Issue 106                 NEWSLETTER         January 2019

                    Ashton-in-Makerfield and District U3A


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


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 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 on 01942 713841


Thank you    

Pat Grimshaw


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


Many thanks to everyone who made the Christmas Party such a success- actors, singers, musicians – what a wealth of talent we have here in Ashton. The rest of the country doesn’t know what it’s missing!

Also, a huge thank you to all those volunteers and unseen helpers without whom the afternoon could not have gone ahead.  You are all stars, every one of you.

Now, about next Christmas……!     Pat Grimshaw


4th January - Dennis Lee - The Life and Times  of George Formby. 

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



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 8th January at Haigh Hall. Approximately 4 miles. Duration 2 to 2.5 hours.

Start at 10.00 am from the Kitchen Courtyard area which is 50 yards from the main car park at Haigh Hall. Parking fee is £3, payable when you leave. Toilets and cafes should be open on the day.

The walk is part of the Red Route in Haigh Woodland Park and is mainly amongst the trees with a stretch along the Leeds Liverpool canal. The walk will be muddy in places, is up and down and the return journey is an uphill walk back to the car park.

Please ensure you wear appropriate clothing and footwear whilst walking.

If you have not been before please have with you on the day your next of kin details and let me know of any potential health issues that might occur whilst walking.

If you want to be on the Walking Group emailing list please email Gil.



Our next trip is to see the Smash Hit Musical Annie on the 27th June 2019, at the Liverpool Empire.


Carol & Ann Heaton


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 7 January 2019.

Group Leader Ray Sims 


The  next  group  meetings  will  be  on  the  9th  and 23rd of January at 11.00 am in Ashton library.


The poetry group continues to meet at Ashton library on the 2nd Thursday of the month between

12.00 noon and 1.30p.m. 

We  now  have  a vacancy in  the group; please contact Elinor Bentley if you are interested. In January we will be  looking  at  poems by  poets whose surnames begin with "C".


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

Our first meeting of the New Year will be on the 17th. January when the project for the month is “Black and White photography”.  

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



We meet on the third Friday of the month at 2-0 p.m. following the coffee meeting in Captains Lane.  You’re welcome to come for a taster meeting.  Our aim is to share ideas and give and receive constructive feedback.


Reading Group 1

At our November meeting we discussed Evelyn Waugh’s, “Brideshead Revisited”.  Waugh wrote the novel during the first six months of 1944 while recovering from an ankle injury sustained in a parachute jump.  In his preface to our revised edition, published in 1960, he suggests that the circumstances prevailing at the time of writing may have led him to rather overdo his descriptions of the splendours of the recent past.  Despite his pruning and revisions one member of the group was still able to point out a metaphor extended beyond the point of comprehensibility.  One third of the members absolutely loved the novel, even if unsure why, whilst the remainder had more mixed reactions.  The latter ranged from struggling to engage with the characters initially but then reading with increasing enjoyment, to dismissing the novel as a social climber’s painful recollections of his association with an effete aristocracy and its self-inflicted woes.   The novel is an evocation of the privileged yet troubled lives of an aristocratic family during the 1920s and 30s viewed from the bleak wartime period of the early 1940s with all its privations and uncertainties.  The narrator, Charles Ryder, serving as an army Captain, finds himself billeted at Brideshead, the Flyte family seat, causing him to recall an earlier period in his life.  During his first year at Oxford Charles had encountered and become obsessed with Sebastian Flyte, younger son of Lord and Lady Marchmain.  He makes considerable efforts to become part of Sebastian’s social circle, overspending his allowance to achieve his aim.  Charles spends the long summer vacation with his friend at Brideshead where, despite Sebastian’s wishes to the contrary, he is drawn inexorably into the life of his dysfunctional family.  In the narrative many themes are explored.  Friendship and love in its many aspects, along with religion, specifically the Roman Catholic Faith, provide the core themes.  Art and the appreciation of beauty in people and architecture play significant roles in Charles’s development whilst for Sebastian, alcohol, initially a means of escape from his family and its pressures, ruins his life.  In dealing with these and other themes the novel provides no easy answers and is difficult to summarise or categorise but it certainly made for ideal reading group material judging by the wide-ranging discussion which it provoked.  This is a many-facetted, thought-provoking novel which repays a sympathetic reading; it is not for those seeking light entertainment.   

Reading Group 2.

At our December meeting we reflected on the books we read over the past twelve months and authors we had never heard of but enjoyed so much we would like to read more of their books. We discussed the three Simon Sebag Montifore books, Sashenka, One Night in Winter and Red Sky at Noon, we all agreed that these books were a fitting end to our year in Russia.

Our alternative book a thriller by Michael Dibden  “And Then You Die "another recommended read.

To help us all get into the spirit of 2019 and our theme for next years books, we finished the meeting with a quiz and Italian delicacies.


Reading Group 2


The Pudding Club has had another successful year.  Members have produced some wonderful food for us all to enjoy.  We’re not expert chefs and most of us will have had to rescue something from disaster at some time or other.  It doesn’t matter, we all understand Murphy’s Law ‘When something can go wrong – it will’.  We meet once per month in a member’s home; which has the effect of limiting our membership to 8.  At present we have a vacancy for a new member.  If you’re interested, please give me a call, don’t think you have to be an expert – all you need is enthusiasm and a sense of humour.

Anne Doyle


(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,.


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.


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 01925 555091.


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


The next  meeting of the group will be on the 31st  of January at 1.30 pm in the Ashton Library.


The   next   meeting   for   the   Drama   group   is   on Thursday 3rd January. 


Our January meeting will start at 1.30pm on Monday, 14 January 2019.  We meet at St Jame’s Parish Centre, Church Road, Haydock, WA11 ONJ.  The theme for this meeting is interesting ancestors, or people you may know.  Josie Bretherton will tell us about her father’s life as an entertainer and there will be others to stir your interest.  Madeline Hynes has offered to tell us about Roger Lowe, who was Ashton-in-Makerfield’s very own local ‘Samuel Pepys’.  It is not too late to let me have information about anyone you know who you think the group would be interested to hear about and it is never too late to let me know about local history items you have an interest in, or information about.


Our 2018 Ashton-in-Makerfield Christmas Party was deemed to be the best ever by our participants – our own singers and a most discerning audience.  Thank you everyone, your contributions were most appreciated.

It was gratifying to see the room so welcoming with all the work of the Committee and volunteers and all the work after the Concert where many members gave a hand to speed up clearing the room and tidying up, not least dismantling of the Christmas Tree.

Our final singing item for 2018 will be the Christmas Carol Concert on Friday, 21st December.  1pm at Captains Lane.

For Christmas and New Year, again I would like to wish everyone a good Christmas and Good New year, remembering always – Your Health is Your Wealth.  Next singing in January – Friday 11th January, 2019.


Ashton-in-Makerfield Ukulele Group (AIMUG)


The ukulele group performed at the Christmas party and received yet another sitting ovation.  While comments were pleasant we felt that we could have had that little more preparation, as events conspired against us.  November saw us without a rehearsal, even though we tried every way to find a venue.

Never mind, we’re looking forward and have already had the first of our two December meetings, where we again ran through our three song repertoire.  This time we really nailed it and now look forward to one more Christmas songs practice before putting our Christmas Pie songbooks away until September.  Yes, September!  That’s when we start preparation for the Christmas party.


January and February we’ll be led by Christine and will be using our new group books paid for by our subs.  We’re even taking up a new format where we’ll be going around the room, asking someone to request a song and will enjoy playing and singing it.


New members are always welcome but we suggest that you contact Stephen in the first instance for advice on which ukulele and to request a Beginners book telephone Stephen .


The   next   meeting   for   the   Drama   group   is   on Thursday 3rd January. 


The 2019 season will commence on Wednesday March the 8th. 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 uncounted 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.



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 trip is £28.00 which includes thecoach,  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.


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. 


Wednesday 1.30 – 2.30

Pat Moulsdale would like to thank all the ladies and gentlemen who have taken part in this class over the years and taken it from strength to strength and made it a success. Unfortunately I will be stepping down from Christmas 2018. It will still be going ahead but with a new organiser.