Dorridge U3A

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    General Meetings on 'Zoom'

    Back to Dorridge Village Hall!

    Thursday 16th December - Festive Quiz

    Speaker: Bob Mansell

    Our very own Chairman with his usual end of year quizz

    Thursday 2nd December - A talk with song

    Speaker: Maggy Farmer

    A welcome return of local singer Maggy Farmer who was last with us in December 2019. She has performed with symphony orchestras, swing bands, her own rock group, in a duo and on her own; enjoying the variety of music these opportunities have offered her

    Wednesday 24th November - Gardens of the Italian Renaissance

    Speaker: Adrian James

    Adrian has been photographing gardens and plants on a freelance basis for many years. With interests in garden history and in that rather esoteric topic of what gardens are actually for, combined with a strong sense of connection to these spaces, he also uses his images in a range of garden talks which feature gardens from many parts the world and where possible using gardens that people may not know well.

    Based in the picturesque village of Offenham near Evesham in Worcestershire, with his other hat on he is the under-gardener at Langdale Garden, which he and his wife Sheila open under the National Garden Scheme and to groups to raise money for national & local charities and good causes.

    Thursday 18th November - Only fools and filters - a journey to Iran in 1978

    Speaker: Melvyn Pryer

    Melvyn is a seasoned traveller and has been lecturing on tourism for over 30 years. He will talk on his experiences of budget travelling to and around Iran and escaping the Iranian Revolution, whilst giving some perspective on how and why Iran is as it is today.

    Thursday 4th November - Another Icarus - the rise and fall of Percy Pilcher

    Speaker: Roy Smart

    Roy will tell us the tale of aviation pioneer Percy Sinclair Pilcher and his wonderful sister, Ella, whose noble quest for flight ended tragically at Stanford Hall, on the banks of Shakespeare’s Avon. He was the first Englishman to die in the cause of “the conquest of the air” when on the cusp of becoming the most famous name in aviation history

    Wednesday 27th October - The Mughl Empire

    Speaker: Ron Gallivan

    Ron is a regular speaker and last gave a talk to us in September 2019. Ron is a retired Training Manager for an International Aerospace Company and the current Chairman of the thriving Redditch Military History Society.

    Thursday 14th October - My life as an MP

    Speaker: Saqib Bhatti

    Saqib Bhatti is the currently elected MP for our own constituency Meriden. He was elected in the December 2019 General Election as a replacement for Caroline Spelman.


    Thursday 7th October - My life as a Calendar Girl (Louisa Jakeman Memorial Lecture)

    Speaker: Tricia Stewart

    Tricia was one of the original calendar girls. In the film version Helen Mirren modelled her character Chris on Tricia.

    Thursday 16th September - Mary Queen of Scots-the Captive Queen in England 1568-87

    Speaker: David Templeman

    David is an Elizabethan historian and author and who gives many talks to U3As and local history societies

    Followed by tthe AGM

    Thursday, 2nd September -  "Volcanoes: an introduction to their features, and a look at some of the world's examples"

    Speaker: Our own - Peter Band

    Peter Band has been a member of DU3A for some years and enjoys belonging to the Science Group and Short Mat Bowls.  He is also a member of a local Walking Club, Probus, Warwickshire Geology and Knowle Society. He also works as a  volunteer in the Park at Charlecote.
    Peter is Birmingham born and bred.  He graduated from Birmingham University in 1960 with a degree in Metallurgy and worked for 40 plus years in the Aluminium industry - in Lancashire, Birmingham and Oxfordshire plus several years in Canada (Quebec and Ontario). He and his late wife, Eira moved to Knowle in 1972 from Kenilworth. She was a school teacher at Bentley Heath School and at Meriden.

    The folowing meetings were held via Zoom

    Thursday 19th August - "Poisons for Medecine"

    A darkly humorous look at medicine in the 19th Century. The reign of Victoria saw the development of chemical medicine from medieval-style alchemy to modern pharmacy. Chemists lent their ingenuity to attempting to provide anything customers wanted. Some made fortunes, some made disastrous mistakes.

    Speaker: Graham Harrison

    Graham is a founding partner in Sun Jester, a family business that presents a range of informal and entertaining talks for groups of all interests. Their background is in history, music and museum education with clients such as English Heritage, The National Trust, The Royal Palaces, The Natural History and Foundling Museums in London.  
    Sun Jester’s aim is to enlighten, divert and amuse with a broad range of subjects as diverse as social history, medicine and music; all delivered with lightness and a touch of humour. 

    Thursday, 5th August -  "Tales from a dairy farmer's wife"

    Speaker: Jane Barnes

    From being a dairy farmers’ daughter, to meeting Mark at Young Farmers Club, to running her own dairy farm since 1992, whilst bringing up a family, life has never been dull for Jane. Her children Charlotte (named after a favourite cow) and Harry (bred to be the 4th generation dairy farmer) have not only provided great material but also enlightened her life as a farmer's wife and therefore, her tales too. She has been a prolific speaker to groups and clubs for two decades.

    Thursday, 15th July - "The hoarder next door"

    Speaker: Steven Bruce

    Steven started his career when he was 18 and has worked all over the United Kingdom including a few years in Scotland. After owning his own auction room and acting as managing partner of a well known midlands firm of auctioneers and valuers he now acts as a consultant and agent.
    Steven is now  in his 53rd year as an auctioneer and has many unique and interesting stories to tell. He is a very active and well known speaker in the midlands, and  has been involved in raising funds for many charities He also undertakes valuations for insurance and probate and acts for religious organisations and the regular and Territorial Amy in assisting them in valuations.

    Thursday, 1st July  -  "Vitamin G"

    Speaker: Our own - Roger Williams

    You will be taken down the garden path and it is hoped that whether as a horticulturist or just someone who loves beauty you will glean something new and may be a little surprised. You may also have a better idea as to what the “G” stands for".

    Thursday, 17th June  -  "Living the African Dream"

    Speaker:  Aison Mees

    Alison had a passion for wildlife and photography. She had a strong desire to be in Africa, especially with cheetahs. Over 16 years ago she arrived in South Luangwa, Zambia undertaking various roles in hospitality, and after a lot of hard study, a dream came true and she became a qualified safari guide.

    Alison then worked in Serengeti, Tanzania, where her passion for photography and wildlife continued to grow. She was fortunate to spend time with the researchers from the Serengeti Cheetah Project where her knowledge developed in learning about individual cheetahs, their behaviour, how to identify individuals and photograph them.

    For 3½years, Alison worked in Mara North Conservancy, Kenya where she found time to continue observing cheetahs and supporting the researchers with data and photographs. She also dedicated time working with the local Masai Community with education and health related projects and since April 2020 Alison has been working as a volunteer for the Cheetah Conservation Fund UK on various projects including fund-raising, where her love for cheetahs continues.

    Wednesday, 9th June  -  "Writing for Other Comedians".  

    The Speaker is Brad Ashton, a comic writer who has written for most of our top comedians. In the second of his talks, Brad will tell us how comedy writers get their ideas and adapt them for specific comedians.

    Thursday, 20th May  -  "California Dreaming"

    From San Francisco to Grand Canyon via Route 66: an illustrated road trip with a twist.

    The speaker is Neil Sadler. 

    Neil trained as a school teacher and worked on the Isle of Man before returning to England for a very brief spell as a civil servant based in Bristol. In 1978 he decided that an office-based job was not for him and he joined Sussex Police.

    He spent much of his 30 years’ service as an operational officer in various ranks across Sussex, working briefly in Hong Kong, Trinidad and Abu Dhabi ... he even survived Bognor Regis, Haywards Heath and Crawley!

    Following retirement in 2008, he now offers his talks to groups and organisations throughout Sussex, Surrey, Kent, Hampshire, and South London.

    Earlier 2021 Zoom Meetings

    Thurs, 21st January  - '
    Dorridge Parish and the Rebuilding of St Philips Church'

    Speaker:    Richard Arbuthnot *

    Richard will be giving a brief review of the history local parish and its church, St Philips in Manor Road. He will then bring us right up to date with an insight into the redvelopment of St Philips and the planned community facilities which many will have seen going up in Manor Road.

    Richard trained initially as an engineer in the automotive industry; then having worked in the white goods industry, experienced the joys and pains of a management buyout, he eventually spent the last 24 years of his life working for a very diverse PLC which operated in the automotive, aerospace, storage and materials handling, and housewares markets, eventually becoming its chief executive. Retirement has not slowed things down - Married to Gill, with three sons, enjoying six grandchildren with one of the families now citizens of Canada, keeps him pretty active together with involvement in many different areas and when the need arose to review the church and its hall in Dorridge, he was volunteered for the job!

    Thurs, 28th January - 'Why is Russia Different?'

    Speaker:    Professor Gerald Seaman

    Professor Seaman last gave a talk to Dorridge U3A in April 2019, on the subject of Shostakovich. He was due to give us a talk in April 2020 but this naturally had to be postponed. We're delighted that he is now in a position to offer his lecture via Zoom.

    Professor Seaman is a world authority on Russian music, and his publications include a History of Russian Music and books on Rimsky-Korsakov and Tchaikovsky. For many years he was Professor of Musicology at the University of Auckland before returning to the UK where he joined the Staff of Oxford University. He has lectured extensively throughout the United Kingdom and elsewhere.

    Thurs, 4th February -  Memories of Winter 1962/63

    Speaker:  William Foster *

    William is a member of Dorridge U3A committee and in charge of our General Meeting programme, which is not an easy task at the moment because we can't have our usual face to face meetings in Dorridge Village Hall.

    So this will be another 'Zoom' meeting and will include pictures and memories of the 1962/63 winter submitted by members. It was inspired by the recent talk featuring the memories of Kitty Gundy in wartime.

    Thurs, 25th February - 'From Paris to Warwick' - the story of Tony Dury

    Speaker:    Paul Baker

    We are pleased to welcome back Paul Baker who gave us an excellent talk almost exactly a year ago on the lost railway of Warwickshire. Now he tells the fascinating story of Antoine Dury, born in Lyons in 1819, studied in Paris, subsequently worked in  Warwick and Liverpool. It brings to light the story of an artist who deserves better recognition for the contribution he made to the heritage of Warwick.

    After spending some 24 years in the airline business and just over 6 years at the National Trust where he was a Property Manager at Biddulph Grange Garden, Paul returned to live in Warwickshire on retirement. After spending some 24 years in the airline business and just over 6 years at the National Trust where he was a Property Manager at Biddulph Grange Garden, Paul returned to live in Warwickshire on retirement. Since then he has been involved with both Rowington Parish Records Group and Lapworth Local History Society and carried out research on various topics for both groups that formed the basis of either exhibitions or talks.

    Thurs, 4th March - 'My Childhood Home' - 

    Another Memories afternoon where members can share their pictures and stories 

    Speaker:     Robert Beckham *

    Thurs, 11th March - Quiz Afternoon

    Presented by:    Bob Mansell

    Thurs, 18th March - "The Story of the Manchester Ship Canal"

    Speakers:  Bob Cannell and Les Green. 

    Bob Cannell and Les Green are two volunteers of the Daniel Adamson Preservation Society (Daniel Adamson or Danny, is a former working canal tugboat). Bob is the Volunteer Co-ordinator besides being a Presenter. Les is one of the Trustees and is also in charge of the Fundraising Group.

    Thurs, 25th of March,  The Job of a Laughtime

    Speaker:  Brad Ashton 

    Brad is a comic writer and has written for top comedians such as Tommy Cooper, Les Dawson, Frankie Howerd, Bruce Forsyth. Expect lots of jokes and backstage anecdotes.

    Thurs, 8th April  -  Another memories afternoon, "My First Job"

    Wed, 28th April  -  Lasting Powers of Attorney

    Speaker:  Chris Chippendale

    A Lasting Power of Attorney or LPA is a legal document that allows you to appoint chosen representatives who will be responsible for you and your affairs should you be unable to do it for yourself in the future, in advance, and it allows you to place restrictions on and give directions to the people you choose. An LPA comes in two parts, Property and Financial Affairs and Health and Welfare.

    Thurs, 6th  May  -  'The Royal Letters Mystery'

    Speaker:  Janet Cowlard

    Janet tells an intriguing story of an investigation into five unsigned letters hand-written on headed notepaper from Royal residences, the research for which resulted in a book published in 2014.

    Janet trained as a home economics teacher, which was her role during the 1970s. She was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis at age 21, and over the last 40 years she has overcome the difficulties caused by her disability, to become a respected expert in arthritis self/pain-management.

    In 2004 she embarked on a six-week Winston Churchill Travelling Fellowship to the west coast of the USA and Canada to study pain management programmes. This study led to her co-writing the internationally recognised and researched 'Challenging Pain' training programme, which is now being delivered throughout the UK and in Australia. Janet received her Winston Churchill Fellow medallion for this work from Her Majesty the Queen at Buckingham Palace in 2006.

    She has been awarded the 'Citizen of the Year for Services to the Community', by the Lord Mayor of Plymouth, and the ‘Plymouth Women of Achievement’ Community award.

    Since retirement, she has developed a series of talks around the theme of royalty. She has written a book called The Royal letters mystery, which forms the basis of this afternoon’s talk.

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