October 2018 meeting: report from the Chair

Robert and Susan Cockroft and Gill Radford

On such a lovely day I’m delighted to announce I have some good news. Last month I encouraged you to consider volunteering to help U3A Todmorden in one way or another, play to your strengths, think about what you enjoy or at the very least, be prepared to admit that there might be a role you could take on to help make sure U3A Tod can continue functioning hopefully towards our 20th anniversary.

I can tell you now that our current Speaker Finder Peter Carrigan has volunteered to take on the role of Vice Chair. I believe the correct terminology is that I give notice to our members that Peter Carrigan will become Vice Chairman of U3A Todmorden and the process states that at the beginning of the November’s Monthly Meeting we will hold a short EGM to confirm his appointment.

Thank you so much Peter this hopefully means, that I am no longer at risk of becoming the last ever Chair of U3A Tod! I do say hopefully because generally speaking the Vice Chair does metamorphose into the Chair…. But not always. My fingers are most definitely crossed that Peter enjoys the experience and will be standing here, in my shoes in 2 years time.

This would mean of course that we need a new Speaker finder to replace Peter, and consequently there is a need to quickly appoint a shadow Speaker Finder to learn the ropes. Indeed we are looking for a few people to shadow the committee and learn how we operate.

We will need a potential Treasurer to shadow and replace Emily Watnick, an Assistant Membership Secretary to support Brenda Botten. I’m toying with the idea of setting up a Special Events group – certainly we need a sub- committee to spend time organising 2019 Christmas’ meeting, maybe a Christmas lunch at a venue large enough to invite more members than the Lunch Club does at the moment, a Convenors lunch, maybe a coffee morning for new members too at some point.

I’d also like to encourage a small team of people to help welcome new members and introduce them to those with similar interests. Certainly we can be a daunting lot when you’re the new face looking for some friendly ones and the membership secretary, with the best will in the world has to busy herself explaining the documents to be filled in to another potential new member.

You will have noticed that Ernie has taken on the job of Refreshments co-ordinator and would like members to indicate which month they are available to set up serve and clear away the tea and coffees. Please do not leave this afternoon without having a word with him.

Certainly we need to tap into our membership to find the next generation of committee members and group leaders. So please, come on down!

Groups Co-ordinator Gail Allaby reports that both the proposed Shakespeare Group and Creative Writing Group 2 will hopefully start in the New Year, when she has managed to secure replacement convenors. In addition members need to know that The Old English Group is now full.

The last task before welcoming Robert Cockcroft was to announce the winner of the Anniversary Survey.  Susan Cockcroft drew John White’s name from the hat and he was presented with a box of Heroes. In John’s words, he can no longer say he never wins anything!

Robert Cockcroft , the speaker this afternoon, gave  his talk, ’What’s wrong with rhetoric’. This proved to be a most enlightening discussion about the persuasive art of discourse with examples from politicians and philanthropists both historical and modern. It was especially interesting to see the presentation and defence of argument in the letters between Robert’s grandparents during their courtship when it was certainly not apparent that their forthcoming marriage would actually take place! I quickly discovered that my own understanding of rhetoric was pretty much limited to the concept of a rhetorical question and will be making time to have a look at Robert and Susan’s book,’ Persuading people, an introduction to rhetoric’.

Please look out for the U3A report written by Ant Peter in the local press and on this website.

Gill Radford