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Newsletter (January 2023)

January 2023

Welcome to a new year

It’s hard to believe but we are almost in February!

But before we get there, here is your January newsletter.

Getting in a pickle…!

A new year and some new activities, and here’s an unusual one………Pickleball.

The definition of this fun sport is: “Pickleball combines elements of badminton, tennis, and table tennis. Played both indoors or outdoors on a badminton-sized court and a slightly modified tennis net. Two or four players use solid paddles made of wood or composite materials to hit a perforated polymer ball, over a net.”

So here’s a chance to have a go. Two of our members have a arranged a taster session at All Seasons Leisure Centre in Chorley, on Tuesday, January 31, from 1pm to 2 pm.

Pickleball…give it a try

Go along in suitable sports gear and give it a try.

If there is sufficient interest we hope to set up a group – time and place to suit those interested.

The rules are similar to tennis. The plastic ball has with very little bounce and the ‘bat’ is a paddle of table tennis size. The serve is delivered underarm and you only score when serving.

Sounds fun!

An ‘Inspiring’ visit

As the U3A demographic is of people of a more mature age, it is always interesting to see the flip of the coin and find out what makes the younger generation tick.

Chorley is lucky to have its own Inspire Youth Zone which is run by local people to support local families.

It offers a wide range of low cost activities to help young people develop their sporting, creative and other skills, whilst making friends and giving them a great place to spend their time. It now has more than 9,500 young members. Inspired was and is heavily supported by many Chorley businesses and will reach its fifth anniversary this May. 

We have kindly been invited to visit this wonderful community asset on Friday, February 10 at 1pm. We will start with tea and biscuits and, dependant upon the numbers, will have a guided tour around the facilities which take a little over an hour.   

Chorley’s Inspire Youth Zone

Again, depending on numbers, some of us may repair to nearby Shepherd’s Hall Ale House for further quick refreshment!

For anyone who doesn’t know the location, Inspire is at the top of Chapel Street, Chorley, opposite the side entrance to the bus station. There is plenty of parking nearby/ across the dual carriageway. 

Our new social outing convenor Gavin Stewart is organising the visit and he needs to know numbers as soon as possible, so please email him at social@westpenninevillagesu3a.org.uk to indicate your interest.

February speaker

David Beattie will talk about “The Wildlife of Cuerden Valley” where he is a Wildlife Officer and Trustee of the Cuerden Valley Park.

His talk on Wednesday, February 1, will about the mammals, flowers, insects and birds to be found at Cuerden.

David has been involved with wildlife for 40plus years being chair of Lancashire Badger Group, member of North Lancs Bat Group, an active member of Lancashire Botany Group and he is Conservation Advisor to an Eco-Church scheme which helps faith groups tackle Climate Change and Biodiversity loss.

It will be at our usual venue, WIthnell Fold Sports & Social Club and starts at 10.30 prompt to allow for questions at the end. Entry is £2 and includes refreshments.

Fossils underfoot

An icy Friday saw five members of the natural history group at Blackburn bus station, writes Tricia Harper convenor of the Natural History Group.

A strange sight, five people meandering slowly outside with eyes fixed firmly on the ground!

What was so interesting? Well….. fossils!

Questions – were the white bits chewing gum or fossils and if so what kind of fossils? There certainly was chewing gum but many more fossils, possibly remains of seashells and corals or sea lilies (similar to modern day sea anemones).

Further along on the paving stones showed signs of ancient sand ripples. 
Into the Cathedral where the floor was just a mass of fossils identified by the guide book as Derbyshire limestone full of the remains of sea lilies looking like razor shells, tuning forks and clothes pegs. 

An ancient jigsaw underfoot


Back to infant days for a show and tell session over coffee. Members brought interesting examples of their own fossils – ammonites, a sand dollar, spiral shells, sharks tooth and a trilobite.
Even though both the bus station and cathedral were relatively new, the ground you walk on is about 400 million years old!

Anyone wanting to join the group can find details on the Groups Page.

Winter walk

More lovely pictures from Dean, of the January walk from Brinscall through to the nature reserve at Abbey Village.

And the dog came too!
That way I think…….

National u3a 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.

Don’t struggle

We can reserve a parking spot right next to the clubhouse for those finding it difficult to walk up. Just let us know.

We hope you have enjoyed the new-look newsletter. If you have any contributions please contact Lynn using the form below.


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