Pembrokeshire U3A News Archive for 2012

Pembrokeshire U3A News
Archive for 2012 ***

Presentation to the Goodeves! (6th December)

Graham founded Pembrokeshire U3A in 1989 and was Chairman from 1991-1993.
He is now our Honorary President. He has led many groups and
activities over the years and still runs art appreciation, astronomy and science
and technology sessions for us. He has also been very involved at a
national level over the years, has helped to set up new U3As in the Region
(Preseli, Narberth and Tenby) and is an active member of the Welsh Network.
With Jean, he has organised many trips as well as overseas holidays.
All in all we owe him an enormous amount!

Jean has been Secretary of our U3A and was also Chairman from 2001-2002.
For many years she was very involved with the Third Age Trust and was National
Chairman. Despite all her other responsibilities, she has always
found time for Pembrokeshire U3A and, with Graham, has instigated the
flourishing activities at our “outpost” at Merlin’s Bridge in Haverfordwest.
Her energy and enthusiasm are truly phenomenal!

Nova Husbands

U3A Roll of Honour

“The persons named in this roll of honour are recorded here as a tribute to the
outstanding service they have given to the U3A movement in the United Kingdom.
The Third Age Trust wishes to record its sense of indebtedness to the unselfish
efforts of so many pioneers. They have contributed much energy and many
hours of their time to ensure the successful cultivation and expansion of the
U3A movement. In doing so they have provided thousands of people with
opportunities for fulfillment and personal and community wellbeing in later

We salute them.


Dot Hickson on Televison (1st November)


On Thursday 1st November Dot Hickson entertained the monthly Business Meeting
with a lively talk about her years working in television. She was a
property buyer in the early years of Welsh Independant Televison, working with
many of the stars of the day! Her work was particularly challenging and
stressful as she started in the days before pre-recorded productions. She
had to source some surprising items for demanding programme makers, from a
complete Gipsy Caravan to a waterfall!

Text & Photos GW


Last night we enjoyed a most amusing interpretation of Shakespeare’s
“A Midsummer Night’s Dream”. Set in the
1940s it

presented by Mappa Mundi in collaboration with The

Torch Theatre and
Theatr Mwldan.

Torch Theatre
at Milford
has now published the new season’s programme with a variety of drama, music and

On November 2nd there will be a
Night at the Musicals;
if you’d like to spend an

Evening with Tony Benn,
instead of fireworks on November 5th you will need to hurry as tickets are
selling fast, and in early January there is a Strauss Gala Concert. Don’t forget the usual

Dick Whittington from 21st
to 29th December.

There are also live screenings from the
Metropolitan Opera, New York
and London’s West End.

Let me know which shows you would like me to book for.

Contact: Anne Church

Mrs Jean Griffiths

Monday 15th October, Mrs Jean Griffiths, accompanied by her husband Brian,
travelled to Cardiff to receive the WRVS Diamond Award for her service to the
community over a number of years. Jean is a quiet lady but her dedication and
hard work on behalf of the WRVS has been second to none, and we, the members of
both the



Short Walks groups

would like to say how proud of her we all are, and offer her our sincere
congratulations on receiving this prestigious Award.


Helen Lewis John


Jean receiving her “Diamond Champion” award with Roy Noble and The Mayor of

Phillip Lees: “Wild life of the Coastal Path” (4th October)

PLWe had an excellent talk by Phil Lees who has had 30
years experience as a park ranger and shared with us some of his many tales of
life on the coastal path between Goodwick and Cleddau. He gave a wonderful
powerpoint presentation, illustrated by evocative recordings of bird sounds.
First, he gave us a brief history of National Parks – starting with Yosemite in
1864, moving on to the founding of the National Trust in1895 and then the 1949
Act which designated 10 (now 15) areas of outstanding Natural Beauty and also
established Sites of Special Scientific Interest and recorded many rights of way
. A courageous and difficult decision in the cash-strapped post war years of

Now the National Parks Authority is concerned with the conservation of natural
beauty, wild life and cultural heritage, the promotion of understanding and
enjoyment of its special qualities, and fostering the social and economic growth
of the areas.

Our Coast Path was the first national trail in Wales and was opened in 1972 by
Wynford Vaughan Thomas. The work involved was tremendous :- over 200 local
landowners had to be persuaded to allow rights of way over their land for a
start, and countless bridges and stiles had to be built… Nowadays there are
over 900,000 users a year in Pembs alone – spending about £15 million locally !!

It is of course a great place for wild life – and Phil’s particular interest is
in mammals. We have the largest colonies of atlantic grey seals in the U.K – and
we are all familiar with those endearing balls of white fluff to be found at
Martin’s haven and elsewhere at this time of year. I hadn’t appreciated that the
pups wegh in at 30 lbs – and within three weeks have tripled their birth weight
! As soon as they are weaned , mum disappears – and after waiting hopefully for
her return for a couple of weeks, during which time they lose their white
coats,they decide they’ll have to fend for themselves , and off they go to spend
their teenage years travelling the world – sounds familiar!

Phil also spoke about the other wild life – birds and creepy crawlies in
particular – and the spectacular displays of spring flowers. When he had
finished I think everyone in the room was planning their next outing to our
fantastic local treasure! So thank you very much Phil!

Nova Husbands

Group Leaders take the Floor! (6th September)

Group Leaders took the floor at our Business Meeting today, entertaining members
with their activities and proposals for the coming year. Here are some
snaps (taken with a mobile phone) of Gloria demonstrating her “Exercise to
Music” that will be taking place at Merlin’s Bridge Welfare Hall.

mm01 MM02
MM03 MM04
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Rovers Walking Group


The Rovers Walking Group at the Landshipping Memorial


Saturday 13th October - on an 11.5 mile walk.
More about the Landshipping memorial here


A photo from the Rovers walk Saturday 25th August.

Some of the Group at the Fort above Treffgarne Gorge. More photos can be
found by going to the Pembrokeshire U3A Forum

(Click Here)

** QUIZ QUESTION** Who is wearing the green hat?

Poetry for Pleasure


Photograph of some of the Group enjoying their annual summer pub lunch.

Upcoming Meetings

Thursday Sept:27th 2.00pm Theme Holidays Thursday Oct:25th 2.00pm Theme

(For details see the “What’s On Page” or September Newsletter)



Visit to Oxford – 13th & 14th of September


Phil Mahiques has sadly had to cancel the trip to Oxford.

Unfortunately here have been so many withdrawals during the last week that the
visit is not viable.

Phil hopes to arrange some one-day trips next year.

The Sequence Dancing Group


“We would welcome any newcomers and our abilities vary so all
standards welcome!”

John & Enid Croxon

Fifties “U3A Street Party” 5th July


Our end of year “event” took the form of a 1950s street party ( held indoors
naturally !). Fifty people turned up – bringing a mountain of food with them
(had they all forgotten there was still rationing then ??). We had two long
trestle tables down the centre of the hall to eat at, four tables full of
memorabilia – ranging from personal scrapbooks to coronation souvenir programmes
as well as memories of the festival of Britain and old copies of pcture post, a
running slide show of members photos of the period – accompanied by a very
evocative sound compilation – ah they don’t make songs like that any more ! Our
roving reporter (Joe) did a great job coaxing people into sharing their memories
of the time, some hilarious some poignant. All in all, a pleasant couple of
hours, filled with nostalgia and laughter. Many thanks to all those who took
part and contributed, but especially to the committee, above all Geoff, our
chief technocrat ! So off we all went “singing in the rain” to return refreshed
and recharged in September. (P.S. wherever you go, don’t forget your umbrella

Nova Husbands




















Visit to the Centre for Alternative Technology: 14th June


U3A member Gwynedd in the Organic Garden

Sixteen members joined up with the Narberth U3A for a day out at the Centre for
Alternative Technology near Machynlleth.
CAT, despite its name, no longer

concentrates its efforts exclusively on alternative technology, but provides
information on all aspects of sustainable living. Frankly, the day did not seem
promising with rain threatening and the depressing sight of flood devastation
north of Aberystwyth, but, the rain kindly held off until we left CAT at about

The Centre is accessed via its amazing water-balanced cliff railway and is one
of the steepest cliff railways in the world, with a gradient of 35 degrees. The wind turbines in and
around CAT vary from tiny turbines of a foot

across, up to a large-scale turbine, capable of generating enough energy to meet
the needs of 200 homes.

The Eco-house demonstrates simple ways to make a household more sustainable, for
instance by installing insulation, managing waste, reducing car use, buying
local organic food, saving water and switching to a green energy tariff.

The wonderful organic gardens make it hard to imagine that 30 years ago the site
was covered almost entirely with slate waste.
With hard work and a lot of compost (and there was a lot to learn at CAT
about compost!), a variety of display gardens and vegetable plots delighted the
eye. The gardens provide the
organic produce for the restaurant.

Our thanks to Phil Mahiques for organising the day!

Geoff Winterman



Business Meeting: 7th June

Captain Mark Andrews Corporate Affairs
Director for
Haven Port
Authority MA

Captain Mark Andrews joined the Port Authority in 1995 as Harbour Master.
Recently he has taken the post of Corporate Affairs Director. Mark explained
that the Port Authority came into existence by an Act of Parliament in 1958. It
has a Trust status. This gives the Authority wide powers. It does not have to
worry about share holders; the Trust can concentrate on fulfilling its main
objective “To benefit Pembrokeshire”.

The Authority is responsible for the safety and navigation of the 22 miles of
navigable waterway in the Haven. The Port employs 18 pilots, positions and
maintains buoys and commissions surveys and dredging. They can respond within an
hour to any oil spill emergency.

South Hook and Dragon LNG plants import 30% of U.K.’s gas. One gas ship can
supply enough gas to keep the whole of U.K. going for 8 hours.

Other Port customers are the oil tankers, animal feed importers and the Irish
Ferry. The Ferry has 2 sailings a day and although it is mainly for freight it
carried 300,000 passengers last year. The Authority also looks after the
interests of the leisure industry and is actively involved in the preservation
of the waterway’s flora and fauna.

Looking to the future, the Port is interested in developing marine related
industry. It has merged its Ship Repair Company with a local boat builder
Mustang Marine. Mark would like to see value added work done at Milford. At the moment 4,000 tons of
fish a year is landed in
Milford. It is then chilled, sent to
for packing and then sent back to
Birmingham! Similarly if tidal energy is installed in
Ramsey Sound he would like to see fabrication development in this field at
Pembroke Dock. One future project under consideration is the development of
Blackbridge old mine depot, to make it another deep water terminal. This could
then be used to import, store and possibly process Biomass, used by visiting
Cruise Liners, or by the Ferry to save journey time up to Pembroke Dock. During
the question time, Brian Tordoff (a veteran Cruiser) issued Mark with a
passionate plea for more Cruise Liners to come to Milford Haven for the benefit
of Pembrokeshire’s Tourist Industry.

On behalf of us all, Nova thanked Mark for his very interesting

Report: Rhoda Pareira

Photo: Gwynedd Baker (Using her Ipad2)


Natural History Group – Otter watch!


The natural history group had a very
pleasant, if somewhat damp, early morning walk around the northern arm of
Bosherston Lily Ponds on Wednesday 6th June. The group of seven U3A
members (including a visitor from Australia) were lead by National Park Warden,
Hayden Garlick, in search of the numerous otters that inhabit the ponds and
surrounding environment. Sadly they remained extremely elusive until the
walk had nearly finished. We then had a brief glimpse of a small group in
the distance which, unfortunately, were only visible through binoculars.
No photographs of the otters were possible but some members of the group were
inspired to come back again in the future for further attempts to catch site of
these lovely animals. “The best area to see the otters would
appear to be along the northern arm of the lily ponds between the 8 Arch Bridge
and the 1 Arch Bridge to the north.”

Mike Wort

Some photos by (non-U3A) Flickr photographers at Bosherston can be seen at:

A Pembrokeshire U3A member celebrates the Jubilee!


Photo: David Jones
“Colin and I thought you might be happy to
include this snap on the website in recognition of Julia’s sterling contribution
at Burton Ferry!”

French restaurant at ‘chez mois’ (25th May 2012)


Rather than the work the French Conversation Group would normally do at our
meeting, we made the most of the sunny weather and enjoyed a glass of KIR. We
carried out a convincing role play with six customers being served by two
waiters. Music, from French ‘Guinguettes’ riverside dance tents, accompanied the
mock meal, and helped set an authentic mood. Joe Rielly

Rovers Walking Group (12th May 2012)

Some of the hardier Rovers Group at Garn Fawr on
Saturday 12th May 2012

The Cuckoo Lane Double Murders
(2nd May 2012)

Simon Hancock, social historian and museum curator spoke to the meeting on May 3rd at the Neyland Business


Using the amazing coincidence of a double murder occurring in the same house, a
century apart, Simon gave vivid descriptions of life in Pembrokeshire in 1811
and 1911. In both cases young women were murdered by their psychotic husbands.

John Griffiths poisoned two wives and was hanged for his crimes in Haverfordwest
in 1811. Simon graphically set the scene of the execution on the site of the
Castle car park. 20,000 people attended which was a quarter of the population of
the county.

A hundred years later a crippled ex quarry worker John Vaughan set an explosion
under the bed of his wife and child. Simon pointed out that women in 1911 had no
more rights than the unfortunate victims of 1811.

The members enjoyed the imaginative way Simon is able to put over detailed
social history. They appreciated his sparing time in his busy life.

The scene after the John Vaughan murders in 1911

More information click here

(5th April)


Déjà vu! We seem to be back where we were here Pembrokeshire 30 years ago, as
worried citizens await decisions about the future of hospital services in our
County. At today’s Meeting at the NAC Helen Lewis John vividly
described her involvement in the earlier campaign – and how they won!

Their campaign, non-political and widely supported by
the local communities, persisted through a period of re-organisation of Health
Services, with meetings and demonstrations, with leafleting and persistent
questioning of decision makers. The result of their effort was the
retention of vital services here in Pembrokeshire.

Helen’s anecdotes showed how little things have
changed, and how crucial it is that citizens again remain watchful and
questioning and that local voices are heard and heeded.


Photo: GW


The Table Tennis group got together in the last week of March for a lunch to
thank Terry and Barbara Jamieson for all their efforts as group leaders.
Three years ago they started the section from nothing, and built it to
the point today where it is over subscribed, and in a lovely way, it has become
a victim of its own success. They have decided to hand over the running of
the group, and relax and just enjoy playing the game. Our Monday
afternoons, and Wednesday mornings are full of laughter, as well as being very
good exercise, and the standard of table tennis being played, is getting very
high indeed. Some games needing more and more agility to get the shots
back! The group is experimenting at the moment with Thursday evening
sessions when the NAC is available.

A presentation was made of two patio roses, to thank Terry and Barbara, not only
for all the work they have put in as leaders, but also for the caring way they
have developed the group, into a support network where birthdays, anniversaries
and special dates have all had the “Barbara” treatment, and, with much thought
and effort, have been marked in a unique way.

Wendy George

I was invited to visit the Monday table tennis session on the 5th March, it was
their third anniversary!! The group has blossomed since it was first started by
Terry and Barbara Jamieson, and now holds three sessions a week, on Monday,
Wednesday, and Thursday. I was greatly impressed by the member’s commitment and

The group presented Terry and Barbara with flowers, and a bottle of wine, in
appreciation of all their hard work, both in getting the group established, and
investing it with their boundless energy. Over the three years Table Tennis has
contributed greatly to the wellbeing of the players involved. Terry and
Barbara are stepping down as group leaders on the 28th March. They are hoping to
move to pastures new, near to their family. They will be missed, but we wish
them every happiness for their future.

A smooth handover of the leadership has been effected with Penny Tighe
and Sylvie Lloyd, both seasoned players now in charge of the

June Conlon…..Groups Leaders Liaison

Some members of the Table Tennis Group in action. (CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE &
Photos: GW

Visit to Dean Heritage Centre 22nd March

Dean Heritage Centre

The Dean Heritage Centre is one of Gloucestershire’s leading attractions. Set
across a stunning five acre site, the centre aims to protects and preserves the
unique history and heritage of the beautiful Forest of Dean. In splendid
spring weather we wandered among, the five onsite galleries set in the old mill
building exploring the history of the Forest from the Ice Age to the present
day. Nearby a reconstructed Victorian cottage; a charcoal burner’s camp;
an adventure playground; (no photos of U3A members in the adventure
playground) a drift mine and chainsaw carving demonstrations. As usual an
onsite gift shop (rather spanse in content) but the cafe was excellent –
making good, inexpensive food and a fine cup of tea! A great day out!

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The last picture is of David Harvey (of Harvey’s Folly Mine).
He was rescued from a mine disaster in 1963. The wood sculpture depicts the

Photos: GW & PM

The visit was orgainsed by the Narbeth U3A and particular
thanks is due to Phil Mahquies.

Please note there are two other visits planned…………….

1: Alternative Technology Centre, Machynlleth

2: Pitt River (& Ashmolean) Museums Oxford
(overnight stay)

……places still available

Business Meeting 1st March

Dock Flying Boat Centre

Talk by John Evans of the
Pembroke Dock Flying Boat Centre


John has been researching the
history of the Flying
Boats in Pembroke Dock for the
last 30 years. During that time he has

gathered a huge collection of photos, documents,
memorabilia and contacts from the period that Flying

Boats flew from the Haven. He has also made
contact with many people either involved themselves or with relatives involved.

The RAF started flying from the Haven in 1930 and
various planes were based there. It was in 1938 that the new, top secret
flying boat first came there. It was huge for the standards of the day and its
ability to fly for 13 hours out over the
fitted it for the vital role in protecting convoys. The
of the Atlantic between the U-Boats and the
convoys was vital the winning the war and was very nearly lost. The aircrews
paid a high price.

Divers located the remains of
the Sunderland Flying boat No T9044 which sank in the harbour while at anchor in
a storm. TV crews filmed the recovery of one of the Pegasus engines in 2006. The
publicity kick started a massive effort to organise its conservation and to try
to salvage more of the aircraft. Backing has been obtained from
large and small companies around the Haven including
Chevron, RWE nPower, Dragon LNG, SEM Logistics, Milford Haven Port Authority and
many engineering and industrial concerns. Also Pembrokeshire County Council and
Pembroke Dock Town
Council, Welsh Assembly. An active volunteer force of over 60 is engaged in
conserving the engine, making an archive of all the material, and developing
outreach projects to schools and interested groups. This will be a unique centre
telling the story of flying boats and the men who flew them

more information

Myles Huthwaite

Business Meeting 2nd February 2012 (Your Health – Your Future)

The NHS is changing and the Hywel Dda Health Board has
responsibility to provide all the necessary healthcare services for
Pembrokeshire as well as Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion.

Peter Milewski talked to the February meeting on behalf of SWAT
(Save Withybush Action Team).

Peter Milewski spoke to the February meeting of U3A. Peter retired as a Consultant
Surgeon, in October 2010, after 40 years in the National Health Service. For 21 of those years he was based
at Withybush Hospital. His visit was particularly pertinent, given a ‘leaked’
document from Hywel Dda Health Board last year, whose proposals indicated an intention to transfer core
services from Withybush Hospital to
Carmarthen. Six years ago, similar proposals led to the creation of SWAT (Save Withybush Action Team)
who successfully challenged them. SWAT has reconvened, believing
that the present Hywel Dda proposals will lead to an erosion of health provision
for the county of Pembrokeshire.
They acknowledge that in a time of rising demand and dwindling resources changes
must be made, but believe that Hywel Dda is failing in its responsibility to
open the proposals to public consultation and debate. Peter, with his wealth of knowledge
and expertise, is a significant contributor to SWAT and his talk outlined their

Statistically an assessment of County Assets requiring core health service
provision demonstrated that the needs of Pembrokeshire were greater than those
of Carmarthen where the areas east are well provided for.
Additionally, Pembrokeshire is
a rural area, and the implications of
transfer of patients to Carmarthen, should core services be removed from
Withybush, is one that concerns most people.
Despite the high regard in which
the Ambulance Service is held by all, they should not, Peter reminded us,
be relied on as mobile surgical units. Peter illustrated this with an episode
from ‘Doc Martin’, which although fictitious, was rather chilling.

Peter explained how units and
departments within hospitals are interdependent, and that their incremental
closure can have a considerable impact on those remaining. This can lead to
delays in treatment, and potentially affect outcomes, which can then be cited as
a factor in removing or transferring significant services.

Hywel Dda has argued that there is a
problem filling vacant posts at Withybush Hospital. For present employees of
Hywel Dda uncertainty leads to anxiety and low staff morale, which in turn leads
to resignations. There are also implications for recruitment. Long delays in advertising posts and
further delays in applicants proceeding to interview, may discourage potential
medical staff who would otherwise be interested
in vacancies in this area.
Lack of transparency, delay, and an unwillingness to clarify the details of
proposed changes, can erode the
determination of the public to participate.
Combined, all of these can result in the downgrading of a hospital by

Peter emphasised to us all, the need to be both vigilant and as well informed as
possible in respect of our local health services.
He recommended participation in the
‘Health Fairs’ Hywel Dda have organised which are taking place in Pembrokeshire
this February. He encouraged us to be both enquiring and challenging at those
‘Fairs’, preferably requesting that Hywel Dda respond to controversial proposals
in writing, as well as doing so verbally at the meetings.

Should any members be interested in perusing the activities and concerns of
SWAT, these are available at
present on their website. For those who
do not have access to this, SWATare in the process of creating an information
line by telephone. This will be given to the U3A Newsletter, as soon as it
becomes available.

Our Chairman has, in the name of balance, exercised her not
inconsiderable powers of persistence and persuasion with the Hywel Dda Health
Board, in the pursuit of a representative to come to one of our meetings and
give us their view. So far she has been unsuccessful.