U3A Wroxham and District Monthly Meetings

All events are at the Wroxham Hub.
Begins 2:30
Tea and Coffee served after the Talk.
Members £1 - Non Members £2

Wroxham & District U3A Speakers for 2019/2020

May 21st   Bernard Lockhart
Bernard’s main topic is about the works of Gilbert & Sullivan. Two of his books are about G & S and he has broadcast on various BBC Radio stations including 2,3 and 4 on the subject.

A talk by Bernard covers the overall view of Gilbert & Sullivan’s work, the background is a personal assessment and some thoughts on G & S into the 21st Century.

June 18th Peter Goodrum

Peter is a local writer and broadcaster. On this occasion he will remind us of how life was in the 1950’s & 60’s, a slower pace of life, more time for personal one to one involvement. No personal computers, emails, internet do you remember?

Further reading, his books titles are: Norwich in the 1950’s – Norfolk Broads the Biography = Norwich in the 1970’s – Norwich in 50 Buildings and 50 Gems of Norfolk History.  

July 16th       Jenny Gibbs (The Turkish Lady)
“Turkish Cuisine” from Traditional food to the finest Ottoman, with receips.

Turkish cuisine is renowned as one of the great cuisines of the world. In her talk Jenny traces it’s origin from the wonders of the Ottoman Empire to the healthy and delicious

Cuisine she enjoys in her village today. Jenny describes the old age preparation and cooking methods and brings examples of ancient cooking implements that are still  used. Everyone, who attends the talk , will go away with a free recipe leaflet so they may try the scrumptious dishes at home.   

August          NO Meeting

Sept. 17th      Richard Matthew
“The History of Dragon Hall” – Norwich

Oct.15th        Bruce Rushin
“Work on the River Bure” The Navigation Conservation Trust Ltd.

Nov.19th       Pat Alker
 “Tribes of Southern Ethiopia”

Dec. 10th TBC  Christmas Party

Jan.21st           Peter Lawrence
“Whitehall – The Road to Power & Glory”

Whitehall  the Road to Power & Glory’  Although this tital is “rather tongue in cheek”, this illustrated talk traces the history of that part of London we call Whitehall from Henry v111’s Tudor Palace to the government building we recognize today.

Peter will also share some of his knowledge of these buildings and what lies behind the facade’s, all gleaned from his Scotland Yard past, which included surveying of London’s most historic locations.

Feb.18th          Marco – Mark Reynolds
“My Career in Comedy”

Mar.17th         Grey Seals on the North Norfolk Coast
Yet to be confirmed

April 21st          A.G.M.





Past Speakers

June 2016 was David Reeve.

July 2016 was Julia Badger

September 2016 was Dr Tom Moore

October 2016 Mary Freeman A Life in Mendham

November 2016 Liz Scott A Living History of Blickling Hall,

December 6th
Christmas Party.


January 2017 - Peter Lawrence: The Policemans Lot

February 21st
Karen Norton and Holly.

Guide Dogs for the Blind.

Karen will begin by introducing herself, giving an account of how she came to lose her sight and the effect it had on her.
Meeting Holly and how he changed her life, by explaining how a guide works. Then  more generally how dogs are selected for training, cost involved, trainers and their methods, time scale until the dog is ready, etc.
She will welcome questions from members and allow these to take the path her presentation takes, as she does not use a script.
This should prove to be an interesting, informative and hart warming session.

Michael Trendall:
The Heritage of the Churches on our Doorstep.There can’t be many of the 659 medieval churches still standing in Norfolk that Michael Trendall has not photographed!  It is more than a passing interest: it is a passion which has stretched over the decades, and formed his panel of work which gained him his prestigious Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society award.
Michael TrendallOver the course of an hour, he took us on a whistle-stop photographic tour of over 40 churches, beginning with some of the rarer Saxon structures, through the Norman period and into the Gothic eras, culminating with the Reformation.  The presentation had a regular format: a photograph of the exterior, followed by 2 or 3 detailed images of the features which made each church individual; often an elaborately carved archway, sometimes a fine piece of engraving, occasionally an unusual misericord hidden away under a seat.  Rare examples of font covers and canopies were included; and his admiration for double hammer beam roofs and triple-decker pulpits was palpable.
Comparing these splendid edifices to our more transient constructions, Michael commented: “In those days they produced something wonderful, something built to last.  In contrast, is there anything built today so beautiful?”  Clearly rhetorical, his sentiment reveals the intensity of his fervour, and his enthusiasm was enjoyed by a welcoming U3A audience.


March 21st
Mike Trendell.

The Heritage of the Churches on our doorstep.
Mike is a keen photographer, and has spent much of his free time during his long life learning about and taking photographs of Churches in Norfolk.  Some of our members have already seen this presentation and can thoroughly recommend it as an hour of great interest.

April 18th - AGM.

16th May 2017
Mark Reynolds   Marco Cartoon Design
Recommended by one of our members, as one of the most interesting presentations he has seen!
For further info:- www.markocartondesigns.co.uk

20th June 2017
Paul Bryant Artist 
Paints two canvases ‘Bob Ross Style’.
He will donate these to our Branch, for fundraising

18th July 2017
Colin Howes from Able
Light hearted presentation titled “Community Care 3000BC to 2017AD
Showing how care services have changed over centuries, including the first time the State entered
The Care system to the present time.

August 2017
No Meeting

19th September 2017
Caister Life Boats
For further info:- www.CaisterLifeboat.org.uk

17th October 2017
Jenny Gibbs
A Turkish Shirley Valentine

21st November 2017    
Julia Stafford Allen   
NGS Gardens open for Charity in Norfolk
For further info:- www.turkishtalks.com

December 2017
Branch Christmas Party

20th March 2018
Click here to see details
Marta Wellner



Our speaker in June was David Reeve, a former Royal Protection Officer at the Sandringham Estate. Full of anecdotes and humour, David revealed the human side of the Royal family, and his sometimes uneasy, sometimes straight-talking and sometimes hugely comical episodes that highlighted his tenure. David Reeve His descriptions of various events and situations painted a wonderfully graphic picture of his time as chief of security, turning the humour on himself with accounts of back-to-front long-johns, undiluted G&Ts, the Queen Mum getting the upperhand with a belligerent naturist and a ‘generous’ portion of lunch which didn’t include cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli or Brussel sprouts! An absolute treat of a speaker!

Julia Badger



In July, Dr Julia Badger, who is a researcher at Oxford into spatial and verbal reasoning, had us all puzzling over pages of picking out the odd one of four drawings, and also reading a list of words, some with awkward spellings. She explained how her work can help assess children, particularly those who struggle for any reason, and bring them to their full potential, as well as keeping older people, who use their brains in this way, less likely to get Alzheimers. As we say, “Keep Alzheimers at bay – join the U3A”!

Dr Tom MooreSeptember’s speaker was Dr Tom Moore who flew with the East Anglian Air Ambulance for many years, having formerly trained in anaesthetics in London, then practiced as a GP in Hampshire. His early medical training proved invaluable while with the Air Ambulance, for the partnership of paramedic and anaesthetist, plus a rapid arrival at the incident scene, was the key to success. With the new EC145 helicopters, which has night flying capabilities, survival rates have significantly improved. The cost of the service, not funded by the government, is approximately £10 million a year, but comes down to about £3 per person per annum. Most of the funding comes from the Air Ambulance lottery, which can be accessed online (www.eaaa.org.uk). 85% of all funds raised go into the operational side. Dr Moore’s talk, packed with mixture of facts, descriptions (not too lurid) and anecdotes, was both informative and riveting.

A White SlaveHistory can be accessed in many ways – here in Wroxham, Norfolk, the local U3A group learned about country life in earlier times, not through books or the internet, but by a member of the group who, although well into her eighties, remains active in both memories and deeds, leading the History group to Mendham in Suffolk, the home of her birth and upbringing and sharing her knowledge of Mendham’s most famous son, the equine painter Alfred Munnings.

A Life in Mendham “Danielle, there’s an elderly lady here who’s come all the way from Norwich on the bus, and wants to see ‘A White Slave’. Shall I send her up?” Danielle Hughes, the curator at the Gallery Oldham, meets Mary Freeman and takes her to an upstairs room where the painting ‘A White Slave’ by Norfolk painter Alfred Munnings is kept. Mary is disappointed that it isn’t on general display but all feelings of regret fall away when she sees the painting. She recalls being overwhelmed by the vitality of the scene, the vibrancy of the colours, textures and movement. What makes this moment so poignant is that Mary, like Alfred, grew up in Mendham, and her family were friendly with the Munnings’. Her memories of the small country village, on the Suffolk side of the picturesque River Waveney, gave an insight into the way of life that Alfred Munnings wanted to depict, a life that was both bucolic and at times unyielding in its hardship. Born Mary Naunton, her family were farmers, working to produce the grain for the miller, Fred Munnings, father of Alfred. Mary’s aunt was post-mistress and shop keeper, and was close friends with Kathleen Munnings, niece to Alfred. Fred Munnings recognised Alfred’s artistic ability early on, and encouraged him to develop this skill in any way he could. The son seemed to have been reprieved of the hard labour of agriculture, possibly fostering resentment amongst the farm labourers, and heightening the arrogance for which Alfred Munnings became notorious. Horses complemented every aspect of Mendham life – not just the tasks of pulling carts and ploughs, but with all the associated employment: smithies and ferriers, grooms and stable boys, as well as the hard graft and romance of the horse fairs. Munnings’ easy charm and outward spirit enabled him to mix with gypsies and gentry alike, and many of his famous paintings are of the rougher element of this horse-dealing aspect of life. Alfred was a prolific artist, travelling widely and achieving hugely.

Mary of MendhamHis pictures can be found in many galleries and museums, both here in the UK and internationally, too. His evocative portrait ‘A White Slave’, purchased by Gallery Oldham back in 1904, has a strong narrative: of it, Munnings said: 'My idea when painting it was that the rough low down hawker fellow has bought the poor old white pony at the fair and is just off home with it. Such ponies as we know are slaves and honest ones too and as they go down the hill their lot gets worse.' His attitude is one of realism (“When you paint a horse, you want it to look like a horse…”); reflected possibly in his condemning remarks about impressionist and modernist painters such as Picasso, made when he was President of the Royal Academy of Art. Mary married and moved away but retains the fond memories of her upbringing in Mendham. When 15 members of the Wroxham U3A recently visited Mendham Mill, seeing the Miller’s House where Alfred grew up, lunching at the pub named The Alfred Munnings, and sitting in the bar lounge which Mary recalled was her Aunt’s lounge next to the Post Office, it was to revisit life as once was – unhurried, timeless and a tad romantic.

Liz Scott Blickling HallIn November, we were treated to a tale of 2 halves: Liz Scott presented A Living History of Blickling Hall, firstly in costumed character and then as a very knowledgeable guide working for the National Trust. As “Kath”, she became the kitchen maid, giving a vivid account of life below stairs in the 1930’s, with the servants’ duties and expectations of behaviour amusingly described. She included the life – as “kath” experienced it – of the Hall’s owner, Philip Kerr, 11th Marquess of Lothian, and some of his distinguished visitors, including Lady Astor and Queen Mary. Out of character, she talked about the Hall’s history, from its origins in the early part of the 15th Century, the later ownership of the Boleyn family, and the rebuilding by Sir Henry Hobart in the 17th Century, which is the Hall you see today. Full of fascinating detail and anecdotes, Liz’s presentation was both entertaining and hugely informative.

Peter Lawrence: Plotting the Change in Social Policing

Peter LawrenceAn exposition of recent social history is a retrospective stroll down memory lane for members of any U3A audience, and there were audible and amused recollections as Peter Lawrence presented his talk on “This Policeman’s Lot – a view from the Krays to the Crown” at the Wroxham Hub in the U3A’s mid-January meeting.
He took us from the 1960s, where standard uniform included whistles (but certainly no bells), truncheons and keys to the Tardis-style blue boxes, and where police mobility began (in London) with the ‘Grey Ghost’ motorbike, the ponderous Wolsey 610 and the Panda car and where policing encounters were with Ronnie and Reggie and Oswald Mosley with his provocative, leather-booted henchmen.
The mid-1970s saw a massive social change, with the advent of anti-establishment organisations, such as the IRA, the Baader-Meinhof gang and the Angry Brigade. A new 600-strong department was created in London to protect the 134 diplomatic embassies; Peter himself was seconded to the counter-terrorism service, liaising with foreign ambassadors, and visiting dignitaries, and was actively involved in both sieges of the Iranian and Libyan embassies in the 1980s.
Protection of the Royals became his most prominent role in his later years, being the Queen’s ‘right-hand man’ for 13 years during the Trooping of the Colour, and being a near presence at the wedding of Charles and Diana. What was clearly evident was Peter’s vast wealth of experience and expertise, his calm composure and level-headed approach (helped no doubt by retirement), and his ever-present sense of humour.