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South Woodham Ferrers

Quarterly Newsletter

Summer & Autumn Edition

Queens Jubilee Celebration

Newsletter No 185



News From The Chair

Hello All

I hope everyone is keeping well in this heatwave and being sensible when outside.

It has been a year since I was elected to the Chair of our u3a and I have to thank the committee and membership for the support I have received over the past year.

It has been a busy period in SWF u3a since the last newsletter. We have held the street party, completed another AGM and new activities have been introduced or resurrected.

First of all the Street Party to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. The event was a tremendous success that echoed Mary Brindley and her team’s efforts. Since the idea was raised there was so much impetus put into the arranging and the eventual successful party. Thanks to Mary and her team. In addition we also raised £200 to the MND charity, a great figure. Thank you to all who contributed.

The AGM was held a couple of weeks ago and thanks to all who attended. Notable items were the election of new committee members. I would therefore like to welcome Ann Woolley as secretary, Mary Brindley as Social Secretary and as committee members, Roger Gatford and Julie Gillard. The draft minutes will be uploaded to our website in due course. Finally, on behalf of the committee I would like to thank Sheila and Brian Chilton who reached the end of their tenure on the committee. They have been stalwart supporters of our u3a not only as members but also both held various roles in the committee. Sheila is continuing as group leader coordinator for the time being. Again, thanks to you both.

Three activity groups being re-introduced are the Craft Group, Singles and Social Dining and Digital Photography.

An area that has had little mention is the Maldon and District Cluster Group. As the name implies it is a group of local u3a's to which we as SWF u3a members can join the Cluster Group activities if we don’t have a particular activity ourselves. Bob Tyas has included an item with more details in this newsletter.

Membership renewals have been encouraging but there are a very few that need to renew. Can those not renewed please make contact with Kay Miles if you have not yet renewed. The 31st of July is our cutoff date.

Finally, thank you to our membership, our committee for supporting South Woodham Ferrers u3a and I look forward to another successful year which is down to you, our membership

Enjoy your summer and stay safe as always

Best regards

Ian Mathews, Chair SWF U3A

Committee Membership 2022 - 2023

After our recent AGM we have a new committee in place and details of its membership are given below, with some brief detail about the members.

Chairmen - Ian Mathews

Ian joined our u3a in 2020 and immediately took on the role of Vice Chairman for one year, he is currently in his second year as Chairman. One of his interests is photography and he is about to restart the Digital Photography Group.

Vice Chairman - Bob Tyas

Joined the u3a a couple of months after it was set up and this is his 3rd year on the committee. Runs the Walking Group and is a member of several other groups. He maintains the website and produces the quarterly newsletter.

Secretary - Ann Woolley

Ann is a new member of the committee and agreed to taking on the important role of secretary. Ann has written a piece entitled Introducing our new Secretary which you will find below.

Treasurer - Kate Smith

Kate has the very important task of keeping track of the u3a's finances and has been doing this successfully for several years. She is also the group leader for the Local History Group, organising visits to interesting historical site local to our u3a.

Membership Secretary - Kay Miles

Many of you will know that Kay has been taking care of membership issues very successfully for several years now. She is a member of a number of group, and has recently restarted Cards and Games for Fun.

Groups Coordinator - Vacancy

Speakers Secretary - Shirley Masterson

Shirley has the difficult task of organising our monthly speakers, she is also the group leader of Find Your Voice. You will have seen what the group is capable of at the Jubilee Celebration when under her direction.

Social Secretary - Mary Brindley

Mary was co-opted onto the committee last year as social secretary. This year she became a full member continuing in that role. The success of the recent Jubilee Celebration was down to her considerable hard work

Webmaster/Newsletter - Bob Tyas

Member - Roger Gatford

Roger is a new member of the committee having been voted on at the recent AGM.

Member - Julie Gillard

Similarly, Julie is a new member after having been voted on at the AGM.


Introducing our new Secretary

Thank you for voting for me at the recent AGM.  I have Mary Brindley to thank for kindly pushing, I mean putting, me forward for the role of secretary!  As many of you won’t know me I thought it might be helpful to introduce myself.  I have had plenty of experience of the role having held that post in the Essex Association of Change Ringers (campanologists) for ten years, and am currently secretary of a Trefoil Guild group, as well as a committee member of Blackwater Flower Club and a member of our Town Council emergency climate change working party.  Not to mention still being involved in Girlguiding running a Ranger unit (14-18 year olds) and helping at a Brownie group. 

I joined the u3a in 2016 shortly after I retired and belong to the walking group, London theatre group,  Find Your Voice and London walks group and I do a lot of fund-raising walks for charity.  Campanology (church bell ringing) has been my hobby since my teens and I currently ring at St John the Baptist, Danbury as well as doing a bit of handbell ringing.  Another interest is conservation and I volunteer with the Essex Wildlife Trust at Blue House Farm in Fambridge where I recently attended the bird ringing event when eight barn owl chicks and two adults were ringed.  You can still see four of them on the webcam if you go to the EWT website.

I look forward to getting to know members better over the coming months.

Ann Woolley



Please remember that this is your newsletter and if there is something you want to say or want to include another time just send me your contribution. It could be anything; maybe a story you think members might be interested in reading, a quiz, a crossword, suggestion on how to make the newsletter more interesting.

Bob Tyas


Queens Jubilee Celebration

As mentioned in our last Newsletter, we celebrated the Jubilee with a "Street Party" and Find Your Voice members sang an anthem written by Jenny Dale and Shirley Masterson. 

We received a Thank You card and letter from Her Majesty the Queen, which are shown below.



Social Committee

Thank you to everyone who helped make the Jubilee Street Party such a success. It was so good to see everyone entering into the spirit of the occasion in their red, white and blue.  I think there will be other photos elsewhere in this newsletter.

The next event is the annual Quiz night. This is on Friday 21st October 7.30 at Champions Manor. Tickets are £3.00 to include a raffle and will be on sale at our August meeting.  Bring your own drinks and nibbles and come along  to make up tables of eight and exercise your brains . A great fun evening  which often brings out a bit of competitive inter table banter.


Mary Brindley



Cluster Group

Together with 7 other local u3a's, our u3a is a member of The Maldon and District Cluster Group. The other u3a's are:

Being a member of the cluster group enables u3a members to join interest groups, theatre trips and outings organised by u3a's within the cluster group without being a member of that u3a, provided there is space available.

Lets say, for example, that you are interested in cycling but your u3a doesn't have a Cycling Group. Using the link below you will see that Dengie u3a has a group which meets in the afternoon of the third Tuesday of the month. You then contact the Group Leader by visiting their u3a website, check if there are places available and if there is, hay presto your in the group.

If you wish to join a group of one of these u3a's you will need a u3a Membership Card which can be obtained from Kay Miles.

For information on interest groups that are available within the Cluster Group, follow this link:


Speakers for the Remainder of 2022


Kayla Conley reveals the Hidden Messages in Dreams.


Len Taphouse tells us about his time as an Apprentice Dockworker


Toni Neobard and Kate Broad present For Better or For Worse which shows us marriage and its pitfalls.


A volunteer will come with a canine helper to talk about the charity "Hearing Dogs for Deaf People".


Karen Kirby is bound to make us laugh with Anecdotes and Jokes she shares on Kirby Coach Trips.



Please note that from now, monthly meeting will start at 13.50.


Reports from Activity Groups


Cards and Games For Fun

Our friendly group has been going for a few months now. There is a lot of laughter amid the competiveness and concentration of whatever game is being played.

We have accumulated quite a number of different board games now so sometimes we are spoilt for choice.

So from numbers, words, strategy and brain teasers and not forgetting refreshments an afternoon of fun is had by all.

If anyone wishes to join us on the 4th Wednesday of each month then please give me a call on 01245 401015

Kay Miles



I am restarting craft classes in September they will be on a Thursday 10am until 12pm. New group starting 2nd September and then 1st and 3rd Thursday of the month Still a few place in the crochet group running now on the 2nd and 4th of the month.

If anyone one is interested please contact me on my email address below.



Local History

We had two very enjoyable visits in June and July to the Guildhall, Finchingfield and Flatford Mill.

At the Guildhall we had a talk on the long and varied history of the building and its restoration, completed in 2013, and had time to look round the excellent interactive museum.  The Guildhall was built in the 1470s by the Guild of the Holy Trinity to house a Guild of priests; following the Reformation it has served the local community in a variety of ways, as a meeting place for the local trade Guilds, a school for boys, administering poor relief and as alms houses to name a few. Fully restored it is now run as a charity for use by the community.

A View Inside the Guildhall

Our visit to Flatford Mill in July included a guided tour of the site covering the links to the Constable family, who owned the mill and operated the navigation route between Sudbury and the coast. Flatford is most famous for its links to John Constable, our guide took us to the locations of several of his paintings of Flatford, explaining how they captured the local commercial activity and landscape. The guide also outlined the difficulties Constable had with getting his paintings admitted to the Royal Academy and permission to marry his sweetheart Maria.

Group Visit to Flatford

We have two more visits planned for this year, sign-up sheets for both will be out at the August meeting, please note they are not on our usual meeting day as the venues are not open on a Tuesday or our usual day was not available.

The visits are

A guided walk in Chelmsford themed - the Forgotten History of Chelmsford on Tuesday 20 September at 2pm.  Cost £5pp.   Our guide has sent the following details about the walk

This walk of Chelmsford City centre brings to life the fascinating past of our city, which dates back to Norman times and has a name that is of Saxon origin.  During the guided tour you will hear some of the unusual stories behind the buildings and get an insight into how the past residents of Chelmsford lived. The commentary will roughly follow the evolution of Chelmsford from the Iron Age through the industrial revolution and up to the present day. As a bonus, during the walk information will be included on some of the city’s many blue plaques.

The walk starts at the Stone Bridge in the High Street next to Toni & Guy, and finishes 90 minutes later at the railway station.

Our October visit is to the Bata Heritage Centre in East Tilbury on Wednesday 26th October at 10am, cost £5pp

The Bata Heritage Centre presents the interesting history of the British Bata Shoe Co Ltd, it’s fascinating industrial and architectural heritage, and the social history of those who worked for the Bata company and the people who lived on the Bata residential estate.

Kate, Mary and Allen

London Theatre


Only Fools & Horses - Evenings only - 10+ £40 if paid by 29th Aug then 15+ £45.   Tickets booked for 14th November.  I’ll collect cheques at the meeting.

The Choir of Man - Fri Mat - 20th or 27th January -10+ £22 - The Arts Theatre Booking from 1st October to 5th Feb '23 . Please indicate which date you are available and I will make the booking.

Six, the musical - Thurs 5.30 -  23rd or 30th March -10+ £46.  Booking until 2 April 2023.  There are 8 names on the list, however, I’m proposing 23rd or 30th March so please indicate which dates you are available but we can’t go ahead without 2 further people.   Good Friday is 7th April.

& Juliet - Thurs Mat -10+ £40.00, 20+ £35.00.  Now extended until September ‘23.  Unfortunately not everyone was available for the proposed dates so I will look again during the spring.

Moulon Rouge  -  Wed Mat - Band A £85, B £65, C £52.50, D £42.50, E £32.50. Booking until 7th January 2023.  There are no group rates for this show, however, tickets can be held for 2 weeks.  There are currently only 3 names on the list. I you are still interested, please let me know which dates you would be available and which price range you require and I can make a booking.  

Mary Poppins, Jersey Boys and Drifters Girls - Unfortunately there has not been sufficient interest to book for these shows which are closing shortly.

If you’re not going to be at the meeting and are interested in any of the above shows, please email me.


London Walks

Apart from the disruption caused by the train strike to our Thursday Canal walk they are up and running and being enjoyed. Both groups are very sociable and we often finish with a nice pub lunch before making the journey home

These are just a couple of photos of our very enjoyable Mile End to Limehouse walk along the Regents Canal.

For any more info on these please contact me

For details of this years London Walks programme follow this link.

Mary Brinley

Paint and Pastels

The Paint and Pastels Art Group meets on the 2nd Monday of the month between 10.00 and 12.00 in the morning. We like to have a theme or topic for our meetings but members are welcome to bring along their own projects to work on alongside that.

Since the last Newsletter we have had a look at using Acrylics and Soft Pastels. In August we plan to work outdoors and into the Autumn we plan to have a go at portraits / figure drawing followed by a session with a theme of 'working large'.

New Members

Since restarting in February we have settled into our new venue at the WI Hall in SWF and would welcome new members to join the group. If you are interested please contact Chris on 07946 024302 or come to see me at one of the monthly meetings. We will need to keep and eye on how many can be accommodated in the hall but please contact Chris if you may be interested in joining the group.


This picture of bluebells was created by one of our group members using Acrylics.

Chris Miles


Pics and Bricks

Pics and Bricks is an Art and Architecture appreciation group. We arrange visits to Art Galleries, Museums and other places with an artistic and / or architectural interest. Typically we arrange a guide to talk about and explain what we are looking at. Our normal day for visits is the 4th Tuesday of the month but this will sometimes change to fit in with venue opening days.

We arranged three popular guided visits this season. Walking tours of Colchester and Battersea and a Visit to Copford Church near Stanway (Essex)

Walking Tour of Colchester

This tour was in April and used the long and varied history of Colchester to introduce us to some of the town's architectural heritage including one or two modern additions.

We had two guides both of whom were excellent. One lasting memory for me is the way that building materials from Roman times were recycled in later Norman and other buildings including the castle. The tour finished at the Firstsite Art Gallery, a striking modern building where we were able to see some examples of contemporary art.

The images below are of Colchester's 40 metre Grade II Listed water tower affectionately known as Jumbo and Michael Landy's similarly massive Essex Man. Essex Man is in the Firstsite Gallery, stands 8.3 meters tall, and reflects on the way the media has stereotyped our county over the last 30 years or so. It is based on an original drawing by Edward Collet.


In May we had our guided tour in Battersea to see and learn about the regeneration of the area including the new American Embassy, the repurposing of the Battersea Power Station and the new extension to the Northern Line tube. Again our guide was excellent and we learnt about the individual styles of notable modern architects involved in the regeneration.

The scale of regeneration in this part of London is breathtaking. It is all impressive but I was struck by the way in which public space is being incorporated. One feature that stood out was the swimming pool 'in the sky' linking two buildings. The only shame was that no-one was using it when we were there. We were treated to a spectacular thunderstorm. Fortunately we managed to find cover just at the right time.

The regeneration project is not finished and in particular we were not able to see inside the former power station. With this on mind we plan to arrange a return visit either next year or the year after to see how it all has progressed.

The Images below show the Swimming Pool, one of the public spaces and the American Embassy.

Copford Church

At the time of 'going to press' we have not yet been to this Church which boasts some of the most impressive Norman Wall Paintings in the country.

Turner Collection - Tate Britain

Our one disappointment this year was having to cancel this planned visit. Hopefully this will actually be just a postponement as we will look into including it in our next year's programme perhaps at a less busy time of the year.

New Members

We always welcome new members to our group and hope to have a varied programme for next year with something of interest for everyone. If you would like to join please contact Chris Miles on 07946 024302 or

Singles Social & Dining

We all met at Club Woodham on 13th July.  I have been to Club Woodham several times and I can recommend the venue. They accommodate my wheelchair with ease. The staff are patient and caring and the food, while being traditional ‘pub food’, is well presented and enjoyable.  The portions were large and a bit overwhelming for some.    We all enjoyed our first outing and will be revisiting Club Woodham again soon.

Lyn Kear

Walking Group

We walk on the first and third Friday of the month with walks starting at 10.00 and finishing between 12.00 and 12.30 depending on the walks length. Most of our walks are within a 10 mile radius of Woodham and vary in length from between 5 and 6 miles. At completion of the walk we often visit a nearby pub for a well deserved pint, but its not compulsory.

We have a website with more information about the group. It also includes details of the current walks, a schedule listing the years walk programme and a catalogue of most of the walk we undertake. You can access it by taking this link


One of Our Unusually Wet Walks taken by Larry

Walks for the next three months are:

August Walks

Friday 5th - Danbury/Blake Wood Walk - 5.5 miles - meet in Mayes Lane car park in Danbury.


Friday 19th - Mayland Walk (new walk)  - 6 miles - meet in the Bakersfield car park off the Drive in Mayland.

September Walks

Friday 2nd - South Woodham to Cock Clarks and return - 9.5 miles - Meet in Compass Gardens car park for 10.15 start. It is the intention to have a pub lunch in the Fox and Hound before returning.

Friday 16th - Bicknacre Walk - 6 miles - meet in the sports field car park adjacent to Bicknacre school.

October Walks

Friday 7th - Bradwell Second Walk - 6 miles - meet in St Peters on the Wall car park.


Friday 21st  - Bicknacre/Cock Clarkes Walk - 6.5 miles - meet in sport field car park adjacent to Bicknacre School (this is one we missed in Jully when unable to park).

Bob Tyas

Wine Appreciation Group 3

Wine group 3 have been enjoying some interesting wines over the past couple of months.

We decided that we would concentrate on a single varietal of grape,  one red, one white, each month but compare them from different parts of the world and how this affected the taste of that grape and the wine produced. The results were very interesting,  and in some cases quite surprising.  We will continue on this theme for a couple more months following our August group meeting in Mary and Roy Brindley’s  garden for a social get together.  We just have to hope that this spell of lovely weather continues . 

Brian and Sheila 


Groups Monthly Programme


Day of the Month   Weeksof the Month
  1st 2nd 3rd 4th
Monday AM Golfing Group
Book Group 1
Golfing Group
Paint & Pastels Art Group
Golfing Group
Golfing Group
PM Book Group 2

Tuesday AM       Pics & Bricks (Art & Architecture)
PM Gin Appreciation Local History
Tai Chi
  Pics & Bricks (Art & Architecture)
Tai Chi
Wednesday AM   Find Your Voice London Walks 1  
PM Monthly Meeting All Kinds of Music
  Cards & Games for Fun
Thursday AM Craft
Science & Technology
Crouchet Craft London Walks 2
PM   French    
Friday AM Walking Group
Bowling Walking
Digital Photography
PM   Wine Appreciation
Groups 1, 2 & 3
Theatre as Arranged, Curry Clique 2nd Wednesday of odd months, Singles Social & Dining as Arranged


NCA = Not Currently Active

Useful Links

Crouch Valley u3a -

East of England Region u3a -

National u3a -


Deadline for Inclusion in Next Newsletter

Please send your contributions to the next Newsletter by Wednesday 19th October,  to Bob Tyas at or deliver to 55 Clements Green Lane, SWF. Alternatively you can ring him on 01245 321110.

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