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.
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.
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.
Popular Science Lectures – open to all members!
The next Popular Science Lectures will be held on Wednesday 31st October at Bishops Blue Coat Church of England High School, Vaughans Lane, Great Boughton, Chester CH3 5XF. Coffee will be served in the Library at 09:30am and the lectures will start at 10:00am, finishing at noon. You do not need to book. There is plenty of parking at the school.
First lecture: The British Geological Survey and the Natural Environment Research Council will be building a Geological Observatory at Ince Marshes. This will be a globally important research site with the aim of developing new energy technologies that can help us tackle climate change while keeping the lights on. The BGS will be sending a speaker to explain the aims of the project and how it fits with other science initiatives in Cheshire (name to be announced).
Second lecture: Our other talk will be given by our own Dr Vince Hatton, on the subject of Data Presentation. Did you know that Florence Nightingale was a statistician who invented the Rose Diagram to show how better sanitation could reduce deaths in the Crimea? This talk will demonstrate techniques for making numbers tell a story.
For questions or to be added to an email reminder list, please contact Janet Money (0151-327-2566).
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.