The Upper Bann U3A you mightn’t have heard of. The name doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue.
But there are few more active organisations in the area – or indeed any area for that matter.
The 160 members in the Portadown-Lurgan area walk, cycle, go on nature walks, enjoy theatre and cinema trips, play Bridge and Chess, study poetry and French, meet monthly for lunch, delve into their past, hold watercolour classes, and now yoga and gardening are on the agenda.
And anything else you can think of for that matter!
“We are open to all suggestions,” said chair Frances McKeown. “Our activities are expanding and many of our activities run throughout the year.”
The U3A’s grandiose title is University of the Third Age. But it has got nothing to do with university. It’s a worldwide organisation catering for the retired and semi-retired and there is no lower age limit. And how it has taken off in this area.
Six years after it was formed locally there are now some 160 members – and growing. And so are its activities. “We have started several new activities in the past few months and members are coming up with suggestions all the time.”
Most of the activities are held weekly but there is also a monthly get-together with a panel of speakers.”
All of the groups have trained leaders and outings are a feature of many of the groups. Anne McMinn, for instance, who holds the watercolour course, is planning a visit to the Ulster Museum in October, and several theatre outings are also on the agenda, including Lord of the Flies, A Night Alive and Swan Lake – Ruth McKinley and Edith Davies are organising these.
Mike Taggart’s Tuesday cycling club were in Scotland recently while Tom Young’s Wednesday Group have taken in practically every byway in the county. John Trimble is hoping to have another cycling group in the near future.
The Friday morning Bridge classes at Portadown Golf Club are proving very popular with upwards of 60 people attending every week.
But while Bridge may appear a specialist subject the group is keen to stress it is open to all activities and is keen to incorporate new ideas.
The local U3A have an active committee chaired by Frances McKeown with Norma Galway, vice chair, Geraldine McIvor, secretary, Maureen Carroll, Laura McAdam, membership secretary, Ruth McKinley, assistant membership secretary, Graham Bass, Alix Jardine, John Trimble and Tom Young.
To joining the group contact Laura McAdam on 3833 3899