Category Archives: News

News items

Barn Dance – 5th July

5th July – Barn Dance @ Aughton Village Hall

Tickets for the Barn Dance are on sale at Horizons

Please see Paul or Mike on the Social Committee Desk

Tickets priced at £15 which includes a supper

Bring your own drinks and glasses

Dancing to “Change of Key” with caller Clare Park.

Wine Luncheon

Event type: Social
Date: 1st July 2024
Time: 12:30 pm
Group: Wine Tasting
Cost: £25
Booking: Note that booking is required.

Venue: The Edge at Joey Orrs 499 Rice Lane Walton Vale Liverpool L9 3AP

Please book in with Iain Smart @ Horizons or by phone 01704 621333 and make your menu choice.

Please arrive at 12,30 onwards for the meal at 13.00.

Spring Plant Swap

Bring along your surplus seedlings, rooted cuttings, houseplants etc and swap for something else!

Please label everything and wrap appropriately.

Thursday 2nd  May at the Scout & Guide HQ during Horizons (9.30 – 11 am approx).

The Big Declutter

It’s hard to believe, but the A&O u3a Website will soon be going into its 10th year of existence in its current format. As the small Web Team managing its content, we do our best to keep it neat and tidy. But we now could use your help in doing a “Big Declutter” of any content no longer useful or appropriate.

So whether you are a Group Leader or an Officer with pages that you are responsible for, or an occasional interested reader, please could you contact the Web Team ( about any text or images that you know can now be deleted. (If you are a Web Author, then you can make deletions yourself.)

Tapping for MacMillan

The u3a tap-dancers recently took part in a fundraiser for the Charity, MacMillan. They were led and encouraged by their ‘incredible’ tap-dancing teacher, Wendy Harris. Our small but enthusiastic group were able to join with Wendy’s other classes, which she holds in Southport.

The event was great fun and it was a wonderful opportunity to showcase our dancing in front of an appreciable audience. The event raised about £600 for this very worthy cause.

Our tap-dancing group welcomes new members, so if you would like to try this fun, energetic form of exercise, please contact Group Leader, Irene Arkinstall. Contact details are on the u3a website in the Tap Dancing Group Page.

Click or tap on any picture to view it full-size.


Boom Radio

Very recently, your Web Manager discovered – quite by chance – a music Radio Station that plays all her old pop favourites. (The tunes on Radio 2 were becoming increasingly unfamiliar and sometimes she yearns for some lighter entertainment than Radio 4.) It is called Boom Radio – not because it blasts out loud music all the time but because it is aimed at Baby Boomers.

It has also been discovered by the u3a National Office apparently. See this item in the March National Newsletter!

Advertising campaign with Boom Radio

We are thrilled to announce that we will be running an advertising campaign with Boom Radio, which has over half a million listeners over the age of 55. The three month campaign will start in April, alongside a u3a social media campaign, and will feature three u3a members sharing their stories about what u3a means to them. Listen to Boom Radio and let us know what you think by emailing

Alexa – Boom Radio!


Lost Property Coat

A coat was left in the Scout & Guide HQ by a Scout Helper over the weekend of 2nd /3rd March.  It is a large Man’s Berghaus black raincoat. If you have seen it or perhaps taken it home by mistake, or as Leader of a u3a Group on Monday 4th / Tuesday 5th may have set it aside assuming it belonged to a member of your Group, please contact the Web Team at:

My involvement in this is that I picked up a call about this from a Skelmersdale Scout Leader on the phone at the Scout & Guide HQ. As it happens, I know the Scout Leader from way back


Joyce Nolan.

March Musical Theatre

The Musical Theatre Group’s next production stages at Aughton Village Hall on Friday 22nd March at 7.30pm, and Saturday 23rd March at 2.30 and 7.30pm. See more details about The Trinket Box.

AGM 2024 Notice

Advance Notice ………

The date and time of the 21st AGM will be the 13th June at 11:30am. The meeting is to be held at Scout & Guide HQ following Horizons.

It is hoped a Zoom meeting option could be set up to facilitate those who may not be able to make the meeting.

Volunteers are needed to join the Management Committee who are looking for 4 in total. Nomination forms can be obtained from the Secretary.

More information to follow.

Sunday Social – ‘Radio Play by the Drama Group’

The Drama Group will be performing a radio play – a light hearted comedy – “Pride and Prejudice and Other Useful Qualities” by Geoff Bamber at the next Sunday Social at HQ on Sunday 25th February 2024 – starting at 2pm, and still only £1.50.

After the refreshments break we will have a quiz/game – so come along and enjoy a lovely entertaining afternoon!  All are welcome.




Learn To Play Bridge

Bridge is the most popular and enjoyable card game in the world, offering constant mental challenges and a great way to make new friends.  If you would like to learn to play bridge or to return to playing after a break, then why not join the u3a Bridge Group’s next ‘Learn To Play Bridge course’.  It will start in April and run for about 30 weeks, on Friday mornings at the Scout and Guide HQ.

If you would like to find out more, then please ring Nick Dowrick on 07988 119408.

Helping Each Other Group

Looking for a new Leader and Helpers for 2024.

Sadly, Judy Ingman has now stepped down as Organiser of this Group and as yet no other Member has offered to take her place. Unless that happens this Group will finish. There would be helpers available but it does need one or two people to step up and organise a programme of a few outings and indoor social sessions.

This group was born around 2010/11.  It was created to help people feeling isolated due to loneliness or a physical disability to be encouraged to join different forms of social interactions. As its name explained, it was to help those who were confident in some directions to help others less able, and for others to help them too where they were struggling.
Meetings were mostly 11 or 12 times a year on a monthly basis. During colder months they tended to be held in the Scout Hut with a socially directed meeting including light refreshment,  often being led by another u3a group e.g. card making, choir, flower arranging, and perhaps a games afternoon or just chatting together.

In warmer months, short local outings were arranged usually with Charlton mini coaches which have a lift at the back of the coach and room for walkers and wheelchairs if necessary. They included lunches or afternoon teas at local garden centres, the Safari Park, and Music afternoons at Sefton Park, perhaps a canal trip or to visit a place of local interest.

Tasks for leaders and helpers are to discuss with the Group their ideas and then to devise a programme of meetings as described above. The Group has never been restricted and has always been open to all u3a members, and although it has generally included regular attendees, newer members have always been welcomed.

Please feel free to contact Judy on 01695 423141 if interested or see her at Horizons.

Ukulele Christmas Concert

The A&O u3a Ukulele Group are teaming up with another local band to perform a Christmas Concert for Charity.  Go along to Emmanuel Church on Thursday, 21 December for a joyful, festive evening. Entrance is free, with donations going to Shelter.

Click or tap on the Poster to view details in full-size.

Publicity “Deadlines”

Do you need to publicise a u3a event or activity? Below are the various deadlines for advertising in the various publications.

Please refer to the Communicating within our U3A webpage for more information on these ways of advertising and how to contact their “editors”.

Remember that you need to separately contact the editors for all of the various publications where you want your item to appear.  Sending to one does not necessarily mean that it will  automatically appear in the others.

u3a Magazines

  • The Winter Magazine was available from the 3rd week in January 2024.
  • So please send in your items for the (Spring) Magazine (due out in April) to the Magazine Editor ASAP

Monthly enews

  • deadline for enews items: NOON on the last Monday of the month
  • The deadline for items for the next enews is 12 noon on Monday 25 February.

u3a Website

  • Group and other News and Events, Photos etc:  Deadline – Anytime

u3a Facebook

Horizons Slideshow

  • Projected in the Scout & Guide HQ halls during Horizons:  Deadline – Anytime

Horizons Announcements and Flyers

  • Notes of announcements to be read out  and / or  prepared flyers for the tables: Deadline – Bring to any the appropriate Horizons meeting(s)

Please refer to the Communicating within our U3A webpage for more information on all these ways of advertising and how to contact their “editors”.

Remember that you need to separately contact the editors for all of the various publications where you want your item to appear.  Sending to one does not necessarily mean that it will  automatically appear in the others.


u3a Advent Celebration

The Choir and the Recorder Groups (along with the pupils of St James Primary School, Westhead) are presenting an Advent Celebration:

  • at Christ Church, Aughton
  • on Thursday, 7th December 2023, 11 am

Click or tap for full view.

Do come along and bring your friends and family!


Does anyone fancy starting a new ‘Stamp Collecting’ group? Please contact Ian Lyster in the first instance on phone 01695 578348.

Techie Advice

The Monday morning Computer Advice Group will open for the last time on 29th January 2024.

Bill S and Alan S, thereafter, will continue to be present at their usual table in the Aughton Room during  most Horizons coffee mornings , for any general Computer and Photography advice. And as usual at Horizons Meetings, Alan N and Joyce N will also usually be around and about in the Scout & Guide HQ (often lurking in the Computer Room and available to provide techie-type advice as required).

Ageing Better December Workshop

Following the success of  Ageing Better with an Active Mind, run through the Wellbeing Group in conjunction with Edge Hill University last winter,  the project continued this year at the beginning of November.

The first session (Workshop 4) was on Friday 3rd November at 11 am in St Michael’s Church Hall, with a talk on the topic of  ‘The Sense of Touch’.

Even if you missed this one, you can still come along to Workshop 5  on 1st December at the same venue,  where we will have ‘Dance Contact Improvisation’ delivered by a dance lecturer.

If you are interested in attending, please contact the Coordinator of the Health & Wellbeing Group, Julia, via: or 01744 883086

For further info, click or tap on the Edge Hill poster below.



Southport University Extension Society

Aughton & Ormskirk u3a are planning a new, collaborative venture with Southport University Extension Society (SUES), whereby members of our respective organisations will be able to take advantage of each other’s talks and other events. If you are interested in attending any of the following, please contact Pam Ball in the first instance on 07974 749362.

Forthcoming SUES learning opportunities include:


Friday 26th January 2024

Robert Eden – Bugs Everywhere – From Stinky Ponds to cracked North Sea Pipelines

Fri 23rd February 2024

Julia Clayton – The Fiction of Forgery: Art and Authenticity in the English Novel

Friday 22nd March 2024

Stephen Lloyd – Shakespeare, the Earls of Derby and the North West

Friday 26th April 2024

Alan Crosby – ‘The great and terrible wilderness, peopled by untutored savages’: providing elementary education in Victorian Lancashire

Short Courses

Roger Mitchell on Colonial and Post Colonial America – History, Art and Architecture

2024: January 8, 15, 22, 29, February 5, 12, 26, March 4 (Eight sessions: Course Fee £40)

Alan Potter on Technology – Understanding just how things work!

2024: April 8, 11, 15, 18, 22, 29 (Six sessions: Course fee £30)

Peter Firth on The History of the University Extension Movement in Southport

2024: May 13, 20 June 3, 10 (Four sessions: No fee – open to non-members)


Musical Theatre

The Musical Theatre Group presents  ‘Once upon a Time’  at Ormskirk Civic Hall’ in November.

The show – set in an apartment building called ‘Falling Stars’ – is for retired thespians.  Next to the building is a meeting hall called ‘Stage Door’ – which is the residents meeting place. The residents lack lustre and are depressed – until – a new resident called Penny joins them. She will take you on a journey to meet all the residents and what they did with their lives.

With witty tales and upbeat music, we go on the roller coaster ride as they fight to save their hall from becoming the next car park!!!

Tickets are on sale from September at Horizons:

Adult  £8.50  –  Children  £5.00

See Musical Theatre Group for other methods of procuring tickets and for more information about the Show.

Philharmonic Visit – November

Thursday 16 November:   Beethoven’s Symphony No.7.   Concert programme also includes Rossini’s Overture  – The Italian Girl in Algiers  & Walton’s cello concerto. Please check for further details on the groups’ Philharmonic web page and also for programme notes on the October’s concert.

The Philharmonic now requires booking confirmation 4 weeks in advance and there can be a demand for tickets – so book early to avoid disappointment. 

u3a Bookstall

Most Thursday mornings at Horizons, there is a Bookstall where members can procure a variety of paperbacks, ideal for reading on the dark winter days.

You are welcome to bring in books for the stall, but please only paperbacks, not hardbacks (due to lack of space). A variety of genres are appreciated. (There tends to be an preponderance of crime fiction at the minute!)

Research Study with Edge Hill

Title of this new study: The underlying neural mechanisms of working memory in elderly populations.

  • Description: “In this experiment, we will use a non-invasive technique called Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) to explore the brain regions involved in working memory. Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a non-invasive method used to stimulate small regions of the brain. It uses electromagnetic induction to generate an electric current across the scalp and skull without physical contact. This current induces activation and/or deactivation of the neurons under the site of stimulation. This method is FDA-approved and it is used mainly in clinical and experimental settings (here you can see how they use it for other conditions in the NHS:
  • Objective: our goal is to compare the effect of this stimulation at two sites in the brain in order to test their contribution to the performance of some working memory tasks. To measure working memory we will use computerised tests and to measure the brain activity we will use an electroencephalography (EEG) cap. The EEG cap contains electrodes that are attached to the scalp with conductive gel.
  • Number of sessions 3: introductory, session 2 and session 3 (session 2 and 3 must be in consecutive weeks).
  • Duration of each session: introductory (1.5hr), session 2 (3.5hrs), session 3 (3.5hrs).
  • Benefits: Participants can learn more about their cognitive skills and their brain functioning. Furthermore, your participation will help us to understand more the underlying neural mechanisms of working memory in elderly populations.

To find out more about the project, and to check your eligibility, contact Esteban Leon Correa on 07575 087865, or by email to Esteban León Correa <>

Helping Each Other

A day trip to Golden Days Garden Centre at Appley Bridge’ Monday 16th October

We will be leaving St Anne’s Social Centre at 10.40am – the Scout HQ Long Lane at 10.45am, and Aughton Village Hall at 11.0am.  For anyone who hasn’t been before – the Garden Centre also sells clothes and other articles and has a cafe where people can buy lunch.

For further details – select ‘Helping Each Other’ web page.

20th Anniversary Celebration

Saturday 29 July at Aughton Village Hall – 2 to 5 pm

Join us for afternoon tea and a glass of Sparkling Wine

Entertainment by our Music and Dance groups

Free Raffle

Tickets £5 (non refundable) available at Horizons or phone 01695 577614

Health & Wellbeing Reports

Member, Julia Bate is Coordinator for the Health & Wellbeing Group which provides occasional talks on relevant topics for members to attend.

Additionally, Julia herself attends and reports back on regular meetings with the Patient Safety and the Patient and Public Involvement Groups attached to the North West Coast NHS Innovation Agency.  Interesting and comprehensive reports from these meetings are listed below. These meetings continue to be either face-to-face or via video-conferencing.

For further information, email Julia on:



Fingerprick blood tests, a mental health app and pulmonary rehabilitation

Happy Hearts website, patient opioid awareness campaign and a mobile phone app          for health monitoring


Renaming of the Innovation Agency, review of Patient Medication Review Literature         and review of new Happy Hearts website

  • September meeting
    Developing a questionnaire relating to an App into which details of home-monitoring of blood pressure etc are entered and submitted to the GP practice, a new means of befriending, and more about polypharmacy reviews.
  • July meeting
    Telehealth (a home monitoring service for long-term health conditions), more information on the system for recording the improvement in response to physiotherapy following knee surgery, and the link between deprivation and health inequalities.
  • June meeting
    A dementia-friendly photography group, a mobile phone app for accessing GP records, a portable ecg monitor worn for 14 days, and a system for monitoring response to physiotherapy
  • May meeting
    A digital physical activity hub, a system for recording clinical consultations, enabling patients to revisit a consultation as many times as they wish, and an update on a website for people with lung conditions.
  • April meeting
    A website providing fiction and creative writing as therapy
  • March meeting
    Reducing ‘addiction’ to mobile phones, update on medication reviews and reducing opioid prescribing.
  • February meeting
    Musculoskeletal pain relief via an App, an agency providing independent home carers, and a flu test and treat pilot project.


  • December meeting  Ability consulting, an App that demonstrates how life is for disabled people.
  • November meetings Triage for lung cancer patients, new website for patients with respiratory conditions, initial management of mental health conditions.
  • October Meetings Asthma reviews, blister prevention pads an update on socks for people with diabetes, and another follow-up on Endoscopy alternative.
  • July meetings – A tool for detecting deterioration in patients in care homes, follow up on Endoscopy Alternative, COPD questionnaire and training for Heart Heroes on blood pressure monitoring
  • June meetings – Music therapy, Genomic medicine, Endoscopy alternative, Medication review and Self-monitoring of blood pressure
  • May Meeting – self-referral to consultants using an App; spotting patients with severe asthma
  • April Meeting – Update on alcohol withdrawal project; Cardiac Network and Websites helping with management and prevention of heart disease; Blood pressure testing in barbers’ shops
  • March meeting – Update on Back Pain Management App; Chatbot with Mental Health Advice; Patient Safety (Opioid withdrawal and Medication review)
  • February meeting – Pillow with a hole; Back pain management App; Menopause Consultancy
  • January meeting – Influenza; Mental Health safety; Lipid management



Outdoor Visit – May 2023

The British Commercial Vehicle Museum, Leyland will be the first ‘outdoor visit’ of the year for our Local History Group. (All u3a members are welcome to sign up for this trip.)

At this museum, we can learn about the history of commercial vehicles in the home town of truck and bus making. It is an indoor museum with over 50 well maintained vehicles on display, from an 1895 horse drawn steam fire appliance to the Popemobile.


E Bikers

Peter Lloyd has started up a group for electric bikers.

Peter Says:

He has had long experience with our u3a cycling groups, but he thinks now is the time to enjoy some help with the pastime for “not so young legs” – pedal power greatly enhanced, let’s say.

Usually on a Wednesday, 10:30 start, local area. Very much social rides to include a cafe stop, fun and friendship. Weather permitting, of course. Not too far at 15/20 miles, with plenty of stops.

Contact Peter on 07801 106335 if interested or for more information.

Special Recorder Group Recital

The Recorder Group will be performing on 24th March at 2pm  at Aughton Park Care Home. It would be nice for any members who know residents there to join us. This will be our first recital in a care home.

A Special Opportunity

This event was a great success! look our for a report in the next u3a Magazine.  Many thanks to all those involved both at Edge Hill and within A&O u3a. And thanks too to all those who attended – Edge Hill staff and students, u3a members and the local community.

As a follow on from the successful collaboration with Edge Hill University on the Ageing Better Project, the leaders are holding a free Showcase Event at the University on 11th February 2023, starting at 10 am in the Arts Centre. The purpose of the event is to present and discuss the findings of the workshop series attended by a number of our u3a members. The event will feature  talks about brain and ageing and will include  dance performances and a calligraphy stall.

Continue reading

Off the Wall

u3a members from all over the UK will descend on Hadrian’s Wall on 10 May 2023 to celebrate the building of the wall and the influence that the wall has had on our creative lives.

The wall extends from coast to coast across Northumberland and Cumbria – from Wallsend on the River Tyne in the east to Bowness-on-Solway in the west, and once marked the north western border of the Roman Empire.

For more details and booking for this special u3a event, see


Social Events

Our u3a provides many opportunities for learning. But we also have a vibrant social dimension to our activities. They bring together people from across a wide range of special interests,  in a convivial atmosphere, simply to enjoy themselves. These excellent events are mostly organised by the Social Subcommittee.

There are  usually committee members at the weekly Horizons meetings from whom you can get more details on their events and book places or buy tickets.

2024 Events

  • 5th JulyBarn Dance @ Aughton Village Hall

Tickets for the Barn Dance will be on sale from 2nd May at Horizons.

Please see Paul or Mike on the Social Committee Desk

Tickets priced at £15 which includes a supper

Bring your own drinks and glasses

Dancing to “Change of  Key”

  • 4th OctoberQuiz night @ Scout & Guide HQ
  • 6th DecemberChristmas Social @ Aughton Village Hall

Further details of all the above events will follow nearer the dates.

Note that some Groups and individual members also organise learning and social events open to all members ie not just their regular attendees.  They are usually well advertised on the run-up to their dates in the monthly enews / the occasional magazines / at Horizons / on our u3a facebook presence and elsewhere on this u3a website such as the News page, the Groups Pages and the Front Page sidebar.   Check the various  Communication methods regularly so you don’t miss out on advertising your u3a event!

Examples of Past Events in 2023

*  Summer Dance
  • Friday 16th June 7pm at Aughton Village Hall
  • Dancing to Rollercoaster

* Aughton & Ormskirk u3a 20th Anniversary Celebration

  • Saturday 29 July at Aughton Village Hall, 2-5 pm
  • An afternoon tea and a glass of fizz; also free raffle and entertainment
  • See the September 2023 Magazine for report and photos.

* Quiz Night

  • at the Scout & Guide HQ on 29 September

* Christmas Lunch Party

  • At the Christ Church Ministry Centre on 8 December
  • Dancing to Rollercoaster

Examples of Past Events in 2022

    • Vegan Lunch – 23 March

      • at St Michaels Church Hall
      • on Wednesday 23 March, 12 noon for 12:30
    • Queens Jubilee Event – 25 June

      Click on Poster to view details full-size

    • Quiz Night with Hotpot Supper – “Battle of the Groups” – 30 September

        • Friday 30th September
        • Venue – Scout & Guide HQ
    • Christmas Lunch Party – 9 December

See details and photos of this very successful and enjoyable annual event.




2021 Highlights

Click on u3a Christmas Lunch  for a gallery of photos from this social event, the first for a long time due to Coronavirus lockdown and social isolation rules.

View Past Social Highlights

Healthy Ageing Research

Are you interested in healthy ageing?

If so, you may be interested in a study being run at Edge Hill University by one of the PhD Research students, Esteban León Correa.

Esteban is still looking for volunteers, and you can read further details in the poster below. If you wish to find out more, email Esteban at

Alice in Cuckooland

This was the Drama Group‘s first attempt at a pantomime for many years and at first we had some reservations.  There were challenges along the way in terms of scenery design and costumes and also rehearsing Christmas songs in the summer heatwave!  We all really enjoyed the experience and the audiences got into the spirit right from the start (oh yes they did!).

Thank you to everyone who came to support us – we do appreciate it.  We look forward to seeing you at our next production. Dates for your diary – 19th and 20th May 2023. Tickets are already selling fast at Horizons Meetings!

Here is a selection of the photos from the show. (Click or tap on any picture to run the Gallery as a Slideshow.)

Photos by Bill Soens

Christmas Lunch Party 2022

Once more the Social Subcommittee pulled out all the stops to lay on a superb Christmas Lunch followed by a 60’s/70’s Party – dancing to the music of the talented Roller Coaster Band.

Click or tap on any image to run the gallery as a slideshow.

View details of the other u3a Events organised by the Social Subcommittee in 2022.  And remember to revisit that web page during 2023 for future social opportunities.

WWT Martin Mere

Martin Mere has now re-opened following the recent temporary closure after a case of Avian Influenza affected a bird in their collection.

See the WWT website for full details.

Computer Advice

Computer Advice is running on Monday mornings during  the Autumn / Winter term, in its usual room in the Scout & Guide HQ. Computer Helpers will be there, glad to hear all about your problems with your various devices – computers, laptops, tablets, smartphones, digital cameras etc.  And then they try to help where they can.

If you can’t attend on a Monday morning, then there are usually Computer Helpers hanging around at Horizons Meetings on Thursday mornings.  They can often be found lurking in the Computer Room or ensconced at the Digital Photography / Computer Desk in the far corner of the Aughton Room.  Ask at the Welcome Desk if you cannot spot a Computer Helper.

You can also email for help via:

L H meetings return

Local history meetings returned to our indoor venue at the S&GHQ from Tuesday, 4 October. Please see details of future talks on our webpage Local History

A Warm Welcome to see a Film

An invitation from the Film Appreciation Group:

Hello everyone,

Just a quick message to remind you that the next film will be in the big room at the Scout & Guide HQ on Monday 26th September at 1.45. It is Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen. Please come and support the Group. You will be very welcome.


Pat and Colin


Horizons Guests & Events

Now and then, during specified Thursday morning  Horizons Meetings,  Aughton & Ormskirk u3a welcomes outside Guests from whom we can learn about something relevant, new or useful to our membership.  Also at some other Horizons Meetings, we are fortunate to host special Events with our own u3a members running a demo or display.

In November 2023, we were very pleased to welcome Roger Mitchell from Southport University Extension Society (SUES). He described the types of lifelong learning opportunities provided by this long-standing local organisation and explained how our members could join in. Check out the list of upcoming SUES Lectures and Courses.

Look out for advance publicity of Horizons Guests and Events here and in the usual publicity places:

HEOG Tea Dance

Cancelled due to lack of numbers!

Helping Each Other Group  have planned a Tea Dance at the Sefton Park Palm House on 13th September. But if they do not get more people signed up by this coming Tuesday, 6th September,  it will regretably have to be cancelled.

Please phone  Judy ASAP on 01695 423141 if you would like to go on this outing. All welcome, even if you do not usually attend HEOG.

Visit to Beverley Minster and St Mary’s Church

The coach excursion to Beverley – in Yorkshire’s East Riding – has been rearranged for Tuesday 16 August by the Church History Group

Our main aim will be to enjoy the medieval glories of Beverley Minster, a former abbey church that is larger than one third of all English Cathedrals.

The coach will collect us at Four Lane Ends Mission at 9 o’clock and we should arrive in Beverley in time to disperse and find somewhere for a quick lunch. At 2 o’clock we will re-assemble at the West door of the Minster to begin our visit. If time allows, over lunch, the wonderful St Mary’s church is also worth looking into.

We would be leaving Beverley around 3.30pm and arriving back around 6.30pm – depending on the traffic.

The cost of this trip will be £33.00 per person. If you would like to join us for this visit, please contact Peter Gateley on 07518 685807.

Summer Computer Advice

Computer Advice is available over the summer holidays this year on Thursday Mornings at the weekly Horizons Coffee Meetings.  Computer Helpers are usually to be found at the Digital Photography / Computer Desk in the Aughton Hall or in the Computer Room off the Ormskirk Hall or just around and about.  If you can’t find a Helper, ask at the Greetings Desk.  You can also be put in contact with a Computer Helper by emailing or .

One reason for the current suspension of the Monday (and former) Tuesday Computer Advice Group sessions is that there have been very few clients to make use of these facilities for some time now. If not utilised they may disappear or be adapted in some way to suit changes in members’ needs.

Summer Dance

To celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, the Social Subcommittee organised a

Summer Dance on Saturday 25 June. 

This turned out to be a most enjoyable and jolly ‘do’.  The dance floor was never empty while the excellent band – the Rollercoasters – rocked out a series of old favourites from the 50s through to the 80s. The eatables – finger food on this occasion – was very suitable, tasty and plentiful. And it was a great opportunity to reunite with u3a friends and meet some new folk. So, all-in-all, this was a very successful event, with many, many thanks due to all those Social Team members involved in making it so.

(Don’t miss out on future opportunities arranged by the u3a! Take a few minutes to check out some other events that are coming soon, as advertised via the sidebar of this Front Page and elsewhere on the website.)

Computer Advice

Computer Advice session will be suspended for the summer months i.e. June –August. Computer Advice will still be available, during this period, at Horizon sessions, or by e-mailing The reason for this suspension is that there have been very few clients to make use of these facilities. If you don’t use them they may disappear altogether. For further information contact the e-mail address given above.

The Choir is still looking for an Assistant Musical Director!

Our present Choir Group musical director, Paul Dickie has successfully led us for the past 18 months and in spite of the challenges of covid we organised and performed the u3a advent service under his direction. However, to secure continuity for the future we would like to bring in someone else with the necessary musical knowledge and creative skills to assist Paul, help take the choir forward and build on our success.

We are a very friendly, sociable group with 30 members and like to sing a wide range of music including; Musical Theatre, Folk, Sacred and Popular. We enjoy the challenge of three part singing as well as a good unison sing-a-long at most of our sessions.

We give one formal concert a year in the summer and organise the annual U3A Advent service. We are also regularly invited to sing at several local nursing homes.

We meet every Wednesday morning at Aughton Village Hall from 10 am until 12. (Broadly following school holidays). We have a well organised team who take care of admin, finances and hall bookings.

If you are interested in finding out more then please contact choir leader Ann Henders 07847 364330.

Please note there is no remuneration for this role.

Southport Flower Show – Discounted Tickets

Southport u3a are creating a Show Garden at this year’s Southport Flower Show (18 -21 August).  It  will be built and managed by their Gardening Group to celebrate the u3a’s 40th Anniversary. It is the aim to include many aspects of the diverse nature of the u3a as features in the design.

Alongside the Show Garden will be a u3a Stand enabling the promotion of the u3a in general and to talk to existing and prospective members.  Southport u3a’s  “Performing Groups” will also be playing on the Music Stand at times throughout the Show.

In recognition of this support for the Flower Show, ALL u3a members will be able to book tickets for the show at a specially discounted rate of £18, compared to the gate price of £27 using the promotional code, ‘u3a’ when buying tickets on the website  Southport Flower Show.

Speaker Meetings

Speaker Meetings usually take place on the second Thursday of the month at the  Scout & Guide HQ, starting at 11 am and lasting just over an hour. Last orders for tea and coffee 10.45 am. All the usual Horizons facilities (apart from the book stall) will be available until then.

There is no meeting in June due to the Annual General Meeting being held on the 13th.

Jeff Vernon

Our final Speaker Meeting of the season will take place on Thursday 11th July, when retired solicitor and. u3a member Jeff Vernon will speak on the subject of Consumer Rights.

We are all consumers; we all buy goods and services both in shops and online.  Normally all goes well and we are happy with what we have bought but, occasionally, things go wrong.  Goods can fail to arrive or can break down very soon after, services may not be carried out satisfactorily.  This talk aims to explain the main rights that consumers have when buying goods and services from traders, what remedies are available to them and how best to exercise those remedies.

After first pursuing a career in financial services, Jeff decided to change course and qualified as a solicitor.  Jeff worked for a number of large, international firms and finished his career as a partner with DLA Piper UK LLP.  His practice area was principally consumer credit law and he led a small team which dealt with all such work arising from all the firms’ offices within the UK.  Examples of the work he undertook included drafting the personal contract purchase agreement for Tesla when they commenced selling in this country and advising the UK government when it became necessary for the Student Loans Company to be authorised be the Financial Conduct Authority.

Because he practiced consumer credit law all work with any “consumer” element tended to land on Jeff’s desk.  Frequently, this involved advising on issues arising under the Consumer Rights Act, which is the main subject of his talk.

Please note there are no meetings in August or September.

17th October          Brian Topping        Tales of a Customs Officer

14th November.    Graham Stirrup     The Victorians

Please keep an eye on news, website, Horizons slideshow and flyers for the latest information.


Southport University Extension Society (SUES)

We are planning a new, collaborative venture with SUES, whereby members of our respective organisations will be able to take advantage of each other’s talks and other events. Click here for more information. If you are interested in attending any of the events listed, please contact Pam Ball in the first instance on 07974 749362.


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

Please email any ideas for Future Speaker Meetings to Pam Ball, our Speaker Meeting Organiser,  at:  or phone 07974 749362.

Dancing Fools

Musical Theatre Group came back!

Thank you for supporting your u3a Musical Theatre Group as they endeavoured to get back to doing shows. The pandemic  hit the group hard, so their numbers  were low by March 2022, but they still had a great show to present to you.

Although not a musical, the “restart” production – “Dancing Fools” –  had songs and dance from Musicals both old and new, comic songs and the like, and other items that took you back.

Poster for the Spring 2022 Show

You may wish to join us on or off stage as a group member. Whatever you decide to do, we look forward to seeing you soon.

Visit to Martin Mere – 14th December 2021

The final Bird Watching Group visit for 2021 was to the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust site at Martin Mere.  Eight members of the group enjoyed an excellent morning’s visit despite the mist hampering visibility at times and a total of 43 species were recorded.  Thanks to new group member Ken for these pictures taken at Martin Mere:

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

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Message from the Chair

Hello everyone, here we are at Christmas once again and despite Covid Aughton & Ormskirk u3a has continued to thrive through these difficult times.

Since lock down ended in the late Summer almost all our groups and activities have started meeting again, and in fact some of them are oversubscribed and have a waiting list! So thank you all for your support.

Let’s hope that 2022 sees restrictions easing and some normality returning.

I’m sure you will all enjoy the Christmas break and the opportunity to spend time with your friends and families.

Good wishes for Christmas and all the best for the New Year.

John Tomlinson

Christmas Lunch 2021

After the cancellation of the u3a Christmas Lunch in 2020 because of Covid, we were so pleased to get together once again. The Social subcommittee pulled out all the stops to arrange a lovely meal courtesy of Martin’s Caterers and dancing to the music of the Phil Shotton Trio with vocalist Adee Lifshitz.

All the photographs show that the afternoon was a great success and that everybody will be looking forward to the next Christmas social to be held on the 9th December 2022.


A Walk in Tawd Valley

A report of the 20th September 2021 walk

The September Monday u3a Walking Group walk was in the Tawd Valley Park, Skelmersdale, which is an area of green open space of 65 hectares running from Skelmersdale town centre and following the line of the River Tawd as it heads northwards to join the River Douglas.

Those participating in the walk soon realised that Tawd Valley Park is a hidden jewel in the heart of Skelmersdale. The site surrounds the River Tawd as it meanders its way from Yewdale across a large section of the historic town of Skelmersdale through to Cobbs Clough Brow. The area is a haven for a wide variety of wildlife with birds of prey soaring above the meadows and Kingfishers patrolling the riverbanks.

Barry Carr the walk leader did an excellent job in explaining the history of the area, with the ruins of an old mill, millponds and capped mineshafts providing a glimpse into the area’s industrial history.

Everyone agreed it was an excellent afternoon walk in an area that was previously unknown to most of the walk participants.

Our u3a Open Day

We are holding an Open Day on Saturday 23 October in the Scout & Guide HQ.  It will be open from 10.30 to 3.30 and will showcase groups and other activities that our u3a has to offer its members.
We have over 80 interest Groups ranging from Aerobics right through to Zumba.  Indoors or out, active or leisurely, doing or listening – all our groups are run by our members, for our members and there is usually room for extra people to join in.
This is a special opportunity to look into learning about or experiencing something new or returning to an activity you used to enjoy.  What is Mah Jong?  Did you enjoy writing or painting at school?  Do you need more exercise? Could you try again with French or Spanish?  You may already be in one group but why not now also try something new?
Come along to our Open Day and find out more, talk to those who run the groups, or sign up for a sample session.
And remember, if there’s something you would like to do that’s not already on our list, you can suggest a new group.  Talk to Group Support  at the Open Day and they’ll be able to help.
Tea/coffee and biscuits will be available throughout the day. Everyone is welcome, so bring a friend or neighbour who might appreciate what u3a has to offer!

Creative Writing Vacancies

This is in the main a discussion group, so numbers are limited, but we now have a small number of vacancies. If you are interested in joining us, please contact Joan Potter on 0151 924 6027.

Website Review

Most Groups have now restarted following on from the times of  lockdown, tiers and  social isolation during 2020 and the first half of 2021. If you are a Group Leader of a Group without a Group Author, please check your Group Page and contact the Web Team as to any updates your Group Page you require to bring it up-to-date.

Dipping in to Philosophy

With some Groups restarting in September 2021, your Web Manager had a notion to try out something completely new.  I was seeking a non-techie subject that I’d never before studied.  Spotting a new series of 7 introductory talks being organised by Tim Miles of the Philosophy Group, I thought this might well fit the bill, took the plunge and signed up. Thoroughly enjoying the September talk on Ethics, I am now much looking forward to the next one on Friday 1st October on Politics!

Tim has indicated there may be room for a few more participants. A handout was provided for the September talk, so it should be easy enough to catch up.  If interested, further information and Tim’s contact details are on the Philosophy Group Page.

Joyce Nolan

EGM – 11th October at 1pm

In case you missed reading about it in an email dated 6 September 2021 and sent to all members with email addresses on  Beacon,  here is a special  Message from the Secretary about an Extraordinary General Meeting in October:

Dear Member,

Due to the Annual General Meeting held on 26.08.21 not being quorate, any votes taken were indicative only.  It is, therefore, necessary to hold an Extraordinary General Meeting to vote on the following resolutions –

Resolution 1 – To approve the Accounts 2020/21.

Resolution 2 – JVSA to be appointed as the Independent Examiners of the Accounts for the year 2021/22.

This meeting to be held on Monday 11th October, 2021 at Scout & Guide H.Q. at 1.00 p.m.  All members are welcome but please note members attending will be quorate irrespective of the number, as per our Constitution.

Megan Tomlinson


Speaker Meeting News

In Person Speaker Meetings are back!

The plan is to hold all Speaker Meetings at Aughton Village Hall as part of New Horizons, starting at 11.15 am. The first of these will take place on Thursday 19th August, when author Carolyn Kirby will speak about the background to her new book, When We Fall, a gripping 2nd World War thriller which was chosen by the Times and Sunday times as one of the 10 best historical novels of 2020.
Please click here for further information, and for October and November dates.

Leg Muscle Ageing Research

Another request for research volunteers has been received:

I have been approached by Liverpool University Biomechanics Laboratory who are looking for volunteers to take part in a research project investigating the effect of ageing on leg muscle strength.  Please see more information on the Research Poster.

Our u3a have taken part in a previous project at the Biomechanics Laboratory on walking gait so we know that they work professionally with proper arrangements for confidentiality and safety.  If you are interested in getting out of the house as pandemic restrictions are eased, seeing university research work in action, and helping the study of the effects of ageing, please contact Dr. James Charles at directly.  I’ve checked with James: the MRI is only on your legs so you do not need to be worried about the claustrophobia which some people may get with whole body scans.

Jack Brettle

A Musical Treat

Our June Speaker Meeting, featuring the Fool’s Gold duo, was live on Zoom on Thursday 3 June…
click the poster for the full size version

Fool’s Gold – Dark Light

This Zoom Meeting was very much enjoyed by the members who attended.  To find out more about Fool’s Gold, and future u3a talks and events, see the Speaker Meetings page.


A Brief Brush with History

The sun was very hot, as usual, and my dress was long and with full sleeves due to the local custom. I couldn’t wear trousers of course as these were seen as the sign of a woman of ill repute,  and that’s not what  I particularly wanted to be mistaken for.  We were off on a visit and were driving ourselves so didn’t need to be collected by a car bearing the proverbial red number plates used by the royal family. The drive was quite short and the guards on the entry gate waved us in.  Inside the palace it was cool and we were shown into an ornate room decorated mostly in gold, probably real.

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Follow the News

Keep an eye on this website for the latest u3a news – check out the links displayed in sidebar of this Front Page or the items on the News Page. The brand new Restart Page will also increasingly keep you informed as Groups and other activities get underway again over the next few months.

Refer to  your email for past and current enews and special enews and Bulletins, Newsletters. (For the relatively few members without an email address recorded on their Beacon Membership Record, a paper version of certain  important missives such as the occasional Newsletters are hand-delivered or sent in the Post.)

Speaker Meeting Success

Thank you to all those who have supported our Zoom Speaker Meetings so far. The talks have been hugely enjoyable, entertaining and informative, so if you haven’t zoomed in already, why not give it a try? The next one will take place on Thursday 6th May at 11 am, when John Whittles will join us to speak about Mason Bees. Click here for more information.

If you would like to attend, please email by Monday 3rd May to book your place – the Zoom information will be sent to you a couple of days before the meeting.

Pam Ball

A Mystery Monolith

Mystery monolith in sand dunes near Hightown!

The photo is of our son, Michael Ingman, next to the monolith that appeared mid January in Hightown Dunes.

The first monolith was discovered in the Utah Desert mid November 2020 after being seen by a pilot from a small plane. It then disappeared with no trace after a few weeks. Since then over 170 similar monoliths have been viewed around the globe and within days of being discovered have vanished like the first one.

The mystery of why and how these monoliths came to appear for short periods around our Planet has given vent to various ideas. It has been likened to an alien life form as imagined in the 1968 film of “A Space Odyssey.” The appearances and disappearances have both added in equal forms in the attempt to discover a realistic explanation.

In the meantime different artists have come forward to claim credit and the term “Land Art” has been used to describe these metal monoliths. How appropriate, though, for one to appear in such close proximity to Anthony Gormley’s, ‘Another Place’ within a mile further down the coast.

There is, I believe, sadly no mystery over this one’s disappearance within a week, as by all accounts Sefton Council have it in storage, to prevent visitors damaging more of the dune area where conservation projects are ongoing.

As yet though, my understanding is that no-one seems to have claimed this monolith! So could there still be a mystery to be discovered?

Judy Ingman February 2021.

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.

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.

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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.

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 hope 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. Scroll down the Page to see the latest sections. This Gallery Page is work-in-progress.  If you have snapped any other ‘Signs of Spring’ in your garden or on your walks in February or March, please do send them to us at  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 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

 After the Snowdrops

Colouring the Street

Victoria Park, St Helens Road, Ormskirk

All of these flowers were on display in mid April, making an oasis of colour between two major roads in the town.

Previous Lockdown Galleries

To refresh your memory of the lovely and interesting 2020 Galleries, 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.

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.

A day I will never forget

Marine AFC crestU3A member David Wotherspoon had “a day I will never forget” when Marine, the Crosby team he has followed for over 70 years, took on Tottenham Hotspur in the 3rd round of the FA Cup on January 10th this year. The team lost 0-5 but that was hardly surprising, says David, as Spurs had nine full internationals in their starting line-up.

David was taken to watch Marine as a child by his father who had been a player before the war and then a committee member and later president. “The first game I really remember was also in the FA Cup in 1947 against New Brighton, then in the Football League. We lost 0-4 and I cried all the way home on the ferry”. He lived all of his early life in Crosby; attending Merchant Taylors’ with compulsory rugby on Saturday afternoons meant a rush to get to Marine games.

He joined the Marine committee in the late 1960s and served on it for over 30 years before becoming president himself. “We are the only father and son so far on the presidents’ board. I am very proud of what the club achieved in that period. We had a rundown ground and two wooden sheds. Now we have an excellent stand and terracing all round the ground as well as a large clubroom complex.”

David edited the match programme for over 20 years and wrote the centenary history of Marine “The Mighty Mariners”.

“The Spurs game was undoubtedly the club’s greatest ever. I was fortunate to be able to go as one of the small Marine contingent as Covid forced the game to be played behind closed doors. It was more the tie that caught the imagination and put a smile on faces in this terrible time all around the world. I had messages from people I had not heard from for years and the social media support for the club was amazing.”

Marine lost out through having no crowd but the cup run of eight matches gave them a good income from FA awards and TV rights. “When we learnt it was behind closed doors someone came up with the idea of selling virtual tickets at £10 which would also go in a raffle for a variety of prizes.

“We thought we might get 600 but it quickly passed 6,000 and finished up in five figures. All of that was very welcome as lockdown had virtually ended all our normal sources of income.” The main thrust of that came from Spurs’ supporters and David is full of praise for the Premiership club and their followers. “They treated us with warmth and respect. For example, Covid stopped the normal exchange of shirts after the game but Spurs gave our players a complete new set of kit so each one could have a named shirt as a great souvenir”.

Marine also has a strong community operation which has been involved in delivering meals to pensioners in the lockdown as well as a host of other activities including the players coaching in schools. Various Tottenham groups gave considerable support to these efforts to mark the tie.
David hopes the game and the TV coverage watched by 6.7 million viewers will give people a better idea of what a club like Marine is about. “It is very like u3a with people coming together to enjoy something special. It welcomes families and creates lifelong friendships. It relies on a group effort”

He reckons he has seen around 4,000 Marine games, still travelling away on the team coach until Covid struck. “I suspect the virus has put an end to this season for non-league clubs but the memory of that Sunday will keep me going for a long time to come.”

My Experience as an Oxford Vaccine Trial Volunteer

This very interesting and informative 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.

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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 which 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.


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

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 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:

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.

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.


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

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 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  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.

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.

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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:

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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.

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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:

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).



Play Ukulele!

Here is just a brief introduction to show how you can get started.

Tony Crimlisk, the original founder of our Ukulele Group (now retired leader), provided the following to get a beginner underway. 

 So, you can just click on this link         download these instructions                    to get going. ‘

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:

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:

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.


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:

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.

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)


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.

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)

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.

Medication Safety

NHS Innovation Agency

North West Coast Patient Safety Collaborative

on Medication Safety

On behalf of our U3A I attended a meeting of the above group on 22nd January. They are conducting a project aimed at increasing medication safety, looking at four areas in particular:

  1. The safe prescribing of medicines in primary care.
  2. Transfer of care between primary and secondary care to ensure effective and timely communication of any medication changes when a patient is discharged from hospital.
  3. Poly pharmacy (prescribing of large numbers of medication items to one patient, which increases the risk of drug interactions and can lead to failure to take medicines correctly).
  4. Medicines administration in care homes.

If anyone has any suggestions of how medication safety could be improved from a patient’s perspective, please contact me – Julia Bate, Tel: 01744 883086 – and I will mention them at the next meeting which will probably be in 2 or 3 months’ time.

Julia’s email address can be found in Bob Carlton’s January enews.

English Medieval Cathedrals – 2020 series

English Medieval Cathedrals of the South and South-east

Commencing Tuesday 28 January, for this fourth series of Church History we move to medieval cathedrals in the south-eastern extremity of England, interspersed with two visits to more-local medieval sites.

The 1st talk is on Canterbury Cathedral – part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site and mother church of the Anglican Communion, seat of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The Speakers are Peter Goodrich, Peter Hatfield and Peter Gateley. For further details, please refer to the Church History Group Page.

Some works from 2019

Here are some photos taken by Bill Soens of recent works by members of the Painting Group.

(Bill also produced a YouTube video of some of these works – watch it here)


The Bridge Group are looking at running a short course in March or April 2020 for members who would like to learn how to play Bridge, or who would like to return to playing after a break from the game.  If you think you may be interested in such a course, the please ring Nick Dowrick on 07988119408 to register an interest.

November 26th 2019 – mid-break meeting

Prior to starting on our exploration of medieval cathedrals of the South and South-east of England in January 2020, there will be a mid-break meeting at the Scout Hut at the usual time of 14.00 on Tuesday 26th November.

This will give the opportunity for a brief preview of the 2020 programme, including the nationally historically important Canterbury Cathedral and Westminster Abbey.

As a holiday treat we will whisk you abroad to look at eight medieval French cathedrals, although separated by relatively short distance we will be able to see some of the differences between English and French Gothic, as well as show regional differences within the large geographical extent of France itself.

Speakers: Peter Goodrich, Peter Hatfield and Peter Gateley

Xmas Events & Celebrations


All U3A Members Invited



“Please click on links listed below for each group to view more details of the various festive events.”



November 13th – Gardening – :  Festive ideas to help decorate your home for Xmas. Christmas from the Garden. 

November 29th & 30 Drama Production – :  Come along and “taste” our recipe for  A Christmas Pudding. 

December 3rd – Local History – :  Our seasonal meeting on.   A Winters Day

December 5th – Advent Event  – :  Come along to Christ Church at 10.30 am. for the  Advent performance form the Choir and Recorder Groups

December 6th – Wine Tasting – :  Come along to our  Wine Event

December 12th – Philharmonic Visit – :  Listen to enchanting music in the beautiful St. Georges Hall Concert Room.  Xmas with Septura

December 13th – Christmas Lunch – :  Christ Church Ministry Centre.  U3A Seasonal Social Event

December 19th – Christmas Walk & Lunch – :  Garstang  Golf Club – Walking Group D
Walking Group E

Christmas 2019 – Advent Event

Our U3A Choir gave a sincere and heartfelt Advent Performance on Thursday 5th December at Christ Church which marked the beginning of the Christmas season.  It was an opportunity to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas and to have a good sing!  Once again we asked for donations for the Ormskirk Food Bank and members were very generous.  The Recorder Group  also  performed at this event.

At the end of December, the choir also sang at Aughton Park and Ince Blundell Nursing Homes where we were very warmly welcomed.  This is now a Christmas tradition for us and it is lovely to see familiar faces.  Sadly, Christmas saw the retirement of our Musical Director, Duncan Roberts.  We said a fond farewell to him and wish him all the best for the future.

A Tower with a View

Heritage Open Day in Christ Church, Aughton on Saturday 21 September. Church Tower open for viewing  and a talk on Christ Church History  given by U3A member, Peter Goodrich.  See the Parish Newsletter and also Posters in the Christ Church Ministry Centre