iU3A News

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Our Newsletter
Islington U3A produces a newsletter three to four times a year. We let every member know when there is a new one, sending them a link so that they can easily see it online. To see our latest (Spring 2017) newsletter click here

For previous newsletters click here

Our Bulletins
For our latest Bulletin click here.


Last Monthly Meeting
Philip KendrickJuly 27 Dr Philip Kenrick classical archaeologist Classical Heritage in Libya: what is at stake and what can be done about it?

At our July meeting Philip Kenrick, an archaeologist who has worked in Libya since 1971, gave us a fascinating account of the classical heritage of Libya, posing the questions of what is at stake and what can be done. He brought with him an astonishing array of pictures of the sites.

Libya is a country of contrasts; the habitable strip is along the coastline and there is a vast hinterland of desert. Both the Ancient Greeks and the Romans have been responsible for the astonishing riches, dating back to the 6th century BC, that continue to be discovered across the whole of the country.

Along the coastal strip there are Roman villas, forums, and basilicas, many of them partially restored by the Italians during the interwar years. Inland, there is evidence of ancient olive farming as well as remarkably preserved cemeteries and funeral monuments. There are extensive remains of city sites around modern Benghazi: military castles and hilltop fortresses.

During Gadhafi’s time there were no allowances made for antiquities and following the Arab Spring in 2011, followers of religious fundamentalism regarded any veneration of ancient sites as corrupt. There has been casual vandalism as well as theft of many antiquities. New building work has taken place in areas of great historical interest and fighting between various groups has led to further damage and destruction. Ancient sites have been bulldozed for speculative building investment when it seems unlikely that any building work will be completed.

There are efforts now being made among local communities to preserve some of these sites and there are some dedicated staff and volunteers. There is an urgent need to ensure that records are kept of all the sites and this has proved challenging in a country where history and cultural heritage have not been taught in schools and have not been valued. However, guide books are now being written and translated and modern technology is available to assist. There is hope that different factions can come together and, with support from other countries such as France, Italy, the UK and the USA, Libyans can find the way forward.

For notes of previous recent monthly meetings, see here.

Theatre Visit
We had another successful annual outing to the Park Theatre at Finsbury Park. We saw a revival of Joe Orton's wonderful black comedy Loot, which opened one week after the 50th anniversary of the playwright's tragic death. Over 106 iU3A members (& friends) attended this enjoyable evening. The talk before the play from the director to iU3A give us some special insights into the changing values and views from it's original production. Again, great appreciation must be given to Sue Welsford for organising this event.

Clues Trail
Due to the popularity of these events a second was organised this year. In August on the day 22 members turned up to form 5 teams then follow the trail and seek out the clues. Additional points were awarded for spotting the location of some photographic images during the trail and a special round at the end back at the pub tested team's knowledge of the London Guilds. Again everyone thoroughly enjoyed the event. Thanks to Elizabeth Mansbridge for organising this one - and we all look forward to the next one.

Islington Giving Events 2017
Clues TrailYour generous support for the iU3A activities during June to raise money for Islington Giving has resulted in our exceeding our target and collecting a total £2,250 for this worthwhile charity. Thank you so much for all your efforts and a special thank you to Derek Harwood for all his hard work which has enabled us to achieve this excellent outcome.
The Cripplegate Foundation covers Islington Giving's administration costs, so all the money we raise goes to support organisations and projects that are working with people in Islington who are suffering from the effects of poverty or isolation. 

Clues Trail - Another successful Clues Trail was held this year as part of our efforts to raise moneny for our local charity — Islington Giving. 37 bought tickets for this event, which was held in the City. After being briefed about the rules of the game — no use of GPS for example — the 6 teams plotted their strategy. This year the teams set off radially for a circular circuit of 35 clues. There were also points for photo images identified around the circuit, the number of Halls seen also on the circuit and some cryptic clues for pub names. This sundial caught most teams out — being high on a building wall in Cheapside.

The route ran through back streets and cut through many hidden alleys and we were amazed by the areas we didn't know in the City. Also holding it on a Sunday this year meant seeing the City at its best without worrying about the traffic. This year all teams made it back early to the centre, to Ye Olde Watling — avoiding any time penalties. After the answer sheets were scored the results were announced with "Longer Walks — 2" being the winners and collecting their prizes. But all agreed it was the taking part that mattered most and it was a great way to spend an afternoon, getting to know each other better, learning more about the City and supporting Islington Giving at the same time.

Walk to the Borough — This year, for a change, we didn't walk around the borough but instead started at Barnet then walked in to the borough boundary of Islington. We started at Totteridge & Whetstone, followed the Dollis Brook, through Hampstead Garden Suburb, to Highgate then Queen's Wood and eventually down Parkland Walk to Finsbury Park. 32 members took part by walking at least a part of the full 11.5 miles and we raised over £410 for Islington Giving. Some photos along the route can be seen here.

Computer Sessions
Computer imageWe have now held three of these popular drop-in help sessions. These allow iU3A members with any query they have regarding their computers or tablets to drop in and receive guidance from other iU3A members who could share their enhanced knowledge in these areas. Again we had a wide range of queries and problems. Some simple ones (to some) were easy to give guidance on, others were harder to solve with much cross-learning and use of Google search. Again all the "clients" went away very contented and with increased confidence to try things for themselves.
Thanks again to all the volunteers who came along to share their knowledge with other iU3A members. A general tutorial on some points raised previously is available here.
We expect the next of these session in the Autumn.

Open Day, 3 October 2016

                  Day 1In October our Open Day was also our 3rd birthday celebration. Again this proved very popular and enabled non-members to meet us and find out about all the things iU3A does. There was an excellent turnout with 224 people in total attending of whom 67 were new to iU3A. 33 joined immediately and many of the others took away forms so we expect to hear from them again very soon. There were also many existing members who turned up to see if there were any other groups they might like to join. Everybody also enjoyed our delicious birthday cake and had a good natter. This year the actor Barbara Flynn cut our 3rd birthday cake. She talked of the joys of being able to take up a new interest or activity. She herself, when having a break in her busy career, had tried several hobbies. She looked forward to retirement to be able to pursue these and other new interests — possibly through U3A.

Open DayWith nearly 50 interest groups on display there were many great displays. Visible and audible displays charmed the audience as they strolled around. All the existing Group Coordinators did an excellent job of explaining what their group did and hence encouraged many to sign up. Hopefully this exercise also encouraged more members to be brave enough to volunteer to be Coordinators.

A special thanks must go to the sub-committe that organised another successful day, particularly to Sue Welsford for coordinating the whole event. The Open Day is our major showcase for members and to the public who might be interested in joining.

To see more photos of the day click here.

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