Ramsey and District U3A


The chairman welcomed all to the meeting on Tuesday, 13th March, by stating that Daffodils and Crocuses were out and that birds had started nesting, a harbinger of Spring! The usual safety notices were read out.

Members were reminded that there is a table set up in the foyer for less able members to sit and have their tea and coffee.

Enid reminded all members that our Annual General Meeting (AGM) will take place in April. There are several committee members standing down at this time.

Jane Cusworth (Group Co-ordinator) then spoke of two sign-up sheets that were available in the foyer, Angling/Coarse Fishing and Hand Chimes. Jane reminded all members that our next meeting on 10th April will be our AGM and the subs for the next year are now due. Jane then said that the Lunch Club Leader was ending her term of office and that a new leader was needed to keep the group running. U3A Summer Schools listings were available on the U3A Web site. Jane then thanked all Group Leaders for keeping their website news up to date.

Our first day trip for 2018 has taken place and was to Belton House a National Trust property in Lincolnshire. As well as the house there were gardens and parkland to explore.

Further trips include The Globe Theatre, London for “As You Like It” on 8th June and Bressingham Gardens on 22nd June. The most popular of these trips will be selected to take place. The trip in August will be to Wells-Next-Sea and in October to the National Arboretum. Signup sheets available at our next general meeting.

The Chairman then introduced Mark Newbold, his subject “The Royal Yacht ‘Britannia’ and The Falkland’s War”

Mark joined the Royal Navy, his motivation was the need to travel, as he lived in a small village in Nottinghamshire where any prospects of travel were extremely limited. His original intention was to become a marine engineer, but he didn’t like the prospects. So, he retrained as a diver, his first ship was based in Gibraltar and soon he was travelling to the Far East and Iceland on exercise.

He read that there was a vacancy on the Royal Yacht for a diver and was pleased when his application was accepted. His job was to check the bottom of the ship when it docked in harbours, both at home and abroad. There were 146 ship’s crew and some 50 Royal Household, he met most members of the Royal Family and the Queen herself several times.

The Royal Yacht was a ‘selling machine’, advertising and selling British goods to the value of many thousands of pounds.  At each port where they landed, the ship’s crew formed many sporting teams and challenged the locals to soccer etc.,

The Queen each day had three sets of clothes laid out, she picks one, then after lunch would choose another and the same would happen in the evening. Two papers were delivered every day, The Racing Post and the Pigeon Fanciers Guide. The racing tips never seemed to work, as the crew always lost out! Prince Phillip always loved a bath, but his valet never was able to get the temperature right, so Prince Phillip had a brass thermometer made to get his water just right. Flowers would be flown to the Royal Yacht and stored overnight in the fridge, this would reduce their scent, so each time they were displayed they would be sprayed with lavender water.

In 1981, Mark has a few months service left to run, so he applied to re-join the Navy. He was planning to get married and had set the date, so a return to the fleet seemed a good idea. The ship he joined was HMS Coventry, which was on duty in the Mediterranean, the ship had several sailors who were just out of training. Soon the news reached the ship that Argentina had invaded the Falkland Islands, and HMS Coventry was deployed south to the conflict. It took 3 weeks to get there, on the way all crew were ordered to throw all non-navy kit over the side, many exercises were carried out. The role of HMS Sheffield, HMS Broadsword and HMS Coventry were to act as decoys and attract the Argentine Air Force.

The weather was awful – food was issued to action stations – hot sweet tea and stew, for breakfast, lunch and tea! May 4th and HMS Sheffield was hit by a missile and 19 were killed. Not much sleep was taken after that, as we were not eating much, with no showers and we were getting grumpy whilst wearing our NBC suits full time.

On the 25th May, HMS Coventry was hit by a 1000lb bomb, which penetrated deep into the ship before detonating, the ship started to sink so it was decided to abandon ship. Mark jumped into the water and made for the nearest life raft only to be told to find another raft, he found one and climbed aboard. Eventually, he was winched into a helicopter.

They were landed at a medical facility and given treatment and fed with the best meal ever, double eggs and chips, washed down with tea! The wounded were transported home on the QE2, the crew giving up their clothes as Mark only had what he stood in. On arrival at Southampton, they were given new kit and were able to meet their family who were waiting at the quayside.

Mark always regrets that he had to leave a badly injured seaman on board HMS Coventry, this man he sees in his dreams and nightmares nearly every night. He is keen to give his time and support to those who suffer the after effects of combat, he raises funds for “Holidays for Heroes, Jersey.” Have a look on-line and help if you can. The chairman then thanked Mark for an amazing afternoon and we broke for tea, coffee and biscuits.

Future Open Meetings

Our Annual General Meeting will take place on Tuesday 10th April 2018 at the Community Centre, to be followed by ‘Our Local Storytellers.’

Our letter competition is now finished, the winner of our final competition ‘X’ was David Cusworth with an X-ray of his poorly knee!

U3A National Website

The email address to receive information about the national newsletter is:


Advance Notice

The Ramsey Carnival takes place on 14th July 2018 and the R&D U3A have booked a table at the Ramsey Rural Museum/The Camp, so that we can raise funds by selling Bric a Brac and bottles (wine, beer or soft drinks to raffle) Donations will be gratefully accepted by any member of the committee. We are also looking for volunteers to help with the running of our table/display. If you can help, please let one of our committee know. Thank You

Other U3A News

Trip to Gardeners World show

Chatteris U3A are trying to arrange a trip to Gardeners World and the Good Food Show on Friday 15th June, with possibly a coach going from Chatteris at 7.30am to enable arrival time at the NEC Birmingham for show opening time of 9.00am.  The show tickets are max price of £24.00 but we may be able to get some discount if we order soon enough, please could you pass this along to your members and let me know as soon as possible if anyone would like to go and how many.  Transport will be extra of course but hopefully not much more than the NEC parking charge.  You can use my email to contact me or phone 01354 697701 (answer phone) <jan56fieldhouse@gmail.com>


Trip to RHS Harlow Carr Gardens

 The Ramsey Horticultural Society have arranged a trip to RHS Harlow Carr Gardens near Harrogate on Sunday 13th May. Cost £23 for coach and admission. Coach leaves Ramsey at 8.00am and will pick up in Bury and Upwood. If you are interested, please contact Yvonne Wright or Lesley Owen (814550 or 812377).

And Finally

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


Q: What do you call a dog magician?  A: A labracadabrador.

Q: How did the little Scottish dog feel when he saw a monster? A: Terrier-fied!

Editor: Mike Lewis