'Vibrant' Weston community group celebrates 25th anniversary
PUBLISHED: 12:00 31 March 2019
A Weston group which enables its 1,400 members to learn new skills later in life has celebrated its 25th anniversary.
The town’s University of the Third Age (U3A) group celebrated the landmark on March 16, with hundreds of members turning out to mark the occasion at the Boulevard United Reformed Church Hall.
The group, which first met in 1994, is tailored for people who no longer work full time, facilitating a wide range of groups on a mixture of topics including drama, astronomy and history.
Weston’s MP John Penrose attended the celebration, along with deputy mayor Martin Williams, deputy mayoress Brenda Charles and representatives from the national U3A organisation.
Weston U3A chairman Bob Charters told the Mercury the event ‘was an outstanding success’.
He said: “The feedback we have had has been very heartening.
“The general consensus was it was one of the best events we have ever held. It was a bit like an old school reunion.
“It was emotional for people to meet up again.
“We had 13 founding members attend. We presented them with a lifetime membership to recognise their loyalty and support of Weston U3A.”
The group is targeted at people in the third age of life – the first two being childhood and full-time employment – but there is no lower age limit for people wishing to take part.
Mr Charters hopes more people join the group – which he believes is the second-largest of its kind in the country.
He added: “We have a vibrant community of close to 1,400 members with something like 110 active groups.
“It is a self-help organisation, and the selection of groups covers a full spectrum of subjects.
“Some meetings are quite large while some are a lot smaller.
“We have groups on things such as architecture, armchair travel, astronomy, creative writing, flower arranging and local history.
“Although it is called a university there are no formal qualifications or lectures.
“There are no classes; there are groups of like-minded people which are generally self-taught.
“There are various avenues to get involved.
“If someone wants to join they can come along to the weekly coffee morning at the Friends Meeting House, in the High Street, on Tuesdays from 10-11.15am.”