The national chairman of the University of the Third Age Trust (U3A) Pam Jones celebrated Crewkerne & District U3A’s success at their 20th anniversary lunch at Haselbury Mill. Pam Jones told members that their past 20 years had been a wonderful success story. She said that her focus as chairman is to change the public’s perception of older people by demonstrating to them the benefits and joys of belonging to the U3A. Pam commented that no one is setting a better example of how to do this than Crewkerne & District U3A which has enriched the lives of hundreds of people who have belonged to it during the past 20 years. She said: “You should be very proud of your achievements. You continue to play an increasingly important role in the community by helping people to learn new skills and to make new friends. You are doing great work.”

The Third Age Trust is the umbrella body for more than 1,000 U3As in the UK. Pam believes that the U3A deserves a much higher profile at national level. “I can’t understand why TV and radio does not consult with the U3A on issues which relate to our age group,” she said. It is something she intends to change. Other VIPs who attended the anniversary lunch included Jill Nicholls the new South West region trustee, Diana Holdsworth former South West region trustee, Marion Clements former national vice chairman and Avalon network representative Val Warren. Also in attendance at the birthday party were ten of the founder members who started the U3A group in Crewkerne 20 years ago: Founder chairman John Ashworth and Helga Ashworth, Cliff and Dorothy Wiles, Roger and Maureen Allen, Val and Francis Watson, Leslye Stansfield and Mary Tiffen.

In its early days the group had 50 members, it now has 367 memberships with 45 special interest groups and more in the pipeline, to cope with the increasing demand. Anne Bright, chair of Crewkerne & District U3A said: “Thank you all for making it such a memorable day.” Anne presented a bouquet of flowers to Pam Jones, who gave her a birthday card for the group, signed by herself and Jill Nicholls. The 20th anniversary cake was made by committee member Ann Lewis. It was ceremoniously cut by Pam Jones and distributed to 70 members and their guests at the special birthday lunch.

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