NAC Unavailable during week of 2nd April

The planned demolition of parts of Neyland Athletic Club is imminent. Whilst this is ongoing it is difficult for us to use this as a venue for our activities. The Pembrokeshire U3A Monthly Meeting, scheduled for April 5th, is therefore cancelled. Joe Rielly’s talk on Redundant Churches will be rescheduled for later in the year.

Group Leaders who have meetings at NAC during the week commencing 2 April should also postpone, or find temporary venues until the NAC becomes available again.

We are monitoring the situation, and we shall let you know when the venue is available again.

March 2018 Meeting: The Samaritans

‘Samaritans’ is a registered charity aimed at providing emotional support to anyone in emotional distress, struggling to cope, or at risk of suicide throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland, often through their telephone helpline. Leo and Gil from the Haverfordwest branch gave us an informative talk about the wonderful and important work that they do.

Samaritans began in 1953 in London, founded by a vicar called Chad Varah.  Throughout his career Chad had offered counselling to his parishioners, and wanted to do something more specific to help people struggling to cope and possibly contemplating suicide.

The initial idea for Samaritans came from the first funeral Chad conducted early on in his career: a girl aged 14 had started her period, but having no one to talk to believed that she had a sexually transmitted disease and took her own life.

Chad was immensely moved by this senseless loss of life, “I might have dedicated myself to suicide prevention then and there, providing a network of people you could ‘ask’ about anything, however embarrassing, but I didn’t come to that until later”.

When Chad was offered charge of the parish of St Stephen in the summer of 1953 he knew that the time was right for him to launch what he called a “999 for the suicidal”. He was, in his own words, “a man willing to listen, with a base and an emergency telephone”.

The first call to the new service was made on 2nd November 1953 and this date is recognised as Samaritans’ official birthday.

Chad knew he would need to get word out about the service. Luckily he wrote and illustrated articles for children’s comics, so he knew many of the journalists who worked on national newspapers. The service received lots of press coverage and on December 7th, 1953 the Daily Mirror coined the term “Telephone Good Samaritans” and although Samaritans is not a religious organisation, the name has stuck and become synonymous with the idea of people being there for others struggling to cope.

The newspaper coverage worked and Chad received many callers wanting support both on the phone and face to face, as well as people wanting to help as volunteers. Initially the volunteers’ duties were to sit with the callers whilst they waited for their appointment, offering them someone to chat to, but it soon became clear that their role was much more central to the service. Often, the callers would pour out their problems to volunteers and many felt no need to speak to Chad afterwards.

The simple act of listening and offering non-judgmental support was enough for most callers, and Chad realised the power of the service was in providing a safe space so people could talk and be listened to, without judgment.

Publicity for the London-based service created a lot of interest elsewhere in the UK and as a consequence several more Samaritans centres were set up in the following years – the second being Samaritans in Edinburgh which took its first call on 1st June 1959. There are now 201 branches across the UK and Republic of Ireland.

In February 1954, Chad officially handed over the task of supporting the callers to the volunteers, and Samaritans as we know it today was born. Samaritans service today still operates on Chad’s guiding principles of confidential, non-judgmental support.

February Meeting – ” Madagascar” a talk by Julian Cremona

An illustrated talk by Julian about his visit to the island country of Madagascar in 2016. Julian is one of our most popular speakers and again he delivers a most interesting talk about his travels, illustrated by stunning photographs.

Our speaker for February’s meeting was Julian Cremona, a well known local biologist and naturalist. His subject was the island of Madagascar.  One of the largest and poorest places in the world and with little or no infrastructure, travelling through the island proved to be a challenge for Julian in his quest for wildlife. In the dense vegetation, most of Julian’s photographs were taken using flash photography.

With the aid of local guides he was able to take some 16,500 photographs, including the rare red ruff lemur which he located in six hours whereas David Attenborough had taken six days!
Having no natural predators, many species of bird life flourish on the island and in the main can be found on the forest floor. We journeyed by means of photographs from dense forestation to arid desert.   
He told hair-raising stories of his internal aeroplane flights and leeches clinging to his body as he climbed through the forest. I think I would prefer to look at his photographs rather than visit the island. In fact, Julian said that much as he loved the wildlife it was unlikely he would visit again even though he deemed it to be a paradise.

January 2018 Meeting “Fun Quiz”

Today’s was an informal meeting introduced by our Chair Penny Thomas, and followed by an enjoyable and entertaining quiz devised by Peter Brown and presented by Derek Church.

Winning team (below) called ‘Odd Man Out’ since either the team was all ladies plus one gentleman, or
because they considered their ‘gentleman’ to be odd.  The team members consisted of:
Janine Crooks, Helen Kift, Anne Hyslop, Enid Lawrence, Shiela Evans and David Pinch

 

 

December 2017 AGM

The AGM  took place on Thursday 7th December.   The full report will be in next month’s Newsletter.

Following this the winner of the Gentlemen’s Bake Off was once again announced as Bob Matthews. 

Bob Matthews. Winner of the Gentlemen's Bake Off 2017

Winner of the Gentlemen’s Bake Off 2017

The entries

 

 

The meeting was then entertained by Fiddlebox. The Fiddlebox duo are George Whitfield on accordion and vocals and Helen Adam on violin and vocals.  More about Fiddlebox here

Click on the > to play a sample

New Year’s Lunch 2018

Pembrokeshire U3A is holding a New Year’s Lunch at 

Hotel Mariners, Mariners Square, Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire SA61 2DU.  Telephone: 01437 763 353.

Website: http://www.hotelmariners.co.uk/

Friday, 19th January 2018, 12 noon for 12.30 pm.

The cost is £18.50 per person for two courses (Main and Dessert, with Coffee).

The full menu can be found here: Lunch Menu Friday 19th January 2018

Should you wish to attend please tick your menu choices noting each person’s choice and return the Menu and Booking Form to Penny Thomas, 12 Kensington Gardens, Haverfordwest SA61 2RL together with a cheque made payable to Pembrokeshire U3A by Monday 8th January 2018.

The Booking Form is here:  Booking Form for lunch on 19th January 2018

Monthly Meeting: David Wilson Photographer

David is a Welsh landscape photographer, well known for his black and white atmospheric images.  David, is also a fan of the Welsh detective series Hinterland, was offered a chance to produce a book promoting the series and not surprisingly to be entitled Hinterland.  Many of the visitors to Wales seem to zone in on areas such as the Gower, Pembrokeshire and Snowdonia bypassing the dramatic landscape of Ceredigion the County in which the programme is set.  In the main, there were photographs taken during filming grey skies, rolling mists and as David stated plenty of rain a perfect setting for brooding detective DCI Tom Mathias!  It is possible to purchase framed copies of David’s work the most popular, with the ladies we were told, being the head of a bull.  An interesting talk by someone who clearly loves his subject watch out for his next book, Pembrokeshire through the Year, produced with the well known television presenter Jamie Owen we saw a sample of the photographs to be included, a rather young looking Judge in his smart bowler hat clutching what could only be a glass of the hard stuff!

Penny Thomas  2nd November 2017

Safety in the home

Two representatives from the Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service attended the meeting. Whilst Chris MacDonald tested members’ electric blankets his colleague Andy gave an excellent presentation entitled ‘Safety in the Home’.

We were reminded of the dangers of overloading electrical sockets, hazards in the kitchen, (thank goodness for the demise of the chip pan, the cause of so many fires in the home, which has now been replaced by the thermostatically-controlled deep fat fryer) and the need to ensure that our fire alarms are in good working order (these should be tested weekly!).

When the Service test electric blankets, if they fail to meet the required standard the plug is removed before the blanket is returned to its owner. One or two of our members are now looking for a new electric blanket. The overall message was – use your common sense when dealing with potential fire hazards in the home, and when locking up at night the key should remain in situ.

U3A National Table Tennis Championship

On Wednesday, 6th September the Wales Table Tennis Association director of competitions, Phil Avery, organised the inaugural U3A National Championships at the Welsh Institute of Sport, Sophia Gardens, Cardiff.

The Pembrokeshire U3A entered six teams in the event competing against teams from Porthmadog, Cowbridge and Bridgend. In the morning session the teams were allocated to four groups, and played a best-of-three match against the other teams in the group.

Pembrokeshire U3A Table Tennis Team

In the afternoon the teams were allocated to further groups depending on their position in the morning. So, Pembrokeshire players Gaynor Evans and Graham George, and Penny Tighe and Chris Harris, having won their group were in the first-place play-off.
Sylvie Lloyd and Tony Tiffen, Wendy George and Chris Clark, and Wendy Perrott and Jane Dunbar were in the fifth-place play-off. The afternoon session was played in a similar round-robin format.

There was a fine demonstration of table tennis skill throughout the day despite a few creaking joints and aching bones. Pembrokeshire’s Gaynor Evans and Graham George were declared 2017 champions and Pembrokeshire took 3rd, 5th, 6th and 7th places to make it a very successful and worthwhile day.

We look forward to meeting again in 2018, and hope that more Welsh U3A groups will enter teams.  Certainly, Pembrokeshire U3A Table Tennis has made friends with the other teams represented and will pursue contacts during the coming months.

Jim Lloyd

Monthly Meeting September 2017 – London Docks

Our speaker for the first monthly meeting after our August break, David Wilson, who would have given us a digitally produced tour of Pembrokeshire, was unable to attend. However, at very short notice our member Frank Harbud gave a most interesting talk about the London Docks.

Frank Showing a Typical East End Docker

Frank certainly knew his subject and with projected photographs he gave us a brief history going back to pre-war days when the docks were a hive of industry and provided jobs for the many who lived in the surrounding areas.  Much of this country’s food was passed through the docks, from nutmegs to bananas together with a large quantity of cigars, cigarettes and alcohol, and not forgetting vast quantities of timber. To Frank the epitome of an East End Docker is that depicted in the photo sporting a flat cap with a carcass on his shoulder.

As shipping changed and the move was made to containers, the Docks disappeared and became luxury apartments – Canary Wharf is one example, and one is now the City Airport. How quickly we forget and it was good to be reminded of how life used to be. A great talk.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Penny Thomas, 7th September 2017