Purbeck U3A

Ukulele’s Entertain at Corfe Castle




Luckily the weather was sunny, but a bit windy for the annual May Fair at Corfe Castle where the Ukulele Group entertained the visitors and locals with a varied selection of songs.


Successful A G M

We were very lucky that the road in Harmans Cross remained open for the AGM which was well attended and members were treated to a lovely selection of cakes to have with their coffee or tea. Afterwards a very calming demonstration of a Qi gong sequence was demonstrated by Penny Yousef. Members then took part in some exercises that they could do sitting down. There were lots of questions about the group afterwards.

The next set of six sessions starts on Wednesday 19th June at Sandford Hall, 10.00 to 11.00 am.  The non refundable cost for each set is £30.00 payable in advance. For more information contact:

Nola: qigong@purbecku3a.org.uk




Congratulations !!!

Gill Calvin Thomas is a member of the Creative Writing Group and has written a book called Vex Not Her Ghost.  This has now been published  and is available from Amazon. 




Lovely Trip for Cycling Group

The Intermediate Cycling Group have been on trips away for 8 years now. We have just returned from this year’s, for which we decided to revisit St Malo where we went in 2017.

There were 19 of us on this trip, quite a handful to keep count of on the rides. Apart from those who were extending the trip and made their own way, most of the group took the Portsmouth – St Malo ferry, boarding on our bikes. We sailed there and back overnight and stayed two nights in a lovely little hotel, Les Charmettes on St Malo seafront. This gave us 3 days for cycling. The three rides, each about 25 miles, fell into place very neatly. The first day we went south, across the Rance tidal barrage, up the west side of the river, crossing it at Port Hubert and returning on the east side. The second day we took the passenger ferry to Dinard and cycled along the coast to St Briac and beyond, returning across country. The final day we went west, stopping at the natural harbour in Rotheneuf, then across country to Cancale, famed for its oysters and returned along the coast.

I think we can count the trip as a success. The Intermediate Group is a very sociable one anyway, but never more so than on these trips when eating and drinking features quite a lot. From my point of view the main achievement was not losing anybody, not good when most would admit to being extremely vague about the routes.

I would recommend trips like this to any U3A group which lends itself to them. The members get to know one another a whole lot better.

Steve Drew 


Science & Technology Group

Meetings at 10:00 am on the 3rd Wednesday in Harman's Cross Main Hall (+ zoom livestream)
Entrance Fee: £1.50 - Non-members Welcome.

Programme for 2024:

15 May: Cordite! - The Story of the Royal Naval Cordite Factory *

19 June: Astronomy from Space

17 July: Food Fraud

18 September: Astronomical Influences on Climate Change

21/28 August - Field Trips. Booked members will be emailed details

16 October: Plastic Bicyles

20 November: Aviation Around Poole Harbour 1010 - 1976

11 December: Fifty years a Lifeboatman

Programme for 2025:

15 January 2025: Nuclear Accidents

19 February: “Keep calm - I’m an Air Traffic Controller!”

16 April: Phil Judkins “Showing Echoes of the Past - Early Radar in Dorset” (This meeting will be open to all u3a members)

* The Cordite! presentation on 15th May will start with John screening a 40 minute version of his feature length documentary currently on Amazon Prime, followed by a discussion with one of the past employees there (now aged 90!), Dr Bob Dukes, who is one of the two presenters in his film.

In view of previous interest being shown in this local piece of history, the whole PU3A membership is invited to attend if you wish by clicking  THIS PAGE of the S&T website.

S&T also have a frequently updated website which is full of information, so please take a look by clicking HERE and see their Next Meetings page for details of forthcoming meetings.



Singing Group

The PU3A Singing Group continues to flourish under the leadership of Paul Martin, and they are now looking for new members to swell the sound. We meet on the first and third Wednesday in each month, from 2 to 4 pm at Carey Hall, Wareham. No audition is required, and you don't need to read music.- you just need to love singing!

Our repertoire is varied, including rounds, traditional songs, songs from musicals and more. We sing in unison, or in 2 or 3 part harmony.

Do come along for a taster to see if this is for you. We are particularly short of male voices.

Contact:   singing@purbecku3a.org.uk


Group Coordinator News

I hope you enjoyed the Easter Break and are looking forward to the summer term with your group.

You will have seen the recent newsletter from Victoria, our Chair, reminding members of the AGM on 23rd May and highlighting some of the new groups.

The Committee is always looking for updates and interesting activities within our existing groups to promote on our website. Indeed, where groups require new members to top-up existing numbers or start new groups (as we have recently done with cycling, french and latin), then the website is an excellent way of reaching out.

Do please send me a few lines in an email, outlining your groups’ activities and plans. I will gladly arrange for these comments to be promoted on the website. As you will have read in the newsletter, with new members joining each week, we are now at pre-Covid membership levels with over 50 interest groups for members to participate.

Many thanks,


u3a Group Coordinator


Open Garden Visits in June

OWERMOIGNE Open Gardens near Dorchester, Dorset. DT2 8HP

Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd June 2024    11.00am to 4.00pm.
A rare opportunity to discover the lovely gardens in this village. The gardens will be opening over two days in conjunction with the Flower Festival at St Michael's Church.
Plants and local crafts available for sale. Refreshments available at the church and the village hall.
All proceeds from the entrance fee to go to village community projects and St Michael's Church. There will be plants sales at various gardens and in the centre of the village.                                             Approximately 15 gardens will be open, but the total may vary from day to day - please contact the organisers if you need exact numbers.

Cost: £5.00 adults, accompanied children free - day ticket giving access to all gardens and the Church Flower Festival.
Tickets / programmes are available on the day at the church and the village hall.
Toilets are available - locations will be advised on the day.

BRIANTSPUDDLE Open Gardens Dorchester DT2 7HT.

Sunday 23rd June 2024     10.00am to 4.00pm

This area is notorious for Deer so you may get some tips.
Visit the beautiful Dorset villages of Briantspuddle, Affpuddle and Throop.                                                                                                 From amateurs to experts, the local gardeners will be on hand to show you around. There will also be an opportunity to see an exhibition of local artists work.
Refreshments will be available all day in the village hall.
All proceeds to the Village Hall, one of only two thatched village halls.

Cost: £6.00 adults, accompanied under 16s free.
Tickets / programmes buy on the day at the car park or village hall. Toilets are available - locations will be advised on the day.

Walking Group

Group meets every 2nd Monday at 10.00 at various locations for circular walks lasting about two hours. Non-members are welcome but insurance covers the first visit only.

The start points will have parking available, and are never more than a short drive from the main towns in the Isle of Purbeck. Please try to car share.

In some cases, the start and finish point will be where those minded to do so can stop to socialise over refreshments or lunch.

Suitable footwear is essential, and waterproof clothing and walking poles or sticks are recommended. There may be stiles to negotiate. Please bring a drink.

For more information, please contact: walking@purbecku3a.org.uk

No dogs, please. The "K9" Group caters for those who want to walk with their dogs, please contact K9s@purbecku3a.org.uk 


Astronomy Group 

 We have our very own Brian Cox in Graeme Nash, who will be leading this group again starting Thursday 21st September 3.00pm in Sandford Hall. He will keep you up to date with current discoveries in cosmology especially regarding the "arly formation of our universe and life cycles of the galaxies"  . It is a fascinating subject. For more detailed information please read the group description and contact   Alan Bagley: astronomy@purbecku3a.org.uk 



Meeting Points Potter

Meeting Points for February was a little different with an interesting and humourus demonstration and talk from retired GP Jonathan Easterbrooke on how he digs his own clay, processes it and then makes pots. He uses a pestle and mortar to grind up the clay, not your normal size as you can see from the picture.



Jonathan then demonstrated how to throw a pot using this very local clay. It is quite a long process to reach this stage but is very satisfying. There were lots of interesting questions from the audience.



PPQ Have Been Busy Again


A measuring frenzy has taken over, not that it’s competitive and it always seems to be the same end!!


National u3a News


 Board Meeting: 21 February 2024

Summary Report :This was an online meeting. Main items discussed:

Vacancies. The process of replacing the North West and Wales trustees has commenced and closing date for nominations is due.  
Q3 Financial Results. The Trust’s business activities (including the TATTL trading activities) for the period to 31 December 2023 shows a positive surplus of £83k against a budget deficit of £87k. Income is still below budget due to lower membership numbers than expected, although staff costs, spend on grants available to u3as, and project costs are all lower than forecasted. The current year-end forecast for the Trust, including TATTL, is a surplus of £51k against a budget deficit of £156k.
Reserves. The reserves level is the amount of funds required to be retained by all charities to weather unforeseen charges and hypothetical dissolution. The Board approved the latest thinking on the reserves policy which recommended a reserves level of £1.1m.
Investments. Numerous bank accounts previously held by the Trust have been closed as part of a rationalisation to focus on interest-earning accounts and spread funds as part of a risk management exercise. The Trust’s Investment Policy takes a low risk approach to investments, based largely on high street banks and similar organisations, with a significant amount covered by the FSCS guarantee scheme.
Development Projects. The Board had the first opportunity to review projects being considered for 2024/25. These included scoping ideas for a digital advice and guidance service to address the current “digital divide”, providing measurement analytics for trustees, developments to the Zendesk ticketing system to improve the advice service, reviewing the effectiveness of communications, and the potential for a radio and social media campaign to support the resolution from the last AGM. Most projects still required further thought before they can be considered for the 2024/25 budget.
Resolution 500k. This resolution, passed at the last AGM concerns raising the profile of the movement as part of attracting new members. The work being done focuses in four main areas, social media promotions, What’s On and specific radio advertising campaigns, launch of the new Friends concept and re-branding the magazine, and person to person promotions involving a Pass It On campaign, contributing to pre-retirement courses, and specific messaging.
Draft 2024/24 Budget. The Board discussed the current stage of the preparation of the budget. There are still a number of areas that need to be examined in more detailbut the overall aim of the 24/25 budget is becoming clear. The aim is for business as usual to be largely funded by a forecasted modest increase in income as membership numbers continue to recover from the Covid period. The movement’s strategic aims will be funded largely by development projects funded from designated reserves which will enable the accumulated cash reserves to be reduced over time. Nevertheless, by comparison to previous years, the final budget is expected to show a different basis for grants, and a different basis for staff costs.
CEO Recruitment. Following the announcement that the CEO will stand down from October 2024, arrangements were outlined for a process to seek a replacement. It is hoped that the new CEO will be in place by September to allow for a structured handover.
Influencing and Social Change. A presentation of a number of options will be made to the Pilot Council on 28 February. The Trust Board emphasised the need for sensitivity in considering options and care when consulting widely with the membership.
Trust and TATTL Protocol. The Board approved a protocol that updated the governance arrangements between the Third Age Trust and TATTL, its wholly owned subsidiary. The protocol concerned the membership and reporting relationships between the two bodies.
Fit For The Future Consultation. An update of progress with the consultation process was provided. All regions/nations had started online or face to face consultations and feedback comments were generally in favour of the concept at this stage although significant detail work is still to be done.

Please note that official minutes are the true record of discussions and decisions taken at Board meetings. This is a brief summary of the main topics discussed and should not be taken as an authoritative statement. If you require any further detail about any item, please contact your Trustee.  

Play Writings Study Group

The New Play Study Group has been operating for a term now . Theyhave been looking at and reading two of Alan Aykebourn plays.
Members read the play at home privately and meet fortnightly to discuss its main themes and characters in the Scout and Guide HQ in Wareham on a Wednesday morning.  Members then decide to read parts of the drama if they wish to do so. The group is about understanding the drama  and reading the text to illustrate the argument is very important .
They are currently looking at some Pinter plays. Please go along for a taster if you think you might be interested or contact Jim for more information: plays@purbecku3a.org.uk


These photos are postures of part of a set called, ‘8 Silk Brocade’


1.Holding one hand aloft                2. Drawing a bow



3 & 4. Looking backwards to prevent strain
This sequence of 8 postures is now finished and the group look forward to learning a new Qigong warm up routine in January.
Some comments from members include:
Colin - After each session one realised that all parts of the body have been engaged with benefits such as greater balance and a feeling of well-being.
Chris - Makes me feel energized
Masha- Very relaxing and makes one body aware.
Nola- Each posture is explained well by Penny which gives us great insight into how our bodies can be worked for maximum benefit. A new  course begins in March and there are some spaces. If interested please contact Nola: qigong@purbecku3q.org.uk


Debating Group

They have got off to a good start. Twelve members attended a lively first debate on the motion Gardening is Therapeutic, compellingly proposed by Patrick, strikingly opposed by Phyl and expertly chaired by Martin.  A stimulating discussion followed, with a wide range of views and experiences shared.  A vote was held, and the motion was narrowly carried, at 5-4 for.

For information contact Jane Lewis:  debate@purbecku3a.org.uk


Crib/Games Group

There are now a number of people playing Majong at this group so if you would like to play or learn please go along and join them. They meet at Stoborough Village Hall 1st and 3rd Thursday mornings from 10.00am and are opening up for more games.

If you would like to come along please contact:

Barry Stocks crib@purbecku3a.org.uk

Self Help Painting Group

This group is will now be meeting at Stoborough Village Hall in the back room which should make it easier for more budding artists to attend.  Meetings will be held monthly, on second Mondays from 10.30am to 1.00pm commencing 4th September. There will be no meeting in January 2024. New members are very welcome and for more information please contact Jill Embleton or Janice Hale:  painting@purbecku3a.org.uk

The Genealogy Group

The leader of the Genealogy group will be giving up so they are currently looking for a new group leader. They currently meet on Zoom on the 3rd Wednesday of the month from  2.00 - 4.00 pm.  We understand that they would be happy to meet up again in person. For more information please contact Mark Fielder: groupscoord@purbecku3a.org.uk

Fiction Writing Group

This group has space for a few more members.  They meet alternate Mondays 2.00 - 4.00pm at the Wareham Scout Hut.  If interested in finding out more please contact  fictionwriting@purbecku3a.org.uk

Music Appreciation Group 

This Group has space for a few more members as not all of them attend every session.  The only qualification for membership is enthusiasm and the ability to drive within the Purbeck area. They meet on 2nd and 4th Monday of the month. For more information please contact: Jane  music2@purbecku3a.org.uk

Bridge for Fun Group

This happy group of players meet at Stoborough Village Hall every Friday morning from 9.45 - 12.15 am. They have lost a few members because of Covid and would welcome new people.  It is not suitable for beginners for which there is a separate group from which they can eventually progress to this group.                                                                                 For more information please contact:

Carol: bridge@purbecku3a.org.uk

Interesting Cycle Rides For the Softies 

During the lovely warm spells the softies have combined their coffee stop with a swim, paddle boarding and visits to the bookshop.



Purbeck Music Groups Performing Well

The UKULELE GROUP performed to great applause in a packed venue at the Swanage Folk Festival. It was great fun.

 The GUITAR GROUP gave their first public performance at Holme Gardens to a very appreciative audience who thoroughly enjoyed it.

The AGM this year was well attended with people enjoying refreshments and chatting with friends, after which they were treated to a very enjoyable performance from the Guitar Group. They played a lovely selection and even had some harmonica thrown

The Cycling Softies Have Some Interesting Encounters On Their Rides




The PPQ group had some interesting quilts on show from a visiting speaker. Any members interested in joining, please click on the email to contact: Delia ppq@purbecku3a.co.uk



Christmas Festivities for Groups 

The Boule Group treated themselves to mulled wine and mince pies in the fresh air.  It was one of the colder mornings they had played so was very welcome and maybe even improved some of the performances !!!      


The Cycling for softies had their traditional ride to Shipstal point where cakes, mine pies and mulled wine were consumed before singing Christmas Carols on the beach. It must be the most spectacular spot for singing. The sun was out the water was sparking and it was good fun. Margaret trying to get 8 unruly people to play bells and have others guess the tune,,Well all I can say is that it is harder than it sounds !!    

The Ukulele Group played several gigs over the Christmas period but Swanage Pier was barely above freezing and they could only manage 45 minutes before frostbite set in !!!     


Changes to the Highway Code 

Have you heard about the new changes to the Highway Code?  The new code will be available to buy in April. 

 The Older Person”s Forum is providing free webinars to take you through the changes showing excellent video clips. 

Should you wish to follow this site for details of new events and information there is a space to signup for email updates on the righthand side of the Home Page.


A small sample of information on their website:

Quick Guide leaflet for Dorset schemes

Road Safety web site

Relevant pathways for assessments if you are a medical practitioner

‘Cost Calculator’ to estimate how much it costs to run your car and how much you would need to spend on public transport

If you don’t have a medical condition which affects your driving then the forum recommend the following assessments: List of notifiable medical conditions  https://www.gov.uk/health-conditions-and-driving

If you do have a medical condition that may affect your driving then see Wessex DriveAbility assessment

If you live in Hampshire, Isle of Wight, Dorset, Wiltshire or Berkshire then why not have a look at the ‘Going Car Free‘ web site. You can additionally Contact them by: Tel: 02380 554100  E-Mail: hello@goingcarfree.com

Dorset Driver Gold is aimed at people aged 65 years and over who have an interest in updating their skills and knowledge, want help in familiarising themselves with a new vehicle or simply want to gain confidence.

The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) Offer a number of courses to give assistance to the older driver, like the Mature Driver Review which is great in building confidence

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) Offer an Experienced Driver Assessment. This is a one-hour drive in your own car with a RoSPA Assessor

 Gerry Griffin

Group Leader, Advanced Driving



See a complete list of events here:

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