March’s monthly meeting

meeting150318Greetings to all members. Another full house. It is very heartening for the committee, our Speaker Finder Peter Carrigan,  and our speakers to see so many members attending.

Our guests were Mrs Kate Moreton-Deakin, one of the Deputy Lord Lieutenants of West Yorkshire; Cllr Jane Scullion, Deputy Mayor of Calderdale and her Consort Andrew Bibby. All said they had enjoyed their afternoon.

Gail gave her groups report, which can be found on the website. There are to be 3 new groups and a possible new meeting place in the Cornholme area. Gail also reports about on line courses from Australia. (Please note Gail’s new email address: )

Membership has risen to 519 at the last count. At next month’s members meeting, we will be pleased to commence taking subscriptions for the next financial year: these remain at £15. There will be some changes to procedure for new members, to try and reduce issues with banks.

The committee will also be asking members to sign up for Gift Aid. If members pay tax then they can sign for Gift Aid. By completing one form, just once, U3A Todmorden can claim back money from HM Government. In the last 2 years we have reclaimed almost £900. More members joining the scheme will help to keep subscriptions to the present level. I will be writing to members with full details in about 2 weeks.

A small sub group are looking at a combined finance and membership system, being supported by the Third Age Trust. This system should help to make our administration easier; there will be small annual cost of 50p/member, which will be absorbed.

Peter Gibson and Nigel Plant have been researching a replacement digital projector, wide screen and stand. Our original equipment is almost 10 years old and does not interface with modern computers, without adaptors.

The Creative Writing group have prepared, to date, 7 pieces some of which, we hope, will be performed at our Anniversary meeting in May. Some are quite hilarious.

Last month, my appeal for volunteers to join the committee, seemed to have been missed by members. So I repeat, we have committee members who are nearing the end of their tenure and have/wish to be replaced. Please contact me or any committee member, if you can offer your expertise.

Our showcase group this month was Practical Art. Pam Ball gave details about the group and the materials used – “charcoal, very messy.” She then introduced some colourful images of actual projects produced by members, demonstrating the variety and standard of the items . The photographs were impressive and the presentation was accompanied by John Denver’s “ Sunshine on my shoulder.” I would like to offer my congratulations to all concerned.

Geoff Carter, our guest speaker, returned for a 4th visit, with a presentation about the Battle of the Somme. As usual, he had researched his subject in great detail. Geoff began by telling members how volunteers were encouraged to sign up for the Forces: to “Fight for King and Country”. 500,000 joined in about 3 weeks and overwhelmed the system. He described a usual soldiers day: Stand to; morning hate (firing in the direction of the enemy); breakfast (no firing during meal breaks); relaxing time and hot meal; evening stand to; and evening hate. At night trenches would be dug, supplies brought up, and intelligence gathered by patrols. The details of the casualties were appalling. On 1 July 2016 the British Army were ready to commence battle. 57470 were killed or injured on the first day. Over 2 thousand officers were killed, and nearly all the Captains, who were first “over the wall” armed with just a revolver and stick. This was and is the greatest loss of men ever suffered by the British Army. The Somme campaign continued for 4 ½ months, after which a total over 1 million men, on all sides had been killed or wounded. Geoff gave his assessment of the reasons for the failure of the battle plan, and the history of the leaders of the British Army. An excellent and sombre presentation appreciated by our members.

Our next members meeting will be Thursday 19 April, when our speaker Granville Dobson will be making a return visit to talk about his “15 years as a Magistrate.” Your committee hope to meet you then.

Ernie Rogan.