Ramsey and District U3A


Special notice issued by Jane Cusworth, Chairman:

“All R&D meetings, both interest group and general will be CANCELLED for a least the next 12 weeks. Everyone should now avoid social contact with others and stop non-essential travel to fight coronavirus. Keep safe and support each other, updates will be sent out as and when we have them.” Jane.

March’s Meeting

Our Chairman welcomed members to the meeting, with a special welcome to new members and visitors. Usual housekeeping notices were read, fire exits are marked, there is a defibrillator in the disabled toilet and a first aid kit in the kitchen.  For Health & Safety reasons it is required to join the chairs when there are more than 50 being used.  They cannot be staggered so hope everyone can see OK.  Chairs and tables for those less able will be put out in the foyer for when you are having your tea or coffee. Please make sure you look at the Notice Board in the foyer to see what events and group interests we have available for you all and hope you have considered new interest groups.

The fixings for the hearing loop have been installed but following a power cut and a power surge, which affected the loop and the front door, the hall is awaiting complete checking of the electrical system.  Hopefully by next month it should be up and running. We are beginning to consider our AGM and the committee for 2020/21.  We have three members who will be standing down so I would encourage members to very strongly consider joining the committee so you can help to formulate how your U3A will develop into the twenties.  We really do need members to step up and volunteer as we can’t operate without a committee.  If you would like more details of what is involved, please speak either to myself or a member of the committee.  A working knowledge of computers and the internet is necessary, but tuition can be given. 

We are maintaining the subscription charges as per last year, if you are renewing, please consider bank transfer. Letters have been sent out with renewal details, financial matters and committee volunteering slips.

The Groups Co-Ordinator then said that the newly formed walking group, with shorter walked distances has proved popular with its first walk around Ramsey. A new group has been formed, Models Group. Sign-up sheets available in the foyer for interested members. The display this month was by the Digital Photography Group. On 6th March, the R&D U3A held a successful East Anglia Network meeting. Displays from our groups were available for our visitors to view and very favourable remarks were received after the event.

Our speaker this month was Mark Walsh, his subject,” Here’s a funny thing,” a brief look at Music Hall and its artistes. Mark in recent years has become a regular guest on BBC Radio 2 on the long running programme ‘Friday Night is Music Night’. Born in London, he has been working on stage from the age of 8. His first professional engagement was given to him by Danny La Rue and the two worked together for many years, Mark is regarded as one of the finest ukulele players in the world. He has appeared with some of our greatest stars including Dame June Whitfield, Dame Barbara Windsor and Danny La Rue. Recently, Mark has taken the role of Chairman of ‘The Good Old Days’ at The City of Varieties, Leeds.

In the 1830’s, music was performed in a hall at the side of a public house, the chairman was the landlord and usually the bouncer. Acts would sing songs or tell jokes, the more popular acts would ‘bring the house down’ in which the audience (house) would leave the bar and come to the front to have a better look. Most of the venues were of the spit and sawdust type and in the city of London, some 460 venues were to be found. Acts often did nine shows in one evening. The role of Chairman was soon done away with and a numbering system was introduced – there was no introduction, but the artistes were not happy about this turn of events and soon  introduced signature tunes that the audience would recognise and join in the refrain, for example, Arthur Askey had the ‘Bee Song’, Marie Lloyd sang ‘My Old Man’, Max Miller ‘Fell in love with Mary from the dairy, it was claimed that Max earned two thousand pounds per week in 1940.

Mark went on to play ‘Granada’ on his ukulele and told us of his friendship with Billy ‘Uke’ Scott, who he met whilst doing summer shows at Southport, he then played ‘Tiger rag’ on his banjolele, both of these instruments were given to him by Billy, and remain Mark’s favourite instruments. Later, Mark was to take on the job of Chairman at the City of Varieties until Christmas 2019 when he retired to run an antiques shop. He had 2 CD’s for sale or an excellent line in loo rolls!

Jane then thanked Mark for an excellent afternoons entertainment and we broke for tea and coffee.

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Please keep listening and watching for Government instructions about the coronovirus situation on a regular basis.

Mike Lewis