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‘We educate ourselves’: Havering U3A celebrates 30 years of helping the borough’s older generation stay active

PUBLISHED: 17:00 15 January 2020

Havering U3A members celebrating the society's 30th anniversary in St Michael's Church in Gidea Park. Picture: Graham Fenegan

Havering U3A members celebrating the society's 30th anniversary in St Michael's Church in Gidea Park. Picture: Graham Fenegan

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A Havering society that promotes lifelong learning for retired people is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.

Havering U3A's committee at the 30th anniversary event. Picture: Graham FeneganHavering U3A's committee at the 30th anniversary event. Picture: Graham Fenegan

Havering's University of the Third Age (U3A) met for the first time on December 11, 1990.

The society is part of a national organisation for people who are retired and want to keep their body and mind active.

U3A chairman Alan Clayden told the Recorder: "The first three groups were rambling (walking), bridge and a literature appreciation group - two of which are still running today.

"Eric Wade and his wife Doreen Wade, Joyce Leicester and her husband Harry Leicester were the original founders.

Havering U3A members celebrating the society's 30th anniversary in St Michael's Church in Gidea Park. Picture: Graham FeneganHavering U3A members celebrating the society's 30th anniversary in St Michael's Church in Gidea Park. Picture: Graham Fenegan

"Before I retired I thought I was busy, but since I've been retired and joined the U3A I've never been so busy.

"We educate ourselves. The catch word [for U3A nationally] is 'live, love and laugh'.

"They're trying to get over to people that you're not stopping, you're just going into the next age - the third age of living."

In Havering there are groups catering to a range of interests including astronomy, photography, drawing and painting, gardening and world history.

Havering U3A chairman Alan Clayden cutting the society's 30th anniversary cake. Picture: Sue CrawleyHavering U3A chairman Alan Clayden cutting the society's 30th anniversary cake. Picture: Sue Crawley

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The borough's U3A celebrated its anniversary year on Wednesday, January 8 with an afternoon tea at St Michael's Church in Gidea Park.

Guests enjoyed a spread of sandwiches, pastries and drinks was topped off by celebration cake which was cut by the chairman.

Sue Crawley from Hornchurch has been attending U3A courses for four years with her husband.

She said: "We went along and everyone was very friendly.

"To begin with we joined the Rambling (walking) groups, but there are all sorts of groups available.

"People go to learn about astronomy or jazz music."

U3A meets on the second Wednesday of each month at St Michael's Church to hear a talk either from a U3A member or a paid speaker.

"There are no teachers or students - it works on the basis that if you know something then you can share it with other people.

"The whole ethos of the organisation is about life-long learning - it's helping people keep brains active.

"The longer I've been with U3A the more impressed I am with it."

Visit u3asites.org.uk/havering.

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