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                                                                                              Issue 152


Registered charity no. 1108125                                                                                                                March/April 2019


Newsletter Editor: Elizabeth Stevens      01865 739252           newsletter@westoxfordu3a.org.uk           





This Newsletter is published on the Internet simultaneously with the printing.  If any material relating to any individual should not be so published, please contact the Editor.

Welcome to West Oxford U3A


We meet on the 2nd and 4th Mondays except for July, August  and December.  Our ‘year’ begins in September and ends with the AGM, either on the last Monday meeting in May or the first Monday meeting in June  Once the membership fee is paid there is no further charge, although visitors make a donation.  Membership of West Oxford U3A does not cover membership of Oxford U3A or Headington U3A.


The meetings take place at Dean Court Community Centre, Pinnocks Way,  Botley OX2 9DG.   The proceedings start at 2.30pm and (fairly short) notices are given before or after a talk as set out on your programme  Tea and biscuits are always served after the talk with cake at the end of each term.  Please stay and use this time to get to know new people and meet friends


A list of the Interest Groups is on your programme and are open to anyone who would like to join.  Just contact the person referred to as arranging the meetings.  If there is a group you would like to start then, if you think the committee can give you some help, please ask


The membership fee entitles you to the West Oxford U3A Newsletter which is sent out every other month, by email or (for those without a connection) by post.  The Newsletter is full of information about forthcoming events, both those arranged by this branch and also those organised by Thames Valley Network.  Please be certain to look at the notice board at the back of the room for additional details of outings and study days and also on u3atvnetwork.org.uk and our own website westoxfordu3a.org.uk


A membership subscription is paid annually to the National U3A Office and there is a newsletter which you can subscribe to receive or which can be viewed on-line.  If you would like to receive the National U3A newsletter then please contact the Secretary who will tell you the cost. You are entitled to attend the National U3A Summer Schools and other events, details and costs are on the National U3A website.


During the year there is a New Members’ coffee morning for which an appropriate invitation is sent.


Do raise any queries when attending the meetings or write to secretary@westoxfordu3a.     





The range and quality of talks given at our meetings never ceases to amaze me, we are very fortunate to have such good speakers to call on,

and the efforts of the Speakers’ Committee are greatly appreciated.


Thames Valley Network has an attractive programme of Study Days.  Details are shown on the Notice board at the back of the hall,

but for early booking it is worth looking on the website.


Joyce Encer arranged a visit to Christ Church which was sold out very quickly.  I look forward to details of the next one;

we are fortunate to have her ideas, but suggestions from you will always be welcome.



                                                                                                                                    Lis Froggatt

LITERATURE:  a proposed new Interest Group.


John Daniel, who lives in Eynsham, would  like to start a group to meet on a Tuesday afternoon.  Jon ran such a group for many years before his move to Oxfordshire.  He would like an initial meeting to decide on the syllabus which he suggests could include American Literature, short stories and poems, but whatever the group decides.

John says: ‘You don’t need to know anything before you start!

Contact: johntdaniel@hotmail.com




We had an excellent Christmas Luncheon at The Oxford Spires Hotel and at a very reasonable price.  For the Summer Luncheon it has been suggested that we choose a different venue.  We would, therefore, appreciate some suggestions which would not entail too much travel nor be too expensive.  If you have any ideas, please will you contact either Lorna Kohen or myself.

                                                                                                                                    Elizabeth Stevens



The Third Age Trust produces two magazines for U3A members in the UK.  Third Age Matters is published five times a year and Sources ,  an educational journal which focuses on a different subject each issue, is published three times a year.  The magazines are mailed directly to subscribing members.  The production costs are covered by the Third Age Trust.  A charge per address is made towards the cost of postage.


The last subscription year ran from March 2018 to February 2019 and is now over.  If you would like to receive the magazines for the 2019 subscription year, please provide your name and address with your subscription of 2.00 to Ian Battersby at the next Monday meeting or at his address: Kambah, Harcourt Hill, Oxford OX2 9AS,


You can join the scheme at any time during the year and Ian will adjust the subscription price accordingly.



Please note that there is a link to the TVN website from the Links Button on this website.

Please keep checking the notice board and TVN book for information on the latest updates.  If there are any queries please ask Beverley.


Most of the Events are already booked up with waiting lists.


Can I remind you that these waiting lists are because events are popular and places are limited.  They are for U3A members and are not supposed to be advertised to any other group/society that you belong to.


U3a TVN events 2019 can be found on the website.   Please do look occasionally.





YOUR  NEWSLETTER  from Elizabeth Stevens


Please send all contributions, notices, etc. for the next issue covering May/June 2019 to: Elizabeth Stevens, 104 Kennington Road, Kennington, Oxford OX1 5PE (01865 739252) not later than Friday, 26 April 2019.


A reminder that the current issue can always be found on http://www.westoxfordu3a.org.uk/




Meetings are normally held on the 2nd and 4th Mondays of each month from 2.30 pm onwards. There is always an opportunity for tea and biscuits and a chat from approx 3.45pm.  All are welcome, and we extend an open invitation to any visitors who might like to come along and meet us.  



11 March:       Alan Cutler – ‘Judge, Jury, Judgement .... justice?’


Everyone loves a murder mystery so Alan Cutler, writer, trainer and professional speaker has designed a series of presentations which are thought provoking and entertaining.

 ‘A Major investigation’

A real trial in 1922.  A husband, the Major, is accused of murder.

You, the U3A audience as jurors are in court, while Alan, in wig and gown will give the evidence for the prosecution, for the defence and the Judge’s summing up.

After consideration of the evidence you will decide the fate of the accused.  ‘Guilty or not guilty’.

Did the verdict accord with the jury 90 years ago?  Was justice served?


25 March:       Martin Harris - ‘200 years.  My family in the Botley, Cumnor area’


Martin Harris will be giving a talk entitled "200 years - my family in the Botley/Cumnor area". He will explain, with the aid of many family pictures, how he delved into his family tree and learnt about what his ancestors got up to in the last two centuries.


Martin has been a local history enthusiast for 27 years. He is chairman of Eynsham History Group and an active member of Cumnor & District History Society. As well as enjoying giving talks, he has also organised history exhibitions and written/co-written many local history picture books. His day job is working in the NHS as a management accountant so his history activity is purely a hobby. 


8 April:             Alice Foster - ‘The Art of Partying’


Alice Foster is an art historian who lectures on a wide variety of subjects including the history of landscape painting, the Scottish Colourists and understanding abstract art.  She has been a lecturer for the Oxford University Dept of continuing Education, the Ashmolean Museum and is an accredited lecturer for The Arts Society.  (Previously NDFAS)

Her talk this afternoon will feature paintings depicting parties and celebrations in Western Art from the Renaissance to recent time.

29 April:          Prof.  William Whyte – ‘Unlocking the Church.  The lost secrets of Victorian sacred space’


William Whyte is Professor of Social and Architectural History at Oxford University, which neatly encapsulates his interests. He writes

"For good or ill, the Victorians built tens of thousands of churches.  What’s more, they taught us how to understand and experience  religious architecture more generally.  In this talk, William Whyte will explore that forgotten revolution in social and architectural history and in the history of the Church.  No longer mere receptacles for worship,  for the Victorians churches became active agents in their own right, capable of conveying theological ideas and designed to shape people’s emotions."

His recent books include ‘Unlocking the Church’ and Redbrick: A Social and Architectural History of Britain's Civic Universities’.  He is also Chairman of the Oxford Preservation Trust and the Oxford Historical Society.




ART HISTORY/APPRECIATION           (10 members)             Contact:  Terence Carter (01865 863379)


Visits to the Ashmolean Museum normally take place on the second Tuesday or the second Thursday of each month, meeting just inside the main entrance to the Museum. For other locations, directions will be given. There are spaces available in this group.


Wednesday 13 March at 3 pm (please note Wednesday).

Special Exhibition at the Ashmolean – Jeff Koons

Since the 1980s, Jeff Koons has been variously described as the most famous, important, subversive and controversial artist in the world. The exhibition, curated with the artist himself, features 17 works, 14 of which are being exhibited in the UK for the first time. It also explores Koons’s more recent focus on famous Western art paintings and the art of antiquity, which makes the Ashmolean a particularly appropriate venue. Tickets (concessions) are 11.25 – possibly cheaper with a National Art Pass - this includes a free guided tour of the exhibition at 3.30 pm.


Thursday 11 April at 2.30 pm at the Weston Library (Broad Street).

  1. Babel - Adventures in Translation (in the St Lee Gallery): relates to the movement of ideas, stories and cultural practices around the world, and explores how stories have travelled across time, territory, language and medium.
  2. Thinking 3D – from Leonardo to Present (in the Treasury): celebrates the 500th anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci’s death, and illustrates how great strides were made in the depiction of 3D forms, which relate to how we perceive the world today.

So far as can be ascertained, both exhibitions are free.



BRIDGE                                                                                    Contact:  Pauline Martin 01865 250870


We are a friendly group of around 20 players who usually play some 16 games every Wednesday afternoon, starting at 2pm and finishing around 5pm, with a break for tea. We meet in each others’ houses and all can play Bridge to an enjoyable level. We play a Chicago system of scoring and table moves with time to discuss bidding and card play, informally, as required.

This is not a group for total beginners but please enquire if you have a reasonable knowledge of Bridge, enjoy playing socially and would like to know more.



CHURCHES AND PUBS           (25 members)                         Co-ordinator:  Brian Cox (01865 872720)


We meet monthly at a church on the first Friday of each calendar month, followed by lunch together, usually in a nearby pub.  We are not currently able to accept further members but any member of WO U3A who is interested may join the waiting list by sending their email address to Brian Cox please at:-


If there is a favourable response from potential further members we will consider establishing a second group within our U3A.



CINEMA GROUP – 1   (new members welcome)                 Contact:  Lis Froggatt  (01865 249828)


Cinema Group 1 is the renamed Cinema Group 3, but that is the only difference.  We meet monthly on the second Tuesday at The Punter pub on Osney Island at 12.30 pm to discuss over lunch films we have seen and plan to see.  New members most welcome   lis.froggatt@entitledto.co.uk



CINEMA GROUP - 2   (10 members)                                     Contacts:  Pam and David Eyton  (pameyton@gmail.com)


We meet on the second Thursday of the month to discuss a variety of films (mainly from the Phoenix) over a shared meal in a member’s house.   The membership is restricted to 10 because of the dining arrangements. 

If you are interested in going on a waiting list or being invited when space is available, please e-mail Pam.  



COMPUTER  USERS’ GROUP  (7 members – new members welcome)   Contact: Richard Sills (01865 721644)


All meetings will be held at The Map House, Vernon Avenue, OX2 9AU at 10.30 am.  

The next meetings are on 4 and 18 March and 1 and 15 April.



CRAFT GROUP                                                                        Contact:  Sally Strang (01865 240310) 


Our next meeting will be on Friday, 15 March at Sally’s house.



DISCOVERING MUSIC  (7 members – new members welcome) Contact: John Grimshaw (01865 861949)


These convivial meetings are normally held on the third Thursday of each month, at 2.15 pm.  We meet in members’ homes and the host introduces and plays recordings, usually on CD or DVD, of broadly classical music which can be secular or sacred and can include extracts and arias from opera.  Members freely express their reactions.  We may finish with something in lighter mood.



GARDEN CLUB                                                                        Contact:  Mary Gregory (01865 865887)


This social group has around 15 members. We share garden viewing, of our own gardens, other open gardens, nurseries and private visits to gardens of special interest around and about.  We also swap plants and exchange our experiences with plants and weeds.  It is not necessary to be an expert gardener, or even have a garden, to be a member; just enjoy participating. The dates for meetings and outings are arranged to suit the group and our hosts. 


LANGUAGES                                                                           Contact:  David Taylor (01235 525455)


We have completed our study of German for the time being, and we shall now turn to Spanish.  Due to the limitations of space, we cannot unfortunately accommodate any more in the group. 



SCRABBLE                                                                               Contact:  Margery Dent (01865 862534)


The group meets mostly on the 3rd Monday of the month or on an agreed alternative, from 2 – 4.30 pm.  We meet in the homes of different members.  Please ring if you are interested in coming.



WALKING GROUP      (15 members)                                  Contacts: Sally Roberts (721596) and Norman Robinson (862845)


Walks normally commence at 10 am on the 2nd and 4th Fridays of each month and are arranged a few weeks in advance.   It is important to note that if bad weather threatens, you should ring the named leader of the walk, on the day, to check whether it is going ahead; otherwise you may have a wasted journey. (If it is actually raining, the walk will almost certainly be cancelled).

Walks are planned for the second and fourth Fridays in 2019.  Info will be shared on our e-mail link.  Walking boots are always recommended.