West Pennine Villages u3a

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Newsletter (April 2023)

April 2023

Our first face to face AGM finally took place after interruptions from Covid and
the last one on Zoom. It was excellent to see so many member who came along
and who stayed for a chat at the usual Wednesday Drop-in after.
The business of the day was to elect the committee and the following were
unanimously voted back.
Chair- Ann Furlong

 Vice Chair-Geoff Tittensor
 Treasurer- Paul Brooking
 Secretary-Norma Tittensor

  1. Election of 7 ordinary committee Members
     Maria Brooking
     Lynn Worden
     Steven Perry
     Clive Bass
     Graham Green
     Kay Aldred
     Jane Watson

However, as many of you are probably aware, the bulk of the committee will
have served for three years this time next year and under our constitution must
step down or move to a different role. Therefore, we appeal to anyone who is
interested in joining the committee – either now or in the future, to get in touch.
You could observe some of our meetings – perhaps as a ‘buddy’ for a particular
role that interests you or just come and have a chat to find out more.
After the election, chair Ann gave her annual report. She said that since the last
AGM in February 2022, WPVu3a has grown steadily and it on track to reach
the 200 target – we have 193 members so far.
She added: “We are pleasingly known as a small friendly u3a and so don’t
want to upset the balance by becoming too big – although of course we would
never turn anyone away!”
Ann explained the recent ‘welcoming, friendly and inclusive survey’ which was
sent to all members had a 25% response rate and the overwhelming majority pf
members said they have had a ‘good’ experience of feeling welcomed and
included, with a very small number feeling ‘ok’ about this and no one reporting
‘could do better.’
She added: “Thanks to everyone who completed the survey.
We were very pleased to hear that most people are more than satisfied with our
efforts to fulfil this but we have taken a number of points on board – there is
always room for improvement after all!
An action plan is now being formulated and will be discussed at the next
committee meeting and then acted upon.

“A number of folk offered to be involved in some way – if this was you could
you please get in touch.”
The bulk of our members are from the villages to the east of Chorley, although
we do have members from Euxton, Leyland, Fulwood, Croston and Horwich.
Unlike many other u3as we have a good mix of male/females in our groups (124
female, 69 male) although strategies to attract more men is often a topic at our
committee meetings. Another pleasing statistic is there are very few members
who are not presently in any group.
“We have 36 interest groups and the week is almost full, which inevitably
means that occasionally there are some clashes although we have tried to avoid
this as much as possible.”
Ann thanked all group convenors for their efforts and enthusiasm and for
getting to grips with the IT involved in running a group, and a big thank you to
Clive Bass for his patience and his efforts, trying to get us all up to speed with
IT, business emails etc and for completely overhauling our website which is
now much more attractive and much easier to use.
She also thanked Maria Brooking, Group Coordinator for her enthusiasm and
organisation of the group convenors, Mike Parker for organising such
interesting and varied monthly talks, secretary Norma Tittensor for all her work
writing minutes and making sure we do things when we’re supposed to, and
Paul Brooking for his excellent work after taking over as treasurer, his
wonderful spreadsheets keep convenors informed and our finances sound.
Ann also thanked Withnell Fold Sports and Social Club where many groups are
held, for providing welcoming facilities at a reasonable cost. However, as
accessibility is an issue for some, the committee is always looking at other
venues eg Hillside, Wheelton, Hoghton and Brindle. But matching the cost,
securing a weekly slot and persuading Group Convenors to move isn’t easy!

Pic with this
A night on the gin!
Our members certainly get around, whether it’s theatre trips, evenings of
classical music…… or a night at a distillery!
At least members didn’t have far to stagger as the latest outing was to Cuckoo
Gin in Brindle.
Here Kath Parker recounts the evening which involved a bar in a barn, a man
with a guitar and cocktails….
She wrote: “The evening of Saturday, April 15, found 23 members of the
Social Group seated on three long picnic bench type tables at the ‘bar in a barn’,
The Cuckoo’s Nest.

“We were there for one of their popular events, advertised as ‘Table service
evenings with live music.’ The website suggested ‘you will be impressed’ and I
for one, most certainly was.
“The live music was one man with a guitar and some backing tracks who kept
us entertained for over two hours with his repertoire of pop and rock classics.
He asked for requests and I’m not sure all of us were entirely happy with his
Springsteen offering, but The Boss and his band play to thousands in arenas
worldwide. This was one man in a barn in Brindle. Be fair!
“The gin-based cocktails were utterly delightful, others chose beer or wine and
the designated drivers were sensible as one would expect. There were boards of
cheese and charcuterie to nibble for those who hadn’t had their tea or needed
something else to soak up the gin, as well as the usual bar snacks.
“My only reservation was that the music did preclude much conversation but
perhaps that’s no bad thing. I doubt after the second cocktail I was entirely
coherent anyway! A night to remember and many thanks to Gavin for

Pix with this
The March speaker meeting was a delight!
We were excellently entertained by two young people from Dance Syndrome –
one of whom David is the son of one of our members Jenni.
The company offers dance to all and is a multi-award winning inclusive dance
charity based in Accrington with a special focus on including everyone,
regardless of ability. Its ethos is to empower people with learning disabilities
through inclusive dance. …
And there was full audience participation as David and his dance partner Ellie
got everyone on the floor to join in, followed by their sensational solo spots.
The pair were a true inspiration and were fully appreciated by members who
raised almost £180 as a donation towards Dance Syndrome’s valuable work.
Meanwhile next month’s speaker is on the topic of ‘The Power of the Mind’. It
is billed as “a fun and interactive introduction to cognitive psychology and
some of the wonderful processes that make us human.” The session will
demonstrate some of the shortcuts that our brain takes every day to make sense
of our complicated world…and how it often gets it wrong!
Intrigued? Come along on Wednesday, at 10.30pm. Admission £2 which
includes a cuppa and biscuits.

Natural History- pix with this

Bats, nuthatches and some stinky sludge – all in a day’s outing for the Natural
History group.
The latest outing was to Withnell Fold reserve, and well known ‘local’ Dean
helped the group explore its history and natural history.
Here’s Trish’s report: “Starting at the stocks the group walked across the
Memorial Garden once the site of a lodge. Apparently there is a gravity fed
pipeline taking water from Thirlmere to Manchester. Then we visited what must
be the grandest house for bats to provide them with alternative accommodation
when they are disturbed by redevelopment. There’s room for thousands!
“Dean explained the role of the various ponds in the cleansing of the water from
the paper mill and showed members where the sludge was dumped (rather
smelly and full of chemicals from the paper making process).
“Today however the reserve is like another world, lush and green, full of
birdsong with some amazingly loud nuthatches making their presence obvious.
Not all plants are welcome. The duckweed will be covering most of the ponds
by the summer, and there are signs of Himalayan balsam everywhere. Dogs
Mercury was plentiful, a sign of ancient woodland but invasive and poisonous.
Happily though the group saw lots of violets, some primroses and the beautiful
 blackthorn in full flower.
“A couple of mallards were on the furthest lodge and there were several birds
flitting about in the trees. Unfortunately, no one had binoculars but by the
birdsong all around we knew there were plenty of blue tits about. The green
world of the reserve is now a peaceful place for quiet reflection, even though
there is a need for some maintenance.
“Thank you Maria for leading the walk and Dean for contributing his
knowledge adding extra interest and understanding of this reserve.”

Walks pix
As always, Dean had his trusty phone to record the Walking Group’s outings –
to Rivington
and Ribchester. Looks like the struck lucky with the weather. Unfortunately, no
so on the Worthington Lakes outing as it was too wet for Dean to perform his
photographic magic!
North West Region activities.
Smart Devices Research projects.
Laura Pemberton, a PhD student at the Manchester Business School, is looking for
people over 60 to take part in research at the School into smart home technologies
funded by BT.
Participants will be exposed to different kinds of smart home devices and will then
complete a questionnaire and an interview, taking about an hour. There will be
refreshments and an Amazon voucher as a thank you for their time.
Travel expenses cannot be met, but free parking can be arranged and timings will be
geared to allow free bus pass use.

Timing will be geared to allow free bus pass use.
If interested, enrol via this link https://tinyurl.com/3vyv637t  where there is more
information about the project.
Or email Laura at: laura.pemberton@manchester.ac.uk

NW Conference and AGM in Liverpool on July 4.
This event is for anyone. There are discussion groups and a performance by concert
pianist Andrew Wilde as well as the AGM. Please see the NW website for more
information and the link to the booking form.
NW volunteer ‘coffee morning’. June 7 on Zoom
There are many volunteers in u3a – committee members, events planners,
refreshment organisers, ‘meeters and greeters’ – to name but a few. It’s important
that we recognise and value their contribution to our wonderful organisation. As part
of the National Volunteer Week, we would like to invite members to join an informal
Zoom meeting and chat with other people around the region about what goes on in
their u3as.
Please register either online (see NW website) or use this link to the online form.
Let’s celebrate our volunteers. https://forms.gle/LdT2yzqWsL52Z7Av6
The Big Sing
There is still time to register for the Big Sing in Liverpool on May 10. Details are on
the NW website. Ignore the closing date, Your registration will be accepted right up
to the event.
We hope you have enjoyed the new-look newsletter. If you have any
contributions please send them to Lynn

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