After a harsh winter, the long-awaited arrival of Spring will undoubtedly increase the appeal of the outdoor activities on offer with Stone U3A.
Crown Green Bowling is extremely popular and the new season commenced on Easter Monday, April 2. With a perfect setting in leafy Stonefield Park, there are sessions from 10am to 12 noon, and 12 noon to 2pm on both Mondays and Tuesdays through until the last week in September.
The atmosphere is friendly and helpful with woods available to borrow free of charge for newcomers who don’t have their own. Bowling is a fascinating game and, especially with advice readily on offer, it is very easy to learn the basics. All groups have room for new members, whether experienced or otherwise. If you are interested in joining, give Rob Walker a ring on 01785 814791 for Monday mornings or Brian Hamnett on 01785 812581 for Monday lunchtime; Steve Keogh is the facilitator for Tuesday mornings and can be contacted on 01785 615200 while Paul Griffiths on 07816 000826 is the person who can advise about Tuesday lunchtime. Fresh air, good company and entertaining sport are all guaranteed!
A more unusual but equally enjoyable outdoor activity is Hawaiian Canoeing. This group, which is rapidly growing in numbers, meets on Thursday mornings at Trentham Lake. As well as good exercise of the upper body, there is a plethora of wild life to enjoy through the changing seasons. Neil Thompson on 01785 814224 can provide full information. The group has been actively engaged in recent months in raising money in order to buy a new outrigger canoe. They have held coffee mornings, a table-top sale and are now selling homemade cakes at the monthly U3A coffee mornings. So far more than £700 has been raised but there is some way to go yet. The next Canoe Group coffee morning is on Saturday, April 7, at Christ Church from 10am until noon; all are welcome.
Stone & District U3A had an excellent presentation on ‘Women in the Potteries’ from Ray Johnson on February 21, when he showed archive footage of film from Edwardian times to the Second World War as part of the quarterly Speaker Meeting. The group learned more about the work of Millicent, Duchess of Sutherland, who set up the ‘Cripples’ Guild in 1900 at Trentham, with the aim of teaching children and young adults, who had been injured at work in the Potteries, a craft or skill they could use. They heard too about Fanny Deakin, a Newcastle Labour Councillor between the wars, who also campaigned and worked for better conditions for disabled people, children and mothers. Archive interviews of women who worked during both wars in munitions factories, in engineering, driving heavy vehicles and on the land were illuminating. All the film clips chosen showed how the social and political upheaval of the first half of the 20th Century did at last lead to all women getting the right to vote, after that first Representation of the People Act in 1918, which was celebrated in February.
The Guitar group has outgrown its old venue and has moved to the President’s Hall at the Walton Community Centre where they meet every Wednesday at 1.30pm. There are now 26 members who like to play acoustic guitars and sing along. Unfortunately it isn’t feasible to cater for absolute beginners but if you have just a little knowledge and can play a few basic chords, then leader Tony Dodd can help you improve and to enjoy your new found pastime. It is a very sociable group so if anyone would like to pop along and see what goes on, you will be most welcome to come and have a chat over a cup of tea and a biscuit. To read about the complete range of Stone U3A’s programme of activities, visit the website, www.stoneu3a.btck.co.uk or call Gareth Jones on 01782 372349.
Don’t forget too that the monthly coffee morning at St Dominic’s Social Centre is the ideal occasion to talk to committee members about the organisation and to join up or renew membership. The next date is Friday, April 6, at 10.15am – cakes will be available!