Ramsey and District U3A


Our Chairman, (Jane Cusworth) welcomed everyone to the May meeting. The usual housekeeping notices were read out, with a reminder that tables and chairs in the foyer were reserved for those who were less able. The chairman hoped that she would be able to follow in the footsteps of Sheila Gilbert-Hill and keep the R&D U3A running in a smooth and efficient way, if you have any problems or ideas, then please talk to any committee member.

Sign-up sheets for Felbrigg Hall and the Black Country museum were available in the foyer. The travel committee are meeting at the end of the month to have a look at trips and tours in the future.

The Groups co-ordinator is away on holiday, so there are no updates from the group this month. The group display this month is from the Classic Film group.

Jane reminded all that on Saturday December 7th we will have two showings of our very own Pantomime, which has been written by your very own Enid Hubbard.

Jane then introduced the speaker for this afternoon’s illustrated talk – Terry James – his subject the RNLI.

Terry started by saying that he is employed by the RNLI as a development officer and fund raiser, always looking for new revenue streams. His audiences always assume that he is based at the coast, but he in fact is based in Huntingdon.

His message to all was to stay safe if you go into the water, some 23 people are rescued every day. The RNLI get involved with flood rescue and work with the fire and rescue services, they have 100 volunteers working in eight teams to deploy in 6 hours, they also have lifeguards who patrol beaches.

The RNLI is a registered charity, they don’t get Government handouts and is a separate entity from the Coastguard. It was founded in 1824 and since that date have saved over 140,000 lives. The RNLI is made up of 95% volunteers who come from all walks of life.

The RNLI have a training facility in Poole and some 230 stations around the British Isles and Ireland. Their rescue vehicles include hovercraft, rigid inflatable boats, (RIBs), and the Shannon class lifeboats. We then watched videos of rescues at sea, the most harrowing being the rescue at Portrush of two young boys and their dad who were caught up in a riptide.

Lifeguards patrol 240 beaches and have attended 17,141 incidents and saved 127 lives. Water safety is paramount, so if you are swimming, make sure that you enter the water between the red/yellow flags. Water safety is taken to schools and young persons are told about the ‘Respect the Water Campaign’ when they learn about cold water shock and how to stay alive by floating and not fighting the water

The RNLI need £485,00 a day to keep running, from a £1 donation, 83p buys kit/training, while 17p is reinvested. To train a crew member costs £1600, to build a Shannon class boat £1.2M. These boats are being built at the all-weather lifeboat centre in Poole.

Fund raising gets some 60% from legacies, their supplier of kit is Helly Hanson. Quiz nights and fish and chip suppers help to increase funds! Any questions followed and included  “ Do you advertise on TV – no, its too expensive” “Ladies in crews – about 9%” “Who is the engine supplier – Caterpillar” “Insurance for crews – covered by RNLI” “Water jets and shingle/sand, does that block intakes – Terry had no clue.”

Jane then thanked Terry for a most interesting afternoon and we broke for tea/coffee and biscuits.

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Next Meeting

The next general meeting will take place on Tuesday 11th June at the Community Centre, Stocking Fen Road, Ramsey, starting at 2.00pm. The topic will be Climate Change and the speaker is Chris Bell

Other News

Froglife a national wildlife conservation charity is developing a project in Ramsey. The project will be undertaking some remedial works on the town pond but it is also about promoting ponds as part of our built heritage and encouraging people to have ponds in their gardens and to record their ponds and species onto our database.  We are currently seeking support for the project; we must show the donors that this is something that people want to get involved in.  In addition to the pond works we will be:

1.       Hosting open days with a Pond Doctor Marquee and Wildlife Gardening Workshops.

2.       Offering Wildlife Gardening Workshops to groups.

3.       Offering groups the opportunity to take part in the creation of a Tapestry recording the heritage items of the town including the pond.  This will be supported by a Fabric Artist.

4.       Gathering memories from older residents about the pond and how it has changed over the years – these will be recorded by younger people.

 If you think this will be of interest to you, please let a committee member know at the next general meeting.

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 fake noodle? A: An Impasta

 Q: What do you call an alligator in a vest? A: An Investigator

Q: What happens if you eat yeast and shoe polish? A: Every morning you’ll rise and shine! h