Issue 40

October 2011



Home. Front Page. Committee etc.. AGM 2011. Open Meetings. Joint Exhibition. Group Events. Group News. Leader's Lament. Computer Talk. Advertising. Local News.

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U3A National Conference and A.G.M.

East Midlands Conference Centre, Nottingham University

17th -19th September 2011

A Celebration

The Chairman Ian Searle opened the conference and welcomed the delegates.

The plenary session show cased  the new DVD “This is U3A”and interesting, amusing and often moving contributions from members were presented in response to the question “What does the U3A mean to you?”

Dr. Eric Midwinter, one of our founders, gave a talk entitled “Look back in wonder.” which he delivered with characteristic clarity and humour.  Little could he have thought, 29 years ago, that the movement would be catering for more than a quarter of a million members in more than 800 U3As.

Baroness Estelle Morris, a distinguished and thought provoking speaker, whose career has been dedicated to education spoke on “Education for all”; its impact on society and the ability of education to change lives regardless of age.

As patron of a charity in Derbyshire which seeks to provide educational benefits for people in residential homes she emphasised the advantages of educational provision  for Fourth Agers but also for other disadvantaged groups. .

Professor John Benyon, Director of Research, Institute of Lifelong Learning, University of Leicester, presented evidence that demographic change is profound and pervasive. He went on to look at the implications of an ageing population and to conclude that an ageing society brings challenges  but also opportunities and that education and learning are the means of meeting these challenges and harnessing the opportunities.

True to the belief that you are never too old to learn we were treated to two stimulating and forward looking lectures.

Professor Peter Kalmus (Emeritus Professor of Physics, Queen Mary College, London) an inspiring publicist of all things scientific spoke on “Particles and The Universe”.

Professor Heinz Wolf, a distinguished scientist well known for his amusing but erudite television programmes asked the question “Anybody want to go to Mars? How, When and Why.

A range of seminars and discussion groups was on offer: Keeping your U3A vibrant, Communication, Finding Group Leaders, Starting New U3As. A question and answer session was arranged for Treasurers.


The AGM followed the usual format of reports and elections.

Ian Searle was elected as Chairman for a third year.

Terry Hardie retired after six years as Treasurer. There were no nominations for Treasurer and contingency plans had been put in place to appoint a financial adviser to work with the Finance Committee. In the event Jo Harrison of Harwich U3A came forward, was co-opted on to the committee and will serve as Treasurer.

Beth Butler was re-elected as a Vice Chairman and Janet Whitehouse took over from Barbara Lewis who had served three years as a Vice Chairman.

David Morton of Ilkley and District U3A was elected as the new Regional Trustee for Yorkshire and the Humber, Anne Firth having served three years.

There were two resolutions. The first was that all U3A Networks should register their name, membership and a nominated contact with National Office on 31st March each year. This information will be circulated to all U3As and put on the web site.

This resolution was passed.

The second resolution that the Trust investigates how and when the initials U3A can be incorporated within, or instead of, the Third Age Trust title. This was discussed but rejected.


Janet Coatman

(Ex Secretary and Chairman, Harrogate U3A)