer:

In isolation? Now’s your chance to learn a new skill. Why not beg, borrow or steal a ukulele and have a go? This is just a brief introduction to show how easy it is to start.

To get underway, download these instructions from Tony.

West Lancs in Bloom

The daffodils had faded, but there was no shortage of beautiful blooms appearing in our gardens and local countryside. Member, Audrey Patterson, had sent the Web Team a stunning photo of a lovely tree in her garden. This was the inspiration to set up a new Photo Gallery to brighten up both our spirits and the website, and to show off West Lancs in Bloom. A request to members for photos taken when  pottering in the garden or out on a daily walk was so successful that we have now included some late additions and an extra gallery 7 that you may not have seen earlier.

Many Many Thanks for contributing to and viewing these photo galleries. It has proved very popular with loads of hits on this Webpage.  No more photos are required for the time being for this Webpage.  But if the lockdown persists, we may set up another one on  nature seen in the local gardens and countryside later into the summer.

But in the meantime, if you would like to view some further excellent photos taken by members, take a look at the Competition Winners to be found following on from the Digital Photography Group Page.

Click or tap on any of the photos in the Gallery you wish to view, and then scroll through the slideshow for that Gallery to see the images full-size.

Gallery 1

Gallery 2

Gallery 3

Even the leaves are ‘blossoming’ (mostly taken by Alan N)

Gallery 4

Gallery 5

From Pete and Val’s Garden

Gallery 6

Gallery 7

Lovely, and mostly pink, Clematis, Cherry Blossom and Camelia

More TAT Advice and Info

Following on from the Post called TAT Advice and Info on this website, here are some other great lockdown ideas and activities from the Third Age Trust (TAT).

Exercise Motivation

Find out about a great opportunity that has been arranged for U3A Members via YouTube.

Mr Motivator has joined forces with U3A for a weeklong series of exercises. Mr Motivator – famous for his brightly coloured outfits and enthusiastic tv workouts- has compiled a workout aimed at specifically at Third Agers. It started on Monday 20 April AM and will run every day through that week working on every muscle in the body.

For for information and trailers and the sessions, check out the official YouTube channel of the University of the Third Age in the UK.

Tech ‘How To’ Guidance

Here you will find links to guides to tools that will help you stay in touch and connected with your friends, family and U3A.

National U3A Support Forum

This is an online message board available to all U3A members.

The Third Age Trust has launched three online discussion forums so that you can share ideas and support each other during this time. This user guide will walk you through the registration process and basic navigation and use of the forums.

TAT Advice and Info

The Third Age Trust (TAT) currently issues regular bulletins to members. Please check the TAT website regularly and, if you have not already done so, sign up to their national U3A Newsletter which disseminates advice and information quickly to all U3A members. On a rainy day, stuck in the house  during this lockdown, you might also like to pass some time browsing past issues – see the newsletter archive.

When looking at the TAT website, you will find the first three top menu links particularly useful for the current circumstances viz Home, Learning and Newsletter.  Another very helpful place to go  on the TAT website is down to the grey footer area on the main pages.  Here you will find an area called Covid Links with 3 very useful entries for these times.  Have a browse.

Zoom Boom!

Although fairly familiar, or at least aware of, a good number of apps, I had never heard of Zoom until the start of social isolation.  When asked about video conferencing, a younger family member immediately said Zoom.  Soon after that, we also heard mention of it from a couple of U3A members.  A Computer Helper, Ann P, had already done a family meetup using it and Willem, Computer Advice Leader was already experimenting with it for U3A and non-U3A use. Since then, our Website Media Manager, Alan N, has joined in with a non-U3A online Pub Quiz run with Zoom which after a few initial hiccups – technology rather than alcohol related – worked amazingly well.  And recently the Burscough, Formby and Aughton Nolans have had a Zoom get-together.  After we learnt how not to talk over each other, it was pretty good. We have also heard from Megan, the U3A Secretary, that there is a non-U3A Zumba class being run with Zoom by a local teacher.

If you already have used Zoom, please do share your experiences.  Contact:

webteam@aughton-ormskirk-u3a.co.uk

Or if you would just like to know more about Zoom (and other communication tools), then there is very helpful How To guidance on the Third Age Trust (TAT) website.

Important Caveat

There is no charge for the basic version of Zoom, But remember – ‘there is no such thing as a free lunch’.

And some reservations are already being mentioned in the media.  Thanks, Ann P, for sending this link:

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2020/mar/27/trolls-zoom-privacy-settings-covid-19-lockdown

And for further information on security issues, check out this other recent Guardian article which includes the Pros and Cons af various Video Chat options.

So if you do want to try video chat, as with all Apps,  ……….. Be Aware and Use with Care!

Joyce Nolan (Web Manager)

 

Culture at Home

Many of our favourite activities and interests have been curtailed due to social isolation.  But here are some ideas how can keep your participation alive.

National Theatre at Home

Watch top-notch online shows for free. Productions are shown every Thursday at 7pm and are then available for 7 days.

‘Local’ Theatre

Spot On is Lancashire’s touring theatre network. They are obviously currently not able to Tour but they area launching and an innovative project to compensate for this.

We will be launching Spot On Stories on Tuesday 21st April at 3pm via our websiteFacebook and YouTubeFind out more about our first show.

Tuesday afternoons will be stories for children and families, and Thursdays will be something a little more grown-up. Once they are live, they’ll be available to watch on the Spot On website for 30 days.

The Royal Opera House

The ROH is offering selected productions on demand free of charge as part of a wider package of online content available for audiences.

Travel

If you are missing  holidays, enjoy seeing the sights  from your armchair courtesy of the BBC.

Virtual Museum Tours

Take a trip round a Museum without leaving your home.

Zoo Outing

Chester Zoo

 

 

All suggestions to add to the above list are very welcome.  Contact us:

webteam@aughton-ormskirk-u3a.co.uk

Coronavirus Suspension

Following a meeting of the Management Committee and Trustees, all Aughton & Ormskirk U3A face-to-face activities are suspended with effect from 17 March 2020, until further notice.

This government guidance on coronavirus includes ongoing and changing information about how to protect yourself or check if you need medical help, and provides advice about social distancing, staying at home and travel etc.

The Third Age Trust (TAT) has published a special new and ongoing bulletin on their website – Covid-19 News and things to do.

Speaker Meeting News

Piano Recital by Andrew Wilde

We have heard via the North West Region of U3As that international pianist Andrew Wilde will be giving a recital on Tuesday 21st July at 2 pm, via Zoom. The concert is free of charge and is open to U3A Members only.

Andrew will play a selection of much-loved ‘evergreen’ pieces by some of our greatest composers for the piano, to include works by Chopin and Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata. He will introduce the pieces and their composers adding in some entertaining musical anecdotes. Andrew studied piano at Chetham’s School of Music and graduated with Distinction from the Royal Northern College of Music. He went on to win top prizes at international competitions and to play with great orchestras at major venues throughout Europe and America.

Follow this link to the North West Region website for further information and to book.

Pam Ball

 

 

Let’s Communicate (Remotely)

As you probably are aware, enews is emailed to all members with an email address on the Beacon Membership System.  But you may not be aware that Group Leaders can send emails to all members in their Group.  A number of Groups are set up in Beacon to enable this already – extremely useful in the current circumstances. If your Group cannot do  this, contact the Web Team and we’ll explain the procedure to get you started.

Remember too that all members are very welcome to make use of our U3A’s facebook page. You can send in items to Brian Bostock, the facebook editor. And you can even arrange with him to be allowed to post info on U3A facebook for yourself. If you don’t know how to get in touch with Brian, contact the Web Team.

Website Group Leaders and Authors are encouraged to add appropriate information applying to the current situation on their Group Pages and Posts. Members of Groups with no Author can  send their content direct to the Web Team.

There are many other technologies useful for communicating remotely via social networking, web conferencing and such, that can help us all keep in touch with family and friends and neighbours as well as fellow U3A members.  Common examples, in addition to facebook above,  are Skype, FaceTime, Twitter, (the very popular) WhatsApp, (the increasingly well-known) Zoom, Echo Show,  WHYPAY? (for conference calls) and (the latest to have come to my attention) TikTok. Over the following weeks, we could perhaps use this website to provide info on and experiences of some of these, if there is a demand.

There are also YouTube videos and TED talks that might be pertinent to your Group or other U3A activities that you organise. Let the Web Team. know of your interest in learning about them and especially if you have expertise to impart.

Do return to this  Website regularly as these are fast-changing times. And please do send your ideas to the Web Team (email address below) on your ideas on how to keep in touch and help each other during social isolation.

For now …….

Stay Safe, Stay Well and Stay in Communication with the U3A.

from the Web Team (Maureen, Alan and Joyce)

Email: webteam@aughton-ormskirk-u3a.co.uk

Message from the Chairman

Greetings.
I hope you’re all coping with this period of social distancing. The latest edition of the magazine is winging its way to you. Expect your Postman to drop it through your letterbox in the next few days. This would not be happening if it were not for the great joint effort from the Communications Subcommittee and the Membership Team. The Magazine Editor had extra work this time round, altering content as the coronavirus situation developed.  As usual, he had welcome assistance from his proofreaders. Finally all the magazines were put in envelopes, stamped and labelled and delivered to the Post Office next to Christ Church. So, on your behalf, I would like to offer them all a GREAT BIG THANK YOU. I would also like to thank Ian at the Post Office for helpfully getting this much larger number of Magazines into the system.
In the present circumstances, the preferred way of renewing your U3A membership is online; if you are unable to do that, you can use the membership renewal form enclosed in the magazine. Although we cannot participate in our normal group meetings, your membership fee is still important if we are to meet our financial obligations both now and when we can resume our activities.
Alan Starkie

Your u3a Magazine

If  you have not yet received your u3a Magazine through the Post, please email:

webteam@aughton-ormskirk-u3a.co.uk

Bill Evans, the u3a Magazine Editor, has written a very interesting article about how your u3a Magazine is printed and also, for this March issue, ‘why’ it was printed:


Usually, this is the ‘timeline’ of the u3a magazine:

  • I work on it for approximately four weeks or so, before the Distribution Day – sometimes in Ormskirk, occasionally in Spain, and for this issue, in ‘Center Parcs’ near Penrith.
  • Feature pages and photographic pages are created first.
  • The ‘group copy’ is read by one or two ‘volunteers’.
  • Then the group copy is inserted and made to fit. This is the part which can take a considerable amount of time. Sometimes I have enough group copy to fill 22 pages – other times only enough for 17 or so.
  • Hopefully it leaves me on the Wednesday or Thursday before ‘Distribution Day.
  • Production then takes place.
  • It gets delivered to either myself or the Scout & Guide HQ on the Friday, or over the weekend, or perhaps the Monday before Distribution Day.
  • On (and around) Distribution Day (a specific Horizons meeting), Magazines are distributed by various methods. These include:
    • individual members turning up at the Distribution Desk at Horizons to pick up their own and maybe one or two for friends and neighbours
    • Hand delivery at members’ addresses by a team of local Deliverers
    • Handover by Group Leaders or others during Group Meetings
    • Mail Posting for the remainder

This current issue was a little different:

  • I had it virtually ready for printing but waited until our Management Committee met on Monday, 16th March
  • A decision was made to ‘go ahead and print’ . . . but I needed to completely re-jig the front cover. (Obviously lots of our meetings and events are postponed or cancelled . . . but hopefully some of the later ones may take place.)
  • This time round, our magazine left me on Saturday afternoon of the 21st March
  • The platemaker came in on the Sunday to compete his part of the job
  • Our printer delivered the job to the Scout & Guide HQ in the early evening of Monday 23rd. Here they joined the already printed labels and stock of envelopes
  • For this print issue, isolated at the Scout & Guide HQ through Tuesday and Wednesday morning, the Magazines were put in envelopes along with Membership Renewal Forms and then Beacon address labels were stuck on and stamps added from our pre-purchased stock
  • All the magazine were delivered to the nearby very helpful Post Office by early afternoon on 24th March ready to go out.

How our magazine is printed:

A little technical ‘info’ on four-colour printing:

  • If we printed only 250 or so, it could probably be printed ‘digitally’ i.e. no film or metal plates.
  • The ‘copy click’ charge wouldn’t be too excessive.
  • Most companies ‘rent’ from Canon, Xerox, etc, etc, and pay a ‘copy click’ fee for each print – usually between 5p and 10p per sheet.
  • This is because hardly any ‘local’ printer would actually have their own digital printer – they are enormously expensive.
  • Our print run of around 1,800 would cost a fortune printed this way.
  • We use two companies to produce the magazine ‘lithographically’.
  • Using the ‘hi-res’ pdf file I send them, one company makes the 40 ‘plates’: 10 pairs of A3 pages x 4-colour: cyan, magenta, yellow and black.
  • The other company collects the plates, prints the magazine and delivers them.
  • The companies are extremely efficient and they do a great job for us. Unfortunately, both these companies are being ‘hit’ like most firms are, with the Coronavirus. Jobs being cancelled, or printed and then not required, etc, etc.

Drama Group

We are really disappointed that our planned production for April – “Death By Paintbrush” has had to be rescheduled.  All being well we hope to perform it later in the year.

All April tickets will still be valid for the later performance and anyone unable to attend will be entitled to a refund.

Best wishes

U3A Activity Suspension

To all Members,

Due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, the Committee and Trustees of Aughton & Ormskirk U3A have taken the decision to suspend all group activities and Horizons at all U3A sites as from midday, 17.03.2020.

According to Government information, the isolation policy for the over 70’s could last for several months.  We will make every effort to maintain contact with you through email, Magazine, Facebook or Telephone and the Website.

We will continue to send further updates via email.

Group Leaders – please could you contact any Group member not on email.

If you know any member of your Group who may live alone, a phone call for a chat could make all the difference to their wellbeing through the forthcoming isolation.

In the meantime keep well, keep safe.

Megan Tomlinson

Secretary

Message from your Treasurer

Revised Message from your Treasurer:
Due to the Corona virus, the request for money to be deposited with the Finance team before the end of the financial year (31st March) is set aside. Please hold on to the money and deposit until the suspension of the U3A is lifted. If a significant amount of money is held and you are uncomfortable with this then please email me (treasurer@aughton-ormskirk-u3a.co.uk) to discuss how the money may be banked.
Regards,
Derrick

U3A National Newsletter

The Management Committee  and Trustees think it would be a good idea to pass on this message from the National Office regarding the U3A National Newsletter to the membership to help keep them in touch.

The National Newsletter is crucial in reaching out to members as we have no direct contact with them. During this period we would be very grateful if you could assist members who are happy to do so, to sign up to the national newsletter.

The March Newsletter can be found here.

Health and Wellbeing Talks

 Talks CANCELLED till further notice

Member Julia Bate is organising a series of talks on matters relating to health and wellbeing over the coming months.  Julia says:

The next date for your diary is 18th March at 3pm in the Cinema Room in the Christ Church Ministry Centre when Dr Dennis Wat, Respiratory Consultant at Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital will speak about the respiratory condition COPD, and I have also asked that he includes some information on sleep apnoea in his talk.

On 22nd April, we have two local Cardiac Nurses from Southport and Ormskirk Hospitals NHS Trust coming to discuss how we can help to keep our hearts healthy and they will also have some advice for anyone with existing cardiac disease. This will be at 2pm in the Cinema Room at the Ministry Centre.

If you are interested in attending either talk,  please let me know by email so that we have an idea of numbers because of limited space in this room.

Julia Bate

Contact details for Julia: Members, please refer to your monthly enews or see foot of page 16 in the latest U3A Magazine.

Forget me not appeal

Textile Group – Tap to enlarge

In mid February,  a representative from the Alzheimer’s Society, Gina Berry, came to collect all the knitted, crocheted or stitched ‘Forget me not Flowers’ made by our own Textile Group, the Creative Stitchers from Aughton Village Hall and the Knit and Natter Group from Christ Church.

The flowers will decorate the staircases at the Harris Museum & Gallery in Preston where they will be part of ‘The Unfurlings’, an events programme to support those living with dementia, their carers and families.  Events have just begun and continue until the end of May.  Everyone is welcome to attend and they are all in the afternoons.

Gina is the dementia adviser for West Lancashire and was quite overwhelmed at the numbers of hand-made flowers presented to her.  We didn’t count them but there were probably around 250.

Open Forum

The Open Forum, held on 23rd January, 2020, was interesting and several points and questions were put forward by members.  Alan Starkie., our Chairman, opened the Forum reminding members that the U3A is all about its members.  Also that the National office have now opted not to use the word ‘university’ but simply call ourselves U3A.  National U3A Day is on 3rd June, 2020 and U3As are encouraged to celebrate this day.

The change from four issues to three of the Magazine was well received and it was noted that our magazine continues to be much appreciated. Suggestions were made as to how to recoup the cost of postage.  Moving forward, newer members tend to visit the website and read enews.

It was put forward that the Management Committee and Trustees should be combined for more efficient working and members were encouraged to come forward to join Committees.

It was generally agreed that new members should be made welcome at Horizons and everyone was urged to assist in this. A ‘Meeter and Greeter’ was suggested.

Discussion about car parking took place and efforts are being made to co-ordinate activities with Christchurch School, The Ministry Centre and Christ Church.

This is only a brief outline of the Forum – a more detailed account will appear in the next issue of the Aughton & Ormskirk U3A Magazine.

Megan Tomlinson (Aughton & Ormskirk U3A Secretary)

Two New Bridge Courses for 2020

Short Courses – (1) Learn to Play Bridge; and (2)  Improve Your Bridge

The Bridge Group will run a 10-week course starting in March for members who would like to learn how to play Bridge or to return to playing after a break from the game.

We plan to follow this up in the Autumn with a course for improving players – all members with a working knowledge of bridge will be welcome, whether or not you have been to the first course.

If you would like to find out more about either course and/or register your interest, then please ring Nick Dowrick on 07988 119 408.

Digital Photography Restarts for 2020

Check out the Digital Photography Group Page (and the Group Posts that follow it) for details of the first meeting this year and exhibitions of the excellent photos taken in past years.