Group leaders offer their impressions of our 25th anniversary Open Day on 26 October, with photographs by Robert Edmondson
The Line Dancing group had never performed in public before or even danced without our teacher so I was delighted when nine brave volunteers took up the challenge. We held a coffee-and-YouTube session to confirm our choice of four dances and had a good laugh looking at the provocative actions and minimal outfits of one American group. Our wonderful teacher Kate coached the dances and came along to support us and supervise the music. The audience was appreciative, needing no persuasion to join in our last dance – so, all in all, it was fine and dandy. YEEHAW! Gill
Group member Lionel produced the Art Appreciation group’s delightfully colourful display. It highlighted topics studied since we started in 2013. Illustrations enhanced the diversity of artists, speakers and places visited so far and included our proposed programme for 2016. We had many complementary books on display with members at hand to chat and inform the U3A members and public about our lively, friendly group and now have several new members. The Christian Centre was bustling with an air of enthusiasm and the day was a great promotion of our U3A for Dorking people!
The Bridge group played for six hours – not the same four members all day, although several would have liked to! We took turns, but didn’t play very seriously as many visitors to the Open Day wanted to find out about our group and it looks as if we’ll have several new players when we next meet. A very satisfying result from an extremely worthwhile day.
At the DIY Dressmaking stand we exhibited garments and processes to demonstrate what is on offer in the group – the chance to reach couture standard in making clothes that fit superbly. Four U3A members expressed an interest to join so we hope to have a full group very soon.
Open Day provided an excellent forum for announcing the result of our U3A Investment Stakes competition, which was open to all U3A members. For those who have been following our monthly commentary on the website it will come as no surprise that the bottle of Bollinger was won by Heather Jones. Over the seven months her portfolio of equities appreciated by just over 50%, with each of her three stocks far outpacing all leading indices. Her win was a fitting tribute to her late husband Bill, a former member of our group who derived great pleasure from his hobby of investing. Highly commended was Helen Horsler, whose diversified portfolio of investment funds gained 29%. The Portfolio Management group generated interest and one recently-retired new member booked in for our next meeting. John
How do I display Archaeology? Posters, photos of visits, sources, magazines? None of these will fill the 6ft table I have ambitiously requested. Then our archaeologist, Frank Pemberton, produced a museum-type display of Roman Dorking with explanations and artefacts such as fragments of everyday kitchen pottery and the best tableware (Samian ware). We also displayed part of a Roman tile found at Pixham by one of our members. It all provided a successful talking point and encouraged people to give us a try. Val
The Photography group prepared a slide-show of images previously submitted to the U3A website. This cycled round continuously throughout the day on a large screen attracting attention and generating interest. The group is currently oversubscribed, but a second photographic group will take over our waiting list and the six new member applications received during the day.
The French Conversation table at Open Day hopefully highlighted how the group is run. We decorated the table with French flags, bunting, onions and a very colourful tablecloth covered in Gallic roosters. Each member took a turn at meeting and greeting. A folder with topics discussed at past meetings included French newspapers, recipes, crossword puzzles and grammar exercises. We had an enthusiastic response to our quiz – no doubt due to the delicious prizes on offer! As our first group is full we explained that a second group will soon be up and running.
I prepared posters about topical matters for Current Issues, and also to advertise the holidays. I’ve since had several enquiries regarding membership of the group and vacancies on the holidays. Jim
The Genealogy group exhibited several family trees and other interesting articles. By lunchtime the hall was very busy and several showed interest in joining the waiting list for the group. Each person who put their name on the list will be contacted and hopefully will be able to join the beginners eventually. Group leader Paddy adds: I have just found a document in my computer. I put an article into the magazine announcing that the first Genealogy group meeting was held on 6 October 1999 – so we are celebrating our 17th anniversary!
And last but never least… Ring and Sing. The various musical sections of the Dorking U3A performed in St Martin’s Church in front of a large and appreciative audience. The Banstead U3A team of handbell ringers joined the Dorking U3A Bells and the Dorking Singing for Pleasure choir and a small group from Banstead played duets for recorder and flute as well as flute and piano pieces. To add to the occasion a solo soprano singer from Dorking sang a selection of German lieder. Altogether it made a very enjoyable concert, lasting the whole afternoon. The only disappointment for us performers was that many of us didn’t have a chance to see the exhibits over in the Christian Centre! Jill