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Newsletter (August 2023)

August Newsletter

Welcome to your new all singing, all dancing newsletter.

Thanks to our tech guru, Clive, hopefully it will be easier to read and with bigger pictures.

And it’s a double whammy as Clive has done a complete redesign of the website, making easier to find your way around.

Clive said: “In late August we launched a new U3A website which you will hopefully find easier to use to keep in touch with the U3A and find out about it’s activities.

“You should be able to find most things from the website “Welcome” page, which can always be reached by tapping or clicking on our logo which appears at the top of every page. The menu for navigating the site is retained, though on smartphones and some other devices this is found by tapping an icon in the top left hand corner of the screen. 

“The new site should help anyone using the accessibility features available on modern web browsers and we are hopeful it will help us to communicate better with all members. The judge of how successfully we deliver these objectives is you – so please let us know what you think.”

Here’s what our members have been up to…

Many of our members have been spreading their wings this month, from our chairman Ann Volunteering at the Commonwealth Games, to Jane doing a spot of singing at Exeter Cathedral, the walking group heading off for a tour of a cheese factory and also a visit to foreign territory – Affetside!

Ann had a brilliant time at the Games and here’s a pic to prove it.

Ann and her new pal Perry the mascot

Ann is already an accomplished hand at this game – she’s already volunteered at the Manchester and Glasgow Commonwealth Games, the London World Athletics, and the cherry on the cake – the 2012 London Olympics.

Here’s here story: “I installed myself at the campsite in Birmingham on the day of the Opening Ceremony for the Commonwealth Games and for the next 11 days was a volunteer at the Squash Venue at the University of Birmingham. Initially I thought that there hadn’t been much publicity and the whole event would be quite low key – but how wrong was I. The whole of Birmingham suddenly came alive and the spectators couldn’t get enough of any event going. Who would have thought that Beach Volleyball in the city centre would be such a hit? Tickets for everything sold out fast as everyone caught the Commonwealth bug.

I worked with a group of 20 others showing folk to their seats, looking after those in wheelchairs, making sure everyone had everything they needed etc. I learnt lots about Squash (did you know they have to increase the court size by 1 mètre each side for doubles?) and was totally in awe of the fitness level involved. The Hockey was also based here so every day there was a fantastic atmosphere at the venue.

Once you wear the volunteer uniform, everyone suddenly becomes your best friend – sitting next to you on the train, or just walking about the city, wanting to know your life history. Quite wonderful.

Another amazing volunteering adventure. Now roll on the World Gymnastics in Liverpool in late October – I wonder what my uniform will be this time?”

Jane Collyer swapped handbells for choral singing when she and hubby Trevor headed to the magnificent Exeter Cathedral.

Jane is part of the Leyland based Rawstrone Singers and spent a week singing the daily services at the Cathedral.

They rehearsed each morning and afternoon before singing Evensong. then they headed back to the lovely University Campus for some good food.

They rehearsed each morning and afternoon before singing Evensong. Then then headed back to the lovely University Campus for some good food.

“We had one day off so ventured by train to Dawlish for a paddle in the sea!’ said Jane.

A new tune for handbells

Talking of handbells, the group had taken delivery of some super-duper chimes, thanks to our enterprising music maestro Kay who applied for a grant to purchase them.

They are top of the range and have a totally different sound and technique to the handbells we have been using.

Kay said: “It’s all new at the Handchimes group after a very generous donation has resulted in a change of name and instrument. Anticipation was high as we awaited delivery of a brand new set of 25 Suzuki Tonechimes, purchased with a very generous grant (from Arnold Clarke Community Fund). With their mellow resonating  sound and  sleek modern look, as well as the ease with which they can be played, they are already proving to be quite a hit!

The new chimes

“Everyone is starting afresh, learning new skills, playing a wide variety of music from classical to folk, popular tunes to well known hymns, nursery rhymes and even Rule Britannia! No musical knowledge is needed we would love to welcome new members.

If you are interested or just want to give it try with no obligation to join, you are invited to our Wednesday session 12.15 – 1.15pm, after the Drop In.

From cheese to a medieval cross

Our walking group certainly gets about.

They set off to Garstang where they had a tour – and a tasting – at Dewlay Cheese.

Dewlay Cheesemakers was founded by George Kenyon in 1957. A keen dairyman, he decided to set up his own cheesemaking dairy in the heart of Garstang. Since then, Dewlay has earned a reputation for producing the very best Lancashire Cheese.

Say cheese! Members sample Dewlay’s delicious products

Dewlay’s founder George Kenyon derived the name from the French ‘Du lait’, which means ‘Of the milk’. But as he was born and bred in Wigan he pronounced and spelt it Dew-Lay! And so Dewlay came about.

They also had a look at the Medieval Cross at Affestside near Bury, on another walk.

History at Affetside

The village stands on the ancient Roman Watling Road and the cross which if more than four feet tall, was thought to be a pilgrim’s cross used as a place to stop and pray for a safe journey. Judging from the picture taken by Dean Harris, the walkers’ prayers were answered for a sunny day.


Drawing delights

The artistic talents of our members are also worth a look at. The drawing group has been busy and here are some of their amazing sketches.

Don’t forget all these groups are open to anyone interested. Just browse the new-look website for more details.

A speaker date with Boyd


The meeting programme resumes in October with a talk by local historian Boyd Harris on the Social History of Withnell Fold.

Boyd is well placed to speak on this subject having spent many of his early years living in the village. This will be an updated repeat of the talk he gave in October 2019 and which was very well received This will be a popular event so come early to ensure a good seat.

Date for your diary – Wednesday, October 5 at 11am. Entry is £2 which will include refreshments. It is then hoped to invite Boyd back in 2023 to show the film “Fine Papermaking at Withnell Fold” which was made by the mill manager, Kenneth Whitehead,  in 1963. This showing could be followed by a walk into the village to look at some of the filming locations. 

Rusty Rackets and Guitars

A shout out for Rusty Rackets as my original Rustys are now well oiled and most of them playing happily at the club’s sessions! So, anyone who wants to start playing again – or even those who have never played – come along at 11.30 on Thursdays for an hour’s fun session. We have spare rackets and balls and a ball machine and me to help and encourage – so no excuses! The clubhouse will also be open for tea/coffee before or after if needed. What are you waiting for?
For something less energetic there is a new Beginners Guitar course starting in September. There are some spare guitars to start you off. A new hobby for the Winter months?  Have a look at the website for more details and to send a message to the guitar group.

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 send them to Lynn.


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