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  • Writer's pictureSue Hooper-Lawrie

UPDATE July/August 2023

Updated: Aug 13, 2023

Welcome to our latest newsletter ...

For our Monthly Meeting on 3 August our own Gill Sole will talk about the trip she and her sister made to India last year.

Two Sisters in India

Gill and her sister Anne eventually made their pandemic-delayed trip to Delhi, Rajasthan and Shimla in the Himalayan foothills and had a whale of a time. Flushed with the apparent enthusiasm for her talk on their North Downs Way Walk, she has decided to share some highlights with us.

Before we hear from Gill at our August meeting we will welcome...

Jackie Hammond from Mid Devon Mobility, who is coming along to introduce their services and talk about volunteering opportunities with this local support organisation. Mid Devon Mobility is a local charity whose services are immensely useful for many less mobile, and less independent in our community, and we’re pleased to offer Jackie the opportunity to raise awareness of what they do amongst our members.

From the Committee …

The Committee met at the end of June with a packed Agenda. We are pleased to announce that as from the July 2023 Monthly Meeting there will be no charge for entry at the door. We have a healthy bank balance, due to an increase in membership to Culm Valley u3a, and wish to pass this on to you all. You will, however, still need to ‘Sign In’ in line with Willand Village Hall regulations.

As all but one of the Committee were on the Behind The Scenes trip to Drakes Island Alison, our Treasurer, attended the Devon Link Zoom meeting of South West Groups. This is always an interesting meeting especially when you find that all Groups have similar problems to CVu3a in filling Committee and Group Leader roles. This meeting also gives us the chance to ask for advice on any of our problems; such as “what do they have planned if a speaker cancels at short notice or simply doesn't turn up at the designated time?”. Happily, many suggestions were received and together with input from Gill Sole our Speaker Co-ordinator, we are producing a ‘Plan B’!

Lorna is due to stand down in September having served on the Committee for three years, two as Vice Chair and one as Business Secretary and therefor a replacement is necessary. Lorna is happy to discuss the requirements for the role and also that of being a Trustee, please see the About page on this website or speak to her at a monthly meeting.



At our monthly meeting on 7th September, we will be holding an exhibition of work created by the Culm Valley u3a Art in Action, Craft, Draw It!, Learn to Draw, and Photographic Groups. If you have any display panels or boards we could borrow, or know of any, please let Sue know as we need to find a few more.

A new 6 session short course starting in 2024

Live for Today, Plan for Tomorrow

Death is an unavoidable part of the cycle of life, yet some of us do all we can to avoid thinking about it. As we get older, preparing for the inevitable and communicating our wishes, makes things so much easier for ourselves, and our nearest and dearest.

Many of us live as if we are immortal, which results in leaving important things undone and unsaid. By preparing for our death in advance, we create an end of life which is virtually stress free and filled with peace for all concerned.

Once we accepted the reality before us, we start to take stock of our life, think about the possibilities still ahead, and learn to cope with any fear of death we may have. We all want to experience a “good” death, so we need to take time to consider what our ideal experience would be, where we want to be and who we want with us when the time comes.

As well as the practical side of dying, there is also the emotional and spiritual side to consider. We need to give ourselves plenty of time for calm, contemplative reflection. Such moments should help us see things more clearly, making it easier to take the necessary steps.

Live for Today, Plan for Tomorrow is a series of 6 sessions, with each session focusing on a different aspect, giving members a chance to explore and consider each of the topics we will cover. Each 2 hour session is split into two sections with the first part taken by a speaker, giving factual, legal and helpful information and guidance on their specific topic. This will be followed by a short break of 10 minutes for refreshments followed by the opportunity to ask questions and facilitated discussions.

For more information and/or to sign up to attend the course please email Sue Hooper-Lawrie ( There will also be a sign up sheet at each monthly meeting between now and December 2023.

Thanks to all those who have already signed up, it is very encouraging to see such a positive response.

Note: since the monthly meeting, the dates printed on the folded leaflet have been revised. The dates are:

Almost daily we hear of new scams doing the rounds, whether on the phone, by email or social media and online. If you have heard of or experienced a scam then Action Fraud wants to know about it. Action Fraud is the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime where you should report fraud if you have been scammed, defrauded or experienced cyber crime in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Action Fraud provide a central point of contact for information about fraud and financially motivated internet crime. People are scammed, ripped off or conned everyday and we want this to stop. The service is run by the City of London Police working alongside the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) who are responsible for assessment of the reports and to ensure that your fraud reports reach the right place. The City of London Police is the national policing lead for economic crime.

Reporting fraud and cyber crime

You can report fraud or cyber crime using the Action Fraud onlinereporting service any time of the day or night; the service enables you to both report a fraud and find help and support. The site also provides help and advice over the phone through the Action Fraud contact centre. You can talk to their fraud and cybercrime specialists by calling 0300 123 2040.

When you report to Action Fraud you will receive a police crime reference number. Reports taken are passed to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau. Action Fraud does not investigate the cases and cannot advise you on the progress of a case.

Find out more about Action Fraud on their website -

Websites which provide updates on scams include:


Rest Less



Age UK

National Cyber Security Centre - Social Media: how to use it safely

News from the Interest Groups (See latest photos on their group page)


See the latest photographs of some of their recent walks on their Interest Group page.


RHS Rosemoor

Happily the Gardening Group's first coach trip was a success; the weather behaved itself and we arrived home with the same number of passengers that boarded the coach in the morning

Caroline writes "as a new u3a member the visit to Rosemoor RHS gardens was my first trip. Everyone was friendly and I was made very welcome. The weather was good despite a heavy shower on the way there. The gardens were as beautiful as expected, particularly the roses, and I couldn't resist coming home with one."


The Photographic Group had a change of venue and met at Trisha Luxtons house. A new venue and new photographic opportunities. Our monthly challenge had been on 'Lines' and the instant challenge had been 'Mirrors/Reflections'. Our winner with most of the votes was Greta Edwards whose depiction of Venetian blind shadows caught everyones eye. Gretas image of buttercups on a mirror was beautiful. It looks like the flowers are floating in the air. A well deserved win.


Last month the craft group had a lot of fun making small books and Journals all under the watchful eye of Barbie. whom I have to thank for the time she spent putting together the two sessions.


Our June meeting took place in glorious summer weather again at Hembury Fort, on the A373 between Cullompton and Honiton. We came prepared with our hats and sun cream this month. Terry had organised two walks in different directions from the car park, both partly in the shade of the trees and with magnificent views over the Devon and Somerset countryside in the sunshine. The walks had a good mix of steep paths up and down and a variety of undergrowth, tall ferns and bracken and wonderful old beech trees all along the top of the old fort. Afterwards we enjoyed lunch in the garden of the Drewe Arms in Broadhembury.

Art in Action

The group continues to work and experiment with a variety of different mediums, lately this has included the use of acrylics and water colours. We sometimes attempt to produce our version of the Still Life arrangement provided on the day or we work on projects of our own.

Last month we focused on the use and versatility of pastel painting; a member of our group shared the techniques she uses to achieve a variety of wide-ranging outcomes – we all had a go under her guidance and we were well prepared with our disposable gloves in an attempt not to get covered in this delightfully messy medium. We thoroughly enjoyed the session, see the photographs of some of our results.

Draw It!

Having a go at creating a variety of subjects from water drops and trickles, to animal eyes, on to a Bumble Bee, Field Mouse and Hedgehog and then a Flamingo and a Puffins head …. so far covered in our Draw It! Sessions.

Having fun and being frustrated some of the time is all part of the experience of learning to draw different subjects; as we chat about what we are doing.

A “ready to have a go” attitude is all that is needed to enjoy two hours, which seem to

fly by!!

Behind The Scenes

On a perfect weather day in June, neither too hot nor cold and thankfully dry, a full coach load of us took the ferry across to Drakes Island in Plymouth Sound. From the Barbican we took in the wonderful views and a most interesting guided tour of past fortifications, tunnels, gun casements and canons. Facilities were basic, to say the least, as the island, now in private ownership after a long but pretty uneventful military history, is open to the public, but heavily restricted as to what can be done with it. Lack of running water and power would certainly seem an impediment to commercial development for the future, but we were happy to enjoy the tranquility of the small island in its unadulterated state before returning to the Barbican for refreshments and then back on the coach. It must have been the sleep-inducing sea air, but we were home before I knew it! My thanks to Ged for suggesting this trip as many of us have looked from the mainland or sailed past it but wouldn’t have known it was open to the public. Indeed the military still perform assault training exercises on the island, as was evident from the plentiful spent blank cartridges to be picked up and I found two!

Learn to Draw

The first group is now drawing to a close! Each individual in the group has developed their drawing skills in their own way and found they were capable of things they never thought possible when the group first started. From the original 11 members, the group shrunk to 6, which is not really a surprise, as some found “life” needing to be a bigger priority and others found that drawing wasn’t really for them. But for me that is what a course is for. Part of the process is to find out for yourself whether drawing is really something you want to learn to do, and for a few the answer is “no”! For those who have carried on they have steadily improved and become far more comfortable with their drawing pencils. You will get a chance to see some of the groups work at the September Monthly Meeting, in the Exhibition. It has been a joy and a privilege to work with you all.

Learn to Draw 2 (New Group)

The list for this group closed at the July monthly meeting. 15 members have indicated that they are interested at giving drawing a go. This will be a very different group, and rightly so, and I look forward to guiding them on their journey to discover what it takes to draw. We will meet together soon, for the first time, to plan and prepare for their course. Those who have signed up have been sent an email about our introductory meeting on Friday 25th August. If you can’t see it in your Inbox, please check your spam folder.


I was going to try and incorporate the words from the round on 'Words and their meanings', but I was left 'discombobulated' and unable to complete the challenge; yes this was one of the words in that round, which also included Succubus = a female demon and Panjandrum = a person who has claims to have a great deal of authority. Much too difficult for me to fit into a summary of last months quiz, that would make any sense. The quiz questions rounds also included General Knowledge, Devon- Glorious Devon, All things Coronation, Food & Drink and Around the World. Many thanks to our quiz setters, Jane & Liz, for a really interesting and challenging quiz.

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