The University of the Third Age (U3A) movement is a unique and exciting organisation which provides life-enhancing and life- changing opportunities. Retired and semi-retired people come together and learn together, not for qualifications but for its own reward: the sheer joy of discovery!
U3A is a national group of like minded people who are keen to broaden and share with others their knowledge, their experiences and who realise Life is not a Dress Rehearsal but the Real Thing and make the most of each day.
WYRE U3A Monthly Meetings
Thornton Little Theatre at 2.00 p.m. on the second Thursday of every month.
Why not come along, meet new friends, find out what we are all about. Speakers are arranged for each meeting. New members always welcome.
So if you live in Wyre do come and join us at the Thornton Little Theatre and see for yourself what we are all about. Remember, we meet on the 2nd Thursday of every month.
(Published September 14)
Despite the rain, 29 U3A members and friends set off by coach to Hoghton Tower, the home of the de Hoghton family since the Norman Conquest. Fortunately we had a most enlightening talk about it a few weeks previously at our monthly meeting so it was not all foreign territory.
After a comfortable drive we turned off the main road, through large wrought iron gates and up a long, imposing driveway, beautifully lawned on either side to an equally imposing building at the end of it. The large doors appeared tightly closed and the notice said 'open at 11am'. Here we were an hour early. Many heart sank thinking we would have to wait a full hour either in the coach or standing on a somewhat windy, damp courtyard for the house to open.
Fortunately Pauline had done her homework and no sooner had the engine been switched off a lady appeared through these large black doors and welcomed us in, inviting us to the tearoom for a welcome cuppa. Soon our Guides came, intoduced themselves, divided us into 2 groups and off we went on the tour of the Tower, following in the footsteps of William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, King James 1 and Prince Philip - all of whom had tread the boards before us. We were in good hands.
The rooms were amazing. We admired the furniture with the intricate and beautiful carvings and as the history of the Tower unfolded it was mind-boggling. So much had taken place within those very walls. The hidden passages, the priest holes, the many skeletons in the cupboard unknown to us all have a story to tell.
We ventured through the Banqueting Hall and the staterooms. We admired the varied collection of dolls houses and ventured down the underground passages into the dungeons. There it was cold and damp and we were pleased to get back upstairs. We saw the Priest Holes and thought how small the priests must have been to squeeze into them. The deep well, no longer working, remained eerie with the large wheel and a thick, unravelling rope to draw up the water. Stories of ghosts abound, not surprising listening to the chequered history of bygone years.
The tour was an education, fascinating and enlightening. We had time to walk around the gardens and admire the magnificent views or just relax in the Tearoom to thaw out and enjoy a bite of lunch or a welcome bowl of hot soup.
Our day did not end there. We rejoined our coach and went to the Riley Green Marina and enjoyed a 1 1/2 hour cruise on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal passing through beautiful countryside, watching the sheep and cows peacefully grazing and the ducks and geese on the water. We relaxed on board, some enjoying a glass (or 2!) of wine whilst others partook of a delicious cream tea or a steaming hot home-made pie. It was a fitting end to a most enjoyable and well organised day. Back on to the coach and the short drive home. We were lucky the threatening rain held off. The company was good and I look forward to our next U3A trip out.
How Sarah found the U3A...
I had heard of the Wyre U3A enthusiastically from a friend a few months previously but decided as I had retired and did not want to go to a ‘University’, did not want any more qualifications or studying and wanted to enjoy my life so I would not go. She assured me it was nothing like that so I decided to bite the bullet and off I went to the Thornton Little Theatre for 2pm. First plus, it was local, second plus it was an afternoon meeting, third plus there were lots of other people going into the Hall.
Intrepidly I made my way in and what a surprise I had. The Theatre was almost full with lively, chatty people, all retired I guessed, some couples, some on their own or in small groups. At the door I paid my due of £1. Well, I thought, that is not going to break my bank account. As my friend was not there I found my self a seat and no sooner had I sat down somebody next to me introduced herself and I felt quite at home.
The Chairman started the meeting - a well spoken, friendly looking man - and I was experiencing my first U3A Meeting. I discovered that it had started here in Thornton just over a year ago with a handful of eager people and has mushroomed unbelievably into a membership of over 200 and growing! They must be doing something right!
The group divides itself into many sub groups, led usually by one of the members with a group of like-interested people. They meet at various venues, once a month and at a time to suit themselves. I was amazed to see there were at least 14 groups varying from photography to holiday Spanish, from gardening to play reading, there was absolutely something for everyone - or if you decided that was not to your liking you could join a group going to the Theatre or having a Pub Lunch out.
There was no pressure to join in or partake in anything on the program. A few weeks ago I went with a group of 8 to France to the Monet gardens, what a fun, well organised few days we had despite the weather. I would not have gone on my own but felt safe and comfortable in a group. It has whet my appetite to join in more.
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