NEWSLETTER No 104                                                   October 2018


There is a BLUE BOOK on the Information Table, at the front of the room, in which we would like you to put any Suggestions for New Groups.

We cannot promise that they will all get off the ground but we will explore all your suggestions and support anyone who wants to give it a try.

The groups are very important to the welfare of the U3A. They provide a range of activities that would not be available if it was not for the input from the membership. If anyone wishes to talk through a suggestion for a new group they would like to attend or, if they would like to lead a new group, please see JOHN GOSTELOW or ANNE DOYLE for more details.


It is with some regret that both Ann and I feel we need to step down from running the theatre group after the next show in November. I have been involved in running the group from the beginning over 9 years ago. We both have different reasons but my health issues now stop me going to shows. We are looking for either one or two people to take over next year. I will give them full support and advice and will continue to work alongside them. I hope this group continues as so many of you enjoy it. Please contact either of us for information Kath and Ann. 


We like to chat to friends before our meetings start, but could we please refrain from continuing to talk when announcements are being made and during presentations by our guest speakers. Recently, conversations that have carried on have caused distractions for many trying to listen.


We are taking orders for U3A diaries, the price of which is three pounds .Please put your name, membership number and contact on the clipboard at the front of the room. Due to a change in procedures we will need the money with your order. Thank you.


A book has been created in which we would like members to record their comments, memories or experiences of their membership during the first ten years of the Ashton-in-Makerfield and District U3A. The book is now open and will be available to all during the months leading up to our 10th Anniversary in May 2019. We would appreciate as much input as possible and on behalf of the Committee we thank you in anticipation. Pat Grimshaw, Winnie Burns and Arthur Hemmings.


We are planning on having a birthday afternoon buffet lunch at the Masonic Hall Bryn at the end of May 2019. At the moment we are only collecting names of people who would be interested in attending.  There will be no commitment; we just want an idea of numbers.  If you are interested could you let me know at any of the meetings or ring me.

Thank you    Pat Grimshaw


5th October - David Jones –The Law.

2nd November - Stephen Corless – My Career in Aviation.




This is a new group and it held its first meeting on Thursday 13th September in Ashton Library. Its aim is to appreciate a wide range of poetry and members will be encouraged to read out and discuss poetry of their choice.

Due to space restrictions in the Library the group is limited to 12 members and at the moment we have one vacancy. If more people are interested in the future then we may consider moving to a larger venue.

The next meeting will be held on Thursday 11th October at 12.00 noon in the Meeting Room at Ashton Library. Contact for this Group Elinor Bentley Tel 01942 709758


Calendar girls will be our last show. I will help anyone who wishes to run the group. I hope this is not the end of theatre trips. Kath and Ann 


Our meetings are held on 3rd Thursday of the month in Haydock library from 10.00am to 12.00am

For October our theme is “Angles and Curves”.

If any of our U3A members wish to learn more about photography or can offer any expertise, please come along and join us.



The next meeting of the Local History Group is at 1.30 pm on Monday, 8 October 2018 at St James’ Parish Centre, Haydock, WA11 0NJ. The theme for this meeting is ‘Celebrations’. We will take a look at the difference between how things were celebrated in the past and how we celebrate events now and, as part of our very own celebration, we will have a ‘Wigan Quiz’. We hope to see you then.

Elaine Wallwork


The next meeting of the Drama group will be on the first Thursday in October and we will be busy getting ready for our Christmas party!  New members will be made most welcome so if you fancy having fun whilst 'acting' come along and give it a go. 

Pat Grimshaw


Please note that owing to holidays of group leaders and members, there will be no French group meetings in September. Meetings will resume in October on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays at 11.00am in Ashton library.


(Currently full)


The Intermediate German group meets on the first and third Tuesday of every month from 2.00 pm to 3.30 pm. It is now in its fifth year. It is a friendly, sociable group and the emphasis is on speaking and listening. Group members have become much more confident in expressing themselves spontaneously in German and can now engage in small talk fluently.

If you would like any further information please contact Bill, by phone or email, (contact details and times are on the back page).



Tuesday 11th December 2018 at the

Talbot Hotel Southport.

Christmas Dinner £14.00 Coach £14.00

Total price £28.00

Deposits of £14.00 per person are now being taken - All details on Days Out boards in Captains Lane. Any queries to Mary Davies.

Proposed Trips for 2019.

Trip 1 -Tour of Concorde Aircraft & Lunch. 

Proposed event April/May 2019 (Must be a Monday) Tour of Concorde and history of the aircraft by a Guide. Destination - Runway visitors park at Manchester Airport. 

Trip 2 - LLangollen Boat Trip & Town. 

Proposed event August / September 2019.

Trip 3 - Christmas Meal 

Proposed event December 2019. Date to be arranged. Possible venue - the DW Stadium Complex. Turkey and Tinsel. Coach and Meal.

All costings etc., will be done nearer the time. 

Mary Davies.


Reading Group 2

Archangel by Robert Harris

Archangel is the name of a city in the North of European Russia, the part this city plays in the novel becomes clear on reading the book.  

Fluke Kelso once a scholar with the promise of a glittering career is now washed up. One night he is approached by Papu Rapava, once a Kremlin bodyguard, with a story to tell.  The great story is that Stalin has left a diary described as the Holy Grail among researchers, a story that would guarantee the scoop of a lifetime to any researcher.  Rapava has a daughter who has been selling herself on the seedy streets of Moscow, which are rife with drugs, corruption and the Mafia. The two team up to find the diary, their search takes them to many parts of soviet Russia but all the time they are being pursued by the KGB and an American journalist.  The diary holds a great secret, one which if unleashed onto the world will cause devastation and death. Will the two fugitives be caught?  Will the secret be revealed? This book has many twists and turns plus a surprise ending keeping the reader on the edge of their seat. This is the third book by Robert Harris we have read this year and like the others this one doesn’t disappoint.

Would we recommend it – definitely.

Coffin Road by Peter May

Coffin Road is another book by the excellent author Peter May set in the beautiful Hebrides. A man finds himself alone on a beach.  He has no recollection of who he is, where he is or how he got there. The only thing he has is a folded map in his pocket showing directions to a track leading to Coffin Road. On the way he meets an old lady who appears to recognise him and calls him Neal.  It transpires that he is her tenant and is staying in one of the cottages.  Going inside the cottage he is given a rapturous welcome by his dog Bran. This confirms to him that he is indeed Neal and this is his cottage.  He walks on up the track to Coffin Road and discovers some bee hives.  Are they his bees? What does he know about bees? Is he carrying out research on them?

Meanwhile DS George Gunn is making his way to the island following the discovery of the body of a man.  The man has been bludgeoned to death.

In Edinburgh a young girl lies in bed desperate to find out why her scientist father committed suicide 2 years ago. Why would he abandon her?  But in the beautiful landscape and genteel streets of Edinburgh lies a secret that connects all of them.

May’s descriptive passages are a pleasure to read and the plot rattles along at a good pace until the shocking truth is revealed.

Would we recommend it – absolutely.


Wednesday 5th September 2018.

Six members of Ashton U3A embarked on a historic adventure journey on the iconic FLYING SCOTSMAN. Some members of Wigan U3a made a real trip of it by going by train from Wigan to Manchester and then Metro link from Manchester to Bury and I understand that this was not without its problems.

The day could not have been better, blue skies, gentle breeze. We lunched at the Trackside café. There is a café/bar on both platforms, one selling sandwiches and drinks and the other selling bar food and alcoholic drinks. We sat with our sandwiches and watched the world go by, so many train spotters with binoculars, cameras, time tables, train logs. Mixed in with the spotters were the real enthusiasts, the volunteer engineers in greasy overalls and flat caps, all talking and chatting, pointing out things. A really good atmosphere. All of a sudden there was a surge of spotters and passing through the station was 6990 Witherslack Hall GWR Hall Class colour Green !!!!!!!

 Cameras out, note pads at the ready, The Flying Scotsman went through the station in the opposite direction (Rawtenstall to Heywood) and then it would be Heywood stopping at Bury to Rawtenstall.

We made our way across to the other platform, passing four ladies of a certain age, dressed in flapper dresses, feathers in their hair, having a picnic with champagne really enjoying themselves talking to all and sundry who went past.

The Flying Scotsman pulled in, regal, magnificent, stately, shiny, gleaming, noisy, steaming and smelly, built in 1923 renovated at the East Lancashire Railway in Bury - For those of us who remember travelling by train in the 1960’s, steam and the smell brought back memories.

Off we set, just as you remember jerky then out into the countryside which was littered with people and families standing in fields, at doors, by the side of the track sitting on farm gates, in pub gardens all cheering and waving. Just like in the Railway Children. The train went faster and faster and  the words of the poem From a Railway Carriage  by Robert Louis  Stevenson -Faster than Fairies, Faster than witches, bridges and houses ,hedges and ditches, sprang to mind.

A twenty minute stop, at Rawtenstall, so that people could get out and admire the restoration and wonder at the work, time and dedication that went into the end result. Before we knew it we were disembarking at Bury and the next lot of people were getting on.

We ended the day with a trip to the Transport Museum, which was free entry, a real must for anyone interested in engineering. All maintained by volunteers, it must be a real labour of love and they must have really understanding partners because it must take every spare minute. –

A very good day out.


We meet on the third Friday of the month at 2-00 pm which gives us time to meet up at Captains Lane and have a coffee and a chat before heading off to the YMCA in Hilton Street where meetings are held.


The next meeting is on October 19th and we have room for a couple of new members if you would like to come along for a taster.


Ashton-in-Makerfield Ukulele Group (AIMUG)


Not much to report for this month as holidays have taken away one of our meetings.

We continue to practise and become more in control of our ukes.  Hopefully we’ll be able to move on to using a projector in the near future, which will help in all the

paper shuffling we’re currently doing.  Keep on strumming.


Next meeting for us is on Friday 28th September.

1.00 pm  - 3.00 pm at Captain’s Lane.


Due to the reciprocal agreement, members are also welcome at the Wigan meeting the day before: 2.00 -4.00 pm at the White Horse in Standishgate.


New members are always welcome.


The new season of the Kurling Group will start on Wednesday 10th October. The venue for the Kurling is the 1st Ashton Scouts HQ (Scout Hut) on Woodedge off Liverpool Road. Ashton WN4 9LH.

We meet at 10.30 am to set up for Kurling 10.45 am to 12.45 pm.


The new season of the Games Group will start on Wednesday 3rd October. The venue for the games has changed from last season and is now at the 1st Ashton Scouts HQ (Scout Hut) on Woodedge off Liverpool Road. Ashton WN4 9LH.

We meet at 10.30 am to set up for Games at 10.45 am to 12.45 pm.

We will no longer have the use of a table tennis table but will have 2 lanes of Kurling instead.


Wednesday 3rd October – Porters Wood

Gathurst Road, Orrell. WN4 0LH.

Meet at 9.10 am for 9.30 tee time.

Wednesday 17th October – Pennington Flash

  Pennington Country Park, Leigh, WN7 3PA.

Meet at 9.10 am for 9.30 tee time.

In the event that venues change I will email you. If you are a golfer but not a member of our group or have never been a golfer but would like to give it a try please contact me at a Friday meeting or by telephone.

Jim Conboy, Group Leader.


The Pudding Club is taking its annual summer break at the moment. We will be back in September. 


The October meeting of the History group will be the last meeting for the moment and we hope to start again sometime next year.



Both Groups are now closed for the Autumn and Winter and will reopen in April 2019. 

Thanks to all Members for their support throughout the season. 

Ray Potter and Phil Carter.


The next  meeting of the group will be on the 25th  of October at 1.30 pm in the Ashton Library.


No Singing for Pleasure meeting in September.

Next meeting – Friday, 12th October.


The following Groups are PART OF ACTIVE LIVING and NOT covered by U3A insurance.


Meets every Monday at 10am - 11am at St Thomas's Church Hall on Warrington Road. 

The Instructor is Sue. 

The exercises are tailored to older people whatever their capabilities. You don't need any special equipment or clothing. The cost is £3 per session.

For more information call in to St Thomas's before 10am on Mondays or speak to Anne, Pam or Mary. 

Pam Potter.



Walking Football is a sport for both men and women and it is an ideal way to meet new friends and improve your fitness. Games take place in the Wigan Soccer Drome.

If you are interested please contact Phil Carter by telephone or during any of our Friday Meetings. If enough interest is shown I will arrange a date and time for us to visit the Soccer Drome.