News and Reports

Spring is round the corner

So come along to the Gardening Group.

Click or tap on any picture to run the gallery as a a slide show.

Meet the Fire & Rescue Service

A message from Sue Watkinson about a Guest Visitor  that she has organised.

Our Guests at Horizons on Thursday 7th March will be two representatives of the Fire & Rescue Service.  They will bring along their literature and talk to individual members about safety in the home and what services they can offer to the retired population of Lancashire.

Recently they replaced a smoke alarm for me.   The neighbours were impressed to see a big, red Fire Engine outside the house for a good 20 minutes while the work was done and we were given a thorough Fire Safety check and good advice.

Introducing our new Speaker Secretary

We have been very fortunate in having an excellent series  of Speaker Meetings of recent years organised by Sue Watkinson and her Team. For a resume of past Speaker Meetings, please see:

Sue has now retired from this important and valued role and member, Pam Ball, has kindly stepped forward to take over.  Here is a message from Pam:

I’ve been a member of the U3A for some years now – I attended the German group for a while when it first started and have been to one or two other events, but because of family responsibilities I haven’t been able to commit myself to anything on a regular basis. Things have changed for me now and I look forward to greater involvement and getting to know a few more people. My professional background is in teaching, and my interests range from gardening to all aspects of the arts.

Sue will be a hard act to follow I know, and initially I will be scaling things down a little bit so that we will have a speaker every other month. We will be starting on Thursday 7th February with a subject very dear to our hearts – Chocolate! Andrew Thwaite is a former chef who for many years has specialised in the history and manufacture of chocolate, and I’m sure his talk will be just the thing to brighten the dull days of February. Apparently he brings samples as well! Have a look at his website https://www.andrewthwaite.org.uk.

Looking forward to Thursday 4th April, we have Carolyn Kirby, who will speak about her new book ‘Victorian Scientists and Scandals: true stories behind The Conviction of Cora Burns‘.

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

The novel is inspired by some real Victorian lives and events. My talk will give an insight into the research that underlies the fictional narrative of the novel.

Looking ahead, I would be very pleased to hear from any members who would like to give a talk, or maybe you remember a past speaker you would like to hear from again. Please email any ideas to speakerteam@aughton-ormskirk-u3a.co.uk  or phone 07974 749362.

Final Jazz Appreciation Meeting

In December, we received a message from Sur Watkinson:

The Jazz Appreciation Group held its last event on Friday evening 14 December with a superb performance by the Chicago Teddy Bears Society Jazz Band.  Group numbers for regular meetings have fallen to single figures and our mainstay, Keith Lamb, has retired to spend more time with his family.  In the circumstances, we find ourselves unable to continue, so the Group has now closed for the moment.

Finance & Resources Vacancies

Alan Starkie has issued a message asking for volunteers.  Alan is to be found most Thursdays at Horizons at the Digital Camera / Computer Table in the far corner of the Aughton Room in the Scout & Guide HQ.  He also is a Helper at Computer Advice on Mondays.

There are vacancies on the Finance and Resources Sub-Committee. A background in finance is desirable but not essential. If you are interested in serving on this Sub-Committee or would like more information then please contact Alan Starkie.

Magazine Distribution

A message from the current Magazine Distribution Organiser, Peter Trigwell:

Many rumours are flying about the U3A at the moment with a view to what is happening with the magazine distribution.  Let me try and answer some of them.  The next Distribution date is the 28th February, and nothing will change at this time, magazines can still be collected from Horizons and from certain group leaders who already hand magazines out at their groups.  Magazines will also still be posted out on this occasion.

The changes will be made on the subsequent distribution days.  On these days, each new magazine will initially be available for collection at Horizons, and there will be a distribution desk at the following three Horizons.  This provides four weekly opportunities to collect your magazine each time.
Hand deliveries will continue for as long as the volunteers wish to carry them out.  I would like to wholeheartedly thank all the volunteers who already give up their time to make this process work.

I do now need to ask if there is anyone who is willing to take on the distribution role as I am looking to step down from this post due to other U3A commitments. If anyone is willing could you please get in touch with a member of the Management Committee or me.  I would be quite willing to work alongside a new distribution manager for several copies.

A fuller explanation will appear in the next magazine.

Pete Trigwell

Help with Vision

Do you have a problem with vision or do you know someone who is struggling to read because of an eye condition?

Andrew Coleman, who is the Technical Support Officer for Galloways Society for the Blind, will be leading a two hour session on Friday 29th March from 2.00 – 4.00 p.m. in the Scout & Guide HQ.  He will explain and demonstrate the use of up to date technologies aimed at people who need extra help.

We’ll serve tea and biscuits in the interval to give you time for questions and hand-on experience.

Please share the date and details with friends and neighbours.

If you have any questions please contact Sue Watkinson on 01695 422423

Horizons Chair Rota – members wanted!

Magically, each Thursday morning, members arrive for their coffee and chat to find chairs and tables set out ready for them, cups lined up and kettles brewed.  The small teams of helpers arrive just after 9.00 a.m. and spent around 20 minutes getting the rooms ready.  Over the last twelve months the number of members willing to help with chairs has dropped and some new recruits are needed.

If you could manage a little light exercise helping out once every four weeks then do please get in touch with me and we can agree dates for the rest of this year.  So many members will be grateful to you for your time.

Contact Sue Watkinson on 01695 422 423.

Church History New Series

Church History Group is starting a new Series on Medieval Cathedrals in January. Keep an eye on the Church History Group Page for details of these ever-popular Talks (and a Cathedral Visit).

Robot Constructor’s Challenge

We have had an approach from Barry James, the leader of Cannock Chase U3A Science & Technology group in the West Midlands region. He is proposing a Robot Constructor’s Challenge, open to any U3A team who would like to construct a moving robot type device; he says that this would be interesting to technology or construction groups who may like to do something practical, and then come together to see how their constructions compete against each other. He has the support of the National and Midland Regional U3A in this venture.

A call to Aughton & Ormskirk U3A Members…

Are there any mechanical or electrical constructors in our U3A who’d like to build a robot capable of moving and being controlled? You may have heard of “Raspberry Pi”, “Arduino” or “Picaxe”, which are all programmable devices, and will aid the use of sensors on robot devices so the challenge will clearly be of interest to coding creators too. If successful the robot would be demonstrated and compete with those of other U3As, undertaking some simple challenges at Aston University in Birmingham where the U3A Science Network is holding its annual meeting in August 2019. It is also hoped that a visit to the School of Engineering & Applied Science Robotics department will be included.

We have some limited expertise in our U3A in this area and if there was sufficient interest we could take part in this activity. We are just looking for expressions of interest at the moment. If you want to learn more please contact Jack Brettle at brettlej@gmail.com for more background information

Magazine, enews, Website and Facebook Publicity “Deadlines”

Do you need to publicise a U3A event or activity? Here are the deadlines for advertising in various methods of communication with members.

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

Quarterly Magazine

  • copy for next magazine: deadline as publicised in latest magazine

Monthly enews

  • deadline for enews items: NOON on the last Monday of the month

U3A Website

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

U3A Facebook

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

Note that if you are using the Contact form to send in an item for publication in the Magazine, the enews and the Website, you will need to send in a separate form to each “editor”  individually.

2018 Christmas Lunch

Some photos taken by Geoff Roberts and Bill & Sue Watkinson at the lunch on 14th December 2018, organised by the Social Subcommittee:

December country dancing

Country Dancing Group – 7.12.18 A special treat today as we danced to a live band The Lancashire Workshop Band and had refreshments afterwards. They kept us on our toes and we and the band earned those excellent refreshments.

Dances :-

  • Sprigs of Laurel a longways dance published by Ann & Peter Thompson 1794
  • Young Phyllis of Wakefield another longways dance.
  • Pine Cones a contemporary dance (1974) by Pat Shaw for 3 couples.
  • The Drummer a longways dance & big favourite which we haven’t danced for a while, so very enjoyable.
  • Trip to Sheringham a 4 couple square set dance which we danced twice.
  • The Geud man of Ballangigh A Playford dance from 1728.
  • and to finish Guildhall a longways dance.

there was dancing on the 14th but not recorded.

                                                           No dancing  until 11th January when Elfrida will be our dancing mistress, June Jones returns on 18th and anyone thinking of a New Year activity will be very welcome to join us then.

Many thanks to June for another great year of Country dancing. Also her alternate Elfrida for keeping us dancing when June has a break.

Hope you all enjoyed a good Christmas and have a Happy Healthy 2019.

New Group – British History

British History is a brand new Group, starting on 7 January,  in which you can learn anew or refresh your memories about the fascinating History of our homeland from the Norman Conquest till the reign of Victoria.

See the new British History Group Page for full details.

Christmas Party 2018

German Conversation Group Christmas Party 2018

On Nov. 28th Christmas came early to U3A’s German Conversation group. The final class of 2018 was organised around a theme of “Christmas in Germany” and to add to the occasion, spouses and partners had been invited to join us. The group was greeted cheerfully with glasses of warm “Glühwein” and “Häppchen”- German nibbles. Having been put in the mood, we settled down to a series of quizzes arranged around our summer out of class activities and intended to test our memories and the German we have learnt this year.

This was followed by an extended break when two long, tastefully decorated tables to match the Christmas Theme, were liberally covered with typical German delicacies and liquid refreshments.

After the break the group were entertained by a three handed comic sketch built around the concept of guests arriving at what they thought was a typical German Gasthof only to find the proprietor practised an Alternative Style of Living. As the prospective guests were shown around they discovered to their horror, that they were expected to dine in the bathroom; sleep in the kitchen and bathe in the lounge! What strange ideas some people do have. Needless to say the prospective guests decided not to stay there and promptly left.

The class ended with the hearty singing of the German Christmas songs “O Tannenbaum” (The Fir Tree), “Stille Nacht” (“Silent Night”) and “Still, still, still” (the same in both German and English) accompanied by recordings of German choirs.

Everyone had an enjoyable time and the class ended with a show of appreciation to Joan, Joyce and Norma in the traditional manner.

Rae Martin

Beginners’ Tap-dancing Course

Beginners’ Tap-dancing Class 2019

Six week course:  Wednesday 9 January – Wednesday 13 February – 10.30-11.30 (1 hour)

This class is for anyone who fancies learning to tap-dance and is suitable for those who have had no tap-dancing experience. It will deliver the basic tap-dance steps at a pace which will suit the individual.

It will be held at Aughton Women’s Institute (newly refurbished) on Town Green Lane. You do not need tap shoes but you do need some comfortable flexible-soled shoes (not trainers).

If you want to speak to the Coordinator, please ring Irene (01695 578263) and if any ex-tappers wish to donate their unwanted tap shoes, then please contact Irene and she will arrange to collect them.  (Irene is also the new Coordinator of the U3A  Tap Dancing Group,)

Christmas Cheer with the Science Group

Wednesday 5th December 2018

We had our traditional Science Group Christmas Cheer event with quizzes and refreshments of Christmas cake, mince pies and a variety of nibbles, biscuits and chocolates.  Proceedings got off to a great start with Patsy’s famous mulled wine which helped everyone’s confidence in doing the quizzes if not their success!  We started with a World Knowledge Quiz which helped everyone decide that they did not know as much about the state of the world as they thought and followed this with a quiz based on the BBC TV show “Impossible” but with science orientated questions.

If you want to try Jack’s World Knowledge Quiz, you can download the Questions, Choices and Answers below:

Some members were interested in more background information on the World Knowledge Quiz and this is given below:

If you would like to have a go at doing Alan’s “Impossible” Quiz, you can download the Questions and Answers below.

The quiz is [very] loosely based on the TV quiz show, “Impossible”, where you have to identify both the ‘correct’ answer (for 3 points) and the ‘impossible’ answer (1 point).

Christmas Cheer with the U3A

In December, many of our U3A Groups have a special December Meeting with a seasonal flavour.  Check the Groups List or the Programme Page to see if there is one for you to attend

If any Group Leaders would like their Xmas Do added to the Calendar  on the Sidebar of News Page, please email:

webteam@aughton-ormskirk-u3a.co.uk 

December 25th has been and gone.  Please send us photos of your U3A Christmas events that the members on them are happy to have published on the website. So far, we are very pleased to hear about:

Shakespeare Revisited Returns

The Shakespeare Revisited group closed for a while last year. However, there is now a new group leader, Eila Wall and the group is starting again in the New Year.

The first meeting is on Tuesday 8th January 2019 from 2pm to 4pm and will meet in the upstairs room at the Ministry Centre.

All former members will be very welcome, as is anyone who has an interest in Shakespeare. Don’t worry if Shakespeare is a distant memory – no previous knowledge is required.

If you think you might want to join the group or find out more, please phone Eila Wall on 01695 423341 at any time prior to the first meeting.

December Guest Visitor

Paula Gatterall from West Lancs Borough Council is running a FREE weight management programme and attended Horizons as Guest Visitor on Thursday 13 December to talk to members about this.  The programme will be held in the Christ Church Ministry Centre  starting in January 2019.

The meetings are on Thursday mornings, so handily timed to combine with a visit to Horizons beforehand!

Note that this is NOT a U3A course.  It is understood that as well as information on better food choices, there will be encouragement to become more active. (And, of course, our U3A provides many opportunities to do that – see the List of Groups.)

Aughton and Ormskirk U3A Motorcycle Group.

Are there any motorcycle enthusiasts in our U3A, out riding on their own? We are a couple who are motorcyclists who would like to enjoy the company of like-minded people on sensible ride outs.

If you have a bike (any size) and are keen to ride to interesting places at sensible speeds (within speed limits) during the week then please get in touch.

We would look to operate rides between April and September and, if there is interest, the odd ride out or meetings in other months.  Please contact Marilyn and Richard Jones 01695 570280.

Autumn Musical Theatre

Make a date this Autumn to go see the next production by the Musical Theatre Group:

A group of U3A members, who always travel abroad, have decided this year to stay at home – now called a ‘Staycation’. More details on the Musical Theatre Group page.

The Website turns 3-years-old

The current Aughton & Ormskirk U3A Website has been going now for 3 years. The Web Team hope you find it informative and useful. We know that some potential members do refer to it prior to joining, so please help us keep it interesting and relevant.

This year, we have been making some changes to help the Website adhere to the new GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) law. Please do a quick check for any text or photos referring to you and contact the Web Team if there is anything you would like removing or changing.

Remember – it is your website. Comments are always welcome as are contributions such as News Reports and Photos relating to events to keep it looking lively. Email the Web Team (Joyce Nolan, Maureen Boumphrey and Alan Nolan) at:

webteam@aughton-ormskirk-u3a.co.uk

The Web Team would like to thank all the Group Authors, past and present,  for their invaluable help in maintaining a very good proportion of the Pages on our extensive List of Groups.  Much appreciation should also go to Willem Wiechers, the IT Manager, who does all the essential background work relating to the running of WordPress on the Host Server. And to Margaret Wiechers, the previous Web Master for her continued help and advice.

FAO Group Leaders: Equipment Storage

A message from Dennis Morley who manages the U3A ‘assets’.

In an attempt to create space, all group leaders who use equipment stored in the cupboards at the back of the Ormskirk Room (where tv is sited) are asked to inform Dennis Morley which item/s they use , and on which day they use them, giving details of make, model, serial number etc.

It is intended to write off any unidentified items at the end of January 2019.

Info. please to Dennis on 01704 545805

Regards

Dennis

Innovation Agency Meeting on Digital Healthcare

Wednesday 3rd Oct 2018

Digital Healthcare is being introduced into the National Health Service to make it safer, faster and more cost effective.  This  Science Group meeting was hosted by the NHS Innovation Agency, whose job it is to promote innovation and so improve health care in the region.  After some presentation by agency staff explaining their work, five small companies developing these innovative devices explained and demonstrated them and members had the chance to try them out and give  feedback; this is important to the companies involved to ensure that their products meet our needs.   The companies involved were: (more…)

Looking forward to the future……….

 ………. with Aughton & Ormskirk U3A

A message from your Trustees:
We are interested in your views on what is good about our U3A and your suggestions for improvements.

Following the 10.30 am announcements at Horizons on Thursday 27 September, we invite you to share your thoughts, views and opinions about our U3A and how we can work together for the benefit of us all.

This will be an informal session for about 30 minutes.

 We hope you will join in the discussions.

If you missed this Horizons Meeting, you can still come along to another one any Thursday morning.  There are always some members of the Committees and Groups around to listen to, and pass on, your views and questions.  And, if you cannot come then in person, there are alternative ways of contacting appropriate Officers via the Contact Us Page.

A Dramatic Opportunity

Do you have an interest or experience in stage/drama productions, theatrical lighting and sound systems?

If so, the Drama Group would love to hear from you.  At our normal venue, Aughton Village Hall, a brand new lighting system has been installed which will open up new opportunities for our twice-yearly productions.

If you are interested in becoming involved or want to find out more please contact the Drama Group Leaders John and Megan Tomlinson on 01695 578207.

September Speaker

Thursday 6th September Norse Mythology
We welcome Paul Atherton who will tell us all about Norse Mythology.  He’s no stranger to our U3A as he has spoken to the Local History Group but the subject is endlessly fascinating and more information can be found on this link.
Come along and join Paul at 10.30 am in Christ Church.  Everyone is welcome.

Sue Watkinson, is coming to the end of two and a half years as our Speaker Secretary and she’s loved every minute of it.  Finding speakers isn’t difficult – there are lots of people available – but contacting them, learning about their topics and then hearing their presentations has been so interesting.  But at present there is no-one to take over from her at the end of 2018.  Please think about offering yourself for this important role.  Speaker meetings are an opportunity for members from all groups to come together once a month to share a variety of topics.  Please contact Sue if you would like to find out more on 01695 422 423

September Guest Visitor

Thursday 13th September – our Guest is a representative from Preston Care & Repair.  They hold the contract in West Lancashire for helping to make life easier for older, vulnerable or disabled people and anyone with a long-term health condition that affects their mobility of independence in the home.  Come along and talk to their representative.   They will be with us for the whole morning 9.30 through to 11.30 in the Scout & Guide HQ.  More information on this link.

Sue Watkinson is coming to the end of two and a half years as our Speaker Secretary and she’s loved every minute of it.  Finding speakers isn’t difficult – there are lots of people available – but contacting them, learning about their topics and then hearing their presentations has been so interesting.  But at present there is no-one to take over from her at the end of 2018.  Please think about offering yourself for this important role.  Speaker meetings are an opportunity for members from all groups to come together once a month to share a variety of topics.  Please contact Sue if you would like to find out more on 01695 422 423

Autumn Drama

Tickets for our Autumn Production “Slim Chance” and “Commemorate and Celebrate” at Aughton Village Hall on Friday 26th and Saturday 27th October, will go on sale at Horizons on Thursday 6th September.

Early booking is advisable particularly if you want to sit at a table with a group of friends or family.
Tickets, which cost £8.50, are also available from any member of the Drama Group or you can contact Megan on 01695 578207 or Jackie on 01695 227503.

Check out the Drama Group Page for further  news.