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Newsletter (February 2024)


Welcome to either your very late February newsletter, or a very early March one.

There’s a lot to get through so……..

Power of the Mind

We have had a good fun and interesting winter series learning lots more about the power of the mind from our lovely experts Debbie, Linda and Aisha.

We learnt about; the mysteries of sleep, helping the police to catch criminals, understanding online behaviours, drawing development and why music is good for the mind.

Our last session for winter is all about loneliness and what helps us throughout our lifespan. Professor Pamela Qualter, the UK’s leading scientific expert on child and adolescent loneliness, works with the UK Government’s Tackling Loneliness Team, and was recently commissioned to write an evidence gap report on loneliness. Previously, Pamela led the BBC Loneliness Experiment, then the world’s largest study of loneliness. Here is a short clip of Pamela that gives you a taster https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hC8eMjcbPG0

Session 6 ‘Loneliness throughout the lifespan’ by Professor Pamela Qualter from theUniversity of Manchester, is on Friday, March 15, 1.15pm to 2:45pm at Withnell Fold Sports Club.

So please come along whether you’re in the POTM group or not, all are welcome. Jane is also planning summer 2024 where the focus will be around the nature and causes of individual behaviours in social situations.  This could be how people’s thoughts, feelings, beliefs, intentions and goals are influenced by others. If you are interested in joining then please let Jane know via the POTM activity webpage where further information on all our sessions/ speakers are available, with the summer session details coming shortly.

More mindful events.

UCLAN is organising a Public Lecture series.

Dive deep into the annals of history, challenge conventional beliefs, and step into the realms of the future with topics covering visual impairment in sport, real life exoskeletons and the history of the toothbrush.

The next one is on March 7 is entitled “Can we harness the immune system to detect and defeat brain cancer? On April 11, it will be “The rise and fall of antibiotics”. On May 9 “Blind people can’t play sport’ and June 6 is “The history of the toothbrush.”

All lectures are set to take place on Thursday between 6pm to 7.30pm and are at the Greenbank Lecture Theatre. More details from Jane.

Music magic

Wow! Who needs the Last Night of the Proms.

It was a musical masterclass from maestro Andrew Wilde who left his audience in raptures when he played at last month’s speaker meeting.

Andrew Wilde

With a portable piano keyboard – and no sheet music – his emotional renditions of Mozart and Chopin left us all wishing he had been booked for another couple of hours.

For those who missed it – it was a delight – we have a quick video courtesy of Paul so you can hear a flavour.

Unassuming and charming, he told how his love of music started at the age of four and how he progressed thanks to supportive teachers who spotted his talents. 

He went on to perform around the world and has won countless competitions.

A collection for donations to the North West Music Trust raised an amazing £136.96.

*A word from Mike: “Those of you who attended the Speaker Event on January 3rd when Raymond Smith talked about his life to date my be interested to know that the collection for charitable donation to Alzheimers Research in lieu of a speaker fee amounted to £95-75. Thank you all so much for your generosity. ‘  

Eeh by gum!

March Speaker: Date for your diaries, Wednesday, March 6, Sid Calderbank of Euxton taking about Lancashire dialect. Starts at 10.30 prompt. Come early for a brew and biscuit.

Coming soon…….

We are always trying to bring more to your monthly newsletter.

So watch out next month for some delicious recipes from our very own u3a super cook Harsha.

Harsha in her kitchen

Many members will have tasted her dishes at various dining evenings at the club, and now she has agreed to pass on some of her secrets.

Her first recipe will be in March’s Newsletter.

Tomato eating fish!

 The Natural history group had a fascinating visit to Bolton Museum and Aquarium.

Some time was spent upstairs admiring the beautiful display of rocks and minerals, learning a little more of what could be beneath our feet.
In the aquarium we met the aquarist Pete and a research intern Erin. The Aquarium does amazing work with other aquariums, university and conservation organisations all over the world.

Several once extinct in the wild have been successfully bred at Bolton Aquarium and restored to their native habitats. The fish have to be trained to be afraid of predators before being released!
Some glass fish have been sent to medical researchers in universities. These fish are transparent so their cells can be studied from egg to death without harming the fish.
Even fish poo is the subject of intriguing research!
A university in Belgium has asked for photographs of Bircher fish (an ancient species found from the time of the dinosaurs). The photographs are compared to a fossil poo giving more information about lifestyle, development and diet of this species.
The session ended by  the fish being fed with cherry tomatoes, courgettes, bananas and grapes. Apparently they would also nibble dandelion leaves.
It was a thoroughly enjoyable and informative visit.

Next STEM guest

The recently formed STEM group goes from strength to strength and we’ve already learned about how safe it is to fly, about the science of Christmas, tried our skills at code breaking (where we learned that the ladies are far better than the men) and our latest meeting was one of many and varied facts brought along by our members.
At the next meeting, our guest speaker will be a Respiratory Consultant from Preston Hospital talking to us on ‘ COVID from the other side of the mask’. The meeting will be on Tuesday, March 19 at 10am at the clubhouse.

And they’re off

Thanks to new member Mike who has taken up the wheels of the cycling group and has organised the first ride of the year.

When: 10am, March 7.

Start point: Velo Cafe, Brickcroft Lane, Croston, PR26 9RF

Link: Velo Cafe Info

Riders meet at 10am for a 10.30 start with time for a quick coffee and chat about the route. It is OK to park at the cafe as the owner has kindly given us permission.

The route will also have been ridden a day or two beforehand in case there are road closures or other issues. The route is 18.5 miles and 300′ of ascent. Contact Mike through the Cycling Group.

Another wet walk!

A waterproof day!

This picture from one of the latest Walking Group’s outings is very apt. It was raining, as usual, and the destination…….Winter Hill. Surprised they found their way to the top in that mist, at least they are all smiling!

If you have any interesting stories or photographs from your groups, please send them to Lynn.

Book a holiday and get our u3a some cash

Did you know that if you book a holiday with Riviera Travel and say you are a u3a member – our u3a gets 10%?

That means more money for our funds to spend on you.

The national u3a also offers a discount scheme through its Click and Save scheme where there are savings on brands including Sainsbury’s, Pizza Express, Currys and M&S. Click here to find out more https://www.u3aclickandsave.co.uk/x_/

While we are on the subject of holidays – does anyone have any interesting tales about their getaways.

Have you been penguin spotting in Antarctica, or a safari in Africa? Or you may have enjoyed a week in the sun in some exotic part of the globe. If you’d like to share your exploits, let Lynn know at the bottom of this newsletter.

I’d like to feature a question and answer feature, letting other members know about some of the best hotspots, tips on what to see etc. So get in touch.

Membership update

We now have 211 members!

Policies and documents

While there is always lots to do at our u3a, sometimes we forget the behind-the-scenes information.

All our policies and statements are available on the website for your perusal. Just look under the Menu button and click on Documents.

Looking forward…….

There’s lots of things being lined up for 2024, with outings and theatre visits as well as all your well-loved groups. Keep an eye on the website and your monthly newsletter.

Look forward to lots of laughing, learning and living, with your WPVu3a.

Don’t struggle

Anyone who struggles with the website can find help by clicking on the Help option from the website menu.

Anyone having difficulty getting to meetings, we can reserve a parking spot right next to the clubhouse. Just let us know. There is also step free access into the clubhouse.

National news

Don’t forget your can get all the national u3a news as well as lots of info about different courses etc at the national u3a website.

We hope you have enjoyed this month’s newsletter. If you have any contributions please contact Lynn using the form below.

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