For the Norton Radstock u3a Speaker meeting, held on 12th February, members were once again entertained by Tim Lewis and Sheila.

This was the sixth visit of Tim and his accompanist Sheila and the record increasing numbers in the audience proving just how popular these visits have been. Tim’s presentation on this occasion was entitled “Our Harmonious Garden.” The presentation was an illustrated and joyous celebration of “The Garden” through music, literature, poetry and parody presented in their unique and entertaining style. Music from Gilbert and Sullivan, Flanders and Swan and Ivor Novello, poems from Pam Ayres, Wordsworth and Kipling and more all combined to tell the story of the natural world as we know it. The audience gave Tim and Sheila rapturous applause at the end of their concert.

During the next six months, u3a members will receive talks on tax and estate planning and how to look after bees and benefit from their health-giving properties. In May, a presentation by Michael Malaghan from BBC and ITV, a writer of women’s fiction, contributor to Woman’s Realm and a children’s television scriptwriter, a novelist and a journalist with a weekly newspaper. Michael’s subject will be “The funnier side of writing.” Not to be missed. Our June Speaker will be Geoff King on the practice of surgery in the mid-19th century and include details of some common surgical procedures of the time. Our July speaker will be Philip Caine about his career as a chef and hotel manager, 17 years working the oil rigs of the North Sea. Followed by operating projects in Algeria, Nigeria, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Baghdad. Again, a talk not to be missed. We have a full programme of events or the rest of the year which will be reported nearer the time.

In common with the rest of the 400 u3as in the UK, Norton Radstock is embarking on a programme of encouraging more people to enjoy the benefits of being a member of their local u3a group. The advantages of membership offer opportunities to meet with others at speaker meetings, coffee mornings and, if interested, being a member of various subject groups. U3a’s have been credited in improving people’s health and outlook. In the UK doctors are recommending certain patients to try out the u3a to check if the u3a is for them. Many members tell us that joining the u3a is one of the best things they ever did! To support the programme Norton Radstock u3a is offering “taster sessions” for prospective members who can join a speaker meeting, coffee morning or group meeting for free. Just turn up at the Somer Centre on the second Monday or last Monday of the month. The programme will also involve information posters being placed at strategic places in Midsomer Norton and the surrounding towns and villages. The u3a will also have a presence at the Midsomer Norton Farmers Market in April and the Midsomer Norton Town Fair in July.

Membership of the u3a is open to any one of any age who is not in full time employment, and you will be sure of a warm welcome to join the many new members and re-joining post-COVID former members.

Currently we are actively seeking a treasurer/book keeper to join the committee. Most of our finances are through banking BACS etc with no specialist experience necessary. If you are interested contact the Chairman Colin Tincknell on 01761 413414. You would be very welcome to join our enthusiastic committee.

The group Annual General Meeting will be held on Monday 24 April at 11am (coffee and tea from 10.30am) at the Somer Centre when members will learn of the progress the group has made in the last year and can ask any questions about that.

Colin Tincknell OBE

Chairman, Norton Radstock u3a