Newsletter 2022 June

For a PDF version (so you can print it!), please click here. All hyperlinks (in blue) are active and safe; for instance, each group news entry banner in blue is a hyperlink to the group’s webpage, which will of course contain much more information!  In this new style of presentation, you can have the newsletter read to you using the button at the bottom right of the screen.  For full information, see Screen Reader

** Deadline for contributions to the next edition of the newsletter: Friday 1 July 2022.  Please send your photos and news to

** Did you attend the Coffee Morning and enjoy the talk?  If so, would you be happy to contribute an account for the next Newsletter for those who missed it?


Issue No 236
Registered Charity 1088437


Coffee Morning: Thursday 16th June 2022

Coffee served 10.15-10.45 – Talk starts 11.00

Our speaker this month is Dr Ian Bedford, who will reveal just why wasps are so important and why we’d have a lot of problems without them.

This will be a hybrid meeting so members have the choice of attending either at the Baptist Church or online. The speaker will attend via Zoom. Please read the meeting ‘rules’ below

DATE for your DIARY

Thursday 21 July 2022

Coffee Morning – Venue to be confirmed

‘At Close Quarters’

RNLI Minehead’s Community Presenter, Christine White, will be giving us an insight into how the RNLI saves lives. The presentation will include a little bit of history, the people that make the RNLI what it is today, and the innovation and capability that keeps the RNLI at the forefront of sea rescue and coastal safety.

Notes from the Chair

I can’t believe we are nearly half way through 2022, and for our u3a it means the beginning of another year. We had a successful Annual AGM where sadly we said goodbye to the following committee members: Hilary Fisk, Helen Sellings, Margaret Shaw, John Batt, and Susan Hutchings. We now welcome Julie Burt, Anne Turner, Linda Bradbury, and Gillian Lusk. I’ve remained in the committee along with Nic Pettit and Paul Vickery but I am now the new chair. We have lost a lot of committee experience and we hope you will bear with us as we adjust to our new roles.

The AGM could not be offered via Zoom for technical reasons in the Baptist Church, but going forward all our coffee mornings will be offered as hybrid meetings – where you can either come to the meeting in person, or join us on Zoom. The speaker will either be at the venue in person or joining us by Zoom on screen at the venue. I hope you can appreciate that, like many of us, some speakers are still not ready to travel. For our first meeting, next week, the speaker will not be at the venue in person. In July, our RNLI speaker will be at the venue. You will still be able to ask questions, but the nature of the hybrid meetings means that there will be rules to be followed – see later in this newsletter. I look forward to welcoming you whichever way you choose to join us.

Going forward, we will be organising more opportunities to meet members and prospective new members: we are starting with an afternoon tea in Porlock on Monday 18th July 2-4pm at the village hall. It’s open to all members, as all our events are. It just leaves me to remind you that this time of year is also membership renewal season so if you haven’t renewed yet please do so.                                         Pam Young


While Covid regulations have relaxed, many members may still feel reluctant to attend large meetings, and for the foreseeable future, we will run meetings as ‘hybrid’, to allow members to attend in person or via Zoom, as they feel appropriate.

In a hybrid context, there are effectively two meetings operating in parallel – Zoom and in person – and we need to apply some fairly strict rules to ensure that the meetings go well, and that all members get the best out of the event.


All participants will be muted during and after the presentation, and must submit comments or questions via the Chat facilities. We will beef up guidance on this, and will be prepared to tutor if necessary.

In person

For the room participant, questions need to be controlled so that

  1. a) progress is measured and not rushed;
  2. b) the questioner will be given the radio microphone to pose the question to the presenter, ensuring that the Zoom audience (and of course the presenter, if remote) can clearly hear the question ;
  3. c) the questioner may opt to turn to the camera for the question, but it will be understood if not willing to be so identified.

The Zoom coordinator will work with the room chair to relay any comments/questions from Chat.

Follow up links


There are multiple links for Chat topics here at

If you have not used Chat, and would like to be taken through the process, please contact

Hybrid meetings

For a brief introduction, please see:

Meet the Team – An introduction to your new Committee members

Linda Bradburn – Vice Chair and Groups Coordinator

After taking early retirement in 2020, I moved to Minehead in March 2021 to follow my dream of living near the sea. It was definitely the best decision I have ever made. 

I previously lived in Staffordshire and spent most of my working life managing support services for adults with disabilities but when I was 45 I had the opportunity to re-train and became a social worker, working with children with disabilities.

I have always been very busy working full time, raising a family and having fun and so it didn’t take long before I found lots to fill my newly found freedom. 

The u3a values ‘Learn, Laugh and Live’ fit my outlook on life perfectly …. my hobbies include open water swimming, gardening, walking, travel, arts and crafts. I am really looking forward to my role as Group Co-ordinator and hope to see you all at future events. 

Julie P Burt – Business Secretary and Membership Secretary

I grew up in Scotland and Yorkshire.  My professional background is in Property Management, Organisation and Administration, Personnel, and Procurement.  I worked for the Civil Service for 25 years which involved me travelling all over the UK, and I never felt as though I had found a real home until I moved to Minehead 17 years ago.  My husband says I came to visit one weekend and never left!  I still smile when I am heading home along the Dunster Straight and see North Hill.

Having left Central Government, I found work with the Local authority, and then a Social Justice Housing Charity until the beginning of the pandemic when I took the opportunity to retire.

My key personal interests are cats, books, gardening (for anyone who lets me), and my grandchildren. I joined u3a in 2021 and am currently a member of the Minehead Mahjong and Nature Ambler Groups

Gill Lusk – Newsletter Editor

Minehead has been my occasional and then part-time home since the early 1980s, when my late parents moved here, but as the pandemic broke out in 2020, I moved here full-time from London.  I was born in Wales and grew up in a Staffordshire village but since then I have lived in many places, including Reading, Crawley, Leeds, France, Italy, and Sudan, where I stayed twelve years.
Sudan bestowed a lifelong interest. I initially taught English but then went into freelance journalism.  When I moved back to England, I worked for many years at a London-based subscription newsletter on African politics, ‘Africa Confidential’.  I did editing, subediting and proofreading at various times but my great interest was always writing about Sudan.  I still follow Sudanese current affairs daily and also try to keep up my interest in human rights, international events, and the environment.  Some of the great joys of West Somerset for me are nature and landscape.

Anne Turner – Minutes Secretary

I am originally from Derbyshire where as a child I enjoyed the beautiful countryside and this gave me my love for walking and enjoying wild places. I came to Minehead in 1975 to take up my first teaching job at Minehead Middle School. My three very grown up children were born in Somerset and attended local schools. Following a break from teaching to look after my children, I worked at Knights Templar School in Watchet and retired in 2011.
Sport was my main interest when I was younger, playing hockey for Minehead Ladies and badminton in the West Somerset League.  My personal interests are my grandchildren, gardening, travelling, and walking.  I joined the u3a in 2019 and am a member of the History group and the Ukulele group.

News from the Groups

Group convenor contact details

Minehead and District u3a interest groups

Were you aware that there are currently 36 different u3a Interest Groups covering a wide range of topics? These are all run by Convenors who kindly volunteer their time to arrange and support the groups. 
We are aware that a number of these groups are full with waiting lists and also that there may be other topics members would like to see covered by new groups. 
We are keen to find ways to support the setting up of new groups and welcome your ideas for expanding existing groups, requests for new topics and any issues you have experienced in relation to joining groups.
Please email your thoughts to: 


Our May meeting was intended to target the Pied Flycatchers that are known to frequent the woods at Horner. Birdwatching in woodland at this time of year is very challenging given the leaf cover.  However, we did see 10 species of bird, plus we heard a further 8 species. I am pleased to say we were very lucky that day to find 4 nest boxes with adult Pied Flycatchers feeding young. All the group had good views and for some it was the first time they had seen them.
Other birds included a Wood Warbler, typically heard first and then seen, and 2 very active Grey Wagtails, the male being very striking with his black bib. 
Our next meeting is on June 17th when we visit Simonsbath and then in July it will be a night sortie to hear and perhaps see some Nightjars.  I will be in touch with members nearer the time about these meetings. 

Kay Bullen

Classical Music 3

At the June meeting, James played piano pieces by Beethoven, Chopin and Brahms, and we heard a selection of recorded music featuring British composers, concluding with some rousing orchestral marches to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee, complete with Union flags!
Our next meeting will be on Friday 8 July at James’s house, featuring more live piano and great recorded music, together with tea and cakes.

James Stringer

Crime Fiction

This book club is full but please add your name to reserve list via the website.
Next meeting is at Watchet Library 1.00 on July 7th to discuss Clare Mackintosh’s ‘Hostage’.

Lori Lee

French Conversation

This month we turned our minds to Art – more specifically a piece of art we’d like to own; leading to our discovery of the French verb “to covet”. Without prior discussion or collusion we were amazed to find just how similar our tastes were.
Our choices included Chardin, Monet, Millais, Dufy, Gilmor, Kay Nielsen and Van Gogh. Da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” was included – but only for quick re-sale to use the money for “good works”! A laudable but unlikely prospect.
Next month we will look at French/Music – in whatever form we choose. 

Diana Martin


Many thanks to all who have responded to the request for a member profile. We have now been able to establish a meeting schedule for the second Thursday afternoon. We hope to meet – using a hybrid session with Zoom – in the Williton Pavilion, starting on 14th July. The room has a maximum of 16, so if you have not provided details and wish to come, please let me know; similarly, if you want a Zoom invitation.

Martin Fisk

Local History

Ron Blundell gave an excellent talk on scouting in West Somerset to a slightly smaller zoom audience on the Thursday of the Jubilee Holiday.  This is now recorded and will hopefully be available on the website soon.  In response to many requests, we are at last meeting face-to-face next month on Thursday 7th July.   The venue is Carhampton Recreation Hall, which is on the A39 and has a large car park.  We shall meet between 10.00 and 12.00 to chat and seek a way forward for the group, since I feel it is time I took a back seat.  Hopefully I will be able to get the small Carhampton Museum open during that time.

David Temple

Lunch Club

Great lunch at the White Horse Inn near Cleeve Abbey!  Comments as follows:

“Great company and good fun!”
“Delicious lemon tart!”
“We will return!”
“Friendly and helpful staff.”
“Good selection of food including a few vegetarian meals.  Average price with main meal, dessert and drink around £20.”
“Easy access to pub with parking opposite.  Great eating area under cover outside.”

June’s lunch on the 23rd is at the Hood Arms, Kilve.
We are still considering starting a second group on the Wednesday as we have a few reserves. Please email via the website if you wish to be added to list for Wednesday or Thursday to make up more numbers.

Lori Lee

Nature Amblers

On Wed 25 May we visited the Beaver enclosure at Holnicote Estate. Our two guides spent a huge amount of time with us. They were both very informative and so patient with us and especially with the many questions the Group asked. We were able to watch camera trap footage of the family of three beavers, mother, father and last year’s kit playing together, working on their lodge and building their dams.  It was incredible to think that in just two years the Beavers have actually done so much work in the enclosure building dams, felling trees all with very little help from humans!  Everyone has said what a splendid visit it was and how much they all thoroughly enjoyed it. In total, we noted 57 wild flowers, trees, insects, fungi, birds & animals.

The photo illustrates the main dam the beavers have built. The water behind the dam is at a higher level.

Photo by Cherrie Temple

On Wednesday 22 June, starting promptly at 10 am, we will amble gently along the coast at Dunster Beach looking to see what flora and fauna we can identify.  In July we will meet on Wednesday 27 July at 10 am for an amble in Minehead.  New members will be made welcome on our ambles.

Vintage Books

In May we had a ‘free-for-all’ where we each talked about a book we had read and enjoyed. In June we will be discussing the novels of R.F. Delderfield. Books discussed in May were:

The Source – James Michener
One of Michener’s signature epic style novels charting the history of a place or region, first published in 1965. A multi-national group of archaeologists go to Israel to take part in a dig.  Their finds tell the story of thousands of years of people and events from ancient to modern history. 

Maigret and the Young Girl – Georges Simenon
Classic detective story, first published in 1955. A young girl is found murdered in Paris and Maigret sets out to investigate.  He is intrigued about the girl and concentrates on finding out about the girl and her past in order to find her murderer.

Death in Captivity: A Second World War Mystery – Michael Gilbert
One of the British Library Crime Classics, first published in 1952.  A man is found murdered in an escape tunnel in a prisoner-of-war camp in Italy.   This is more about the prisoners’ attempts to escape – the murder is something of a sub-plot. The book was later made into a film entitled Danger Within, starring Richard Attenborough.

 *Gilbert was himself a prisoner in Italy and did escape so it’s likely much of what he describes is based on his own experience.

All Done by Kindness – Doris Langley Moore
A social comedy, first published in 1951.  Out of kindness Dr Sandilands treats an elderly lady who cannot afford to pay him, so she offers him the contents of her attic.  He accepts a stack of old, grimy paintings.  A local librarian thinks they are lost masterpieces.  A local art expert and collector says they are worthless and a shady art dealer offers to take them off the doctor’s hands ………

Pam Bartlett


Welcome to our new members!

A warm welcome to those who’ve recently joined us – we hope to see you all very soon!

  • Roisin and John Gruner from Watchet
  • Lorna Locke from Williton
  • John White from Minehead