The film star Betty Davis once said “ Old age is not for sissies!” We in Newry U3A agree. Its a bit of a roller coaster which will eventually end but think of the fun we can have on that ride. Remembering how much we have invested in the lives of others in the past we can now begin to do things we have only dreamed about, things we have put off doing with a list of excuses.
CS Lewis wrote “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” Every day I am meeting people in the U3A who are living by this axiom. They have set themselves a goal, to learn a new language, get fit, do drama, sing in a choir, dance, or grow vegetables - the list is endless. They are not listening to the blurt within that tells them that they are too old or too slow. They are taking responsibility for their own happiness. Here are some of the stories of just a few of our members who are living full lives within the U3A.
Mark Twain wrote “ The most important days of your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why”
Margaret Mc Ardle
Margaret is certainly an example of a person who lives out what CS Lewis says about never being too old to set another goal or dream a new dream.
She joined Newry U3A seven years ago.
Since she joined she has embraced so much of what the U3A has to offer. After a few months in the Walk and Talk group she trained and and became a leader for that class. There are two walks every month. Walks planned for February will be in Hillsborough and Slieve Gullion.
Margaret also took training for chair based exercises and now helps out with this class. When she joined the Gardening Group she hardly knew the difference between a flower and a weed but with the help, great expertise and knowledge of Shirley Milligan she now loves working in the allotment.
Producing and presenting a radio programme for Uir Fm over 2 years was a steep learning curve but she enjoyed the fun with the other members of the U3A group. She is also a member of the Kaleidoscope Acting Up group and U3A Party Pieces. Following a course in the U3A called “If not now?” she set herself the challenge to learn to play golf. She is working on this too.
Margaret exemplifies the generosity of spirit of Tutors that is the key to the success of the U3A. Many people join the U3A and then become aware that its not all about taking what is on offer but that helping out or running a class brings enjoyment and a sense of fulfilment.
Friends suggested to Stuart that he should join the U3A when he came here from England. He did so last September.
Stuart has a hearing problem so he was anxious about joining a class.Stuart attends the computer class and says his lack of hearing is not a big problem there because much of the teaching Eugene does is on a one to one basis. He has also joined the Kaleidoscope Acting Up group that is held in the Arts Centre every Tuesday. He says “The class tutor Charmaine, goes the extra mile for me, making sure I fully understand her instructions.” Though Stuart hasn't acted since primary school he thinks it’s not too late to start again. He is delighted with the friendliness and interest that members have shown him.
He is now looking forward to learning to play the ukulele. This class is being offered by Kaleidoscope’s Imagine Arts Centre programme, of which members of the U3A are delighted to avail. It will be given by Nikolay Ivanov.
Stuart believes that the secret of success of the Newry U3A is that people are very encouraging. He says “Your self esteem and confidence builds up. A year ago I had no confidence but now I have every confidence in myself and what I can do”
This is Anne’s fourth year in Newry U3A. She and her husband had been living in Belfast and thought that joining the U3A would be a good way of making friends. Firstly she joined the Craft Class and learned about beading and patchwork quilting. She also attended the Spanish Class.
Anne has discovered a new a talent for making Carrickmacross Lace. She says that she had never made anything before joining the class.
She now facilitates this class. She has made a special piece (shown in the photo) as a surprise for her son’s mother in law Maria, who lives in Toronto and who celebrates her 80th birthday in April.
Anne also enjoys the Faberge Eggs making class that is led by the highly skilled Marie McKeown. Anne agrees that you are never too old to learn a new skill and that we are so lucky to have great teachers who are of similar age to the participants. She sees great value in the opportunity to connect with others. This she thinks is especially important for people who are living on their own.