Nov 2018 -Jan 2019

This edition celebrates the first 25 years of North Wilts U3A  and also looks forward to how we can ensure its success in the future .
There is news of the possible creation of 2 new groups , 'Magic' and 'Spanish'. Those interested in a Gardening group (visiting gardens etc) got together after October’s monthly meeting and a November meeting is being planned – For more information, contact Lynda Clifford, Tel.653251.
Frances Alexander
Sue Taylor

Firstly, and with much sadness, I have to inform you of the death of our Vice-Chairman, Frank Pitt. Frank was admitted to RUH Bath after a bad fall last month, and passed away on 12th September. We would like to extend our condolences to his family. Frank was elected to your committee at our March AGM, and proved to be a valuable member.
He will be sadly missed.

On a happier note, North Wilts U3A was founded in October 1993, 25 years ago, and amazingly we still have 13 founder members with continuous service on our books. In recognition of this achievement, your committee has decided to award life membership to these members. Our November meeting will include a presentation to them,
and will include cake. Don’t forget to come and give them a cheer!

Our July meeting was a talk by Alan Dix on his experiences as an evacuee in WW2. He left London on his 5th birthday, carrying his gas mask, and went to a Welsh mining village for four years. He remembers standing in a church hall with 50 other children, waiting to be ‘picked’. Pretty girls were chosen first! 3.5 million children were evacuated, although some
returned during the ‘phoney war’. When the bombing started in earnest, the docks near his home were badly hit; warehouses full of sugar and flour burnt with a vengeance. We may complain about aspects of our lives today, but our parents had it much, much worse. 

Our September meeting was a talk on crossing the Tropic of Capricorn by Eddy and Pam Lane. The geographical area covered was the Solomon Islands, just north of Australia and New Zealand. The talk was illustrated by some of their amazing photographs. They had a number of their photographs of wildlife, scenery and the local inhabitants on display
around the room and we were well able to appreciate their quality.

After an unusually long, hot summer we are now well and truly into autumn storms. Never mind, it’ll soon be Christmas!

David Sperritt. Chair, North Wilts U3A


Celebrations and Considerations
This year we celebrate 25 years of the existence of N. Wilts U3A, and we also celebrate the fact that we have a group of 13 founder members still enjoying interests that we offer and which they helped set up. I’d like to be sure that we can continue to offer such interests for many years to come.
This can only be assured if we have a viable committee.
Three members of the committee will be retiring soon (two moving away from this area and one who has been on the committee for many years in various roles including Chairman). This is in addition to the recent sad loss of Frank Pitt, our Vice-Chairman.
These four need to be replaced for our U3A to continue. It would be helpful if members would come forward as a matter of urgency and make themselves known now, so that they can be aware of how things work before the AGM in March and we can be assured that we have a viable committee to take things forward next year.
The committee meets about 4 times a year. Each member has a role to play and at meetings we discuss what needs to be done and organise newsletter, monthly meetings, Christmas celebrations, publicity etc. - Usually very friendly with tea, coffee and cake or biscuits and the chance to have a chat along the way. Our plea goes out to
younger members as, after 25 years, many of our older members have retired from active committee duties; they have done their bit. Younger members, please consider and make yourselves known by contacting a committee member .
Geraldine Sperritt (Treasurer)


As Welfare Officer, I like to send out cards to members who have a special anniversary or who are unwell. In the first 8 months of 2018, I sent out 7 Get Well cards, 1 Birthday card and I Golden Anniversary card.
This is just to remind people that I am here to send out Greetings cards … but someone has to let me know!
Dora Emmett


I went out to Hullavington to interview three of the founder-members of our North Wilts U3A, John Greenwood and Joan and Albert Lindsay. If it hadn’t been for Joan and Albert, apparently, John might not even have joined! – they were going to the inaugural meeting in October 1993 and asked him if
he would like to come – so he did. They remember trestle tables with sheets  of paper and about 20 possible groups listed. Which groups interested you?
Would you be willing to lead any?
John offered to lead Literature and has been doing so ever since, until two years ago when the group closed. He remembers a strange time in the mid- 1990s when his group was completely dominated by Js! – 3 Johns, a Jack, Joyce, Janet, June and Jane! Then there was the Poetry group, which all three joined, held in the Old Vicarage and led in the early days by Julia England, whose speciality was Speech and Drama. Albert and Joan joined the German group from the beginning, led by Maria Altvater; ‘I’m not a teacher,’ she used to insist modestly. John joined later and remembers writing a brief 150-200 word essay for each session, in German, on a topic of his choice and Maria would mark it punctiliously – He still has that note-book! Joan has very fond memories of the thriving Patchwork group under Sue Cutter, an American lady, who taught really interesting and challenging
techniques, and of the Music group with Virginia Du Platt Taylor who frequently regaled them with anecdotes of the musical celebrities she had known; she had been educated at St Paul’s School, with Gustav Holst as her music teacher! John remembers enjoyable walks and pub lunches with the Rambling group and Tudor Williams, and also outings in cars to Dorchester (Hardy’s cottage) and to Slad, hoping to see Laurie Lee (they tried the pub, without success!) Of course there were the monthly meetings as well as the groups. Maria
Altvater was in charge of organising speakers then – and found many excellent ones. Albert remembered one special speaker who took questions at the end of her talk, answered really well and then revealed, to everyone’s amazement, that she was stone deaf and had lip-read all the dialogue! Another very early speaker was a splendid lady from Bath Theatre who told colourful anecdotes about celebrities she had met in the theatre. Other old friends were remembered – Janet Burnett-Browne (from Lacock Abbey) settling down into an armchair and then having real difficulty getting out of it again!, John Parker who used to tease the ladies in the Lit group with anti-feminist remarks and a smile, Jack who drew detailed architectural pictures with a biro, John and Joyce Utting … and many more.



In this edition of the newsletter, we have been acknowledging the role of some our members who have been running and supporting different activity groups for nearly 25 years. 
Now we have to thank 
one of our newest recruits for the suggestion of a MAGIC GROUP! It would be a 6 week course, with the possibility of carrying on after that.
Tony and Jane Draper joined us in April this year after moving to be nearer to family, as have many of our members. Back in Essex, Tony ran a Magic Group which sounds great fun. Obviously, we would need to find a venue with enough space for members to prepare their tricks. If the Jubilee Rooms
in Chippenham could be booked at a suitable time to suit about 10 possible magicians, then this could get off the ground.
I have just been watching ‘easy’ tricks on Youtube and wonder if our U3A could soon be putting on an amusing display reminiscent of Stephen Wells at the last Christmas gathering!
If you might be interested, please contact Lynda Clifford, Tel. 653251.

A few members have now said that they would like to learn Spanish and advice was sought from the Languages Advisor at the Third Age Trust. The
main points made were:
• Help with pronunciation is needed – this could be online, though a real person is better!
• The emphasis and level of the group needs to be agreed from the start – e.g. speaking or beginners’ translation. 
• Weekly meetings and homework are necessary for meaningful progress.
• Agree an initial time scale, e.g. 6 weeks, then review to see if the structure suits everyone.
• Use a structured course e.g. Pasos 1&2 by Hodder.

French groups have a long-running history in our U3A so let’s see if Spanish can get under way. Further advice can be seen on the Third Age website and all sorts of material is available online.
If you are interested in being part of this group, please contact Lynda Clifford.

Sue Taylor

Basic information about groups, contacts and dates is held in the 'Groups' page. This section holds information about upcoming events and changes within groups .

BOOK GROUP Pip Higman 

The book group is now firmly established meeting on 4th Friday of each month. We have read and discussed a number of novels but also an interesting book about Bletchley Park. So far we have always been able to borrow books from the library so that there is no need to buy new books all the time. Our discussions are usually concerned with the various themes of the book and how well the author has been able to get them across in the chosen style though we make no pretence at being literature critics.
Future books: ‘All the Light We Cannot See’ by Anthony Doerr; ‘Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine’ by Gail Honeyman.

COMMON THREAD Lynda Clifford (contact)
Lynda Clifford,, will be the contact person for the Common Thread group, which will continue as a casual drop-in session on 1st and 3rd Tuesdays in members’ houses. Phone for further information.
See photo .

FRENCH Conversation (2B) Contact: Tony Shepherd 
The French Group has five members at the moment but we would welcome more. The Group is very social as was seen in the annual restaurant visit to celebrate Fete Nationale. (Bistro Pierre in Bath is very good.)
Unfortunately we said goodbye to Priscilla who helped us for quite a time with our French. Anyone who wants to find out more, please phone 01249 750014.

LUNCHEON CLUB Tony & Wendy Reeves 
Recent lunch meetings have been satisfactory, with member numbersstill averaging 20-25. Recent bookings have shown up the volatile state of puband restaurant management in the area. Planned venues for January have hadto be abandoned because of closure since they were last visited. We have hadto wait to see if a new management materialises.
We visit The Lysley Arms on November 5th.,The North Wilts Bowls Club onDecember 16th. and The Brunel on January 6th. 2019.ALL the above meetings are at 12.30 for 13.00 start.
Telephone 01249 650622 if you would like to join us or sign up on theappropriate lunch list.

MUSIC Appreciation Jack Endacott 
We continue to meet in the Old Vicarage, St Mary Street, Chippenham.
Future dates (Programme not yet available):
Tuesday 6 November
Tuesday 4 December
Tuesday 8 January (NB - 2nd Tuesday)

OPERA Appreciation Ann Seyfang 
The Opera Group has been enjoying some DVDs. In July they watched Puccini’s ‘Turandot’ in a recent production. In September I introduced Donizetti’s ‘Roberto Devereux’. This was also enjoyed although I had to stop members asking what the ending was! Half the fun is following the drama and possibly being surprised by the ending. A steady 10
members have been attending.

SCI & TECH Eric Mountain 
We cover all aspects of technology through DVDs and outside visits.
The group’s trip to the 50th Anniversary Gala day at Crofton Pumping Station was a huge success – sunshine, beam engines flat out on chunky Scottish coal, local bands, boat trips, raffles, craft stalls, scaled down steam engines and a technical speaker, Geoff Wallis from Bristol, instrumental in restoring beam engines throughout the world. The journey through Savernake Forest was delightful and, on the way home, we passed the famous Elizabethan manor House, Wolf Hall.
Future programme:
19 Nov. – Tower Bridge & Forth Rail Bridge
17 Dec. – Victorian Innovations
21 Jan. 2019 – New Space Station