January’s Monthly Meeting

Dear Members

We got off to a good start with a full house for our first meeting of 2016.

There was a short talk from Daniel Jessop, Volunteer and Events Coordinator at Calderdale Council. Daniel,who has visited us before to talk about the development of the heritage centre at the Town Hall, invited members to take advantage of the opportunities to have a guided tour of the Town Hall and also asked if there are any members who are interested in volunteering as guides (there already U3A members involved in this role) or have memories of the Town Hall which they would like to share. For further information you can contact Daniel on 01706 548105 or 07912 891370 or visit the following web sites:

Visit Calderdale page on Todmorden Town Hall; Virtual Tour of Todmorden Town Hall

The main speaker was Professor Derek Scott, School of Music, Leeds University, whose subject was “Music and Orientalism”. This was a fascinating, informative and very entertaining presentation about the ways (sometimes bizarre ways) in which Western Music has attempted to portray or suggest “orientals”, which in effect meant anything foreign, whether from Spain, Turkey, Egypt, India, or China and Japan. His talk ranged over Mozart, Berlioz, Puccini (and many others including a recording of Rudolph Valentino) through to Chu Chin Chow, Miss Saigon, and, finally, the Pogues. His talk was illustrated not only with recordings, but by Professor Scott’s fine singing voice; and it was, I think, the first time that the grand piano has been used at one of our meetings.

I know from comments which I heard that the talk was much appreciated. Here are the musical scales to which Professor Scott referred in his talk.

Town Twinning Visit to Germany

The Town Twinning Association have some places available on their visit to Bramsche at the end of May and have asked if any U3A members would be interested in joining them on the visit. Details and contact information.

Keith Coates

December’s Monthly Meeting

Dear Members

On Thursday 17th December we had our last monthly meeting of 2015. It was, as all the year’s meetings have been, well attended.

Refreshments, including the much appreciated “non-alcoholic punch”, were provided by Alison Greenwood and her helpers. We must thank Alison not only for the refreshments on Thursday but for providing them throughout the year.

We must thank Myrna Beet and her team for organising the quiz, which was closely contested. So closely contested that four teams finished with the same score (after an objection to one answer, which was overruled). The winners were decided by the time honoured method of drawing lots.

Afterwards there was a presentation by Andrew Gill (The Lanternist). Andrew, who is a member of Burnley U3A, was making a return visit; he had been guest speaker nearly 3 years ago. He gave us another fascinating and amusing show of Victorian and Edwardian slides which was greatly enjoyed.

The next meeting is on Thursday, January 21st, when Professor Derek Scott will be speaking about “Music and Orientalism”.

I look forward to seeing you then.

In the meantime I trust that you have a Happy Christmas and New Year.

Kind Regards
Keith Coates

Monthly Meeting: Did I See Marilyn?

Last Thursday’s meeting was again well attended in spite of the appalling weather. Our speaker was Allan Stuttard whose subject was advertised as “From Tod to Korea and Back. National Service Remembered”. He caused me some consternation when he arrived and said that wasn’t the title of his talk – it was to be “Did I see Marilyn?”. However, despite the change of title, his talk was about his experiences as a young national serviceman who made his first trip abroad when he was sent to Korea towards the end of what he described as the “forgotten war” which claimed many British lives including two from Todmorden.

As he said, his 5 week “cruise” to Korea would cost a fortune now but a modern cruise liner is probably more comfortable than his troop ship. Alan’s humorous reflections on national service and his time in Korea and Hong Kong (we learned that his presence there on the border of Hong Kong prevented a Chinese invasion – possibly) were enjoyed and appreciated. He revealed that the answer to the question “Did I see Marilyn” was yes – he saw from the back of a huge audience of American soldiers – so far back that he couldn’t be certain that he had seen Marilyn Monroe until he saw a photograph that confirmed it was her.

Kind Regards
Keith Coates

Monthly Meeting: Shibden Hall

The meeting on October 15th was well attended with 127 present (126 members and one visitor). Our speaker, Pat Osborne, presented an illuminating insight into the history of Shibden Hall and particularly the life of its most ‘notorious’ owner, Anne Lister. The presentation was enlivened by Pat’s dry sense of humour. One interesting fact which emerged was the reason that homosexuality was illegal but not lesbianism in the nineteenth century. This was apparently because nobody was prepared to explain lesbianism to Queen Victoria. I suspect that members of the audience were inspired to learn more about Anne Lister with one inquiring about the availability of translations of her coded diaries.


Last month I told you about our U3A Tod Newsletter which will be issued in November. If you have any items for inclusion please contact Jean Pearson – 01706 813933 or by email to pearson382@btinternet.com.

Book Sales

You may have noticed that we did not have the usual sale of second hand books on Thursday. It has been decided that we should stop such sales. With the increasing numbers now attending the meetings we need to have more space for seats, and in any event there has been a major fall in the number of books purchased. Also there is an increasing problem of storing the books, which are accumulating. We will be disposing of the books by giving them to some Charity shops who do sell second hand books.

Report by Chairman Keith Coates

Chairman’s report June 2015

Today we had two meetings.

Annual General Meeting

The AGM was held before the normal general meeting. The Minutes of last year`s meeting were approved and the Annual Report and Accounts for 2014-15 were approved. It was reported that there had been another positive year with membership again increasing to 415. The financial position remains very healthy with another small increase in funds . As a result it had been possible to hold the membership fee at the same level for the sixth year. Barring any unforeseen events it should be possible to hold that position for at least another 2 years.

The Vice Chairman ,Jean Pearson ,had reached the end of her 2 year period in office and has stood down from that post. Jean has had made a invaluable contribution .As many of you will recall she was the Acting Chairman for 10 months ,following the untimely death of former Chairman ,David Cross. I am particularly grateful for the support which she has given to me. I trust that Jean will continue to play a major role in her capacity as a convenor and in helping to develop short courses, building on the success of the Magna Carta course which she organised. You may well have seen the references to that course in the recent issue of “Third Age Matters”.

Three other committee members also stood down; Andy Garner;Margaret Gunnill; and Gail Allaby.

The following were elected :

Ernie Rogan as Vice Chairman.

Gail Allaby ; Margaret Gunnill ;and Mary Devereux were elected to the vacant positions.

(I will circulate a full list of the new committee ,including co-opted members, with contact details in the next few days)

The AGM was closed at 2.13pm.

Following the  AGM we moved to the usual General Meeting. The speaker this week was well known to many members through her Physiotherapy Clinic based in Todmorden. Lynne Midwinter, a Chartered Physiotherapist with many years experience in the NHS  and in private practice talked about “Back issues” . This ranged over the various causes of back and other associated problems ;pointing out those most likely to affect our age group . She also outlined the steps which can be taken to help prevent or alleviate such problems. This included an element of audience participation in some exercises. It was an excellent, well illustrated, and humorous  presentation .

The next General Meeting is on Thursday July 16th when Geoff Budd will be speaking on “North Korea –Fact or Fantasy ”.

Kind Regards

Keith Coates

Chairman’s Report: February 2015

Dear Members

At our meeting on Thursday we had the highest ever attendance of 141 (128 members and 13 visitors) .Four new members joined which brings our total membership to 400.

For the first time for some months we had a short talk. Elizabeth Barron, Head of the Direct Payments Team at Calderdale Social Services, provided a very clear and helpful explanation of  direct payments which  are offered to people who need care and support and to carers. Direct payments enable people to arrange their own services rather than have them provided  for them by Social Services.For further information you can contact enquiries.socialservices@calderdale.gov.uk or call the Direct Payments Team on 01422 363561.

The main speaker on Thursday was Robert Cockcroft, author and poet, whose “Lament for the Mills” was based on his book of poetry with that title. Reading a selection of the poems, interspersed with reminiscences of his boyhood in Todmorden  Robert conjured up images of the mills and their environment and some of the characters in them. his struck a chord with many in the audience who could remember the places and the people.

Turning to more mundane, but important, matters our “Refreshment Team ” still need more volunteers (male or female) for the the rota for refreshment table. If you are able to assist please make yourself known at the refreshment table at the next meeting.

The next General Meeting is on Thursday, 19th March, when the speaker will be one of our members, Sue Hayter, who admits that she is descended from a line of convicts and will speak of “My Convict Ancestors: A Genealogical Journey”.

Keith Coates

Christmas meeting: Acting Chairman’s report

What a splendid afternoon – full of interest and excitement.

We gave our thanks to Alison Greenwood and all the refreshment volunteers for a special start to our meeting. We also thanked Anne Crane for arranging all our guest speakers from January to November this year – what a wide-ranging and interesting set of topics we’ve enjoyed.

The Punch and Judy Show was fascinating because Maurice introduced us to all the characters in a traditional Victorian Show which have evolved since the time of the early Greeks – and Judy gave us a brief history of the development and changes of the themes in more recent times and although very few Punch and Judy Shows remain by the seaside a recent development has been an increase in popularity at Students’ Unions in Universities.

Peter Carrigan gave our vote of thanks.

The Christmas Quiz was introduced by Myrna Beet who gave her thanks to members of our U3A Tod Quiz Group who had compiled the Quiz for us this year. It was challenging and very interesting because it was based upon our senses! I didn’t get the names of all the members of the winning team – they scored 26 out of a possible 30 points – well done. The exciting prize was a huge box of chocolates and the winning team opened them and shared them with all of us – thank you.

Our next meeting takes place at 2 pm on Thursday, 15th January, 2015 when our guest speaker will be Paulo Marini – Project Developer and Systems Designer – the topic being ‘Open Farm Technologies – Aquaponics’.

Best wishes at Christmas and for the New Year
Jean – Acting Chairman

Chairman’s Report October 2014

Chairman Keith Coates with Todmorden Mayor Michael Gill and speaker Diana Monahan
Chairman Keith Coates with Todmorden Mayor Michael Gill and speaker Diana Monahan

Dear Members

Last Thursday there was a record attendance of 136 (125 members and 11 visitors) for the monthly meeting . In addition we were pleased to welcome the Mayor of Todmorden, Cll. Michael Gill.

That large number were treated to a fascinating, wide ranging and well illustrated talk by  Diana Monahan which covered a history of canals, the workings of locks, canal restoration, and making a home on canal barges. Diana now lives on dry land but still alongside the canal in Hebden Bridge

New Groups
Gail Allaby, Groups Coordinator, announced that 6 new groups are being suggested. These are :

French for Beginners
Modern Greek
Radio Control Models- if you want further information about this possibility please contact Brian Schofield – brian@bmschofield.com
Poland Appreciated
Magna Carta –this will not be a long term group on the basis as other Special Interest groups but will be a study group which will last some weeks and perhaps prepare a presentation  to coincide with the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta.

If you are interested in any of these groups and wish to sign up please contact Gail Allaby,Groups Coordinator, gail@btinternet.com  or Dee Kerslake, Asst.Groups Coordinator,  deekerslake@hotmail.com . Whether or not the groups proceed depends on sufficient members expressing interest.

Web Site
There is a new feature on our web site – Diary – where you will find a diary of Special Interest groups and other events for some months ahead. This is still a work in progress and some meetings may be missing at the moment but it will be fully established soon. Thanks are due to Peter Gibson and Alan McDonald for their work on the Diary.

Next Meeting
Our next meeting is on Thursday ,November 20 , when the speaker is one of our  own members, Mike  Darke, whose subject is “British Professional Cycling – Yorkies & Le Tour de France”

Chairman’s Report September 2014

Dear Members
We had busy day on Thursday with the Coffee Morning in the morning and General Meeting in the afternoon.
There were very impressive displays by Special Interest groups which, I am sure, were appreciated by the many members and visitors who attended. Barbara Lewis, U3A National Chairman and our afternoon speaker, arrived unexpectedly early to be at the coffee morning.  She was most impressed by the range and quality of the groups.  One measure of the success of the event is that nine new members joined on Thursday ; two are interested in forming new groups- Beginners French ; Modern Greek. Our Groups Coordinator Gail Allaby will be providing further details in due course.
General Meeting
The meeting in the afternoon was also well attended with 124 present; 111 members and 13 visitors. The visitors included 3 representative of the steering group who are starting a new U3A in Littleborough.
We were pleased to welcome Barbara Lewis, U3A National Chairman, whose subject was “U3A and Me and U3A and You”. Apart from revealing that she once sang with Pavarotti, Barbara set out for us what the U3A movement is about and why it has been ,and continues to be, a great success. She emphasised that it continues to look at ways it can develop further and pointed us to 3 documents which have been published by the national body :
-Going Forward
-More time to Learn
-Learn, laugh and live!
We now have a copy of each of these and will obtain some more so that anyone interested can borrow them. In the meantime they are available on the U3A national web site http://www.u3a.org.uk/.To view them it is necessary to register as a member
New Members
The new members who we are pleased to welcome to U3A are Susan Storr &David Storr; Alison Elliott; Oksana Bilas; Brenda Whiting; Maureen Jones ;
Stephen Parkinson & Violet Parkinson ; Sheila  Graham .
Next Meeting

The next general meeting is on Thursday,October 16th when the speaker will be Diana Monahan who will be talking about “Canals in my life” .Hebden Bridge resident ,Diana has been seen on TV in “Great Canal Journeys”

Chairman’s Report August 2014

The guest speaker at Thursday’s meeting was Henrietta Bond who spoke about the problems of young people leaving care. Henrietta has spent many years studying and writing about the problems of care leavers. She clearly feels strongly about the issue and that was reflected in her talk. She gave graphic descriptions of the many problems which are faced by such young people and emphasised that these are self perpetuating problems in that many of those in care have a parent, or parents, who were themselves in care. It was not, however, a picture of unrelieved gloom as she gave examples of young people who have overcome all the obstacles to make a success of their lives.




Membership renewal has been completed and, together with 8 new members who joined on Thursday, we have 345 members – an increase of about 10% on this time last year.


The Committee


A new list of officers and committee members and their contact details is on the website. If you have any comments on any matters please do not hesitate to contact me or any other committee member: ideas for new special interest groups or possibly short would be welcomed as would suggestions for speakers.


Next Meeting


The next meeting is on Thursday, September 18th when we are fortunate to have secured as our speaker, Barbara Lewis, National U3A Chairman whose subject will be “U3A and Me and U3A and You” .


Coffee Morning


On the same day, September 18th, we have a coffee morning which will feature displays and information from all Special Interest Groups so providing an opportunity to find out more about what is happening. This is open to non-members and so if you know anyone who may be interested in joining U3A please invite them. AND IT IS FREE – EVEN THE COFFEE AND BISCUITS!



Keith Coates


Annual General Meeting 19 June 2014: Chairman’s report

Jean Pearson
Jean Pearson

Each month, at our members’ meetings, there have been comprehensive reports about current and future developments. These reports have also been circulated to our members either by email or through the post and they always appear on our website. Since January the Minutes of the monthly Committee meetings have been available on our website, too.

So everyone has been kept informed of everything going on in U3A Todmorden!

As you all know, therefore, U3A Tod continues to flourish – in April there were 370 members – in six years that has grown from the original 40 members! All our Special Interest Groups are well attended and so, too, are our members’ monthly meetings – usually attracting an attendance of over 100 members. We have enjoyed excellent talks by our guest speakers and we have more talks in place up to November with our usual special members’ meeting in December – the newProgramme of Members’ Meetings is available today.

Last August we all mourned the sudden death of our esteemed Chairman – David Cross – who has been very sadly missed. As a result the Committee appointed the Vice-Chairman to act as Chairman until the AGM today.

We enjoyed an extremely well-organised and highly successful U3A Tod Coffee Morning in September when over 100 people came to see our exhibition and we gained many new members as a result. Most of our Convenors attended and they were able to provide information about our Special Interest Groups.

U3A Tod continues to maintain links with our neighbouring U3As in Burnley and Clitheroe and the next meeting of representatives will take place in September – here in Todmorden.

U3A Tod was represented in May at the Todmorden Mayor’s Day and we have been invited to give a short talk about U3A Tod at the AGM of Age UK (Todmorden) in early July.

We are eagerly awaiting the visit to U3A Tod of Barbara Lewis – U3A National Chairman – who will be our guest speaker on the 18th September and we are also planning our annual Coffee Morning and Exhibition on that day as well. In December our Photography Group will again hold an exhibition at the Todmorden Tourist Information Centre.

Keith Coates has now completed his term of Office of two years as Treasurer.

As Secretary Anne Foster has now completed her two years in that Office.

Thank you to Keith and to Anne.

Our Assistant Secretary – Sarah Pennie – has served for two years and is now leaving Committee.

Peter Gibson – has completed three years on Committee as our Database Controller and Technical Officer.

Sue Thornton was co-opted onto Committee last June for one year to provide a link between Committee and speaker-finding.

Ernie Rogan – accepted our invitation to be co-opted back onto Committee last September.

Thank you to Sarah, Peter, Sue and Ernie.

When our new Committee is in place today we can all look forward to the continuing success of U3A Tod.

U3A Todmorden really is much greater than the sum of its parts!

Jean A Pearson – Chairman – U3A Todmorden – 19th June, 2014

Chairman’s report May 2014

Mai Chatham and Jean Pearson
Mai Chatham and Jean Pearson

What a wonderful talk we’ve enjoyed this afternoon by Mai Chatham about the Chernobyl Children’s Project. Mai provided lots of interesting information about the aftermath of that terrible disaster and the National Charity supporting the sufferers. She took questions and clearly many of our members have also been involved in supporting this Charity. Peter Gibson gave the vote of thanks and members’ donations to the charity were quite considerable. Mai was extremely grateful.

Our meeting had started with a slideshow about the July Let’s Go trip to the Bowes Museum and at the end of our meeting Ernie Rogan provided further information, with great enthusiasm, about this trip.

Diane Collins provided samples of English and Spanish bluebells in order to correct some false information which had been provided at last month’s meeting. We also put further information about this on the notice board.

Also on the notice board was a poster advertising the open art studios event in Todmorden this coming weekend. We all now know that Nick Littlewood is opening his studio and we all now know where he lives! Nick can expect many U3A Tod members to visit his home and see his exhibition, I think!

Last Saturday I attended the Mayor’s Day at Tod Town Hall on behalf of U3A Tod and the new Mayor – Councillor Michael Gill – confirmed to me that he will be joining our meeting in July.

Next month it will be our AGM and, if you are on our mailing list, you will be receiving all the paperwork associated with it along with this letter. Anne Foster – our Secretary – is providing the calling papers including the agenda, information about the Committee together with a nominations form. I thanked Joan Sutcliffe and Jo Higgins for all their work this year in sending out our regular monthly news but this month there will be these extra sheets to send to you.

If you are on email you will receive this information directly from Anne.

Our next meeting, which will include the AGM, takes place on Thursday, 19th June, 2014 when our guest speaker will be Kathryn Ogden with her talk entitled ‘A Venetian Experience’ – (Life in La Serenissima). We will not have a bookstall on that day.

Gail Allaby – our Groups Co-ordinator – gave an update on recent developments including a proposed trip to see a Vulcan bomber (organized by Ernie Rogan) and that information about online scams is available from Age UK. Gail has also put this information and contact details on our Facebook page. Now on that page we have a wonderful photograph – taken by Ann Beard – of our Walking Group in action and looks like they’re having lots of fun.

Sincerely – Jean

Chairman’s report April 2014

Apologies that due to holidays this wasn’t posted until May 5th.

Chair Jean Pearson with David Wilson, Area Countryside Officer
Chair Jean Pearson with David Wilson, Area Countryside Officer

Today (Thursday 17 April) our guest speaker was David Wilson who is the Area Countryside Officer for our Upper Valley and his talk was entitled ‘The Protection of Our Rich and Natural Environment’ – the work of the Calderdale Countryside Service. He was extremely interesting and I was surprised at the wide range of activities involved in maintaining and protecting our countryside. There were many questions at the end of his talk and we all really enjoyed it. Sarah Pennie – our Assistant Secretary – gave the vote of thanks. 103 members attended and we also welcomed 7 visitors.

Our guest speaker in May will be Mai Chatham with her talk entitled ‘The Chernobyl Children’s Project and the Local Connection’.

With my May report for you we will also be including information about the AGM in June and this will include the AGM agenda and nomination forms compiled by our Secretary – Anne Foster. Please note that there will not be a book stall at the AGM.

I know that many members renewed their membership today with Roger Howard – our Assistant Treasurer – but renewal of membership should be made at our May meeting, if not before, and we propose to open our doors at about 1.15 pm in an attempt to avoid long queues.

At our July members’ meeting there will be a Fair Trade Stall.

Gail Allaby provided information about our Special Interest Groups although there are no new groups planned at present.

Ernie Rogan provided information about the next Let’s Go trip to the Lake District.

Sincerely – Jean

Chairman’s report, March 2014

Speaker Geoff Carter, Chair Jean Pearson and Mayor of Hebden Royd Karl Boggis
Speaker Geoff Carter, Chair Jean Pearson and Mayor of Hebden Royd Karl Boggis

We now have 358 members and today 118 attended our meeting together with 5 visitors.

It was a great pleasure to welcome the Mayor of Hebden Royd Town Council – Mayor Councillor Karl Boggis.

We opened our meeting with a slideshow compiled by our U3A Tod official photographer – the late Philip Willis – who died so suddenly and so very recently. It provided us with a wonderful range of photographs of our U3A Tod events and activities and I think it was a fitting tribute to Philip’s contribution to our organization.

I reported how our AV equipment and team (led by Peter Gibson and ably supported by George Boyle) has been acclaimed as superb by visiting speakers. David Sutcliffe has now joined this team bringing with him his experience and expertise as a result of his involvement at the Hippodrome Theatre.

Three members observed our recent Committee meeting and it was a pleasure to welcome them. I’ve already received some extremely valuable feedback. I again asked for more members to come along to see what goes on at our meetings – please let me know if you do. Already we have one volunteer observer for our next merry Committee meeting.

The Publicity Group has been working hard on improving our website and other aspects of publicity. Nick Littlewood gave a presentation to our recent Committee meeting and I was able to show our members today the new design for our posters which go up around our region prior to our meetings.

I did remind members that at the AGM in June we will need a Chairperson, a leader of our speaker-finders team and three or four more Committee members. So I am appealing again for you to come forward.

Our Treasurer, Keith Coates, informed us that our fees for next year will remain the same (£15) and asked for members to use standing orders, if possible and also it helps with our finances if you can sign up for Gift Aid. Forms will be available from our Assistant Treasurer – Roger Howard – at the April meeting.

Gail Allaby – our Groups Co-ordinator – gave an update on developments associated with some of our special interest groups and I am attaching her full groups’ report with this letter.

It was a delight for us to welcome back Geoff Carter (Retired GP), our guest speaker, who gave us such an interesting talk entitled ‘The Galapagus, Darwin and the Theory of Evolution’. This was informative and entertaining and Geoff took questions at the end.

Mayor Karl Boggis gave the vote of thanks on our behalf – he almost walked off with our token of gratitude – but I reminded him to hand it over to Geoff!

Next month’s guest speaker will be Dave Wilson, Area Countryside Officer, Upper Valley with his presentation ‘The Protection of Our Rich and Natural Environment’ – the work of the Calderdale Countryside Service.

Ernie Rogan gave us information about the next Let’s Go trip to the Wedgwood Museum. This made a neat link with Geoff’s talk because Charles Darwin married a Wedgwood heiress! Contact Linda Cook if you wish your name to go on the list for this popular outing.

Thank you to all those who helped in returning the chairs to the edges of the Hall at the end of our meeting – we do appreciate this help.

Alison Greenwood needs volunteers to help with the refreshments at the June meeting. Please contact Alison on 01706 816870 or alison.greenwood@talktalk.net if you can help us.

Sincerely – Jean

Chairman’s report February 2014

Speaker Barrie Yates with Jean Pearson
Speaker Barrie Yates with Jean Pearson

What a pleasant and enlightening afternoon we have again enjoyed at our members’ February meeting. We tried a new signing-in system in attempt to cut down on our inevitable queues at the beginning of our meetings – I think we all found it much easier and quicker.

We also put the notice board at the front of the Hall after the meeting so that members had an extra chance to peruse all the announcements, posters and so forth.

We congratulated Geoff Boswell on becoming the u3a national adviser for Science. Copies of the Report by the Steering Group on the Future of the Todmorden Markets were available – you can get more information from the Tourist Information Centre.

U3A Todmorden is a member of the Calderdale 50+ Network which provides a wide range of information about services available for us throughout our region. A document has now been produced and copies are available in public buildings and in GPs surgeries. If you or someone you know needs support in any way this document might provide contact details of appropriate and useful organisations.

Thanks were extended to Peter Gibson and Alan McDonald for their comprehensive computer advice and guidance which has been circulated to all our email members. Dr Paul Whittaker, OBE, has thanked us for our donations to his charity ‘Music and the deaf’ at our January meeting which amounted to £350.

We now have a little over 350 members! 98 members and four visitors attended today’s meeting. Our guest speaker in September, 2014, will be the National Chairman of U3A – Barbara Lewis. She was born in America, has lived in England for many years and currently lives in Hertfordshire but we understand that she knows very little about our region. We are sending her a copy of the book ‘A History of Todmorden’ by Malcolm and Freda Heywood (U3A Todmorden members) and Bernard Jennings. We hope she will enjoy reading it prior to her visit to these northern parts.

Our guest speaker in March will be Geoff Carter – we will all be happy to welcome him back, I am sure – and his talk is entitled ‘The Galapagus, Darwin and the Theory of Evolution’. Please note that Sally Pulvertaft is not now able to give her talk about India at our April meeting – she’s re-located to France – so we are now working on a replacement speaker for you. I will keep you all informed.

We were happy to show our appreciation to Alison Greenwood and her team of helpers who provide us with refreshments every month. Alison gave the Groups Report and there are two new groups – Anthony Peter’s group – Novel Appreciation – will meet at TRCR at 11 am on 10th March, 2014 and Geoff Boswell is starting an IT group as well. Sheets were available to sign up and Gail’s report will give further details. If you would like to join these groups please put your name down as quickly as possible. I will send Gail’s report to you separately – if you are on email. Gail’s full list of groups and their reports are also available on our website.

Our guest speaker today was Barrie Yates – retired engineer – who presented his talk entitled ‘The Machine that Changed the World’ – the development of the motor car. We all thoroughly enjoyed his presentation which – for people like me – was not too technical. This prompted many questions from members at the end. Margaret Gunnill (Membership Secretary) gave the vote of thanks.

Finally I made an appeal for members to step forward and volunteer to be nominated for the U3A Tod Committee. At the AGM in June we will need a Chairperson together with four members (one to act as Assistant Treasurer and one to be leader of the Speaker-finders team). I do hope that some of you will be prepared to give just a little time to ensure that U3A Tod continues.

Sincerely – Jean

Jean A Pearson – Chairman – U3A Todmorden

Chairman’s Report 16 January 2014

What a wonderful afternoon we’ve had! Absolutely exceptional I would say! Our guest speaker – Dr Paul Whittaker, OBE – presented ‘More music to the ear – The Osmonds, The Proms and More …’. For me it was a quite stunning and inspirational experience! Peter Gibson gave the vote of thanks to Paul and his interpreter – Andrew. Amusingly Paul had brought along a collection bucket for his charity ‘Music and the Deaf’ – much better and bigger than our usual collection boxes – and I do hope it was full to the very top with your donations – thank you.

Everything else was rather insignificant!

Nevertheless I will just mention that Calderdale SCOPE is seeking to provide mentors for survivors of stroke. For further information please contact Heather Barham on 01522 367544 or at aspire.mentoring@scope.org.uk or our Secretary – Anne Foster – can provide further information.

We need much more help, please. I reported that there will be 4 or 5 vacancies on the Committee in June when we have our AGM. We will definitely need an Assistant Treasurer. We have each written a job description of what we do and these are now on our website – on the Committee page. Please have a look at them. I’m sure some of you would like to make a greater contribution to U3A Tod. You are also invited, as ever, to observe our Committee meetings – the next will take place at 10 am on Tuesday, 18th February. I’m developing my Chairmanship skills by the way – last Tuesday the meeting lasted much less than two hours! Let me know if you would like to observe us.

Gail Allaby – Groups Co-ordinator – reported on our new special interest groups – I will send her full report separately – and she thanked our 30 Convenors. I second her comments – our Convenors do such a wonderful job all the time and we are lucky to have such dedicated members who provide us with such pleasure and enlightenment.

Ernie Rogan outlined the plans in place for the next Let’s Go event to Dunham Massey Hall in March. You need to contact Linda Cook quickly to get your name on the list and further details will be available shortly.

Our next meeting is on Thursday, 20th February, 2014 when our guest speaker will be Barrie Yates – ‘The machine that changed the world – the development of the motor car’.

Sincerely – Jean

Jean A Pearson – Chairman – U3A Todmorden

Chairman’s Report 19 December 2013

A musical quartet led by Andrew Rostron
A musical quartet from the Todmorden Orchestra led by Andrew Rostron

Hi Everybody

I am sending out this month’s report on behalf of our Chairman, Jean, who is currently indisposed and was unable to attend our December Members’ Meeting.  I’m sure you’ll all join with me in wishing her a speedy return to good health.

There were 109 members and 3 visitors at our special Christmas meeting and we had a change of format from our normal meetings.  We started with a live performance of Haydn’s “The Lark” by a string quartet from Todmorden Orchestra under their leader, Andrew Rostron. This was beautifully played and was much appreciated by the audience.

After that we had a number of announcements.  Briefly these were as follows:-

–  A request for people in their 80s or above, who have vivid and interesting stories to tell about their past, to participate in a new BBC2 series called “Britain’s Greatest Generation”.

–  A request for U3A members to get involved in the Imperial War Museum’s Centenary Partnership Programme.

–  The 2014 Residential U3A Summer School.

If you would like further information about any of these, please look on the internet if you have access, particularly at the National U3A web site or, alternatively, contact our Secretary, Anne Foster.

We didn’t have a Groups Report at the meeting and, in fact, we’ve decided that in future, we will only have a very short report at monthly meetings – just covering exceptional items such as new groups, out-of-the-ordinary events and changes of dates or meeting rooms. The full report will continue to be posted on our web site and sent out with these monthly emails and mailshots. 

We were pleased to announce the formation of a new Group, “Novel Appreciation”.  Anyone interested in joining this group should contact our Groups Co-ordinator, Gail Allaby.  Also on the subject of Groups, we expressed our appreciation to Duncan Relf, Convenor of the Spanish Conversation Group, which has now ceased meeting after over 5 years of dedication from Duncan.

We then moved on to our Guest Speaker, Trevor Driver.  As well as running a dental practice in Todmorden over four decades, Trevor has also spent 23 years as a local magistrate and he gave us an extremely interesting and amusing talk about his experiences as a magistrate over that period.  The vote of thanks was given by Ernie Rogan.

The final part of the afternoon was devoted to the annual Christmas Quiz, which was devised once again by Myrna Beet, the Convenor of our Quiz Group.  The winning team (who I won’t embarrass by naming!) only marginally out-scored the second team by just half a mark and won the afternoon’s “star prize”, a modest box of chocolates.

Next month’s meeting will see the return of Dr Paul Whittaker OBE, the Artistic Director of the charity “Music and the Deaf”.  Many of us fondly remember the amazing talk he gave to us nearly three years ago.  There will be a retiring collection for Paul’s charity at the end the meeting.

So all that remains now is for me to wish you all, on behalf of Chairman Jean and the rest of the committee, a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


Best Wishes


Peter Gibson

Temporary Acting Chairman


Chairman’s Report 22 November 2013

The main speaker yesterday was Ian Andrews of the Institute of Advanced Motorists. We also looked forward to our Christmas meeting, and our newly-published programme of meetings for the first half of 2014.

At yesterday’s monthly meeting we all enjoyed a most interesting and entertaining talk entitled ‘Age Old Debate’ presented by members of the Rochdale Branch of the Institute of Advanced Motorists. The main speaker was Ian Andrews – Senior Motor Cycle Observer – accompanied by their Chairman – Eileen Taylor – and John Bradshaw their Club Secretary. I feel that we were all encouraged by the talk even though we are no longer young drivers. Ernie Rogan gave the vote of thanks in his usual entertaining fashion!

I must tell you that at the end of the meeting several members suggested that I make a request at future meetings for mobile phones to be switched off during our meetings – I’ve been told that at least four mobiles rang during the talk!

Thank you for your kindness in remembering our late Chairman – David Cross – by making donations to The British Heart Foundation. We will be putting the collection boxes out again, for the same purpose, at our December meeting and then our Treasurer, Keith Coates, will forward your donations on for you.

We hope to run First Aid Awareness Courses shortly and members were able to sign-up. Please let me know if you have not seen the information about this and would like to participate.

The two new groups ‘Going to the pictures’ and ‘Gardening’, which were announced last month, are up and running. Information about these groups will be included in Gail Allaby’s groups report.

There was also an opportunity to sign-up for the U3A Todmorden bunting making party in support of the Cragg Vale Bunting World Record attempt as a part of the Tour de France event next July. I also mentioned that Todmorden people are also making bunting for Todmorden and you can get further information from TIC and there will be an article about this in Tod News next week.

We placed Gift Aid forms on the chairs for members to complete and hand to Keith and Roger Howard our Assistant Secretary. Thanks for completing these for us.

Also everyone received the Programme of Members’ Meetings for January to June, 2014. It looks interesting and exciting and I thanked Anne Crane for all the work she has put in to sorting out this programme for us. I think it must be time-consuming work for which she really does deserve our acknowledgement. I attach a copy for you.

Margaret Gunnill is now our Membership Secretary. As you know the signing-in table is always a bit hectic prior to our meetings starting – I experienced it last year – and Margaret already has some wonderfully willing helpers but if you would like to get involved please let me know.

Peter Gibson is no longer Membership Secretary but will continue to be in control of the database – which is a very big job nowadays – we now have 344 members! This reminds me to ask that if you have changes to your contact details do please let us know. If you are currently a member receiving information by post but you can have access to a computer – again, please let us know. Postage is so very expensive these days. Peter’s new title is Database Controller – unfortunately I gave him the title of the Fat Controller at the meeting yesterday!

I mentioned that when photographs are taken at our meetings, activities or groups meetings we assume that you are giving your consent for the photographs to be used in our publicity materials.

If you are on Facebook please look at the Facebook u3atod page. The publicity group have put us up there and we are asking you to invite your friends to ‘like it’. The page gives up-to-date information about U3A Tod and, of course, there’s an opportunity to post your comments.

We have agreed that the Groups Reports will continue go on our website, I will continue to send Gail’s report to you by email and this report will also be included in the mailshot. This means that Gail’s report at our monthly members’ meetings will focus purely on new groups and changes associated with our groups. In other words all the new news!

As you know Gail Allaby – our Groups Co-ordinator – has been on holiday – only returning late on Wednesday night – but I’ve just been chatting with her and she is busily putting together her monthly report for you. Unfortunately, as I mentioned yesterday, she is not very well and I know you will all wish to join me in wishing her a very speedy recovery. Best wishes, Gail. As soon as I receive her report I’ll forward it to you.

Finally, I announced details of our December meeting – on Thursday, 19th December at the usual time and place. There will be seasonal refreshments including mince pies and the now very famous non-alcoholic punch. We are thrilled that members of the Todmorden Orchestra will be coming along to play for us. Myrna Beet our Quiz Group Convenor will be devising a quiz for us – which I am sure will again be challenging as well as giving us an opportunity to meet new people – because we do the quiz in small teams. There will also be a short talk by Trevor Driver entitled ‘Humorous experiences as a Magistrate’.

This will be a packed programme – do come along – and join all your U3A Tod friends!

Sincerely – Jean – Chairman, U3A Todmorden

Chairmans Report October 17 2013

The guest speaker today was David Groves, a retired lecturer in psychology, and it was a joy to welcome him back. 127 people came, and heard among other news that there are two new groups – Going to the pictures and Gardening – and that a new publicity group has been formed.

Good afternoon all U3A Todmorden Members,

It was a delight to welcome 121 members and 6 visitors to our monthly meeting today. There was a special welcome to all our new members – we now have 334 members.

Please let us know if you change your email or home address and also let us know if you no longer wish to receive U3A Todmorden information through the post.

If you ever wish to hand deliver mail to U3A Todmorden we now have a label on our mail box which is situated at Senko House and accessed from Halifax Road, Todmorden.

The new publicity group is now up and running and planning exciting developments for us. Alan McDonald is the Chairman of this new group and he wrote an excellent report on our last meeting which appeared in Todmorden News. Ernie Rogan sent a copy of that report to Chandra and Richard Law and Chandra has sent the report to her home village in Malaysia – our fame is spreading!

Thank you to all our members who again stayed behind today to help put the chairs back in place – it is a real bonus to have your help. Same again next time, please!

 There is a change to our programme on 19th December, 2013. We will not be showing a DVD but we will be having a short talk by Trevor Driver entitled ‘Humourous experiences as a Magistrate’ The remainder of the programme that day remains as planned.

 Our next meeting is on Thursday, 21st November, 2013 when our guest speaker is from the Institute of Motorists the title of the talk being ‘Age Old Debate’. This does sound an interesting topic for us.

 We were also reminded that November is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.

Gail Allaby gave her groups report and announced two new groups – 1. Going to the pictures and 2. Gardening – and we got lots of names of interested members. She also announced that Geoff Boswell is stepping down as Convenor of the Photography Group mentioning what a great contribution he has made to the Group. Ann Beard will be taking over.

Ernie Rogan outlined plans for more interesting Let’s Go trips next year.

The guest speaker today was David Groves, a retired lecturer in psychology, and it was a joy to welcome him back for his ‘Part 2’, who fascinated us by what he called ‘rambling on’ about psychology. It was extremely interesting and, I think, we all wanted to hear more. Perhaps we should have a ‘Psychology Part 3’ by David. What do you think? Our Secretary, Anne Foster, gave an amusing and sincere vote of thanks.

Hope to see you at our next meeting.

Sincerely – Jean A Pearson – Chairman – U3A Todmorden