New boat for Stone & District U3A

Testing the waters: members of Stone & District U3A’s Hawaiian Canoeing group take out their new V6 Outrigger boat

Stone U3A has a tremendously varied range of activities on offer, especially given the relatively small size of the town. More than 60 groups exist at present and one of the most exciting, and certainly the most unusual, is Hawaiian Canoeing which takes place on Trentham Lake. Indeed, it is the only such group within the national U3A network.

Local members have been working for two years on a prolonged fundraising campaign to enable the purchase of a new V6 Outrigger boat. These are large six-person canoes balanced by an outrigger arm. As well as holding all kinds of fundraising activities themselves, the group has received generous contributions from Stone U3A and from Trentham Canoe Club plus a major grant from Sport England.

The relationship with Trentham Canoe Club can be viewed as an exemplary way in which, as declared in U3A objectives, the group has co-operated with local organisations for the benefit of members and the local community alike. In particular, this effort has made facilities available to people of all abilities to join in sociable sporting activities and exercise.

Canoeists getting ready for action with Gareth Jones, U3A Chairman, centre foreground.

Amidst much excitement, the new boat arrived at Trentham in September, having been transported from Poland where it was built in two pieces. The great day saw the two parts put together and the outrigger arm attached before a very successful launch and positive trials. The canoe is aesthetically pleasing and manoeuvres extremely well; it provides excellent opportunities to enjoy the sport of canoeing, an activity which is good for the health and also very enjoyable.

At present the U3A group meets every Thursday, normally at Trentham, but once a month the trip is made to Rudyard Lake. It is now hoped to start an additional session on Thursday afternoons from 1.30pm to 3.30pm for any U3A member who would like to join. No experience is necessary and equipment is supplied. The cost is £3 per session which pays for Trentham waters.

Newcomers would be made very welcome and they would be certain to enjoy the convivial atmosphere as well as the activity itself. Please contact the group leader Neil Thompson on 01785 814224 or for further details.