Issue 97                 NEWSLETTER              March 2018

Ashton-in-Makerfield and District U3A


March 16th 2018



Following a recent visit by our Regional Trustee, Gill Russell, we were advised that to meet requirements set by the THIRD AGE TRUST and the CHARITY COMMISSION we need to make certain changes to the way the Committee/Trustees manage Ashton in Makerfield and District U3A.

The changes will not affect in anyway your participation or enjoyment of our very successful U3A.

The changes will be in the background and affect our administration process and we feel it is only fair to inform you of the changes:-

CONSTITUTION - our constitution has been in place since 2009 (when this U3A started) and it lays out how we operate. The number of Committee Members, frequency of meetings and responsibilities, is now considered ‘not fit for purpose’ and we will be adopting the THIRD AGE TRUST model. The Committee are, at present, comparing the two and looking at how things might need to change.

Once this has been completed we will need to call an EGM (Extraordinary General Meeting) to get your agreement on the changes. To follow guidelines on notice of an EGM, we will have to give you 6 weeks’ notice of the meeting. To minimise disruption, we intend to spend 10 minutes at the beginning of a Coffee Afternoon for you to vote on the changes.

FINANCIAL YEAR – to meet Charity Commission Rules, we are changing our Financial year to the 1ST APRIL to 31st MARCH (at present it is 1st May to 30thApril). This will mean that Registration will be APRIL and MAY. Membership cards will, as previously, show the year but there will be a colour bar on the card (which will change every year) to help to identify that the membership cards are up to date.


LONGER IN FULLTIME WORK. All our activities have to be, however loosely, linked to education (which they are), we are also classed as a UNIQUE ORGANISATION and there are no other organisations which have the same aims and principles as the U3A. Up to now we have functioned under the Charity section of The Third Age Trust (who provide all our Insurance and Legal services) and now we have been informed that we have to become a Charity in our own right.

HOW WILL THIS AFFECT US? -  Under Charity Commission rules a Charity cannot raise money for another Charity whose aims and principles are not the same as their own. Therefore, U3A being a unique organisation, we cannot raise money for another Charity. We could however raise money for ourselves or for another U3A. At present we have raised money throughout the year and banked it in our U3A bank account and then, at the end of the year, presented our chosen Charity with a U3A cheque. This is not acceptable to the Charity Commission. Teresa Garland and the rest of the Committee are looking to see if there is any way round this. We will continue to sell books and take the donations directly to a designated charity shop.

We WILL NOT BE GOING DOWN THE GIFT AID ROUTE as the Committee who are all volunteers, feel that this is a step too far.

If anyone has any questions about the changes, can they please contact Pam Potter or Mike Iredale at the Meetings.


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.

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


6th April.  The Speaker meeting has been cancelled due to building work taking place at Captain’s Lane Community Centre on that date.


Arthur is looking for an assistant to help in the production of the monthly newsletter with a view to eventually taking over from him.

If you are interested and have a working knowledge of Computer Skills, or would like to take this opportunity to learn more about using your computer, please contact Arthur at the Visitor Table or by email.  


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.


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.


2nd March - Marianne Howell - No Persons Here - Suffragettes.

6th April – Meeting cancelled.


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.



We have a new theatre visit for you to book this month. It is a play this time - The Play That Went Wrong. It is a comedy and has great reviews. It is at the Empire on 11th of July. We are taking deposits. Come and see us for more details. We also hope to offer in November - The Calendar Girls. 

If you still owe any money for Beautiful please could we have it a.s.a.p. 

We will be using a different coach company from February. Kenmore is finishing operating. We hope to get the same price and level of service we have had from them. However it may mean a small increase in price. 

Thanks, Kath and Ann.




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 starting 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).


The next  meeting of the group will be on the 29th  of March at 1.30 pm in the Ashton Library.


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.


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 March 16th and we have room for a couple of new members if you would like to come along for a taster.


Due to our group meeting so late in the month and the deadline required to produce the newsletter in time for the Speaker meetings we seem to be a little out of kilter with the monthly news.  Nevertheless, we are enjoying our little selves and getting more proficient with every day that passes by.

Christine has stepped in for January and February and has reported that her first meeting was very enjoyable. We even had a new addition to our ranks, who we welcome.  There’s still room for more.

As the Lancashire day has been put back it has given us more time to prepare for our second performance.  We’re still buzzing after the last one, where we got a sitting ovation and an encore.

Can I ask that if anyone has chosen not to continue with us that you contact me and we can see if we can do anything with your unwanted instrument and tuner.  If you want to come back we’ll welcome you with open arms, but you probably know that.

The first March practice will be at Bryn Labour club on Tuesday 13th March from 3 to 5pm.


The meetings for March are on the 7th and 21st (first and third Wednesdays). The group will close for the summer after the 21st and will re-open in October. 

Thanks to all who have attended and I hope that you have enjoyed the Games.  Ray. 


We are a small group of amateur bakers who meet once a month in a member’s home to share a light lunch and a dessert or cake.  If you would like to know more please contact Anne Doyle or Pam Potter.


The Bowling Groups will start the new season after Easter. 

GROUP PC1 run by Phil Carter will begin on Wednesday 4th April. Meet at Ashton Rec Club off Townfields at 1.45 pm for bowling 2pm to 4pm. 

GROUP RP1 run by Ray Potter will begin on Wednesday 11th April. Venue and times as above. 

We look forward to seeing you then. 

Ray and Phil.


The meetings for March are on the 14th and 28th (second and fourth Wednesdays)

The group will close for the summer after the 28th and will re-open in October. 

Thanks to all who have attended and I hope that you have enjoyed the Kurling. 



Our meetings are normally on 3rd Thursday of the month.

Our March meeting will be on the 15th at Haydock Library, Church Road, Haydock, WA11 1LY with the new meeting time of 10.00am to 12.00am.

Our projects for this month are the letters “X, Y, Z”

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



The Golf Group season begins this month with the following dates and venues.

Wednesday 7th March meet at Yarrow Valley. Church Lane, Charnock Richard, PR7 5NA.

Meet at 9.10 am for 9.30 tee time.

Wednesday 21st March meet at Haigh Hall.  

Haigh Country Park, School Lane, WN2 1PE.

Meet at 9.10 am for 9.30 tee time.

I am looking forward to the new season with our existing group members and, hopefully, some new members to the group.

If you are a golfer but not a members 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.


Reading Group 1

As our January meeting would have fallen on New Year’s Day we awarded ourselves a reading holiday in December giving us ample time to read Thomas Hardy’s “Tess of the D’Urbervlles” for our February meeting.  All found it a rewarding read; the vast majority really enjoyed it though a couple found the writing somewhat prolix.  We were all aware of Tess’s story either through previous readings or dramatisations.  Who, having seen it, could forget the 18 year-old Nastassja Kinski’s portrayal of Tess in Roman Polanski’s 1979 film?  It was good, however, to re-acquaint ourselves with the complexity of the plot, detailing how chance events and the prevailing social mores worked inexorably to Tess’s disadvantage, leading to the tragic denouement.

The many issues raised in the novel, some having a striking contemporary resonance, led to a wide-ranging discussion.  Alec D’Urberville’s ruthless exploitation of the power imbalance between Tess and himself is depressingly reminiscent of Harvey Weinstein’s more recent abuse of unequal relationships.

Though difficult to appreciate from today’s perspective, Hardy’s introduction into a novel of the subject of rape, even if merely implied, with its consequences for the victim, was considered scandalous by his Victorian readership in 1891.  The public response to “Tess” and to his 1895 novel “Jude the Obscure” was sufficiently adverse to cause Hardy to abandon the novel form and devote himself to poetry up to his death in 1928.

We are reading Gayle Honyman’s, “Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine” for discussion in March and as the first Mondays in both April and May are bank holidays, the meeting to discuss our next novel, “My Cousin Rachel” by Daphne du Maurier will be on the 30th April. Normal first-Monday meetings resume in June. 

Reading Group 2

Our Book for discussion in February was:-

Caught In The Revolution (Petrograd 1917) by Helen Rappaport (born 1947 in Bromley Kent, educated at University of Leeds in Russian Special Studies)

With Chapter Headings like For Colour and Terror and Grandeur -This makes Mexico look Pale and another Chapter heading Crazy People Killing Each Other Like We Swat Flies At Home.

An amazingly unusual book, full of facts ,figures and eye witness accounts from a wide variety of Europeans living in Petrograd between Feb 1917 and October 1917  Accounts from Arthur Ransome, Somerset Maugham and Emmeline Pankhurst who had arrived in Russia hoping to inspect and inspire The Women's Death Battalion!!!!!!

Would we recommend it - Yes, most definitely for anyone interested in Russia a real must.

An Officer And A Spy - Robert Harris - What a treat from a Master Storyteller. France in 1890, a traitor (?), Devils Island and corrupt Army Officers. What more could you want?

Would we recommend it - Oh YES, we loved it and couldn’t put it down.


China's First Emperor and the Terracotta Warriors.

A Group Visit has been provisionally booked to this Exhibition at the World Museum Liverpool on Tuesday 10 April 2018.

Apart from visiting China this may be your only opportunity of seeing these wonderful Figures. The final cost will depend on numbers but would hopefully be no more than £25 including group entry and coach to and from Liverpool.

To secure your place please let me have a non refundable deposit of £5, preferably by Cheque.

For further details please contact me John Gostelow (contact details and times are on the back page).

Holiday to Ireland June 2018.

A holiday has been arranged with Discovery Travel to Ireland in June 2018. Please see me for further details.        

John Gostelow, Group Leader.

Chester Trip

Monday 19th March 2018.

Depart from Hilton Street - meet 9.15 leave 9.30. Leave Chester at 4.00 pm approx. Cost £14.00. 

Mary Davies, Group Leader.

Tall Ships Liverpool

Friday 25th May 2018.

Depart from Hilton Street - meet 9.15 leave at 9.30 am.
Return approx 4pm Cost £14.00.

Mary Davies, Group Leader.


Due to illness the February Group meeting was cancelled. Our next singing will be on Friday the 9th of March at Captain’s Lane. Theme – Spring and Spring Flowers.


PART OF ACTIVE LIVING and NOT covered by U3A insurance.


The Stretch and Balance sessions have started up again on a MONDAY 11.00-12.00 at Captain's Lane Community Centre,.

This is a group activity administered by Inspiring Healthy Lifestyles (part of Wigan Council) it is open to anyone not just U3A members, so you can bring a friend or relative. This exercise is very gentle but thorough and you work at you own pace and with the support of a chair if needed.

If you need any further information please contact Pam Potter or Anne Doyle at the Friday meetings and they will pass on a contact number at Inspiring Healthy Lifestyles.


PART OF ACTIVE LIVING and NOT covered by U3A insurance.


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 (07792000624) 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.