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University of the Third Age, Chester

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Chester U3A Latest News
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Popular Science Lectures – 31st October 2018

There was a record turnout of 84 people for the latest Popular Science meeting.

First lecture: John Midgley and Cristina Chapman of the British Geological Survey came over from their HQ in Nottingham to tell us about a project to establish a geological observatory at Ince Marshes in Cheshire and in Glasgow. This project is of international importance, and will provide data to scientists, engineers, politicians and the public regarding the feasibility and safety of proposed new projects, especially in the energy sector. Mr Midgley is responsible for delivering the concept.

The Cheshire site will collect data at various depths from 50m to 1km, to monitor ground water, natural ground movements and deep rock chemistry. Glasgow is built on old coal mines which are now filled with water. Chemical processes in the coal measures heat the water to about 20 degrees Celsius. This is a potential source of energy for neighbourhood heating schemes but the BGS needs to ensure that the methods proposed for extracting this heat will not cause any damage.

Cristina brought along some information packs, but due to the high turnout she didn't have enough. If you didn't ask for a pack at the meeting but would like one, please contact Janet Money, who will get you one.

Second lecture: John Midgely explained that the BGS project will generate enormous amounts of data, so for our second talk Dr Vince Hatton showed us how this data could be presented graphically in a way that is easy to understand and encourages the viewer to look deeper. Among the many interesting examples given were the attrition rate of Napolean's army during its march on Moscow and return, the deaths of soldiers in the Crimea due to insanitary conditions in the hospitals, world trade flows, country of origin and subject for Nobel prize winners, analysis of the UK and US budgets, and the impacts of various BREXIT scenarios.

Once again we are grateful to Bishops High School for hosting this event and for all their support.

The next meeting of Popular Science will be on 20th February 2019. For questions or to be added to an email reminder list, please contact Janet Money (0151-327-2566).

Updated 23/10/18

Chester U3A's holiday in Croatia and Slovenia, September 2018

Chester U3A members outside the Hotel Laguna Molindrio, Croatia (September 2018)

Our summer holiday this year was to Croatia's Istrian Riviera staying in Porec with its sea sparkling in the sunshine. Our home for the week was the Laguna Molindrino, which had a heated outdoor pool, scrumptious food and a Finnish Sauna, if you know what that means. One of our members will never forget it.

On the first day most of us made our way, by boat, landtrain or bus, to Porec old town with its Basilica, cobbled streets, alleyways, old towers and pavement cafés. There was a jazz band in the main square, which, when seeing Joe in his cowboy hat, invited him up on the stage to sing 'Country Road' with them. We also had free food and wine.

Friday was spent in Pula with its beautiful world renowned amphitheatre, followed by a visit to the pretty resort of Rovinj.

On Saturday we had a lovely journey to the island of Krk, which was quite isolated until the 1970s when a bridge was built joining it to the mainland. As you can imagine the old streets are very much as they have always been and it is a great place to wander around. We then had a boat ride to the tiny island of Kosljun to visit the Monastery. We ended the day with a visit to a local bar for wine tasting and merriment as our photographs show.

Sunday was a day of Leisure. On Monday we made our way to Slovenia to visit the fantastic Postjojna caves. A train took us 3km into the caves, where most of us alighted and went with the guide on a walk past all the spectacular stalactites and stalagmites. This was the highlight of the week for me. On our way back we visited Predjama Castle, built into a natural cave. There is a fantastic tale about this castle, whether you believe it is up to the individual!

Tuesday was our last day when many of us discovered walks around the area of the hotel or had our last boat rides. Sadly we had to leave on Wednesday morning. Most of us would have liked to stay on for another week. The weather had been beautiful, the area fantastic and we are now determined to see another area of Croatia.

Click here for a few photos of the holiday.

Updated 23/10/18

Chester U3A's 25th AGM, 6th November 2018

Chester U3A's 25th AGM will be held on 6th November at St Columba's Church Hall, Plas Newton Lane, Chester at 10:00am. Click here for more information about the AGM, including the 2018 Annual Report, the 2018 Treasurer's Report and information on a RESOLUTION to change the object clause in Chester U3A's constitution.

Chester U3A's anniversary cake

25th Anniversary Celebration, 4th September 2018

189 members of Chester U3A celebrated Chester U3A's 25th Anniversary on 4th September at the Double Tree Chester Hotel. The celebration started with welcoming words from Jenny Carley, Chester U3A's Chairman, followed by an excellent guitar solo by Mal Waite, Chester U3A's Vice Chairman, and then an amusing talk by Ray O'Brien on 'Merseyside Entertainers From Both Sides of the River'. An enjoyable afternoon tea was followed by a few words from Pat Pulford (founder member of Chester U3A), Gill Russell (NW Region Trustee) and Councillor Stuart Parker (Sheriff of Chester). Click here for a report of the celebration, with photographs, by the Chester Standard.

Click here for photos taken by Bob Davies and Mal Waite.

Trentham Gardens

Visit to Trentham Gardens, 30th August 2018

Tom Clarke arranged an horticultural adventure to Trentham Gardens on 30th August 2018. Some paid a little extra for a guided tour of the restored Italianate gardens and remaining buildings originally designed by Capability Brown. We all had time to explore the footpaths around lake, the woodlands and the amazing sculptures of fairies and animals. We were lucky with the weather enjoying shopping, lunch and even an ice-cream in the sunshine. Later in the afternoon we called at Bridgemere Garden World for a cup of tea and a browse around the garden centre, and caught a glimpse of Snugbury's Peter Rabbit sculpture.

Click here for a few photos by Susan Denly.


Committee Vacancies

Chester U3A's AGM is on 6th November. This could be a good opportunity for you to consider joining the committee. At present it looks as if there will be several vacancies, namely Business Secretary, Minute Secretary, Membership Secretary and Site Administrator (Beacon). There are also a couple of non-committee roles that need to be filled. More information about the AGM here.

Click here to learn about the roles and responsibilities of committee members.

Please contact our Chairman (01244-680460) for more information if you're interested.

Osbourne House

Spring holiday in Bournemouth, 21st to 25th May 2018

In May we spent our Spring holiday in Bournemouth, staying at the Royal Bath Hotel (the first hotel to be built there). One of our visits was to Osbourne House where Queen Victoria and Prince Albert spent a great deal of their time. On other days we went to Stonehenge, Swanage, Corfe Castle, Sandbanks, Brownsea Island, and the Russell Coates Museum, which was built in the grounds of our hotel. Some of us, though, were quite happy to spent time relaxing in the beautiful hotel grounds or exploring the gardens of Bournemouth itself.

Click here for some of Liz Flanagan's photos.
Dressed Tissington Well

Visit to Tissington Well Dressings, 16th May 2018

On 16th May a group of our members visited Derbyshire to see the Well Dressings. No-one seems to know the exact reason this annual event takes place but it seems probable that it is a religious ceremony. Every year the clergy and villagers walk around the various wells to bless them. Six wells have been decorated, to thank God for saving their village from the Black Death. Many of the villagers are involved preparing the wells for three weeks before they are blessed. We were blessed by good weather ourselves and had a delightful day.

Click here for some of Liz Flanagan's photos.

Associate Membership to be abolished from 1st September 2018

From 2016 new members of Chester U3A became 'Associate Members', with the option of 'upgrading' to 'Full Member' status when renewing membership the following year. From 1st September, for the 2018/19 membership year and future years, Associate Membership will be abolished. All existing members, whether 'Associate' or 'Full' and all new members will become 'Individual Members', all of whom will be able to attend all Tuesday and Thursday monthly meetings at St Columba's Church Hall.

Membership rates for 2018/19, will be unchanged at £10 for renewals and £14 for new members. Renewals can be made by:

  • Bank Transfer – Sort Code 30 91 92, Account Number 59864768, payment reference: your 4 digit membership number
  • By Post – send a cheque made payable to Chester U3A to the Membership Secretary, PO Box 167, Chester CH2 1WL.

Fraud and Scams – An Update

Cheshire Police recently issued this Scam Alert involving people pretending to be police officers and fraudsters who claim to be working for Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC). There has been a spate of incidents in Cheshire, including one where a woman handed over a significant sum of money.

You may also be interested in this useful list of 70+ Scams and How to Avoid Them – well worth having a look at the numerous ways criminals use to try to get at your money. Telephone and email scams seem to be getting more persuasive, so it makes sense to have an awareness of the scams that you may encounter. Regarding email scams, be very cautious about clicking links or downloading attachments, even when the email appears to come from someone you know. And remember that if you're made an offer that appears to be too good to be true, it probably is!


Committee Minutes – Good Bedtime Reading!

If you have difficulty getting to sleep, you might like to have a look at Chester U3A Committee's minutes! At the moment we are only posting the most recent minutes on this website, the links to which you can find on the Committee Page. You may be surprised at all the varied issues that are discussed and agreed in order to ensure the smooth running of Chester U3A.


Chester U3A's Policy Documents

Something to read for members of Chester U3A! Have a look at Chester U3A's documents regarding Accessibility, Data Protection and Privacy. Links to these documents can be found on this website's Policy Documents Page.

Chester's 'Beating the Bounds' ceremony, 2018

Chester's 'Beating the Bounds' ceremony

Jenny Carley, Chester U3A's chairman, was invited to join the Lord Mayor of Chester, Razia Daniels, for 'Beating the Bounds'. The ceremony dates back to medieval times and was revived intermittently in the 19th and 20th centuries before becoming a semi-annual event in this century. For our ceremony a young child was gently bounced on the stone and no harm was done to her or the stone. Chester U3A member Tom Welsh is also a committee member of 'The Friends of the Duke's Drive', a former access road to Eaton Hall. They negotiated permission with Grosvenor Estates to place the stone at the ancient city boundary. Jenny is on the extreme left of the picture and Tom is standing at the back.

Click thumbnail for bigger image.

Fraud and Scams – Useful Advice

The Metropolitan Police Service FALCON unit (Fraud and Linked Crime Online) has created the following resources which are freely available to the public to assist in raising awareness about Scams and Fraud:

The following short animated videos will also help raise awareness on how to defend yourself against online crime:

Information taken from U3A Newsletter, March 2018


The High Sheriff's Cheshire Prize for Literature 2018

This may be of interest to our Literacy Groups. The 2018 Prize will be for 'Short Stories', the prize-winner receiving £2,000. Additional prize-money of £750 will be awarded and the best entries will be published. Click here for a flier, and here for more information. Entries must be received by 1st September 2018.

The Lowry

Visit to Salford Quays and Ordsall Hall, 15th February 2018

Thanks to Sue Proctor who organised this successful and interesting day out to Salford. We started with a sunny but chilly one hour boat cruise on Salford Quays along the Manchester Ship Canal and River Irwell with views of Media City and the older industrial heritage, including Stephenson's first ever railway bridge. Then there was a choice of lunch venues in the Lowry outlet with time for a browse and a visit to the Imperial War Museum North or the Lowry Art Gallery. This was followed by an afternoon guided tour in Ordsall Hall with fascinating stories of the families who lived there over the last 500 years. Back home by 5:30pm as promised, with thanks to Prices Coaches.

Click here for some of Susan Denly's photos of the visit.

Popular Science Meeting, 21st February 2018

Members from Neston and Heswall U3As were welcomed to the latest meeting of Chester U3A's Popular Science on 21st February. In all 65 members attended to listen to our speakers on the topics of Green Energy and Gravitational Waves.

Andy Cross, co-ordinator of Chester's Science Group, told us about the work undertaken in Ashton Hayes over the past ten years in collaboration with Chester University to reduce the village's carbon footprint. Regular measurement of home energy consumption, car and air travel shows an overall reduction of 30% to 35% over the period. Top tips included:

Installing a new condensing boiler and cavity wall insulation reduced gas consumption by 50% and electricity by 25%.

A black coffee is 16 times less carbon intensive than a large latte!

With plenty of comments and questions from the audience this was a lively session.

Our second talk was given by Ros Flinn, co-ordinator of Maths for Fun Group, on the subject of gravitational waves. As she commented in her introduction, this was less Popular Science and more Cutting Edge Science. We were treated to details of the latest discoveries, including the first detection in 2015 of gravitational waves generated by colliding black holes 1.3bn light years away. This was almost exactly 100 years after Einstein predicted gravitational waves in his General Theory of Relativity. Ros kept us on the edge of our seats as she described an even more exciting event – the detection of a different type of gravitational wave in August last year generated by colliding neutron stars. Unlike black holes, neutron stars can be located in space since the collision event generates radiation across the spectrum, from X Rays, to visible light through to radio waves. Much work remains to analyse the data but this research is answering some fundamental questions in physics.

For questions or to be added to an email reminder list, please contact Janet Money (0151-3272-566).

Dave Atkinson, folk singer and composer.
Dave Atkinson, folk singer and composer.

Dave Atkinson performs at February's Thursday meeting

Dave Atkinson, Chester U3A member and local folk singer and composer, gave us a most enjoyable mixture of singing and chat at the Thursday meeting on 8th February. Dave began writing in the late 1960s, inspired by Bob Dylan, and, since then, has composed more than 400 songs. Dave supports the Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital Charity (Broadgreen Hospital) through the sale of CDs.

Dave has kindly offered free downloads of his first two albums (Atkinsongs and The Beggar and The Sand) to members of Chester U3A. You can take up the offer by completing the form on the Contact Me Page of his website. Mention this offer in the Message box, and, most important, include your Chester U3A membership number. The files will be sent to you via Wetransfer, with information on how to make an optional donation to the charity.

Click thumbnails for bigger images.
Chester U3A's New Members' Lunch on 26th January 2018.

New Members Lunch, 26th January 2018

Chester U3A's New Members Lunch at St Columba's Church Hall on 26th January attracted an impressive turnout of more than 60 new members. They were welcomed by Jenny Carley, Chester U3A's chairman, who gave a brief summary of some of the activities and events taking place under the U3A umbrella. Kay Lunt, Chester U3A's Group Liaison Officer, then gave a brief outline of the 90 interest groups that are available for members. An excellent buffet lunch, provided by Harvey's Caterers, then followed, giving new members the opportunity to get to know each other, and to learn more about what Chester U3A does.

Click here to see Glennys Hammond's excellent photos of our smiling new members.