Ramsey and District u3a

February 2022


Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen and a special welcome to you all especially those visiting us today for the first time. How lovely to see you. My apologies for the number of notices I have for you today, so please bear with me.

Firstly, housekeeping notices: fire exits are marked and there is a defibrillator in the disabled toilet and a first aid kit in the kitchen.  Chairs and tables for those less-abled will be put out in the foyer for when you are having your tea and coffee.  Face masks are no longer mandatory but please use them if you feel more comfortable with one.  Doors and windows will be open for the air to flow.  Please be aware that we must remain vigilant and take whatever precautions we feel necessary to stay safe but live bravely.

As I mentioned last month, 2022 is the 40th Anniversary of the u3a movement and National u3a is celebrating by creating an Anniversary Woodland to be located on the England/Wales border in the Brecon Beacons National Park.  Members have already started to donate for Ramsey & District trees and I am delighted that two groups have requested they have a tree dedicated specifically to them, which I am happy to organize.  If any other groups would like a ‘tree’, please let me know.  The cost is £7.50.  The collection box is in the foyer and will be available next month as well, then the total collected will be sent to the u3a for an appropriate number of trees from Ramsey & District u3a.  Please give this your support.

 2022 also marks the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee year and celebrations are taking place in June.  Our general meeting on the 14th will be an Indoor Street Party with food, entertainment, quizzes and more.  It will be a chance to dress up in your red, white and blue and enjoy yourselves.  Unfortunately, we are limited to 80 members so it will be a ticket only meeting and these will be available from next month at £7 per member. Some of you may be aware that there is a nationwide baking competition to find a brand-new pudding dedicated to the Queen.  The winning recipe will be made available to the public and we would like to serve this at our own party so any bakers out there who would be prepared to make one/or some Platinum Puddings, please let me know.  The more bakers we have the less puddings we’ll each have to bake.

We are looking forward to our ‘Meet & Greet’ for new members on Friday and if there is anyone else who wants to join us, please see Maureen or me after.  My thanks to the group leaders and coordinators who are giving their time to talk to members in a less formal atmosphere.

Our AGM will be in April this year and any member who would like to join the committee will ned to be proposed and seconded. Papers are available in the foyer so don’t feel afraid to put yourself forward. You know what talents you have and how they could help YOUR u3a to thrive. Papers are alsoavaiiable if you wish to raise a resolution fo the AGM.

I’m sure you will appreciate that the past 18 months have been difficult for most organisations, and our u3a is no different.  We tried to be fair by having a ‘free’ year as we were not able to hold meetings.  However, this has had the knock-on effect of not being able to bring in revenue.  When the Ramsey & District u3a first started over 10 years ago the annual subscription was set at £15 and it has not increased since.  The committee discussed the subscription at its recent meeting and concluded it was necessary to raise it to £17.  The monthly meeting fee will also rise to £2 from April and visitors will be £3.  We pride ourselves on value for money and work hard to bring you good speakers and subsidized events; in addition to this National Office has increased their capitation fee. I hope you will still feel we give a good service and continue to support us.

I know a few you have been waiting to know what day trips and holiday we can offer for 2022.  Here’s your update – The travel committee has had two meetings and although some venues are not open yet to take bookings, we are looking to  visit Hampton Court Palace on Wednesday 20th July.  The price will be the same as originally quoted at £40 per person.  A sign-up sheet is in the foyer but we won’t be taking deposits until next month.  A number of members put their names down for this visit pre-Covid so if you are not able to come this time, please make sure you cross your name off or speak to one of the committee.

Peckover House and Elgood’s Brewery will be in the diary for Friday 14th October but we have yet to confirm dates with both venues.  Hopefully more details next month.

Our first day trip will be on Thursday 19th May when we hope to visit Landguard Fort and the delightful seaside town of Felixstowe.  Full details are yet to be confirmed but the cost will be approximately £32 per person.  If you are interested please put your name on the sign-up sheet in the foyer, but again, we won’t be taking deposits until full details are available.

I was asked about Thursford Christmas Spectacular and, after contacting Dews Coaches, I can confirm they will be running a coach to Thursford on Tuesday 6th December and we have 15 places available at £65 per person.  The coach will pick us up at the Ramsey Clock.  A sign-up sheet is available in the foyer.  Full payment will need to be paid direct to Dews.  This is available to members and friends.

I have also had enquiries from members to visit the Amazon Distribution Warehouse in Peterborough.  Amazon are only doing virtual tours at the present time but just to gauge the interest for when tours start again, please put your name on the sign-up sheet if this is something you would be interested in.  

The holidays we are arranging for 2022 will be The Irish House Party from Monday 27th June to Friday 1st July.  Members and family had already put their names down and paid deposits for this pre-Covid but due to the new dates I still have one double room and two twin rooms available if anyone is interested.  The price is £549 per person.  Please see a member of the travel committee for further details.

Our other holiday for 2022 is Picturesque Portmerion and Scenic Snowdonia and will take place in September/October.  We are waiting confirmation of the dates once Greatdays have spoken to the hotel, but it does look exciting.  It will be from Monday to Friday and include a trip across the Menai Strait to the island of Anglesey, time to explore Caernarfon and its impressive castle. Two train rides and a visit to the Italianate village of Portmeirion.   Full details, price and a sign-up sheet should be available for next month. We hope members will support the Travel Committee on the day trips and holidays as a lot of research goes into finding interesting places with, hopefully, something for everyone. Please remember that you have to be fully paid up member of u3a to go on the day trips, but family and friends can join the holidays providing there are spaces.

Don’t forget to look at the Notice Board in the foyer to see what events and group interests are available.  The Ramsey u3a website is also a good place to keep up to date with what is happening on any day and anything of particular interest will be published in the ‘Latest News’ section.  Each group has a webpage so if you are looking for something new, this is the place to start and where you will find contact details.

The Groups Co-ordinator then read out the Group news for this month. Most groups are now available. The Classic Film Group will restart on Tuesday 15th Feb Currently, the walking group are unable to continue, as Maureen has been unable to find a group leader. The mixed craft group that was led by Fran is looking for a new leader, we would like to thank Fran for her sterling work in leading this group. The Metal Detecting Group are looking for new members, please see Dave Cusworth if you are interested

Don’t forget to look at the Notice Board in the foyer to see what events and group interests are available.  The Ramsey u3a website is also a good place to keep up to date with what is happening on any day and anything of particular interest will be published in the ‘Latest News’ section.  Each group has a webpage so if you are looking for something new, this is the place to start and where you will find contact details.

It is my pleasure to introduce Charlotte Griggs who has come to talk to us about the work of the East Anglian Children’s Hospice. Charlotte is a community fund raiser for EACH. There are three hospices in East Anglia, Nook in Norfolk, Milton in Cambridgeshire and The Treehouse in Suffolk. HRH Duchess of Cambridge is the Royal Patron of East Anglian Childrens Hospices.

EACH relies heavily on voluntary donations to support the services offer to families, children and young people with life-threatening conditions, we care for children from birth to seventeen and a half. All of our support is provided free of charge and we need to raise over £6 million from fundraising and £5 million in income from our shops each year.

Continued improvements in care means children and young people are living longer and with more complex medical conditions. There are currently more than 2000 children and young people in our area with a life-threatening condition, who may require an aspect of our service.This figure is growing rapidly. Public Health studies report this could be as high as 6,000 by 2025.  Awareness and understanding of our services are also growing, meaning a higher proportion of that increasing figure will inevitably be seeking our care and support.

Careers may have to be put on hold, healthy brothers and sisters can feel left out and regular family activities and holidays can be rare. During this, families are going through a process of grieving. We currently care for 365 children and young people and 463 family members receiving face to face support, which can be delivered where the families wish-in their own home, at hospital at our hospices.

Charlotte then told us of a harrowing tale of Effie who at just over two years old developed Batten’s disease, up to this time enjoyed walks. She started to develop seizures, the prognosis was that she would only live to between six and twelve years. The hospice became her holiday home, but sadly last Christmas she passed away aged six and a half. Her parents said that the hospice was a lifeline as it provided family support and made wonderful lasting memories.

Our family centred approach includes specialist nursing care, symptom management nursing, short breaks, wellbeing activities, therapies, counselling and volunteer services in the family home. Together we can make a difference to the lives of families across East Anglia, support our Charity shops in Whittlesey and Huntingdon.

There followed a question and answer session:

Q.How do you cope? A. Everday, there are challenges, we never turn anyone away we support children and their families.

Q.Where do you get funding? A. Some funding comes from the NHS, but most comes from volunteer fund raising. “Children in need” gave us a well needed boost

Q. Are all staff medically trained? A. Currently 241 staff are trained we are raising funds for another 200.

Thanks to Charlotte for such an informative talk and the dedication of all those who work for EACH.  We then broke for tea, coffee and biscuits.

We had a good response from members last month using the speaker feedback counters, so please continue to put the appropriate counter in the box to help us help you get the speakers you enjoy.

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Next Meetings

 The next general meeting will take place on Tuesday 8th March at the Community Centre, Stocking Fen Road, Ramsey, starting at 2.00pm. This will be a talk entitled“The Brown One” by Richard Hyde.

And Finally

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


Where do hamburgers take their sweethearts on Valentines Day to dance? The Meat Ball!

What time does a duck wake up? The quack of down.

What do you call a pile of kittens? A meowntain.