u3a Photograph Album 2020/21

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This Page contains Photographs taken of Group activities in 2020/21


Craft Group

At the Core meeting on February 6th The Craft Group led by Jane Cooper exhibited some of their work.



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Out and About

Buddhist Vihara

On Thursday 14th October 20 members visited the Buddhist Vihara in Ladywood, Birmingham.  We were given an extremely warm welcome by the Monks.  They told us about the Buddhist beliefs and showed us around the Vihara.  We were the first u3a group to visit the pagoda.

A Vihara is a Buddhist temple where everyone can find peace and contentment. Buddhism is one of the world’s largest religions. There are over 500 million Buddhists across the globe. In 1975, Dr Rewata Dhamma, an international scholar, was invited to Birmingham where he established a Buddhist pagoda. It is a place where Buddhists can hear the teachings of Buddha, perform ceremonies and meditate. In addition to the pagoda, there is also a monastery where the monks live and an academy where people can learn about the teachings of Buddha. The Dhamma Telaka Pagoda was opened in 1998. The design is based on a traditional pagoda, known as a stupa, found in Myanmar, which used to be called Burma.

Balsall Common u3a Out and About Group photographed with Venerable Dr Ottra Nyana, Spiritual Director of the Vihara (middle of the group)

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Spencers Retreat

After a forced break of nearly 18 months due to Covid restrictions on September 30th 2021 the Out and About group visited the local Spencer's Retreat.

Spencer's Retreat provides children with special needs and their families a safe space to unwind, explore and learn, reducing anxiety and creating positive experiences. Creating secure enclosures for our animals so that children can interact safely with them and learn about their care.
Interaction with animals is incredibly therapeutic and beneficial to the whole family as it can lower anxiety, stress and depression. The retreat is available to families to book a session rather than it being open to the public meaning that it never gets busy and overwhelming.

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Birmingham Oratory

On Thursday 12th March 22 2020 U3A members visited the Birmingham Oratory, they were met by Brother David Sprong who guided the group on a tour of Oratory Church.  It is one of rtrhe most beautiful churches in the UK if not the world.

The Birmingham Oratory is a Roman Catholic religious community comprising Priests and Brothers of the Congregation of the Oratory of St Philip Neri, located in the Edgbaston area of Birmingham. The community was founded in 1849 by St John Henry Newman who was recently canonised.

The Birmingham Oratory was founded by St John Henry Newman on 1st February 1848. He was ordained a Roman Catholic priest in Rome in 1847. In Rome he joined the Congregation of the Oratory founded in the 16th century by St Philip Neri later known as the Apostle of Rome. The Oratory in Birmingham was first established in Maryvale, then moved to a converted gin distillery in Digbeth, and finally settled at Edgbaston in 1852.

After Newman’s death in 1890 it was decided to replace the first Oratory church with a larger building as a memorial to him. The architect E. Doran Webb (1864-1931) was commissioned and the foundation stone was laid in 1903. The church is built in a classical style which evokes early Italian baroque and is an example of Edwardian baroque architecture.

The church was solemnly opened in 1909, but had been in use for three years before this. It was consecrated in 1920. The new church was built on top of the old church, with the old church remaining in use for a time, before it was dismantled and the remains removed to reveal the new church.

The outside of the Church Bro David our guide

The pillars are solid marble

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Wednesday 15th December 2021 over 50 members of both walking groups met at the Lake at Barston to enjoy their annual Christmas Lunch.

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Wednesday 17th November 18 members met at the Queens Head, Meriden.  On a mild November morning enjoyed a 5 mile walk across glorious countryside led by Alan Buckland

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Tuesday 2nd November 2021 the group met at the Plough Inn in Shustoke.  On a bright autumnal morning  led by Richard Glynn they enjoyed a walk around Shustoke Reservoir. 

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On Tuesday 5th October 2021 members of the group met at The Kings Arms, Knowle.  Led by Merryl Muat the walkers enjoyed a 4.5 mile walk encircling Knowle, including a visit to the 15th Century Knowle Parish Church.  Merryl spoke about the history of the church at the front of the building. A typical Autumn day, with threatening weather but luckily the rain held off.

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On Tuesday 7th September members met at the Crown Arms, Claverdon. In an early autumn heat wave — temperatures in the upper 20's, they enjoyed a circular 4.5 mile walk in the Warwickshire countryside led by Richard Drake.





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On Tuesday 3rd August 2021 members of the rambling group met at Leek Wootton and enjoyed a 5 mile circular walk out to Kenilworth and returning across the Warwickshire Golf Course. The walk was led by Peter Calver.


Wednesday 21st July 2021 10 members of the group participated in a ramble starting at Hampton Lucy.  The walk was lead jointly by Liz Cowley and Shiela Jones.  The weather was extremely hot with the morning temperatures in the upper twenties.

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Wednesday 16th June 2021, a glorious early summers day, 14 Ramblers met at the Lake at Barston for a 5 mile circular walk to Hampton-in-Arden and back.  This walk was led by Lynn and Tony Brinkworth


Wednesday 19th February 2020 18 walkers met at The Boat Inn Catheine-de-Barnes and participated in a ramble led by Martin Richards.  Because of the recent bad weather (Storm Dennis) Martin planned the walk to be mainly on asphalt paths on a short length along the canal tow path was muddy.

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Memory Lane

10 years ago, Wednesday 7th December 2010 the ramblers group held their first Christmas lunch.  It was decided to undertake a short walk prior to meeting at the The Honiley Court.

15 members met at a lay-by (that is another story) in Hatton on a crisp winter's day. The temperature was -7oC when we started the walk but rose to -5oC towards the end.  Because of a hoar frost the countryside was a beautiful sight, nobody felt the cold.

Below are photographs taken on that day.



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On January 15th 2020 25 members of the Rambling Group met at the The Fieldhouse Pub in Solihull.  Led by Barbara and Phil Hammonds walked to the Blythe Valley Business Park nature reserve.  Following heavy rain the day before the walk was muddy in parts.

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Walking Football

Following photographs of our superbly fit footballers were taken on Friday 21st May 2021

© John Hayes












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Walking Cricket

Following photographs of our walking cricketers were taken on Thursday 19th August 2021


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Change of Trustees

In August 2020 Balsall Common u3a were eventually able to hold an AGM.  Two Trustees - Lin White and Len Tomnie stepped down and the Chairman Jim Melville.  All three had served over 6 years due to the Covid-19 restrictions.  The following are photographs taken at the time.


u3a Committee Members, past and present who served during Jim Melvilles tenure met at the Bricklayers Arms for a celebratory drink.

The following Presentations were made following the AGM on Thursday August 5th.

Lin White and Len Tomnie had served their time on the Committee.

Thanked by Jim Melville

Richard Drake on behalf of the Membership presented Jim Melville with a hamper thanking him for the 6 years of dedication to the u3a Group

Jim also presented a bouquet to his wife Moya

for putting up with the last 6 years


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