Ramsey and District U3A


A warm welcome to all our members

Sheila Gilbert-Hill was acting chairman and welcomed everyone to the meeting, the usual notices were read out.

The Groups Co-ordinator, Andy Wingham, then spoke of a new group that was likely to form, a freshwater angling group. The Bridge group, beginners and seniors will now reform as one group, meeting every Wednesday at 2.00pm. The St Ives U3A theatre group have spare places to see “Half a Sixpence” at £52.00pp, an afternoon performance on Thursday 6th July. Email wendy.ware@ntworld.com for more details.

If you wish to start a new group or come up with an idea for a new group, see Andy and he will get sign-up sheets and get support for you.

John Austin then spoke of day trips which had been planned for the next few months. A day trip to Southwold on 18th August, when a visit to Adnams Brewery is on the cards. Sign-up sheets are available in the foyer. In September 2018, the Holiday Group are planning a visit to France to visit WW1 sites, approximate cost £500, see John for further details if you would like to join, then a £10 non-refundable deposit will be required.

The chairman then introduced the speaker for this afternoons session, he is Dave Sharpe and his subject “Raptorxotics.” In front of the audience, was a stack of boxes, with strange chirping and rustling noises issuing. As a precaution, the overhead fans were switched off and the doors and windows secured. Dave asked that all remain seated during the performance and then spoke of his long association with birds, he trained a barn owl when he was just 17 years old. Most raptors are now part of a captive breeding programme, and not taken from the wild.

The first raptor to be introduced was ‘Crackerjack’, a white-faced owl, common to Africa. They have tubular eyes, which does not leave much room for brains, the whole face is a hearing area, with offset ears that allow the bird to pinpoint sound. Owls have special feathers which allow near silent flight and which Dave demonstrated to the audience by letting ‘Crackerjack’ fly around the hall.

A merlin by comparison is up to 80 times better at seeing than the owl and has crystal clear close-up vision. The smallest bird of prey is the peregrine falcon, it can fly at 70 to 80 mph and in a dive, can reach 246 mph. It has long thin talons with which to grab flesh, stripes on the face to give more effect to its sight.

The next raptor to be shewn was ‘Nigel’, a Harris’ Hawk from Central America. This hawk is very clever and in the wild will hunt in teams – in captivity, it is the most flown bird as they are very easy to train, however, they must be looked after every day and flown on a regular basis.

The final raptor was the biggest of the bunch, ‘Zeus’, a four-year-old golden eagle – he was moulting, as it was summer time. This raptor is top of the food chain, a very aggressive bird. He needs 5 days training a week, with 3 days hunting for food.

If you need more information, check out the website; www.raptorxotics.co.uk. The chairman then invited any questions, which Dave was pleased to answer. A very big thank you to Dave for this most interesting talk and demonstration.

Future Open Meetings

Our next general meeting will take place on Tuesday 11thJuly 2017 at the Community Centre, when our speaker will be Chris Dingley, his subject,” Tax, Care and Toy Boys.” Our next letter for the competition is ‘R’ and will take place at this meeting.  The winner of ‘Q’ was Jane Cusworth with a quilt and second was Dave Cusworth with a chess queen.

Other News for your diary

Ramsey and District Gardening Club

 Sunday 6th August 2017An organised visit to RHS Hyde Hall & Garden Flower Show (A magnificent 360-acre garden with mixed borders, woodland, dry garden and much more. Their flower show will include specialist nurseries, garden trade stands and gardening sundries) Cost £16.00 includes coach and entry to Hyde hall. Coach will leave Ramsey Clock Tower at 8.00am, Burton’s Garage at 8.05am and The Cross Keys, Upwood at 8.10am. More details from Yvonne Wright: 01487 814550 or Lesley Owen: 01487 812377

.Ramsey Rural Museum

Saturday and Sunday 8th & 9th July 2017 – Miniature Steam & Fire Engine Rally, 11am till 5pm

Saturday 29th July 2017 – Ramsey Horticultural Society Annual Show, 1pm till 4pm.


If you are over 75, or live with someone who is, you’re entitled to a free TV licence.  The thing to remember is that it’s not an automatic benefit when you turn 75; if you’re eligible, you’ll need to apply.  The process is simple:  Call 0300 790 6131 or www.tvlicensing.co.u/over75info.

We are looking for volunteers to meet and greet new members by becoming ‘friends’ or ‘Mentors’ and help them settle-in at our U3A. Please contact any member of the committee if you think you can help, thank you.

And Finally

Car Parking – Please remember to park your car considerately and use car sharing, if you are able.


Peter Kay – “A friend of mine always wanted to be run over by a steam train. When it happened, he was chuffed to bits.”

Miranda Hart – “I went to a restaurant that serves breakfast at any time. So, I ordered French Toast during the Renaissance.”

Editor: Mike Lewis