Chair’s Report 2015-16
The beginning of this year’s report is the same beginning as last year – namely the 10 year celebration of our U3A. At this point at the last AGM we were looking forward to the second half of our celebrations; the talk by Ernie Rae, which was brilliant, and the Tea which was enjoyed by all who attended. It is hard to believe that that was a year ago.
During the year we have increased our membership by 50 to 658 and the number of activity groups has increased by six; Canasta, Chinese, French to Get By, Spanish Beginners, Table Tennis, Walking Group 6 with a Singing for Pleasure group due to be launch officially in September bringing the total 56. All the new groups were instigated by members and they all received the usual support from the committee to get going. So if you have an idea please do not hesitate to suggest it!
As you all know, this meeting is my last official duty in our U3A. My aim as Chair was to maintain all the good things that already existed in our U3A and ensure I was leaving a flourishing organisation for my successor. At the turn of the year I was having severe doubts that I would achieve this because of the difficulty of finding new committee members. I would like you to think of the image of a skeleton – the Head is the committee with the Chair as the hair, the backbone is made up of all the coordinators and the activity groups are the limbs. At the beginning of the year the head was shrinking, the hair was falling out but the backbone stayed strong and came to the rescue. At the Coordinators’ Lunch and Training in March I set them the task of identifying new committee members from within their groups to prevent the real threat of our U3A having to close. They did just that and, with the election of seven new members today, there will be a full complement of 12. I cannot tell you just how relieved I am!
So the coordinators have earned an extra special vote of thanks from me this year for their dedication and hard work and, from amongst their number, I have to single out Margaret Hinde for Theatres and Carole English for Outings because they work so hard for the whole membership. The variety of the visits, theatre and music on offer is always impressive and so popular with our members.
My thanks also go to Robert Watson, David English, Geoff Dalton and Tony Roberts for all things technical, including the website but my particular thanks go to the Committee members, past and present, for their support and hard work over the last three years. I could not have done this job without all of you.
The Committee members who are leaving are:
Ann Taylor – Ann joined in April 2013 and has been a constant source of support and ideas throughout and for ensuring that we have the provision of teas at these meetings. We thank Ann wish her and her husband all the best for the future.
Mavis Norden – Mavis joined the committee this time last year and her year in office certainly has been a busy one. She took on the role of Speakers’ Coordinator for these meeting and has certainly provided us with a variety. This is a time consuming job and we thank Mavis for her commitment.
David Denne – We also lost another member of the Committee as David Denne, our Deputy Treasurer, died in March. David joined the Committee as a co-opted member in July 2011 and was an active and valued member throughout that time. In October 2012 David became Deputy Treasurer with the responsibility for managing the considerable funds held for the activity groups, a role requiring meticulous organisation and record-keeping. David did this with great efficiency and patience, especially at the end of the financial year when his records had to be reconciled with those of the coordinators. He will be sorely missed. As a token our thanks we are giving Eileen Denne a cheque for her to use in David’s memory.
When I took over this role in 2013 I did so with a lot of concerns because, as I said somewhere else, I was way outside my comfort zone but, with the help and support of so many people, including my ever supportive husband John, I have survived and am ready to retire again! It has been a privilege to serve as your Chair and I am confident that there is a team in place to take this U3A forward under the competent leadership of the new Chair Elect, Christine Jones.