Spire University of the Third Age


ISSUE No.  63                     www.salisburyu3a.org.uk            JANUARY 2009



We hope you all had a pleasant Christmas and are looking forward to enjoying another year in Spire U3A.

You will see we have a number of new members and we hope if you see someone alone you will make a point of speaking to them.  Maybe it appears that all 99 members sitting in the hall know each other but they probably do not! Yes, we have about 100 members attending each coffee morning out of a membership of about 250.   

We have some vacancies occurring on the committee that must be resolved by the AGM in April.  Please consider joining us; it is not an arduous job and can be very rewarding.  It would be very sad should Spire U3A fail due to lack of support as we have a healthy membership.


*Archaeology Group

The first meeting in 2009 will be on: -
 February 24th when the speaker will be John Parrot with his talk on ‘Ancient Farming Methods’.
 31st March  Visit to Devizes Museum
Guided Tour by Shirley Reeves. For free travel
Travel by Wilts & Dorset bus 33 or X33 at 9.15am from bus station, arrive Devizes 10.25am. Return buses leave at 12.45, 13.45 and 14.25 getting to Salisbury at 13.55, 14.55 and 15.35.
Entrance to Museum is free IF you are a member of Salisbury Museum.

*Science & Technology

26th January.  Alternative Medicine - talk by Les Rose

23rd February.  Forensic Archaeology - talk by Paul Cheetham

 30th March.   Apollo - USA’s Journeys to the Moon 

*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

Welcome to New Members

Marina Carr           Deborah Romaine          Patricia Wilson

Zelah Bysouth          Joanna Woodd             Freda Adams

Sally Hewitt          Margery Henderson        Dolores Crolla

Family Research Group for Beginners

For some time now I have been wondering exactly what to do with the several suitcases packed to overflowing with old family photos, wedding certificates and other memorabilia, amassed over many years and, until recently, safely hidden away in our attic!

So in September I signed up for the excellent 8-week “Family Research Group for Beginners” run by Mike Kirby of Spire u3a. I soon gained sufficient knowledge and confidence to make a start on researching the hitherto “unknowns” on both sides of my family.

Mother had Dutch ancestors, or so I had always believed. Not so! They were French  (Huguenots) who came over with the Dutch workforce headed by Cornelius Vermuyden the drainage engineer. Their son Isaac Massingarbe christened at Thorney, Cambridgeshire in 1657 is the “oldest” relative I have traced so far.

I always wondered why father liked “messing about in boats”. Turns out that his grandfather was a Thames lighterman. (born 1806, at Woolwich).

Whilst I found the BBC series “Who Do You Think You Are?” interesting viewing, it’s so much more satisfying to research and discover one’s own ancestors. The only drawback would seem to be the somewhat “addictive” nature of this hobby. You have been warned!                                           S D Robson Spire u3a member.

PS.  You have been warned!  Despite this, you may be interested in joining a beginners group, should there be enough to start a new one later in the year.                                             Ring: 01722 330 123


The last meeting of 2008 was our Christmas Party on the 8th December.  Rita Martin and her team of helpers decorated the Memorial Hall beautifully, with balloons and all the festive trimmings.  This they managed before everyone arrived.  They also had prepared, table decorations for the buffet tables.

We had songs from a small group of singers led by Jenny Watmore who accompanied them on keyboard. First was a song we all know, ‘My Favorite Things’ with words we never heard in ‘The Sound of Music’! 

A poem was read by Beryl Paton, which was very amusing and was followed by more singing including the U3A song.

There then followed readings of letters sent from troops telling of the spontaneous truce on Christmas Day 1914.  These were both poignant and humorous and were interspersed by the singer’s rendition of  'Silent Night'.

A pantomime of 'Jack and the Beanstalk' adapted, produced and directed by Margaret McKenzie was expertly performed by members of the committee with our Chairman John Wort playing the title role of 'Jack'.

Finally we had a musical feast of traditional folk songs from a very talented performer Bob Berry who accompanied himself with various instruments and also explained the history of many of the songs.  Most of the songs were from Wiltshire that he had collected over years.  Some had been found without any accompanying tune so he added music in the same tradition. 

After all this fine entertainment we had an excellent buffet lunch organized for us by Judy Jeffrey with wine served and organized by Frank Woodward. 

                                                                                         Margaret Raymont


Articles for Issue 64 please, by March 1st 2009
Sheila Read, 12 Chiselbury Grove, Salisbury. SP2 8EP
Email: s.read.frps@ntlworld.com

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