iU3A News

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Currently we don't produce Newsletters. However, pre
vious newsletters are archived so you can go back and see what was happening at that time. Click on this register then pick the one you want:
Newsletter Archive
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                          PREVIOUS EVENTS & NEWS

This page provides information on the type of events and activities we have held in previous years.

1st Year Renewers Events
              Year RenewersWe have held these events with new members (those who joined last year). It's an opportunity for them to provide feedback on their first year of membership — what was good, what was not so good. It was also an opportunity to try to encourage them to take part in running their u3a — to help in some small way. The side benefit is to provide the chance to chat to other new members. The findings from these events allows the Executive Committee to shape the future of iU3A.

We hold our Annual General Meetings in November each year. Apart from the formal side of these meetings, it allows all members to attend and raise any points they want. An example from a previous AGM can be seen here.

u3a Week
              Week TTTThis is a national initiative involving all u3as, celebrating and prompting the u3a Movement. Generally it's held in September each year. Each u3a is asked to support by holding local events and activities. You can see more information here: National u3a Week

As an example of our contribution in 2023 Islington u3a joined in the cross London 'Table Tennis Turnout'. The invitation to participate in this regional event was open to all London u3as. 27 members representing 7 u3as attended the event at Bounce' in Old Street. A mixture of doubles, singles and 'Round The World' ensured a good opportunity for all to mix and have some fun together to support the national u3a Week celebrations.

In 2022 the national u3a started a programme of events to celebrate its 40th birthday. One aspect was to plant trees and help the climate. iU3A has played its part by procuring a copse in this new wood in the Brecon Beacons (see our Certificate here). You can see more information regarding 'our' copse here.

In 2022 our 'u3a Week' contribution was a 'Picnic in the Park' held in Highbury Fields with the Islington mayor attending. The event went very well with over 80 members attending on a cool June day. We needn't have worried about not having enough food, members brought great quantities and variety to share. To mark the national u3a '40th Anniversary' we had a cake to cut and the new borough mayor was there to cut it. We also then featured in the Islington Tribune.
Members Food contributionsTribune Article

Islington U3A supported the London Region initiative of 'Walking Around London' — over 230 miles of Capital Ring and the LOOP — our Shorter Walks and Longer Walks groups took part.

In 2021 iU3A participated in this nationwide event to celebrate the u3a movement and attract new members. We kicked off our activities with an attractive stall in Chapel Market flying the banners of u3a. It was supported by many members giving out literature to the passing public. 15 signed up on the spot and many others took away our literature. On the actual day of 02 June we had a public demo from our Petanque group in Caledonian Park and a day-long online programme of events. The programme, again open to the public, showcased some of our Groups (Current Affairs, Classic Films, Bird Watching) and our Courses (past and future). We rounded off the day with an external entertainer (telling us the tale of a gory murder in Victorian London) and then another of Mary White's popular quizzes.

u3a Chairs' Forum: this is a national forum for all Chairs. You may be interested to see and hear what the Chairs were talking about recently: This link will be available until Wednesday 24 April 2024.

Last Monthly Meeting
For information on our last monthly meeting and all our previous monthly meetings see here.

New Members' Teas
New Members Tea Oct2020We've been running these for a number of years now with a variety of formats. The intention is to offer a direct welcome to new members to iU3A and they have always proved to be a great success. The new members appreciate the individual invitation and the opportunity to meet some new members in the same posiNew Members at Union canaltion as themselves, learn a bit more about iU3A from the attending Executive Committee member(s), discuss their interests and what groups they may sign up for. Due to Covid restrictions these have had to be held outdoors and with few people attending.

Pub Quizzes
These are becoming regular events. They tend to be well supported, and the last one had 58 members buying a ticket for the event. Members tend to meet beforehand to eat and have a chat before then taking up their team places.

We used to use an external 'Quiz Master' but nowadays tend to organise these ourselves with Mary and Len preparing and presenting the quizzes. T
he questions are tailored to iU3A's wide areas of knowledge and of course the judges' word is final! As always it's a great opportunity to test the grey matter and get to know other members. Some reports from previous quizzes follow:

Winning TeamTen teams battled it out with mixed fortunes. The first half's musical round had caused some pains to most teams and there was a clear leader. In the second half the favourites lost ground. The winning team was the Steely J’s. They got 37 points. It was a close contest with only seven points between the first and last teams:
another successful event enjoyed by all. Thanks to Mary W and Margaret O for organising the event. We are all looking forward to the next one in the Autumn.

We held a few of these 'Pub' quizzes in Pub Quiz May
                                                          2020-12020 during 'Lockdown'. The first was held online on Zoom in May 2020. Covid-19 has caused some of our activities to be cancelled, so this was a replacement activity, working much like our previous 'physical' pub quizzes. It was run by our usual quizmaster Jez, in 'virtual' teams which communicated with each other through WhatsApp, Skype, phone or other means. Each team had one electronic scorecard, which was then sent to Jez electronically for marking. 50 took part, over 10 teams. It was different! But it was enjoyed by all.

Open Days
ReceptionRoom LayoutThese events are open to the public and are principally to recruit new members; however, they are also useful for current members to see the breadth of Interest Groups that we offer.

Because they take a lot of effort to organise and host we don't hold these every year.

Open Day 2016Our Open Day in October 2018 was also our fifth birthday celebration. This proved very popular and enabled non-members to meet us and find out about all the things iU3A does. As in previous years there was an excellent turnout with over 200 attending (151 members and 50 non-members). Out of the 50, 23 joined iU3A on the day and many others took away forms, so we hope to hear from them again soon. The existing members who turned up used the chance to see what other groups were on offer and sign up to them. Everybody also enjoyed our delicious birthday cake and had a good natter.

Summer Parties
Chair iU3AThe crowdSome of our members consider our Summer Party as the highlight of the year. Hence they are always a sell-out.

In our 10th anniversary year we decided to do something special. We held this event at Culpeper Community Garden which was looking absolutely beautiful. We were entertained by Martin Klute and his Jazz Band with their mellow summery music and we enjoyed delicious food and sparkling wine. We are grateful to all who helped, especially the Garden staff. See the photos here: Summer Party 2023

Group Coordinators' Lunch
Coordinators Lunch1Coordinators Lunch2These are becoming more frequent to thank our Interest Group Coordinators for the great work they do providing coordination, administration and, in some cases, subject expertise. It's a chance for Coordinators to share their best practice and challenges.

Sometimes there is a particular topic that is also debated for example, 'What to do about full groups'.

Our activity groups make up the majority of what we offer in iU3A, so we are highly dependent on these volunteers.

iU3A Outings
Outings are organised from time to time by members to places of interest in London and the Home Counties. Destinations are varied and can always be reached by public transport, usually within the Freedom Pass Zone, but occasionally a bit further afield. If you want to arrange a visit, please contact Judith at outingscoord.iu3a@gmail.com. Forthcoming visits are advertised in the Members' Bulletin.
These have been resumed after the pandemic.

June, Ely: In perfect weather 14 Islington U3A members visited Ely on 7th June. The train journey directly to Ely from Kings Cross takes 73 minutes so we arrived in time for coffee in the Almonry restaurant in the grounds of Ely Cathedral.

Our cathedral voluntary guide gave us a fascEly Cathedral June 2024 1inating hour-long tour of Ely Cathedral. He focussed both on the history of the Cathedral’s foundation, on the site of an abbey founded by St. Ethelreda in 672, its relationship with the Fens, and on its magnificent architecture including the famous Octagon tower. The name “Ely” is derived from eels, which were fished in the fens and which served as early medieval currency: the stone from which thEly Cathedral June 2024 2e cathedral was constructed came from Northamptonshire and was purchased for 8000 eels a year.
Within the cathedral is the Stained Glass Museum, where a large historical collection of religious stained glass can be seen at eye-level. After lunch at the Almonry members of the group visited this museum, or  the house where Oliver Cromwell lived and worked before he became a soldier, or explored Ely before taking the train back to London. (Judith Altshul and Cressida Jupp).

April, Keats House, Hampstead: 20 members met at Keats House for a guided tour. The house was built in 1815; John Keats lived there in 1818-19 for 17 months. He came to the house after nursing his younger brother who had died of TB. As he waKeats House April 2024 2s training as a doctor, he recognised the signs of TB when he became ill himself. Following medical advice to travel to a warmer climate, Keats travelled to Italy, reluctantly leaving behind his neighbour, Fanny Brawne, with whom he was deeply in love. He died there 5 months later.

Members enjoyed a fascinating touKeats House April 2024 2r with much detail. It included the room where Keats wrote many of his best-known poems. His bedroom is above. Originally there were two small adjacent houses, with Fanny Brawne living next door, corresponding by letters. Later the two houses were made into one and later still a large room was added to one end. The house is full of memorabilia about Keats and other Romantic poets and thinkers although, understandably, not all the furniture is original.

Keats House is very close to Hampstead Heath, easy to get to on the Overground, and South End Green and Hampstead High Street have many cafes and shops. We recommend a visit. (Judith Altshul and Cressida Jupp).

March 2024, Eltham Palace: 13 members met at London Bridge to take the Southeastern train to Mottingham, the nearest station to Eltham Palace and were surprised that the journey was so quick — just 20 minutes.
It was just a short 15-minute subuEltham Palace March 2024 1rban walk from the station to the visitors’ entrance. On arrival, we gathered for coffee at the restaurant, near the entrance to the gardens, before strolling through the gardens and taking the bridge across the moat to the main palace entrance. A volunteer guide gave us a short history of the building before escorting us to the Great Hall, which is the only part of the original palace, the childhood home of Henry VIII, that is still in use. In the 1930s, Stephen and Virginia Courtauld purchased the derelict property and built a luxurioEltham Palace March 2024 2us ultra-fashionable mansion adjoining the Great Hall. The house is an outstanding example of Art Deco architecture and decoration and is furnished with the original furniture.
We took our time to explore the house, making use of the information available in the rooms and also an excellent recorded guide. Before returning by train to London Bridge, many of us went back to the restaurant for lunch and then wandered around the gardens, admiring the garden design and the external architectural features of the new mansion and exploring the ruined walls and passages that remain from the original palace. (Judith Altshul and Cressida Jupp).


To see more of our previous events and outings see the Archive section below.

Clues Trails
Clues Trail Sept2020We occasionally organise these around local areas. London is so rich in history and visual sights it's easy to create interesting routes.

The one in 2020 was in the King's Cross area (one of the benefits of London still being quiet is that we can hold these midweek). Three teams battled it out around a mixed area starting in the redeveloped Granary Square but then through the refurbished gasometers, across to the old St Pancras Gardens where so many famous dissenters are buried. Then we completed the circle through King's Cross and St Pancras stations before returning to Coal Drop Yard. The scores were very close: 68-67-67. Thanks again to Elizabeth Mansbridge for organising another of these successful events. The trail can be read here. Try it out yourself!
Clues2June2019Clues1June2019In 2019 we held two of these popular events. The first was held in June and was in the Hoxton/Shoreditch area with a street art theme. We gathered at the beginning point for food and drinks, then six teams of four or five set off from Great Eastern Street in a radial direction on the circular three-mile route. Teams used their observation skills to follow directions, use the clues provided to spot features (often street art) and also to spot the location of provided images. All teams avoided the late-back time penalty and final scores were close. However there was a clear winning team. While the pub made it awkward for us, all had a great time. You can do this trail by yourself at your own time. The trail can be read here.

The second was held in August and was around the Tower of London area. While quite a tourist hot spot, even on a Sunday morning, there were amazing quiet hidden pockets that were a delight for the four teams that puzzled their way around the course. We were lucky with the weather and had just enough sun to make it a pleasant stroll round this just under three mile course. However, there wasn't too much time to dawdle as there was a time penalty if you were late back. As always, it was the round of photo images that provided the difference between the first and last teams. Thanks go to Elizabeth Mansbridge for organising another great event (and to Isabel for doing the tickets and team selections).

Clues 2018In 2018 we held two of these popular events. The first of these was held in June and the second in September. For the June one a warm Sunday meant a very pleasant event with three teams this time (numbers a bit down from the last one). This one was based again around the city and followed byways and alleys that most people didn't even know existed. Great views over the river at one point. Most teams got the majority of the clues and got back to the starting & finishing point pub in good time. However the photo images were the differentiating aspect. No team spotted all the images during their route but the 'Poached Eggheads' saw the most and hence were the winning team.

The September one (arranged by Elizabeth Mansbridge) saw us in a new area for this Clues Trail
Canary Wharf. While the image might be of tall skyscrapers and not much else, we discovered an amazing collection of street art, historic corners, and interesting architectural features. Numbers attending were a bit disappointing considering the effort put in to organise these events. But maybe a Friday just coincides with too many other iU3A activities.

In 2017
in August on the day 22 members turned up to form five teams, then followed the trail to 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 teams' 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.

To see more of our previous events and outings follow the links below:
For 2021-23 look here.
For 2019-20 look here.
For 2016-18 look here.

Or you might want to read about 'Our iU3A Story' which maps our development over the years: Our Story.

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