Spire University of the Third Age


   ISSUE No 58                       www.salisburyu3a.org.uk                   MARCH 2008

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We    hope you will enjoy the exhibitions the groups will have brought for you to see.  It will be an opportunity for you to talk to the leaders or you may have a subject you can offer.  For example a new member, who is experienced in patchwork has already said she would like to meet interested members.  This is the time of the year to talk to any of the committee but especially the Group Coordinator, Sandra Barrett, who will be able to help you. There are so many subjects to enjoy and it only needs two to start a group.

          It is the time of the year that we pay our membership fee of £7.50.  This should be in by April 1st and Jackie Mundy will be at the door to receive your cheque or cash.

          This is a special year for us as it is ten years ago that Spire was formed.  As most of you will know we are the youngest of the three U3A’s in Salisbury.  To celebrate we will be having a Garden Party on June 9th at 11.30 and include entertainment and a lunch.  Tickets will be £5 and each will have a number for the raffle; so keep yours safe.  The ticket will be required on the day as entry will be strictly by ticket only.  Should it rain, you will be glad to hear the hall is booked!


Welcome to New Members
Eric Johnson           Jane Steed        Margaret White
Gerald Thomas   and   Giselle Thomas
David Stone and Judy Stone



I need a kindly person to occasionally to look after my Golden Retriever in your home, to enable me to visit Historic Houses with the U3A.
Millie is affectionate good company and quite well behaved!  She can be left for a few hours – no walking required unless you feel the urge!
Contact Judy Jeffrey on 01425 652124



*Archaeology Group

25th March 2008 ‘Metal Detectoring’ Brian Read
29th April Egypt’ A video trip Jim Wade and Paul Robinson
27th May   Mark Corney

*Science & Technology Group

31st March Marie Rose, 25 years on Dr Ken Collins.
28th April Blacksmithing Linda Baker.
* Spire organises these meetings but members from the other Salisbury U3As are invited. There is no need to have your name down to attend.  Just turn up on the day, usually in the Memorial Hall, Harnham unless otherwise stated*


How to fill up Sundays or some other day(s)!

Spire’s Sunday Lunch Group has been defunct now for some years and several of the most active members of that group have moved away.  

Is there anybody out there now who thinks it should be resurrected?  If so please ring me on 01722 334341.  I will arrange a get-together, coffee or tea to discuss the possibilities.  First, how often should the new group meet?  Does it have to be on Sundays?  All the year round or only during the Winter?  Something cheap and cheerful or something to save up for?  In a number of small venues or a different place each time?  And what about transport or should the group meet in places accessible with our bus passes.  Are there enough drivers able to offer lifts to miserable non-drivers like me?  And how many members would make it viable?

It was the Sunday lunch group that made me feel welcome and integrated when I joined Spire some nine years ago.  What I learned, I suppose was how friendly strangers can be- at least Spire U3A members!  I did try another similar body, which shall be nameless as it is local, and found it not nearly so congenial.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Mary Poynton.




Pine Table 5’x 3’ with 4 Pine chairs.   Offers over £100

All monies over this will be donated to the Salisbury Hospice.  Phone: 01425 652424

Mothercare Foldaway Baby Buggy.  Ideal for Grandchildren.  Offers please.                                                                                                   Phone: 01722 330123
Scanner, Epson Perfection 1250.  Resolution 1200 x 2400 in original box with accessories.      Suitable for photography work.                        Phone: 01722 330123



            Many people in U3A will have heard that there is a project to purchase a parcel of land at Broken Bridges in Lower Bemerton, either through media coverage, a mention at a Spire U3A coffee morning before last Christmas or informally from the indefatigable Pauline Wade who was the instigator of the whole idea. Here is an update on what has happened so far:


            By a happy coincidence the campaign of a group of residents in Lower Bemerton to purchase the piece of land began at the same time as the publication of  ‘Footloose in South Wiltshire’ by Hobnob Press Jane Holme’s fascinating book about wild life and farming in the 1940s and 50s.  Jane’s diary describes the “Paradise” of bird life and wild flowers that was the water meadows at Broken Bridges, as she knew it.  We want to restore some of that beauty to the site and make it accessible for a range of wildlife pursuits.

            The 52-acre site is attached to Fitzgerald’s Farm, the site of an ancient paper mill just as walkers enter the Broken Bridges footpath from Lower Road in Lower Bemerton. It has been on the market but has now been withdrawn and we believe is planned to go on sale again in late spring 2008.

            Since the launch of the campaign in January we have had some success – a group has been formed, entitled Bemerton Meadow Group and is looking to get charitable status.  It is currently drawing up a Draft Management Plan for the site under the chairmanship of Dr. Chris Cochrane and supported by notable Harnham residents Mike Cowan (historian of the water meadows and Harnham Mill) and Pam Rouquette, environmentalist and campaigner as well as local residents. After some initial reservations the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust is coming on board, having been impressed by the degree of enthusiasm for the project not just in Bemerton but also across the City.  It is going to be important to get the balance of different user groups right and we are working hard on this.

            Last but by now means least the drive to raise funds for the purchase – a sum in the region of £300.000 is needed - has been given a real boost by the agreement in principle of the use of  £75,000 from the Bemerton Recreation Ground Trust, which is managed by the City Area Ward Committee of the District Council.

            There is still a long way to go but the Bemerton Meadow Group continues to look for pledges of interest and an indication of financial support from the local community – NO MONEY AT THIS STAGE.

Names, phone numbers and/or e-mail addresses to: -bemerton.meadow@btinternet.com

or phone Anne Trevett on 01722 326261


Looking at country Houses

                  Ten years ago Hugh Thomas suggested that we should make use of the knowledge he had gathered over his years of being a Blue Badge Guide to explore the local Country Houses.  Who would have thought that there is enough material around here to keep the group going all these years?

          Yes, our parameters have changed slightly since those early days.  At the outset our aim was to visit one house in the morning, have a quick lunch and then see another in the afternoon; now it tends to be the case of a leisurely lunch followed by a property and then tea. Then we were prepared to travel up to two hours anywhere outwards and hoped to reduce that to one hour return journey: now we avoid the A27 east of Chichester, anywhere that necessitates using the southern Oxford ring road, the A30 west of Exeter, the M5 in August, Worthing and Longleat.   Our excursions into Herefordshire were a little fraught as they involved going round Swindon, another hazard to be avoided on Fridays.  The logbook tells more, the photos show fine heads of hair in many colours - who was it that called us ‘Snowies’ the other day? 

          Last year we thought we had seen it all and so did not plan to go anywhere - but the withdrawal symptoms kicked in; we found another member and we had a shorter season than usual.  We found that some of the hostelries had changed hands (for the better), we found a few new ones, and we even found houses as yet unvisited.

          So, emboldened by our contentment, we have held our tenth Planning Meeting at which we discovered that, with all the gradual changes that have taken place, we are a different group to that which, in 1998, went to Polesden Lacy and listened to the reminiscences of two retired professional gardeners who still had eyes for the ladies!

          It makes life so much easier when they are not in a position to say ”Bin there, dun that” one can plan happily - providing the Thames does not flood at Lechlade this year- we have done so.

          We can still take three more in the group.  Catch one of us to try!  Happy Visiting!

Jim Dunston


Articles for Issue 60 please, by May 3rd 2008
Sheila Read, 12 Chiselbury Grove, Salisbury. SP2 8EP
Email: s.read.frps@ntlworld.com

Thank you all for the responding to my plea for articles.  I have been delighted with the amount and quality. The Editor

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