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Chairman's Review of the Year 2015-16

by Tim Wright - 18:05 on 19 March 2016


At the AGM it is customary for the Chairman to provide a report on the activities of the year. The General Meetings were well attended and included the following:

In April, John Mowat entertained us with Orkney Norway connections and included some of his kayaking photos .

In May, Mark Shiner showed us how he had restored John Rae's Fiddle after carefully taking apart! He used old fashioned glue to put it back together but he didn't give us a tune on it though.

In June, Dave Higgins talked about how he had walked 6000 plus miles around the coast of Britain and only once, on the first day, being chased off someone's property.

Dave Gray spoke to us in August on Radio Orkney including the hazards of hospital request programmes.

In September, Tom Nimmo spoke on "Looking at Seeing" and how the eye can be fooled into thinking lines are bent, colours are darker or lighter than each other, when they are not, as well as lots of other visual illusions .

In October  William Sichel spoke on Running 3100 miles and how, unlike his competitors, he actually got faster the longer he went on rather than slower! A lot of careful preparation goes into these extreme marathons as well as a lot of psychology too.

In November, Ian Stallard spoke on Spinal Injuries and was so good that he is coming back this year to speak again. However, he will be talking on Cycling from Lands End to John O'Groats on a Recumbent Bicycle .

December was our Christmas Lunch date in the Kirkwall when 44 of us enjoyed an excellent meal (even if half of us had forgotten what we had ordered). Thank goodness for all the organization by Sally and Fiona, which meant we all got what we wanted.

The January meeting was a three hander by Athole Thomson, Marlene Mainland and Sheena Wenham on the history and recent purchase of St Nicholas Church in Holm with the view to have it as a local Heritage Centre. It will be open in the summer months so we must go and see what they have managed to do so far.

Tom Muir spoke to us in February on Old Orkney Customs at Birth, Death and Marriage. Luckily most of the customs have died out except the Bride's Cog. I wonder what the reason is for that being the sole survivor?!

March is AGM time again and with it the fiendishly difficult Quiz on Orkney provided by me .

As far as the groups go, some seem to keep up their numbers well and some (Botany & Photography Group 2) are looking for recruits. I will leave the Group leaders to give their reports separately but I am glad to hear that the Botany Group is up and running again. As always, new groups or ideas for new groups are very welcome as are revived groups. The Secretary and Chairman are very happy to give advice and help to get new groups off the ground.

The Committee met 3 times at Westbank to coordinate activities and consumed lots of cake (Thanks Phydle). The U3A Trustee for Scotland, Graham Clark, visited in June with a remit to visit Westray, who were interested in starting their own U3A.This has not happened but 6 from there  joined our organization as a result .

We currently have a membership of nearly 100 and the Treasurer ,Sally ,is to be congratulated on keeping not only the books in order and the membership details up to date but also for the great publicity posters advertising the General Meetings. Thank you very much Sally for all your hard work.

Fiona has taken on the Secretarial role with great efficiency and keeps me straight on what is meant to be happening and what the Constitution says. She also does great minutes and agendas too. A lot goes on behind the scenes that makes everything run smoothly and this is all down to Fiona and she has at last managed to get an article into The Orcadian too. So thank you very much to Fiona for making Orkney U3A so successful.

John and Gloria are stepping down this year from the job of organizing the teas at the General Meetings. This essential but arduous task has been carried out with good humour and gentle persuasion by them both for many years and we thank them both from the bottom of our hearts (Tea cups?). We wish them both better health in the coming year and hope to see them here with us again soon but on the other side of the counter this time .

Thank you to all the Group leaders for your commitment in keeping your groups running smoothly and your members interested. It is down to your enthusiasm that Orkney U3A is as successful as it is and will continue to be in the future. Well done to you all.

Finally, thank you to David Appleton and Sally for keeping our Orkney Communities website updated and the blogs posted. It gives an excellent impression of what is going on amongst our members and will give you an idea as to what the Groups are up to. Thanks too to all the Group leaders who submit reports for the website. They are well worth reading and are read more than you know, as Sally found out when she checked the numbers logging into the site.

Tim Wright 

Chairman Orkney U3A

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