Online Newsletter 192 – March 2024

By | March 5, 2024

Our lead photo shows Ronald Snowball explaining how 1940 was the defining year for WW2, at our February Monthly Meeting.

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Monthly Speaker Meetings

Gardeners Hall, 213 St Leonard’s Road, Windsor, SL4 3DR
on 2nd Wednesday of each month, 2-00pm to 4-00pm.

Last month, our speaker was Ron Snowball, a long-standing member of our u3a. His presentation,
“1940, The Defining Year of WW2” was very well received. The audience learnt about the importance of military strategy in 1940. Ron was ably assisted by Frank Tarrant, showing slides of the events. Our thanks go to Ron and Frank for a pleasantly informative afternoon.

by Dave Humphries
  • Wednesday, 13th March: Bulbs in a royal garden by George Lockwood, who is an organic gardener, plantsman and garden consultant. George will give an illustrated talk about bulbs that grow in the grounds of Highgrove, the home of King Charles. He will describe when and where different bulbs flower and what soil and aspect they need. He will give us some tips on how to get the best from bulbs and supply us with a list of plants to help us follow his talk and choose our favourites.
  • Wednesday, 10th April: Following our Annual General Meeting, Peter Honey, the convenor of our Creative Writing group, will launch two of his new books, Twenty-five Short Stories (RRP £8.99) and Twenty-five more Short Stories (RRP £9.99) and speak about the way his writing group functions. Peter is an entertaining speaker who raises funds for Cancer Research through the sale of his books.

Microsoft Teams v Zoom: Those of you who enjoy listening to our speakers by Zoom can feel reassured that after experimenting with Microsoft Teams, our audio-visual team have decided to stay with Zoom broadcasting and will not transfer our provision of a virtual meeting to Microsoft Teams, after all.


Outings and Events

Payment for Outings and Events

A word of explanation from our Treasurer.
Did you know, Windsor u3a is a charity? Well, we are! All u3a groups are charities and fall under Charity Commission rules. Like all charities we have a constitution which details our purpose and how we function.
The purpose of all u3a groups is to further educational opportunities for people no longer working full time. To comply with Charity Commission rules, our activity therefore must be mostly educational. We can organise social events, but they must not outweigh our educational ones.

Being a charity brings some significant benefits. For example, we can claim back gift aid from HMRC. Last year, they contributed nearly £1,300 towards our costs! It also means we do not need to pay corporation tax on any surpluses. This can save us up to £200 a year. Together these two things help to keep our annual costs down. Being a charity also means that member contributions (towards annual costs and group activities) are considered as donations of charitable giving and, except in exceptional circumstances, cannot be refunded directly. This can pose difficulties. For example, this year, several members paid their annual membership fee of £14.00 twice. Whilst we are unable to refund their payments, we can use them toward their membership in 2025!

In similar vein, contributions towards educational outings cannot be refunded. However, if you book and must later cancel, your place can be taken by another member and you can agree between yourselves how the cost is covered. In many cases, a member accepting a cancellation place personally reimburses the member who is opting out.

Some of our events are clearly not educational; for example, the Christmas dinner – dance organised last year, at the Sir Christopher Wren Hotel. Such “social events” are not subject to the Charity Commission rules on charitable giving. Provided the venue will reimburse us (because we are not allowed to make a loss on social events), we are able to make refunds to people who must cancel.

A Mystery Tour in May

Join us for a guided mystery tour by coach on Wednesday, 29th May. The coach will leave Stag Meadow/St Leonards’ Road at 9-00am and return at approximately 5-00pm. £25.00 pp

Expressions of interest to Jackie Wiggins by email please.

Contact details are visible if you log-in.

Our weekend in the Midlands

A group of 40 members of Windsor and District u3a spent an enjoyable weekend in the Midlands, visiting Coventry, Stratford, Warwick and the Birmingham Tattoo, from the 9th to 13th February.

What they said afterwards;

“It was amazing. The coach stopped so close to where we needed to be! I am not used to that, and it certainly beats self-driving” Jackie Clarke

“I had a great time and really appreciated all the extra help I was offered by various people when I was struggling a bit with my mobility and my arm in a sling. It really helped to make the weekend so very enjoyable. The hotel was very good, and our driver Vladimir was extremely helpful. For me, my favourite part was the guided tour of the Royal Shakespeare Company theatre. It really made me appreciate what goes on behind the scenes of a successful show.” Anne Inglis

“Many thanks for all your hard work and organisation involved in the Midlands trip. It was an interesting mix of visits and thoroughly enjoyable. Keep up the good work!” Diana Jolley

“The Tattoo was amazing – I was just spellbound.” Bridget Hughes

“Such a great weekend In the Midlands. It was my first overnight trip with u3a and I was quite nervous, but everything was so well arranged and people looked out for me (even if I wasn’t lost) Maggie Rivett

Some Highlights

St Mary’s Guildhall in Coventry was a glorious, surprise to most people. It is a well-preserved medieval building in the Cathedral Quarter of Warwick. It houses an amazing tapestry, reminding us of Coventry’s past importance as a trade centre.

The under croft is now a restaurant where we all enjoyed a drink after our journey.

Lady Godiva was the wife of Count Leofric who imposed heavy taxes on the people of Coventry. Worn down by her protests on their behalf, Leofric said he would grant her request if she would ride naked through the town. She accepted the dare and ordered the people to remain indoors with their windows and doors barred, so that no one should see her naked. She covered herself with her long hair and set off on her horse. The townspeople all obeyed her command because of their respect for her, all but one man, called Tom. He could not resist peeping. Hence our term, ‘Peeping Tom’ Tom was struck blind and Leofric abolished the heavy taxes! Pictures and statues of Lady Godiva are prolific in Coventry.

After lunch, we spent time exploring the cathedrals of Coventry – the ruins of the old and the glorious modern artwork of the new.

On Saturday morning, our guide led us round the historical charms of Warwick and pointed us in the direction of good coffee stops. One of these was in The Lord Leycester Hospital, an ancient charity now supporting ex-servicemen. Its café is housed in a well-preserved medieval hall forming part of a picturesque medieval courtyard.

Another gem she pointed out was a new stained-glass window in a renovated Methodist church. The minister came out to greet us and invited us in for coffee and homemade cakes. Delicious!

Saturday evening proved to be the highlight of the weekend. The Birmingham Tattoo exceeded all expectations. We sat in some of the best seats and were delighted by spectacular marching bands from England, Scotland, Norway and Holland. The performance was musically excellent. It ranged from the classical Peer Gynt Suite by Greig, swinging jazz and music from shows to pop music from the 60’s through to today.

We were entertained by comical dog racing and dancing girls in formation, all acts being achieved with military precision.

Stratford upon Avon is a well-known for its tourist attractions and merits far more hours to enjoy all it has to offer, than we had to spend. Some folk enjoyed visiting the Butterfly Farm. Some toured the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. Some managed to fit in both. Others meandered through the town enjoying the architecture, the shops and the river.


Interest Group News

Many of us avoid being pestered on our phones by unknown, unwanted callers. We answer calls only from the numbers listed in our phones. This has resulted in some members having trouble in contacting convenors. A suggestion to overcome this is for members to contact convenors initially by email or WhatsApp or text and for us all to keep our contact lists up to date.

Flower Arranging

This new group held their inaugural meeting on Thursday 29th February. They made a very
good start, using bunches of spring flowers. In March they will meet on 14th and 28th in The Porch at
All Saints’ Church, Dedworth, SL4 4JW. Contact Mo Salter for more information.

Contact details are visible if you log-in.

Gardening 1

Our first garden visit of the year will be to 18 Brownswood Road, Beaconsfield, HP9 2NU on Thursday 21st March at 2-00pm. Cost £8.00. Please inform Carol Grigson if you would like to join the group on this visit.

Logged in members can see contact details.


Hosted by David Oldcorn

The Ballet Appreciation Group, Show Music and Classical Music will meet on their usual days in March.

New members welcome.

Contact details are visible if you log-in.

Local History

  • Monday, 25th March: David Burnell will talk about the poster and art collection of London Underground. This will include a very local focus as the underground once came out as far as Windsor. Launched by the District Railway on 3rd March 1883, the extension of the line was not a success and it closed just 18 months later, with the last train on 30th September 1884. Its artwork will be very familiar.
  • Monday, 29th April: Nigel Smales – D Day in Focus, Eddy ‘Smiler’ Smales did not make history but, as an accidental pioneer in British feature films in the 1930s, combat filming in the 1940s and television news from the 1950s, he filmed lots of it happening. Eddy was one of the original recruits to the ground-breaking Army Film & Photographic Unit, a bunch of irregulars based at Pinewood Studios which filmed and photographed the unfolding Second World War in North Africa, Europe and the Far East. This presentation will share AFPU headlines, then focus on its coverage of the D-Day landings on 6th June 1944.

This group meets in Windsor Methodist Church Hall in Alma Road, Windsor, SL4 3HH. Talks begin at 2-30pm. Admission is £3.00 on the door. No need to book. New members are warmly welcome.

Jane Standley

National Trust Group

A group of 20 members enjoyed a walk in the sun around the grounds of Cliveden on Friday, 16th February and enjoyed a talk about the history of the house and estate given by Pauline Thompson, a long-standing member of our u3a, who is also a hardworking volunteer at Cliveden. This was a great privilege. Pauline is a fount of knowledge and an engaging speaker. Thank you, Pauline and Jane Standley and Margaret Pettit for organising this outing.

The next outing is to Grey’s Court, Henley, we will have a guided tour of the house.

Logged in members can see contact details.

Singing For Fun

This group now meets in Gardeners’ Hall, St Leonard’s Road, Windsor from 1-30 pm – 3-30pm on the first Monday of each month.

Convenor contact details are visible if you log-in.

Tea and Jazz

Last month: The Pete Rudeforth Jazz Club Four

Wow! What a treat! ‘Tea and Jazz’ really lived up to their claim that February’s concert would be very
special. The very large audience that turned up were not disappointed;
Brilliant concert. Looking forward to seeing them again asap” – Diana Hall
An amazing afternoon. Thank you”- Stephanie Fountain.
What a wonderful way to spend an afternoon’ – Diana Chapman
The band played a variety of tunes reflecting the wide range of styles of music referred to as ‘Jazz’; some
familiar much-loved tunes, some unknown and interesting, some very jolly, some melancholy.
We all look forward to a return visit from the Pete Rudeforth Jazz Club Four.

This month, we eagerly welcome back the Traditional Jazz Quartet to play live Jazz for us in Datchet on March 26th.

In April we are delighted to be able to again present the Fleur Stevenson Trio featuring lovely jazz singer, Fleur, together with a great professional guitarist and acoustic bassist.

All u3a members – from any u3a branch – are welcome. There is no need to book – just turn up on the day. Performances start at 2-00pm, with a break halfway for tea and cakes and finish at about 3-45pm. There is some parking outside Datchet Village Hall (SL3 9HR) and when this is full, there is a public car park a short distance back towards Datchet village centre that is also available.

£10.00 pp to cover the cost of hall hire, musicians and refreshments.

Convenor contact details are visible if you log-in.

u3a Amblers

In March, I am delaying the amble until March the 14th. The route will be the Ray Mill island and Taplow Riverside park areas in Maidenhead, if the weather is as good as last time, it will be another great nature amble.

Dave Humphries

February’s amble was held on Thursday, 1st February, we went to Dorney Wetlands on a sunny day and enjoyed the nature and wildlife on display. Thank you to all that attended the amble, I attach a few pictures, taken by Dave Humphries and Eileen Harris.

Our group met in the car park of Dorney Garden Centre (nice Crocus’s in the driveway), and ambled north to the Jubilee river. Turning right, we proceeded downstream (spot the Grey Heron) along the low route to the weir (several Cormorants), then back via the high route (see group photo and panorama). We had a reserved table in the cafe for 11:30 and enjoyed our refreshment after the sunny walk.

Convenor contact details are visible if you log-in.

by Dave Humphries

Windsor Area Walks

The March walk will be on Friday, 22nd March. It will be based along Boveney Brook and the Jubilee River. A possible coffee stop is the Palmers Arms, in Dorney. The walk will be led by Roy who is still on the hunt for more leaders willing to share their favourite walks. Meet at the free car park at Eton Wick Library, SL4 6LT at 10-15 am.

Logged in members can see Roy’s e-mail address.

Please let Roy know if you would be happy to organise one or two walks next year.


Coffee Mornings

New Members Coffee Morning

A New Members Coffee Morning was held on 26th February in the Baptist Church, Smith’s Lane, Dedworth, SL4 5PE. Ten new members took up the opportunity to meet convenors and hear presentations regarding more than 25 Interest Groups.

Afterwards, over coffee, convenors discussed in more detail the activities enjoyed by their groups and signed-up new members who were keen to join. Thanks go to Kate Fagence, Membership Secretary, for organising this event.

by Dave Humphries

Come And Meet Each Other

Linda Saunders has responded to our plea for a CAMEO Coffee Morning to be held in central Windsor. Thank you, Linda. This will be held at The Cinnamon Café in the precinct of Royal Windsor Central Station. Linda writes, “I have met the owner and one of the managers of The Cinnamon and they are more than welcoming. A small section will be reserved for us between 10-30am and 12-00noon. They offer a discount on presentation of an Advantage Card. I have given them the first date of Tuesday, 5th March and the first Tuesday of the month thereafter. I will be there at 10-30am.” Linda Saunders.

Logged in members can see Linda’s e-mail address.

Coffee mornings run from 10-30am to 12-00pm, why not drop in between those times?

Central Windsor

Cinnamon Café in Windsor Central Station
These are held on the 1st Tuesday of each month, organised by Linda Saunders.
Next on Tuesday, 5th March.

Old Windsor

The Bells of Ouzeley, Straight Road, Old Windsor, SL4 2SH
These are held on the 1st Wednesday of each month, organised by Jo Wattis.
Next on Wednesday, 6th March.

West Windsor

The Running Man Café, All Saints’ Church, Dedworth, SL4 4JW
These are held on the 3rd Wednesday of each month, organised by Jackie Wiggins.
Next on Wednesday, 20th March.


The Restaurant, Hilliers Garden Centre, off A30 between Sunningdale and Bagshot, GU20 6LQ
These are held on the last Tuesday of each month, organised by Olwen.
Next on Tuesday, 26th March.


The Bridge Ecumenical Café, The Village Green, Datchet, SL3 9JH
These are held on the 4th Wednesday of each month, organised by Jackie Wiggins.
Next on Wednesday, 27th March.

If you arrive and find the ‘u3a table’ is fully occupied, PLEASE make yourself known before settling elsewhere on your own or in a splinter group. Depending on the venue, it may well be possible to enlarge the circle, or take over/join on another table.

Members at Old Windsor's CAMEO
Members at Old Windsor’s CAMEO


Windsor and District u3a Diary Dates

  • Wednesday, 13th March: Windsor and District u3a’s Monthly Meeting – George Lockwood presents “Bulbs in a royal garden“.
  • Wednesday, 10th April: Windsor and District u3a’s Annual General Meeting, followed by Peter Honey presenting “Writing Short Stories for Fun“.
  • Saturday, 27th April to Friday, 3rd May 2024: Holiday to Versailles, Valencay & Chateaux of the Loire.
    Contact Pat Oldcorn (Cancellation places only)
  • Wednesday, 29th May 2024: The May Mystery Tour. Contact Jackie Wiggins.
  • Monday, 9th September – Friday, 13th September: National Trust and Geocaching groups visit to York. Contact Jackie Wiggins.
  • Saturday, 30th November 2024 (TBC): Booking is already open for Irving Berlin’s White Christmas at The Mill, Sonning. Group bookings are limited to 30 persons and several members have already expressed their interest in attending. Final costings are not yet available, and no deposit is yet required, but if you are seriously interested in joining our group, please let Jackie Wiggins know.

Thames Valley Network Diary Dates

Further events are planned. Keep an eye on their diary. See TVN home page and scroll down to list of events with booking buttons. All events are on Zoom unless otherwise stated.

National u3a offerings

The national u3a runs many projects, initiatives and competitions – available for all members.

Interest Groups Online (IGO) is an online community of learners. Those who subscribe to IGO can participate in our online interest groups and also access the u3a national learning.
IGO Help and Information


Credits and Contributions

Thank you to all who have contributed to this month’s newsletter.

We welcome contributions from any member, not just convenors, so if you have enjoyed a u3a organised event, why not share that (and show appreciation to the organisers) by writing a short report, ideally with some photos, please send to

The copy date for our next Newsletter is 15th March 2024

Readers may notify an error or omission via e-mail or logged in members can use the Comments area below to convey their thoughts on this particular edition.

This Newsletter was compiled by Jackie Wiggins, then adapted for web publication by Dave Humphries. This web version allows us to hide certain data from all but logged in members, plus occasionally make minor updates after release, typically to correct errors and omissions notified promptly.

Committee Contact Details

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Committee Members’ Contact Details
Data Administrator:Derek
Groups’ Coordinator:Sue
Website Administrator:Dave
Membership Secretary:Kate
Newsletter Editor:Jackie
Speaker Organiser:Joanna

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