Tunbridge Wells u3a celebrates its 40th birthday under town’s clock

CANVASSING u3a members on their publicity drive

TIME is a worthy thing to celebrate, especially if it is spent together, which is why members of a local retirement group met under the Millennium Clock for the movement’s annual publicity drive.

The third week in September is always ‘u3a Week’, said Tunbridge Wells branch chair Eryll Fabian.

“U3as throughout the country make a special effort to raise awareness of the movement each year on one or more days during the third week of September, and the type and scope of celebrations vary enormously.

“This year, they have much to celebrate, for the movement is now 40 years old,” added Mrs Fabian.

“Started in France in 1972, u3a was founded here in 1982 and is a UK-wide movement of locally-run interest groups that provide opportunities for those no longer in full-time work to come together to share their knowledge, learn from each other and broaden their horizons.


“Their motto is ‘Learn, Laugh, Live’.”


The group provides many opportunities for those no longer in full-time employment to engage, keep active and make friends.

“It’s the perfect antidote to the loneliness of lockdown,” she said.

Some activities are physical, while others are subject areas or skills, but Mrs Fabian said no qualifications were required, and no certificates were given.

“Learning is for pleasure. Whether on a country ramble or in a poetry group, playing mahjong or studying family history, learning is its own reward and is understood in its very broadest sense.”

There are 1,057 u3as in the UK with over 388,000 members, and annual membership costs less than £20.

“We had a very successful day and had a steady stream of enquiries, and handed out a lot of our leaflets,” said Mrs Fabian.

“We are hoping to greet many whom we spoke to at our next coffee morning at Trinity on Friday September 30 – always on the last Friday of the month – when anyone who is interested is welcome to join us.”

Details are available at: tunbridgewellsu3a.org

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