Issue 107                 NEWSLETTER          February 2019

Ashton-in-Makerfield and District U3A


In 2018 the changes to the U3A Data Protection procedure requires all U3A members to complete a Membership Renewal Application Form when renewing their annual membership. If the completion of the Registration Forms was left until Registration takes place it would lead to bottlenecks when issuing the new Membership Cards. To minimise the anticipated waiting time and the frustration involved, when collecting your 2019 - 2020 membership card, a personalised Application Form and a personalised Envelope have been produced for all our members.  These are being given by the group leaders to all group members. If you do not attend any groups please collect your Application Form and Envelope from Ray Potter (Membership Secretary) at any Friday Meeting during February and March. Please hand your completed Application Form in to Ray Potter or Winnie Burns at the Captain’s Lane entrance table.

If you have not completed your Renewal Application form before Registration begins please do so before presenting your envelope, containing your annual subscription, at the Registration Desk.


Your membership is due for renewal from the 1st of April. Registration will take place on the 1st and 3rd Fridays in April and May. Members who have not registered by the 31st of May cannot be guaranteed to be issued with their existing membership number. The Annual Registration will, as in previous years, remain at £12.00 and the Friday Meeting door charges will stay at £2.00 for Speaker Meetings and £1.00 for the Coffee Meetings. However, if Captain’s Lane decide to increase their rental charges it may be necessary for the Committee to review our room entry charges. 

It is important to note that the £12.00 Registration fee is non-refundable and retains your membership for twelve months.


Minutes of the Monthly Management Committee Meeting are available for any member of Ashton-in- Makerfield and District U3A to read at any Speaker or Coffee Afternoon Meeting.

Once these Minutes have been signed by the Chair as a true record they are available from the Secretary, on the proviso that they are not taken out of the building and are given back directly to the Secretary.

Thank You.

Pam Potter Business Secretary


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

Thank you    

Pat Grimshaw


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.


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.




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 10
th 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.



Our next trip is to see Willy Russell’s multi awards winning ‘Blood Brothers’ on Thursday 11th April.

This is a Matinee Performance. The coach will leave Hilton Street at 12.30 pm. The cost is £42.00 including the coach.

Note - We will need payment in full before the 15th of February.


Carol & Ann Heaton


1st February -  Peter  Hatfield - My Broken Heart is Mended.

1st March -  Carole Johnson – Jam. As it Should Be.   



We meet on the second Tuesday in the month, meeting at 10.00 am.

Appropriate clothing and sturdy footwear must be worn and members walk at their own risk.

Next walk is on Tuesday 12th February.

We leave at 10Am from the car park by the Ranger Station which is behind the Ship Inn, Blackbrook, WA11OAB

From Ashton take the A58 past St Oswalds Church and continue forward over the East Lancs Rd. At the bottom of the hill immediately before the Ship Inn turn right into the car park.

The circular walk takes us by the now disused St Helens Canal which at one stage was used to take coal from the area to Liverpool. Onward through woods and eventually to Havannah Flashes and return.

There are no hills or stiles. The footpaths are quite firm but in places can be muddy. No toilets or refreshments before or during the walk.

Distance is 5 miles approx and could take between 2-2.5 hours. Please ensure you wear appropriate clothing and footwear


Hotpot/Tea/Coffee on Friday 15th February at Captains Lane

This will be a waiter service only so please arrive by 12-30 pm.

Please note, due to limited places, this will be ticket entry only. The tickets are £4.00 and will be on sale at the January2019 meetings.


Maureen Hession.


The next meeting of the group will be on the 28th of February at 1.30 pm in the Ashton Library.


This Group will continue for the foreseeable future and will meet on the 1st Monday of the month (unless a Bank Holiday) at Captains Lane Community Centre from 1 - 3pm. The next meeting will be on Monday 4th February 2019.

Group Leader Ray Sims 


The  next  group  meetings  will  be  on  the  13th  and 27th of February at 11.00 am in Ashton library.


The poetry group continues to meet in Ashton Library on the 2nd Thursday of the month at 12 noon.  We have room for 2 more members at the moment; if anyone is interested in joining the group, please contact Elinor Bentley or Madeline Hynes.


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

Our next meeting will be on the 21st. February when the project for the month is “Landscapes”.  

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

Michae Iredale  


We will make pictures or numbers, whatever you prefer, with broken tiles. This will be a rolling 5 week course and open to all. We will meet at the Ashton Scout Hut on the corner of Woodedge /Liverpool Road. Thursday 10.30 – 12.30 pm. If interested please telephone Pat Moulsdale


The creative writing group, which meets on the third Friday of the month at the YMCA, Hilton Street, at 2-0 p.m., is currently working on the contents of their magazine, Our Words to be published in June.  We are aiming to theme the contents towards the celebration of the 10th birthday of U3A Ashton so if any of you want to join us we have space for a couple of new members.


11th January 2019 meeting.

Our singers are working on a Medley of songs from the Sound of Music which proved to be most enjoyable on its first hearing.  The programme went   down   very   well   as  we  sang  –   Sound of    Music / Doh – Ray – Me / Botox  /  Climb  Every Mountain  / Sixteen Going on Seventeen  / Maria / The Lonely Goatherd / Edelweiss, all excerpts from Zack Laurence’s super solo piano keyboard maestro.

Next Meeting – Friday, 8th February, 1.00 pm Captain’s Lane.  New singers always welcome.



The Intermediate German group is currently full. It  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.


Reading Group 1

The book for discussion at our January meeting was “Black Waterlilies” by Michel Bussi.  Born in 1965, Bussi is a Political Analyst and Geography Professor at the University of Rouen whose crime-fiction sold over half a million copies in 2013.  “Black Waterlilies” published in translation in Britain in 2016 and first published in France in 2011 is a detective story set in Giverny, the village in Normandy, where Monet created his famous garden and spent the last forty-three years of his life.  Newly appointed Inspector Laurenc Serenac leads his team in the investigation into the murder of Jerome Morval; his intuition-led approach contrasting to mildly humorous effect with, and complemented by, the meticulous work of his deputy, Silvio Benavides.  Narration of the action is shared between an omniscient over-viewer and an un-named old lady who lives in an ancient mill, the Moulin des Chevennieres, on the stream which originally fed the ponds in Monet’s garden.  The plot is cunningly devised to manipulate the reader into drawing false conclusions about what appears to be happening.  It only becomes clear at the end how thoroughly we have been duped by the author, prompting us to re-read to see how he has managed to maintain the deception throughout.  Rather appropriately the old lady’s dog, Neptune, plays a significant part in having us barking up the wrong tree.  The Group was unanimous in having thoroughly enjoyed this clever page-turner, unable to resist the urge to understand what was happening and to find out the identity of the perpetrator.  We would go beyond merely recommending the novel but declare it a “must read” for crime-fiction devotees and non-devotees alike.     



Reading Group 2.

This year we are reading books from Italy as a theme. 

1. Santa Montefiore -
The House by the Sea. We found this book predictable and a formula that has been read before. It  is a love  story  which  spans Italy and England; I   would   recommend   it   as   a   non-challenging easy   read  for   the   holidays.  Recommended   if you like  romantic fiction,  but  we  found  it  a  bit lightweight for us. 

2.  Glen Haybittle -
The Way back to Florence. We have read many wartime stories but none as explicit as this book in its telling of the raw fear, torture and shows man’s inhumanity to man. It also shows outstanding bravery and basic fight for survival over not weeks or months, but years with no end in sight. 

Recommended by the Group a very good read.

Mary Davies 


January saw the Pudding Club have their first meeting since November 2018. To celebrate the New Year we had our Christmas meal, deliberately put back to let the Christmas rush die down.  Then it’s back to our monthly meetings and something like normal again.  

This New Year sees us with a vacancy for a new member.  If you are interested in becoming a member but worry that you don’t have the skills, don’t worry, we’re all amateurs and all of us have had baking failures. Our meetings are light hearted affairs, it’s good to get together over a light meal and dessert to catch up and have a laugh. If you would like to know more please ring Anne  or find me at a U3A meeting.


Our next meeting starts at 1.30pm on Monday, 11 February 2019 at St James’ Parish Centre, Church Road, Haydock, WA11 ONJ.  Madeline Hynes will tell us about Roger Lowe, who was a diarist in the 1600s.  His writings give us a good insight into the life and times of people living in Ashton-in-Makerfield and surrounding areas at that time.  As you may recall, we had originally planned for Dave Joy (author) to speak to us in February, unfortunately, due to illness, his talk will have to be rescheduled, hopefully, for later in the year.  We wish him well in his recovery.



The   next   meeting   for   the   Drama   group   is   on Thursday 7th February. 


The venue for the Kurling is the 1st Ashton Scouts HQ (Scout Hut) on Woodedge off Liverpool Road. Ashton WN4 9LH.

We meet on the 2nd and fourth Wednesdays each month at 10.30 am to set up for Kurling 10.45 am to 12.45 pm.


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 on the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays 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.


The 2019 season will commence on Wednesday March the 6th. Jim Conboy, Group Leader.

The venues (on our Web page) may change slightly in which case I will possibly advance the start time to 10.00am instead of 09.30 because of the problems with the traffic (school and motorway) that we encounted last year but any changes will appear in the monthly newsletter.

Also, when there is a three week gap in a couple of the monthly dates, if possible, an extra game will be arranged nearer the time.


The Knitting Group meets on the second Thursday of each month in the alcove at Ashton Library at 1:30pm.  If you are interested in joining us, please contact either Anne Knowles or Hazel Groom-Hollis.  We knit for ourselves or for charity and if you'd like us to pass on your charity knits, we'll be happy to do so.  We have been supporting The Storehouse Project in Billinge for the last few years and have also knitted for the premature baby unit in Wigan.    


A day out to Kendal has been arranged for Thursday 16th May 2019 to visit the Quaker tapestry followed by a visit to Sizergh castle which is a short drive away.

The tapestry was created by Quaker members and consists of a series of panels depicting the start of the Quaker movement and the activities and good works in which the Quaker members have been (and still are) involved. There is a café and gift shop.

Sizergh castle is a National Trust property lived in by the Strickland family for the past 750 years.  Apart from the stunning interior it has beautiful and extensive gardens.

The total cost will be £20 but non NT members will have to pay for entry to the Castle which will be £11.50 payable on the day.

Pat Grimshaw



Trip 1 -Tour of Concorde Aircraft & Lunch. 

Monday 15th April 

This tour may not be suitable for people with mobility difficulties as there are 40 steps to climb to go inside concorde 
The cost of the trip is £28.00 which includes the coach,  a  90  minute  tour  of  Concorde  and  a two course lunch.  For further details etc please see Mary or Maureen. 

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.


Ashton-in-Makerfield Ukulele Group (AIMUG)


Buoyed by our performances before the Christmas break, Ashton U3A Ukes look forward to the New Year with our new books.  Containing fifty well known tunes, it will be the springboard for the coming months.

Currently we are being led by the very able Christine and then we intend to relax into our meetings by having sing arounds and requests.  We had a request at one of our earlier shows but we stayed.

So, off we set; practising, playing and looking forward to our next session in the limelight.

Beginners, not so bad and experts welcome.  Telephone Stephen  for a beginner's pack.


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 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 10 am on Mondays or speak to Anne, Pam or Mary. 


Meets every Wednesday 1.30 pm  to 2.30 pm in the Scout Hut, Woodedge, off  Liverpool Road.


The classes are on Tuesdays at ll.45am - 12.45pm and a 2nd class from 1.00pm – 2.00pm at the Scout Hut in Woodedge, off Liverpool Road.