Group News

The Group Co-ordinator is Julia Whitburn at 01962 881699 or email


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As our group meetings are held in many different venues, often individual members’ homes, please check with the leader of the group you are interested in about accessibility.



On 17th March the urgent message below was emailed to all Group Leaders. All Group Leaders if you did not receive this message then please read and action.


Dear Group Leader,

With the best interests of all our members at heart the committee have decided to cancel the April and May monthly meetings and re-schedule the speakers. This message will be put on the website. We will make every effort to keep you informed about developments for subsequent months.

We are relying on group leaders to pass on this information as not all our members use the internet. Given the diversity of our groups, their members and their venues we ask group leaders to consult with their members and make a decision to meet or not on this basis. A possible outcome of this projected lockdown is depression and feelings of loneliness and isolation. Please keep up everyone’s morale with phone calls and emails etc as much as you can. Already the brighter light and welcome spring flowers are helping to lift our spirits until, in the words of Vera Lynn, “We’ll meet again!” and not before too long I hope,

Freda, your chairman





Every year we have an event at which group leaders present what happens in their particular group (they are all highly individual!) and members, especially those recently joined, can find out more information about activities on offer and meet other members.

The event this year is arranged for the afternoon of Thursday 14 November in Littleton Millennium Hall. I will be contacting group leaders and recently-joined members in due course to invite them personally to the event, but I thought it might be helpful to have the date of the event now to put in diaries. I know the date will not suit everyone as a few groups inevitably will be meeting on that afternoon; if this is the case perhaps group leaders could delegate someone else to represent them or to provide a summary paragraph of their activities in advance.

Tea and biscuits (possibly even cake) will be provided from 2:00 to 3:30, so please come along and make new friends. And if you are well-established member and already belong to a few groups but would like to find out what happens in other groups with a view to joining, please come along as well!

Julia Whitburn
Groups Secretary




All existing Group Leaders should have received the Latest version of the Group Leaders Guidelines. A copy is available.




The minutes of the Group Leaders meeting on 23rd May 2019 are now available. It is important that all Group Leaders read the minutes whether they went to the meeting or not.



Book Review. Bitter Orange, by Claire Fuller

Modern novels group 9 would like to share and recommend our book choice with other groups and U3A members

This is Claire Fuller’s third novel and we were keen to read it as she is a local author. It tells the story of Frances Jellico who is dying and remembering the summer of 1969 when she was commissioned by Mr. Lieberman, the new owner, to survey the follies in the gardens of a decrepit and almost derelict country house in Hampshire. An old friend, a vicar, is with here at her deathbed and is encouraging her to tell him what really happened that summer. A sense of suspense is quickly established.

Frances is an ungainly, lonely, socially inept woman of 39 who has spent most of her life caring for her ailing, difficult and critical mother. On arrival at Lyntons she discovers Cara and Peter (who has been commissioned to survey the interior) already in residence on the floor below her. Early on she discovers a Judas hole in her bathroom through which she can spy on the couple. Frances is bewitched by this exotic and hedonistic pair and the prospect of friendship with them beguiles her. She is drawn into a summer of extravagant and elaborate meals cooked by Cara, where champagne flows and the three of them lead a seemingly idyllic, lazy, indulgent summer, totally neglecting their brief from Mr. Lieberman. Frances is entranced by Cara’s fantastic stories of her past life. Peter initially seems less complicated, but his character is gradually revealed to the reader. Frances refuses to heed the pleadings of the vicar to distance herself from this pair and remains charmed by them.

We all enjoyed this gothic novel where Fuller blends a sense of the languid, hot August and gentle bucolic descriptions of the Hampshire countryside with an air of undefinable menace and foreboding. There are strange sounds, a face at the window , a dead bird and the eyes have been cut out of the peacocks on the wallpaper. The tension increases throughout the novel as the weaknesses of the protagonists are revealed and hints of impending disaster build. This is a novel full of surprises.

Jenny Brennan




The Birdwatching group has now met four times. The first meeting was over coffee for planning. We have been on visits three times to watch birds – to Titchfield Haven, Winnel Moors and Blashford Lakes.


The birdwatching group still has room for new members and has been out an about a few times. We had a great trip to Blashford Lakes followed by a pub lunch when we discussed other possible outings. The following month saw us at Framlington Marshes looking out for very different wading birds and some beautiful lapwings performing their spectacular aerial courtship displays. Lunch that time was a picnic in an open shelter. Eating is of course an important part of birdwatching!

If you would like to join us, please contact me, Janie Penn Barwell contact details

Janie Penn Barwell




Winchester allotment group are in need of some gardening equipment and thought that members of Winchester U3A may have some that they are willing to donate.

The equipment we need is:-

Small (border/women's) garden forks
1 Wheelbarrow

Elaine Curtis will be happy to pick up any offers from the Winchester area. Please email her. contact details

Elaine Curtis.




The Railway Group continues to defy all expectations – we have just welcomed our 40th Member!

A wide range of interesting activities await us during 2018 – the highlight being a tour of the West Country in June. We plan a return journey on the West Somerset line – the longest Heritage Railway in the UK. We are also planning to visit the Lynton & Barnstaple narrow gauge railway, travelling the section now reopened from Woody Bay Station – at almost 1000 feet the highest station in Southern England. This line was the only narrow gauge railway operated by the old Southern Railway and closed in 1935. We shall travel in ancient restored coaches pulled by rebuilt replicas of the original engines.

Dale Greenwood.