Dorridge U3A

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    Speaker Notes - january & February 2020

    Speaker names marked with an asterisk  *  are Dorridge U3A members

    Date:   Thursday 16th January 2020

    Topic:  The Craft of the Master Thatcher

    Speaker:  David Wood

    David has been thatching for 41 years and has had his own business since 1983. He started thatching straight after leaving school, beginning a seven year apprenticeship with Derbyshire Master Thatcher, George Mellor.   

    He works with traditional methods and materials, and thatching takes him all over the country but predominantly he works in the Midlands. As a member and Chair of The North of England & Scotland Master Thatchers Association, he works hard to ensure a high quality and standard of workmanship.   

    He loves what he does and takes great pride in doing the best job he can for his customers. 



    Date:   Wednesday 22nd January

    Topic:  Dogs Trust

    Speaker:  Jane Higson

    Jane has worked for the Dogs Trust for 26 years and spent most of her time working for the Kenilworth rehoming centre. She spent two years in the 1990’s working at the Darlington rehoming centre which was then, its newest centre. 

    She has a full and very varied role at the centre – fundraising, looking after supporters and administrator to the dogs! But best of all she gets to see the dogs that come in, find their future families, and go on to lead happy lives. 

    She has 4 dogs of her own, and enjoys looking after her daughter’s pony with her in her spare time.


    Date:   Thursday 6th February 2020

    Topic:  The Royal Maunday Ceremony

    Speaker:  Paul Leddington Wright

    Paul has a long and distinguished career in music. He started conducting choirs and orchestras at the age of 15 and gave his first organ recital tour of the USA at the age of 17. He was an organ scholar at St. Catharine’s College, Cambridge from 1970-1973 and organist and Director of Music at Coventry Cathedral from 1984-1995. He was artistic Director of the International Church Music Festival from 1991-2016. He was conductor of Songs of Praise’ from 1987 – 2018 including the 40th and 50th anniversary programmes, and 12 years conductor of the BIG SING recordings from the Royal Albert Hall. He has been secretary of the Royal Almonry from 2008. 




    Date:  Thursday 20th February 2020

    Topic:   Hide & Seek (award winning natural history photography)

    Speaker:  Peter Preece

    After achieving a Dip AD (Hons) at Birmingham Art College Peter worked as a Graphic Design Manager in The Triplicate Design Group for 36 years. He left in 1993 and then worked for several years as a consultant for local companies like Mothercare, Boots, United Distillers and many local companies in the Fishing manufacturing industry.  

    During this latter phase he began to get interested in nature photography. What started as a hobby has grown into a passion for natural history and he has won many awards in this field.   

    A lot of his images have been published in magazines and calendars and since 1999 Peter has carried out over 1000 talks all over the UK. 

    In 2016 he won a British Photographic Award and his image of a Water Shrew was published in their yearly book and exhibited in their travelling exhibition. Most of his photography is taken from hides on The Heart of England Forest Estate and on local lakes and in the Warwickshire countryside. 



    Date:   Wednesday 26th February 2020

    Topic:  The Lost Railway

    SpeakerPaul Baker

    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. The latter have proved to be quite popular and for the last few years he has been developing new talks and speaking at U3A groups, Family History Societies and other Local History groups.