Seaham Harbour U3A – Chair’s Report 2020- ‘21

Hello all – I hope you’re all well and double vaccinated.

As I sat in front of my laptop to write this report, I thought to myself, “What am I going to say?”. We have had no monthly meetings for the last 15 months and only recently have the Trivial Pursuits, French, Book Club and Wine tasting groups tried an informal meeting outside while the Walking Group met with reduced numbers. Otherwise, our interest groups have all stopped because of the pandemic.

We know of only 2 members who sadly passed away during this time. They were Bill Peardon and our Treasurer, Kathleen Crabb. If you are aware of any others, or any who are still suffering from Covid 19, please let myself or one of the committee know.

Kathleen, of course, will be sadly missed because she had been a tireless worker for our U3A ever since its inception over 10 years ago, latterly as Treasurer and our expert on the rules. Our thoughts go out to their families.

Nationally and Regionally U3A’s report between 20 and 25% drop in membership over the past year. We have been lucky in that 119 members out of 133 renewed their memberships and we even recruited a new member.

Your committee has continued to meet, especially this year, mainly to plan for the future. On your behalf I would like to thank publicly Joan Temple who took on the role of Vice Chair and has chaired the committee meetings. Gordon Ayre undertook the very difficult task of Treasurer following the death of Kathleen and has done a superb job keeping us up to date with the finances. Alan Smith continues to keep us up to date with regional and national communications. I was surprised to learn that only 30000 out of 200,000 receive these national communications.  I must also thank George and Carole Fairweather for continuing to keep our membership records up to date. Gwyneth Johnston sadly had to resign as Secretary after doing such a great job but I’m pleased to say that Marian Atkinson stepped into the breach and has undertaken that role very successfully. Oonah Hackett also had to resign due to family commitments. I would like to thank both of them for their work on the committee.

Some of our meetings have been held on Zoom thanks to George. We had another one on a very cold Friday morning under Mabel’s car port, then there was one on a lovely summer morning in Mabel’s Garden and for the last one some of us squeezed into her conservatory. The things we do for Seaham Harbour U3A

We hope to be able to resume our monthly meetings and the interest groups in September. There could be a problem with Dow House so provisionally that first meeting will be held in the Masonic Hall. It will be very informal and just allow friends to chat and catch up. We’ll keep you up to date as we know more.

The AGM will be held in October. Details to follow. This will be an important meeting as we were unable to hold one in 2020. Mabel has then organised speakers for the next 2 meetings and our Christmas lunch. I would like to thank Mabel on your behalf for continuing both as hostess to the committee and organising the programme of speakers.

Unfortunately, we had to cancel the planned 10th anniversary celebration. When we resume why not wear the 10th anniversary badge if you have one.  U3A day on June 2nd was a much-reduced celebration nationally. A few of your committee met by the Cenotaph wearing our High Viz jackets and talked to members of the public.

Please watch out for further updates, especially about starting meetings again.

And I thought I had very little to write about in this report!!

Best wishes –     Malcolm Wilkinson