Newsletter from your Chairman February 2023

Mike Collins

Dear members

How are you getting on with your ‘new year’ resolutions? Perhaps you didn’t make any or have already given up. (Dry January seems to have been very popular this year.) Perhaps one I can suggest to you for 2023 is to get involved in a group activity – we have so many on offer in our u3a and even more when you consider our links to the groups in Sevenoaks, Westerham and Knole.  What about all our new members?  Do you have a skill or knowledge you would be willing to share with others. If you need help in starting a group, contact Brian Swift our groups co-ordinator.

It was great to see so many of you at our January meeting to hear Nicholas Owen talking about his career in journalism starting with his humble beginning as a reporter for the Surrey Mirror. 

His philosophy of seeing opportunities as a partially open door and going for it by pushing that door wide open was a fascinating way of looking at his progression as he rose through the ranks of journalism to becoming one of the key newsreaders for ITV.  We are currently in negotiation with him to come back in 2024 and talk about his role as a royal correspondent.  It was good to discover that he is also a keen member of his local u3a group in Reigate.

Nicholas owen

I am pleased to announce that our membership has now topped 200. Covid and the lockdowns knocked our membership levels to below 150 so it is great to see that the numbers have climbed back to our pre-covid levels. I am sorry that some of you had difficulty parking for the meeting.  In looking at the situation in the car park some cars had parked in a haphazard way reducing the number of available spaces – hence the shortage of space!

This month we have a very different speaker for you.  On Wednesday 22 February Katherine Collett, a professional singer and entertainer, will talk to us about an era of music spread over 40 years.  She describes this as an era of timeless elegance, and she will be dressed appropriately. Apart from her public speaking engagements she sometimes performs as a wedding singer and at parties, and she has spoken to other u3a groups and WIs. In my absence Bob Hart will be introducing her to you all and will be standing in for me.


It is good to see that the groups are gradually returning to normal and many of you are taking part.  The covid break means that many of the photos on our website are now several years old so we could do with some new images to bring them up to date. Group leaders could you take some photos of your group in action and get them to our website manager, Sue Farrell.  If possible, a short report on what is happening in your group would be welcome also.


We have managed to fill two of our vacant positions on our u3a committee:

  1. Diana Sharpe will replace Estelle Barling and become our Membership Secretary.
  2. Christine Prickett will be our new Minuting Secretary.

They will work alongside our existing team before being added at our AGM in July.


We still need someone to take on the role of Treasurer.

We still need a website manager.

We still need a Vice Chairman.

So, remembering that under the rules set up by u3a nationally we cannot function unless these posts are filled, we need some of you to step forward.  Please contact me (on my chairman’s email) or any member of the committee if you would like to become part of our organisation.



And finally:

Came back from holiday to find the warmth of the kitchen had stimulated the garlic to sprout - not so good for flavouring anymore but ideally ready for planting out in the garden. Just separate the cloves and plant them outside. They can be planted 5cm deep between resting perennials to give you a crop at the end of Summer and some greenery in the meantime. Early Feb is a good time to be planting garlic cloves.

‘Waste not want not’ as the saying goes!


That’s all this month – stay safe and stay healthy.

Mike Collins

Chairman                  Email ([email protected])

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Previous editions  of our newsletter can be found in the Newsletter archive