Ramsey and District U3A


News for all members

Notes on the annual general meeting (AGM) 12th April 2016

Ramsey and District U3A Officers as at 13th April 2016

Following the Annual General Meeting on April 12th 2016 the Committee met to elect a new chairman after John Austin announced he was standing down.

The Business Secretary conducted the first part of the meeting until the new chairman was elected. Enid Hubbard was voted in as chairman of the Ramsey and District U3A and then chaired the rest of the meeting.

The officers are as follows.


Chairman                                Enid Hubbard

Vice Chairman                        Sheila Gilbert-Hill

Treasurer                                Lynda Lewis

Business secretary                  Sheila Gilbert-Hill

Membership Secretary           Jane Cusworth

Groups Co-ordinator               Nina Akehurst

Speaker Secretary                   Jane Cusworth

Publicity                                  Enid Hubbard

Trips & Liaison officer             John Austin

Catering Officer                      Fran Holland

Officer                                     Irene Lugg

Also at the committee meeting Mike Lewis was co-opted as a non-elected officer in conjunction with his work on the Newsletter.

As Officers: Pat Taylor, Anne Fieldhouse, Ann Allan and Mavis Ringe.

A vote of thanks was given to John Austin for his stalwart work on behalf of the Ramsey and District U3A over the past two years keeping us on the straight and narrow. New members are joining every month and the organisation flourishes. We look to continue this work.


Chairman’s Note

I feel very honoured to have been voted in as your new chairman. The U3A means a great deal to me. The Committee works very hard on behalf of all its members to provide speakers and special events for general meetings as well as undertaking the other necessary duties to make our U3A branch run smoothly.

On a personal level I have made so many good friends through this organization and have enjoyed many groups and look forward to visiting many more. I thoroughly endorse our new National Motto of Learn, Laugh and Live that encapsulates my ethos for life (I particularly enjoy the laughing part).

I am looking forward to working on your behalf and hope that as the old guard start to leave the Committee in due course many more of you will volunteer to carry on the good work.

Enid Hubbard


Ramsey and District U3A



Ramsey Community Centre June 1st 1:30 pm to 4:00 pm

This is the title of the Area Network Day which we are hosting for the East Anglia Network of the U3A. It is subtitled ‘A Celebration of the U3A’ and it is open to all members of the organization.

The event will be informative, interactive and fun and we hope that our U3A will be well represented. A sign-up sheet will be available at the next general meeting on May 10th so please look in your diaries and if you are free sign on the dotted line and be ready for an entertaining afternoon provided by the Ramsey and District U3A Committee.

Annual General Meeting (AGM)

The Chairman (John Austin) welcomed all 79 U3A members to the AGM, and announced that this was the fifth AGM since the Ramsey and District U3A was formed. Volunteer drivers were still encouraged to sign up to offer lifts to members who could not drive. Sign-up lists were available for five trips over the next few months. The Dews coach trip to Birmingham Christmas market was proving very popular. Dews coaches would give 10% off their trips to U3A members.

The prize winner for the letter “H” was David Cusworth with a haggis and Jane Cusworth second with a model hedgehog. David was awarded a prize of £10 for his competition winning over the previous 12 months. Our next letter for the competition is “I.”

Chairman’s Report. The minutes of the 2015 AGM minutes were adopted by a show of hands by members present and then the Chairman opened his report, by stating that he would be standing down as chairman after this meeting.

Twenty-six more people had joined the U3A and our total strength was 144. Over the previous 12 months, we had been entertained by a number of speakers and events.  ‘Libertea’ and the Christmas party were just two of the functions enjoyed by members. Speakers included tales of David School, the Solomon Islands, In your right minds, Wise and Unwise women of the fens, The Shuttleworth Trust, Charles Dickens and The Singapore Gardens. A show of hands was then asked for to see which of the talks were most successful and popular in order to give the committee any ideas for future talks.

The Chairman then went on to describe how the Ramsey U3A fitted into the Anglian Network of U3As and that the newest member to join the U3A network was Whittlesey – their first achievement was to win the quiz hosted by your U3A. We will in fact be hosting a network meeting in August. Networking is good and our U3A is held in high regard.

The New Website is ready to launch, and Sheila Gilbert-Hill will be telling you all about it later this afternoon. To look forward to, we have a street party in July to celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday and in December, a spectacular pantomime.

Treasurers Report. Printed sheets were placed on chairs so that members could study the Income and Expenditure sheets. The total income was £5,895.40, an increase of £1,155.6. Expenditure on the hire of the Hall had risen to £523.54. Our subscriptions had remained at £15.00 for the year. There was a sum of £3,996 in the bank, but a sum of £2,500 had to be held in reserve as a contingency fund. Thanks went to Terry Hubbard for auditing the accounts.

Group Co-ordinator report. Since December 2015, 20 groups were extant, three new groups had formed in recent months, card making, cycling, and weight loss support. Mah Jong and Brain games did not materialize. A suggestion to form a metal detecting group was being considered. Cookery is currently on hold and Local history has been cancelled. Other new groups include Bird watching and Creative writing.

New suggestions for new groups are always welcome, a suggestion box is available in the foyer. Head office events are posted on the notice board, but members were asked to check the U3A Head Office website on a regular basis as new events with short lead-in times appear. Nina then thanked all the Group leaders and members for their time and effort.

Election of committee. All were re-elected by a show of hands.

Motions from members. None received.

Closing Statement. Before closing the AGM, the chairman wished to thank those who had helped in making our U3A such a success, Nina for her Group coordinator role, Sheila Gilbert-Hill for her calmness and hard work in getting the website up and running, Lynda as Treasurer and Mike as Newsletter editor, Jane as speaker coordinator and membership secretary, David for his interruptions, Fran Holland for tea making skills and Irene as member without portfolio. Finally, to Enid our Vice chairman, Press officer, Editor of the Aspire magazine and inspiration for many events.  Finally, a big thank you to those who work behind the scenes, laying out the cups and doing the washing-up.

Website The website was now available for all members to access, Sheila Gilbert-Hill would send an email to all members after the meeting, with detailed instructions on how to register and sign in. The web address is www.ramseyu3a.org.uk

“The Mystery of the Arches” Clive Beeke then gave us a really interesting talk on the history of the tunnels that covered the waterway that flows under the Great Whyte. Ramsey Abbey, was the main reason that Ramsey flourished as a market town, all merchandise in or out was transported by water – even the stone used in the building of the Abbey – was carried on barges.

Not many records are still in existence, and searches carried out in local archives have revealed little or few items in relation to the covering over of the Great Whyte waterway. Suffice to say, that once the outlying fens had been drained, the was insufficient water flowing through Bury Brook to keep the water levels high enough for barges to access the town. The waterway became a smelly sewer and local people were keen to get rid of the problem.

Sometime after 1840, the Highbridge was widened, and the central arch was constructed out of local bricks – donated by a local brickyard. However, disastrous floods in 1852 caused this culvert to burst, and two side culverts were built to overcome the problem. Construction took two and a half years. The clock tower was installed in 1888 and powered by water, later, it was converted to electricity. Repairs have taken place over the last few years, as the arches are showing signs of collapse, due to the weight of heavy motor traffic.


Writing for Pleasure.  The initial group meeting for this group was held on 22nd March.  If anyone, other than those who have already signed up, would like to join the group, please contact Bill Thompson

Bridge for beginners. Alison Collins has received enquiries to start a Bridge for Beginners group, which she is happy to do. If you are interested in learning Bridge, please get in touch with Alison to express your interest. Ideally she needs four members to be able to start this new group.

Metal Detecting Group There has been an offer to start a Metal Detecting group. A sign-up sheet will be available in May to gauge interest in this.



Ramsey U3A Trips Group is compiling a long term programme of outings and holidays.

Future trips to include:

“Adams farm comes to Blenheim” Friday 5th August, cost £42 including entrance.

“Buckingham Palace” Thursday 18th August, cost £40 including entrance.

“Holkham Hall at Christmas” Wednesday 14th December, cost £32.


Our next Open Meeting takes place on 10th May 2016 at the Ramsey Community Centre starting at 2.00 pm. Our speaker will be Linda Scholes and her subject ‘An American Entertains – Journey to Citizenship.’

BOOK SWAP Margaret Thornton will be operating a “Book Swap” A box will be available for members to bring books and swap them for others. No payment is involved but we would ask members not to bring lots of books at any one time. If books remain “unswapped” in the box for more than a couple of meetings, they will be donated to Charity shops.

For your Information

Please remember, renewal subscriptions were due in April. Please bring cash or cheques to our next open meeting, if you have not yet paid!

And Finally

Car Parking – Please remember to park your car considerately and use the car park adjacent to the Co-op store if you are able.


After a talking sheepdog gets all the sheep in the pen, he reports back to the farmer:” All 40 accounted for,”

“But I only have 36 sheep,” says the farmer.

“I know,” says the sheepdog. “But I rounded them up.”

Editor: Mike Lewis