Following on from the very successful u3a New Year’s Concert Produced and Directed by our member Charmain Gay, a few days later Norton Radstock u3a members were back at the Somer Centre for their monthly Speaker meeting.

For January, the speaker was Christopher Massay-Beresford. Christopher had spent many years in Portugal as a translator not only in the country but also in other countries over which Portugal held influence, such as Angola and Mozambique, which were highlighted during his talk.

Christopher took members through the story of Portugal which has a history of navigators travelling the globe which contributed to the vast wealth and power that the Portuguese Empire held over many centuries. A significant insight into how the country developed and expanded was provided.

The position Portugal held during the First World War during which the country declared neutrality and the actual situation which could be interpreted as supporting both sides was explained. Christopher highlighted the Azores and the War in the Atlantic during the Second World War and other significant interesting information on the position, again taken by Portugal in this conflict following the Portuguese Revolution which ended up with a dictator being in power.

Christopher provided a thoroughly interesting and informative history lesson, many details of which were unknown to members giving insight into just how much we do not really know about a country, which many members have visited over the years.

The Norton Radstock u3a have now published its Speaker Meeting Programme for 2023, including many varied talks which will be of interest to all members. Speaker meetings are held on the second Monday of the month at the Somer Centre, Midsomer Norton commencing at 2pm. New members are made very welcome and a group of dedicated “meeters and greeters” are on hand to speak to newcomers.

Norton Radstock u3a is part of a UK wide organisation of over 1000 groups, such as Norton Radstock, with 400,000 members.

Norton Radstock u3a is also a member of the Northern Somerset Network of u3as which meets to support activities outside of the orbit of the local group. The Northern Somerset Network has arranged a u3a Conference to be held at Wells Town Hall on Friday 24th March which the CEO of the national organisation will attend. They will inform members of plans for the future of the u3a and provide an opportunity for individual members to contribute and learn about the national support which is available to all groups to enhance their activities. The conference will include the theme of climate change and its effects on Somerset wildlife. Speakers will include the CEO of the Somerset Wildlife Trust who will provide details of what the Trust is doing to support Somerset wildlife in these challenging times, and this is an important opportunity for all wildlife lovers to hear about our local situation.

Tickets for the conference are available to all and include a buffet lunch, which makes this a not to be missed event! Tickets can be purchased at u3a meetings or by telephone 01761 413414.

Colin Tincknell OBE, 
Chairman Norton Radstock u3a.