Author Archives: Geoff Winterman

October Meeting: “Through the years, a full life” Frank Harries BEM

The speaker was Frank Harries BEM whose talk was entitled “Through the years, a full life” and what a full life he led.  His father began his working life as a wheelwright in Pembroke Dock. He subsequently joining the army and taking his family to Gibraltar. Whilst on holiday in the Spanish City of Seville the Spanish Civil War broke out and Frank watched as bombs fell from the sky finding the experience exciting, but not realising how many people were being maimed and killed. Frank showed photographs of his family, Ration Books and Identity Cards issued at the beginning of the Second World War.  Living in Pembroke Dock at this time he became an Altar boy and remembered the American Soldiers billeted in the area.  Joining the army at the age of 18 Frank found himself in the Malayan Jungle searching out communists.  It appears our hero was something of a footballer and played as goal keeper for Llanelli but in the days when footballers had a “day job” this proved too much for him.  In his later days Frank became a referee and in retirement he joined the Rotary and became something of a fundraiser in fact he raised the staggering sum of £200,000.00.  Indeed a very full life and still going at the ripe age of 90 it could make one’s own life seem somewhat dull!

Penny Thomas  3rd October 2019

September Monthly Meeting: The Royal Voluntary Service

Eleanor Parker gave a most interesting and enlightening insight into the work carried out by the Royal Voluntary Service.  It is difficult to move away from wishing to refer to the Service as the WRVS, perhaps because that was how it was known until 2013 when it was decided, because of the number of male volunteers, it should simply be known as the Royal Voluntary Service.

Founded in 1938 by Lady Stella Reading, and then known as the Women’s Voluntary Services for Air Raid Precautions, it is now the largest volunteering organisation in British history.  The Queen granted the organisation Royal status in 1966 in recognition of the work undertaken by the Service.  There was a time when each Hospital had a WRVS tea bar sadly now replaced by Costa!

Eleanor spoke in the main on the subject of befriending. The Service has become a leading organisation in the field of social care, and has around 20,000 volunteers who give of their time to help make communities stronger particularly providing support for older people to remain active.

A very interesting and thought provoking talk  

Penny Thomas  5th September2019

PHOTOS TO FOLLOW!

For the information of U3A Committee Members & Group Leaders:

National Workshop in Carmarthen
21st October 2019

The popular workshop ‘Interest Groups Matter’ is coming to Carmarthen on the 21st October 2019. Interest groups are the lifeblood of the U3A. How do you keep them vibrant and accessible and encourage people to lead? This workshop will help to provide an opportunity to discuss some of the challenges and how to respond. It will also provide opportunities for networking and learning from each other’s experiences.

The workshop is free to attend. Come along group leaders (or those interested in becoming a group leader) and group coordinators as well as committee members. Lunch and refreshments will be provided. Click on the “Book Now” link below for further information and booking details.

For general advice and information about interest groups and the group leaders handbook visit the Trust website: https://www.u3a.org.uk/advice

BOOK NOW MY CLICKING HERE

June Monthly Meeting: Withybush hospital to Saudi Arabia

Barry Vaughan was brought up on a farm near Clarbeston Road and attended Haverfordwest Grammar School so he is a familiar figure with many of our members.

Barry was employed as general manager at Withybush Hospital and when this job folded he found work in a very large, modern, high-tech hospital in the Royal Commission hospital Jubail, Saudi Arabia.  There are two directorates of the Royal Commission, Jubail is on the east coast near Kuwait and Bahrain and Yanbu, is on the west coast near Jeddah and the Holy City of Mecca.

There are very distinct rules which foreigners have to follow when living in Saudi Arabia.  Because he was in overall charge of the hospital he was the person who had to mediate with the authorities when a member of his staff knowingly or more often or not unknowingly broke one of these rules.  Some of the problems that he encountered had the audience in fits of laughter but the way he dealt with the problems was imaginative and could have had serious consequences if he hadn’t been so diplomatic.
He was in post during the first Gulf War and he vividly described the terror when the oil tanks at Kuwait were set alight, apparently the smoke was so dense that day was turned to night and the once prestine white hospital was turned black.

A big thank you is in order because Barry came to talk to us at very short notice, nevertheless, he gave us a fascinating insight into living and working in a country with such a different culture.

Jan Manning