NEWSLETTER No 102                                                          AUGUST 2018


If you are interested in a particular subject or activity that is not catered for and would like to create a new Group please contact a member of the Committee for assistance to set it up.


During our meetings please ensure that your mobile phone ring tone is switched off and the phone is either put on vibrate or turned off completely.


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.


3rd August – Ananda Mukherjee – Poetry On The Rocks (National Parks of America).

7th Sept - Gerry Shaw  –   The Rat Pack (Singer).


Next year our U3A will be 10 years old although it only seems like yesterday that we thought we might like to start a group in Ashton although we imagined only about 30 or 40 people might be interested. How wrong we were!

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


There will be Tombola during the two Friday meetings in September. Please pass any prize donations to Teresa Garland.


The Singing Group has raised a £42.00 donation for the Hospice.



If anyone still owes money for Calendar Girls please could we have it as soon as possible. We hope to be offering a new show very soon . Kath and Ann 



We meet on the second Thursday at the YMCA in Ashton from 10.30 am until 12.00 am The group is now full but we are happy to have a waiting list.


Thank you to everyone who attended the Lancashire Celebration on the 29th June.

I think a good time was had by all, celebrating all things Lancashire and being Lancastrians.  A few hiccups added to the fun although William Shakespeare may have been wondering what happened to his version of Richard 111!!!

A huge thank you to all the members who took part, actors, musicians and singers, you were brilliant.  Also thank you to the volunteers who worked tirelessly to make the afternoon a success, we couldn’t have done it without you.  Pat Grimshaw


Our meetings are normally held on 3rd Thursday of the month in Haydock library, however as is our usual practice we have no indoor meeting in August but use our meeting date to go out on a photo shoot.

For our June meeting we visited Rivington and had a wonderful day in glorious summer sunshine. We saw the area at its best and it is so sad to see the devastation caused by the fires.

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


We held our annual summer party on the 4th July. The weather  was  glorious, the  food delicious, and everyone enjoyed themselves. 

We are now taking our summer break and will reconvene in September. 


I have volunteered to co-ordinate the Local History Group, which is to be re-launched in September 2018.

As you may know, there were previously two Local History Groups.  However, it will only be possible to have one group for the foreseeable future.  This means we have had to look for a larger meeting room to accommodate the increased numbers in the combined groups.

I am now pleased to be able to announce that, from September, we will hold our meetings on the second Monday of each month in St James Parish Centre, Church Road, Haydock, WA11 0NJ.

This is a large venue offering all the facilities we need and it has its own car park.  It is also easy to get to for anyone travelling by bus.

We hope to see you at the first meeting on 10 September 2018, 1.30 pm until 3 pm, at St James Parish Centre, Church Road, Haydock, WA11 0NJ when Pat Grimshaw will be speaking about ‘The Wigan Parish Map Project’.

I am hoping that many of our group members will volunteer to do a talk on their area of particular interest.  If you feel you could help in any way – maybe do a talk, help with IT, produce documents or offer information about any topic you think the group would be interested in, then please call me on 01744 609361 for a chat.       Elaine Wallwork


The Group meets in the Ashton Library on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays in the month 11.00 am - 12.30 pm.

If you wish to speak to me, I can be contacted on 01942-201693.    Roy Moore.



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).


This group, run by Phil Carter, meets on the First and Third Wednesdays of the month. 

The next meetings will be on the 1st and 15th of August. 

Meet at Ashton REC Club at 1.45 pm for bowling at 2.00 pm till 4.00 pm. 


This group, run by Ray Potter, meets on the Second and Fourth Wednesdays of the month. 

The next meetings will be on the 8th and 22nd of August. Meeting time as above. 

Will members of both groups please try to attend only their own group as too many attending one group will overcrowd the Green and spoil the bowling experience.    Thank you. Ray Potter  


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 August 17th and we have room for a couple of new members if you would like to come along for a taster.


Singing for Pleasure – Friday 13th July, 2018.

Our strawberry and ice cream afternoon was a very happy occasion, thoroughly enjoyed by everyone as hearts and voices were raised today in joyful unison.

We were treated to David’s solo – ‘A Mon Like Thee’ which was much appreciated.

Our aim is to sing for our own Pleasure, we are always happy to share our singing so will welcome new singers.     Josie


The next  meeting of the group will be on the 30th  of August at 1.30 pm in the Ashton Library.


Reading Group 1

The immediate outcome of Peter May, novelist, former reporter and TV drama writer, taking advantage of a chance opportunity to visit Shenzhen in Southern China in 1983 shortly after the ending of Chairman Mao’s Cultural Revolution, was an intention to write about a people whose way of life appeared to have changed little since the Communists came to power in 1949 or indeed for centuries before that.  In the eight years following this first visit he read extensively about the history, culture and politics of the country.  By the time of his second visit, to Beijing in 1991, two years after the horrors of Tiananmen Square, signs of Deng Xiaoping’s modernisation of the infrastructure of the city were in evidence, though little had changed as yet in the lives of the people.  Spotting a gap in the market, he decided to become the first Western novelist to set a crime thriller in Beijing.  In 1997, with an introduction from an eminent American criminologist who had established an international organisation which promoted the exchange of methods between police forces, May gained unique access to the Beijing Police, previously closed to any writer from the West.  In the process he was impressed by a number of people who became models for the characters of the resulting novel, “The Firemaker”, published in 1999.  Unsurprisingly, given the extent of May’s research for the novel, it was only the first of a series of thrillers set in China.

The action in “The Firemaker” begins early one Monday morning with an horrific death; the ensuing investigation is led by newly-promoted detective Li Yan.  That same afternoon Margaret Campbell, an American forensic pathologist arrives in Beijing to give a six-week lecture course at the People’s University of Public Security.  The culturally-mismatched pair form an unlikely partnership determined to unravel the mystery when Margaret, called in to assist with the autopsy, makes an immediate, significant contribution.  By the time the action concludes one hectic week later we have ridden an intense roller-coaster involving political ambition, corruption in the criminal justice system, an attempted cover-up by a powerful multi-national company and emotional turmoil for the main protagonists.  Loose ends, left at the denouement of the main narrative, are neatly dealt with in a series of Reuters’ communiqués, the final one being a deliciously cynical take on the actions of multi-national corporations.    

Apart from some reservations about the length, a substantial 528 pages, we all enjoyed this thoroughly researched novel which, in addition to its gripping plot, gave fascinating insights into Chinese culture.  We recommend it and several of us will be reading more of the series.

Reading Group 2

Our Book choices for the JULY meeting were:-

The Amber Keeper by Frieda Lightfoot. Author of around 40 books, born in Oswaldtwistle. Before becoming an author she was a teacher, bookshop owner, who lived in the Lake District and now spends her winters in Spain.

Set in Revolutionary Russia in 1911 and in the Lake District in 1960.

Abbie Myers returns to the Lake District to find answers surrounding her mother’s death and to start a new life for herself and her daughter.  She  takes  over  her late mother’s failing jewellery shop; her grandmother Millie holds the answers to the past.

Millie was a maid in the Lake District, she left to become a nanny to the children of a Russian Countess. The story flits between Russia and the Lake District, past and present.

It could have been a good read however it was light weight, pedestrian, no sense of characters or places.  A little Mills and Boonish. Not worth the effort.

In The Woods -  Dublin Murder Squad 1 (part of a set of 6) by Tana French.

Adam Ryan was 12 years old, playing in the woods with his two best friends. His friends disappeared, their bodies never found. His parents sent him away to boarding school to a new life with a new name. Twenty years later he returns to Dublin as Detective Rob Ryan. No one knows his past and through a current case, he is taken back into his past (the past returns to haunt the present)

He admits he lied but is he talking about his past or his present. A really good thriller we all enjoyed it.

Other reads this month were:-

Star of the North by O. B. John (based in North Korea)

A Month in The Country by J. L. Carr part of the Penguin Decades Series only 90 pages long but a brilliant read.

The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult well recommended.

The Silent Wife by Kerry Fisher (which wife are they meaning or are they meaning all three?).


Wednesday 1st August - Porters Wood

Gathurst Road, Orrell, WN4 0LH.

Meet at 9.10 am for 9.30 tee time.

Wednesday 15th August -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.


I have been organising holidays for Ashton U3A since 2011 and have decided that for various reasons the latest holiday to Ireland will be the last one. We have visited some wonderful parts of our islands - Edinburgh Tattoo, The Cotswolds, Royal Deeside, Northern Ireland, Constable Country and Devon and the Eden Project. I would like to thank all of our members who supported these holidays and hope that you have many happy memories. Maybe in the future one of you would like to organise a holiday for our members.

John Gostelow


Ashton-in-Makerfield Ukulele Group (AIMUG)


Resplendent in our AIMUG polo shirts we did our little best to entertain the troops on Lancashire day.

It was a pleasure to be the back-up band to the Two Centigrades (Ann and Carol) and we enjoyed our two other offerings: Ghost Riders In The Pie and Matchstalk Men.  A few people even said we sounded good and better than the last time.


This presentation marks a turning point for the group as, after a year, we are no longer a beginner’s class and look to progress to having a broader repertoire.

That’s not to say that we wouldn’t welcome beginners, we would and training would be given.


Due to holidays, the next meeting will be on Friday 27th July at Captain’s Lane.


Any questions please ask.  Stephen.


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.