Roving reporter catches up with news

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We’ve been away quite a lot over the last month, visiting family and friends, which has been great, writes Caroline Green of Wetherby U3a.

However, I’ve been unable to fulfil my remit to visit U3A Groups in Wetherby & District so this left me with a dilemma. What do I write about?

Being one who’s never stuck for words, I realised that what I was doing when I did finally return home was a process that’s a bit like spring cleaning, but not. More like high summer sorting.

Whenever I return from time away from home, this activity seems to take priority. I suddenly see my garden and house as others see it and it’s a bit of a shock to find I am surrounded by so much unnecessary clutter, and my garden is overgrown. All this activity coincided with a bumper copy of the Wetherby & District U3A Newsletter dropping through my letterbox.

It was thus that following my flurry of tidying, sorting, throwing out, rearranging, I eventually managed to sit down to read it and catch up with what’s been happening in my locality in my absence.

Communication is so important and in an organisation the size of Wetherby & District U3A it has become more so as it has grown and developed over the seven years since its inception. The Newsletter is an integral part of this so I thought I’d find out more from its Editor Joyce Bale.

Three times a year, Joyce spends hours inviting, cajoling, collecting, collating, checking and assembling the content of the triannual publication, a copy of which is posted to every member. It’s full of detail and beautifully presented.

She gets valuable assistance from another member, a Sub Editor in a previous life, who proof reads it. The finished issue is full of content and easy to read.

Regular items include “Dates for your Diary”, “Recent Local Events” and “News of New Groups and Courses” together with reports from the over 80 special interest groups and occasional news plus requests for help from the Committee.

In the intervening months Joyce produces a much briefer Monthly Memo to inform members of forthcoming events, important changes to the contact details for the interest groups, and information for members on forthcoming events like the Open Meetings which usually take place on the last Wednesday of the month.

This Monthly Memo is sent to members by email towards the end of the month and printed copies are available at the monthly Open Meetings where members enjoy an excellent variety of speakers, tea and biscuits and a chance to chat.

All this for £12 a year……..what amazing value! This high level of communication is what makes the U3A go round. It’s entirely for the benefit of the members and is a lifeline for people new to the district, living alone, in addition to those of us who have spent all their working lives in the area.

Joyce is the living embodiment of the ethos of the U3A. She likes people, likes being involved, and could not be classed as a bystander in any shape or form. She has found that getting involved in the U3A as Editor has been a way of getting to know how the organization works and has enabled her to get to know people within the organization, and make many friends.

She came to Wetherby in 1961 and worked for the British Library and later a local prison and got involved in her community through her hobbies and interests mainly the Wetherby Musical Theatre Group and the Wetherby Festival. She feels that keeping interested in people and in the community is what has kept her fit, mentally and physically.

The U3A in Wetherby is thriving with a healthy membership and Joyce hopes that she contributes to that success and to the U3A’s high standing in the community.

The U3A will be present at the Wetherby Activities Day on September 9 at Wetherby High School from 10am-3pm. Come along and have a chat or look on the website for more details or pop in to the Wetherby Library for one of the U3A leaflets.