A grand party for Crewkerne & District U3A’s 20th Anniversary was started by the town’s Mayor, councillor Ben Hodgson, when he cut the ribbon on the steps of Victoria Hall. The Mayor said: “I wish to congratulate your wonderful organisation on what you have achieved and I hope you will continue to make an important contribution to the town in the years to come.” He was joined for the ceremony by the chair of Crewkerne & District U3A Anne Bright, U3A national vice-chair Marion Clements and John Ashworth, the founder chairman of the U3A in Crewkerne 20 years ago. Eight others who joined in 1997 and are still members today who attended the birthday party were Leslye Stansfield, Cliff and Dorothy Wiles, Sheila Hayes, Margaret Robinson, Roger and Maureen Allen and Chris O’Brien.

More than 30 of the U3A’s 45 special interest groups set up stalls in the hall, to demonstrate what they do and the skills that people can learn. Performances on the stage in Victoria Hall from the U3A’s two poetry groups, ukulele, singing for pleasure and folk dancing groups, entertained the several hundred people who joined in the party on the day. Dozens of membership information packs were handed out to prospective new members and two possible new groups, including folk singing, may be formed as a result of the 20th anniversary celebrations.

A cafe set up by Joyce Richards, Ann Needle and their helpers was kept busy throughout the day, from serving morning coffee and cake, ploughman’s lunches to afternoon cream teas. The local U3A magazine editor Teresa Bond produced a 20th anniversary souvenir edition for the party and photographs, taken over the past 20 years, were on display. Chair Anne Bright, who was presented with a thank-you bouquet of flowers by founder chairman John Ashworth said: “I could not have wished for a better party. There was a steady stream of visitors throughout the day and even the weather was perfect. I hope our party has shown how many talented people we have in the U3A and that people who join us, will have the opportunity to learn new skills, have fun and make new friends. It is a privilege to be their chair.” Anne thanked the organising committee and group leaders for their tireless work in staging the party.

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