Ramsey and District U3A
UNIVERSITY OF THE THIRD AGE NEWSLETTER
The chairman (Sheila Gilbert-Hill) welcomed all to the General Meeting on Tuesday 9th October. 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.
One of our committee has stood down due to family commitments. The committee can continue for the moment with eight members, but we need volunteers so that our U3A may continue in the future, two further committee members will be standing down next year.
The November meeting will have a special WW1 theme, so we need all attending to be seated by 1.45pm. The doors will close at 2.00pm prompt and latecomers will not be admitted.
Our Christmas Party will take place on Tuesday 11th December at 2.00pm. a limited number of tickets (80) will be on sale at our next General Meeting price £5.00.
Jane Cusworth welcomed group leaders and members, she read out the Group News. The Cycling Group and the Table Tennis Group are looking for more members, the Chess Group have started playing, they meet on the last Friday of each month from 2.00 until 4.00pm. Please contact Richard Mann for more details. Our last trip of the year was to the National Memorial Arboretum on 12th October, this was made more memorable by the talk we had by Peter Hardy. More trips are in the planning stage for 2019.
Each month in the foyer, groups will be able to display their wares and have the chance to talk to members about their activities. It will be first come first served, so group leaders, get your groups working on your presentations. The display this month was hosted by the Knit and Natter Group., they are helping in the Ramsey library with WW1 decorations, poppies etc., and if you feel you can help then get in contact with Gill Dower.
A big thank you to all Group Leaders for keeping their web pages and calendars up to date. To all members, please keep looking at our website, Aspire and the notice boards.
The chairman then introduced the speaker for this afternoon, Peter Hardy from the National Memorial Arboretum.
Peter started his talk by saying that he and his wife have been showing people around the Arboretum for more than 10 years. They were not members of the Armed forces, but as they lived a short distance from the site, they felt that they should support the arboretum, as it was such a special place.
One of the first pictures on screen was the Polar Bear memorial, a tribute to the 49th Infantry West Riding Division, this was the first memorial at the Arboretum, dedicated in 1998. Peter then read out the poem “50 years late” written by Jodie Johnson when she was 9 years old and is visible at the base of this memorial. You can read the poem by going to the website at https://iwvpa.net>johnson This poem was originally written to commemorate the D-day landings, but is very apt as we approach Armistice Day and the ending of WW1 in November.
Peter then told us of how the Arboretum was first thought of by Commander David Charles and Group Captain Leonard Cheshire, as they thought that the act of remembrance was losing its impact. A suitable area was found and with the help of the National Forest, they persuaded Redland Aggregates to donate a site of old quarries, gravel pits which covered 150 acres. It was made available on a 999-year lease and a rent of £1 per year. Some 30 thousand trees were planted and soon statues and sculptures were being added.
Peter then went on to tell us of the Armed Forces Memorial, which is the centre piece of the Arboretum. It has 16 thousand names of servicemen and women who have died in service since the end of the Second World War, with new names added in April and May each year. The memorial was dedicated in the presence of Her Majesty The Queen on 12th October 2007.
The Millennium Chapel of Peace and Forgiveness is the only location in England where a daily Act of Remembrance takes place. This short ceremony takes place at 11.00 hours and consists of the playing of Last Post, silence and the playing of Reveille. There are 120 places in the chapel and its first-come, first-served as seating cannot be reserved. Peter went on to describe what items were to be seen inside the Chapel. There are three crosses, two of wood with handcuffs and one cross as a memorial sword – seen on every war memorial throughout the land. In the right-hand corner is a wooden sculpture called “The Storyteller,” which depicts figures listening to Christ, including one little boy who has found a snail to play with!
Different parts of the landscape are dedicated to the Armed Forces, The R.A.F has silver birch trees with a walnut centrepiece, the Navy are oak trees and the Merchant Navy is surrounded by oaks, to be protected by the Royal Navy. The main plantings are mainly British trees, but more exotic species are being planted. As mentioned previously, the site is over 150 acres, with over 350 memorials, but there are several ways of getting around, including the ‘Land train’, golf buggy and guided walks as well as an easy walk by yourself.
There are not only military monuments, but those commemorating civilians caught up in conflict, which include Evacuees, Royal British Legion Poppy Field, RNLI, Quakers, British Railways, Land Army Girls and Lumber Jills, Salvation Army, Fire Service, NHS, Scouts, SANDS and many others. Other memorials represent WW1 events, including Talbot House (Toc H), Christmas Day Truce – a metal football with two hands connected across it. A very sombre memorial was the “Shot at Dawn” where white timber posts are grouped in a semi-circle, with some 340 souls remembered there.
The site has been carefully designed so that in November on the 11th hour of the 11th day the sun will shine through the Chapel window and line up with the altar and at the Armed Forces Memorial, the sun shines through two gaps in the inner and outer wall to shine on the central wreath. If you would like to find out more about this amazing place or find out what events are taking place throughout the year, please go to their website: www.thenma.org.uk.
The chairman then thanked Peter for his brilliant talk and the session finished with a question and answer session. Before breaking for tea and coffee, Peter drew the winning raffle ticket for the quilt. It was won by Bryn Fieldhouse, we raised £63 towards the cost of the hand-chimes.
Our next General Meeting will take place on Tuesday 13th November 2018 at the Community Centre, when we will present our WW1 docudrama. The Family History group will be displaying their families at war stories.
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Older Adult volunteers needed for research study!
I am seeking volunteers to take part in a research study investigating whether checking is a helpful or unhelpful strategy for older adults and those with dementia.
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University of East Anglia
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