The Poetry Group would like to send a big thank you to those members who brought items along to the World War One exhibition held last Friday, 7 November. Much care had gone into the presentation of the exhibits and that was much appreciated. Many thanks also to the members who came to have a look around and add their own interesting comments.

We saw an amazing and moving display of family stories and artefacts including photos, war medals, pay books, tobacco tins, postcards (some beautifully embroidered), weaponry, shell heads, newspapers, letters, diaries, books, Menin Gate videos and much more. It became obvious from even this small display that our ancestors were sent to fight in many theatres of war including France, Belgium, Greece, Egypt and Italy and met much hardship, sickness and in some cases death on the way. It was also noted that the British sense of humour was still evident even in those tough times.

All in all, it was a fitting tribute to those who were in that great conflict and we can be pleased to say that that Silhill U3A did remember them.

Did anyone leave a striped, multi coloured umbrella in the hall after the meeting on 7th November? If so, please contact Jane Sleigh - (you can email via OUTINGS page).


Friday 31st October - Hallowe'n Night - and Shirley Social Club was invaded by over 40 members of Silhill U3A for what turned out to be an excellent social and fun evening.

University Challenge or Mastermind it wasn't, but we were taken back to our childhoods to enjoy such games as Frustration, Beetle Drive, Dominoes and Yahtzee.

At times the noise levels at the various tables was exceedingly high, a mixture of excitement, disappointment and sheer frustration. The change over of tables at the end of each game resembled the opening day of the sales at John Lewis, however all participants managed to play four games each, in pairs, but against different opponents each time.

There was further drama when the results were announced and a "roll-off" using a dice was required to see who came second and third. Mary Ruffell took third prize, Sandra Thursfield was second and, despite starting odds of 66 to 1 Brenda Carney was the overall winner.

Thanks go to our organisers Margaret and Barry Toft, Mary-Lou Jeffs and Sue Cowley. Thanks also to Geoff Williams for patiently showing us how to play (and score) that tricky triangle game and Shirley Social Club for providing such a good venue and making us welcome.

Another excellent evening in the growing history of Silhill U3A - could this become an annual event?

Dave Badger


Thirty three (we counted them – frequently!) eager U3A travellers (22 from Silhill and 11 very welcome members from other local groups) boarded a coach before dawn en route to the European Parliament in Strasbourg. We crossed the Channel to Calais with the sun shining on the white cliffs of Dover behind us and reached our hotel in the very pleasant city of Reims in time to explore the cathedral and have a meal. Next morning we made a cultural visit to G. H. Mumm to hear about the age-old process of making champagne and tour the extensive cellars before briefly sampling the product. Then, back on the coach to the delightful, partly walled village of Obernai in Alsace close to the Vosges mountains. Our lovely hotel overlooked the market place with its colourful, timber-framed buildings and stone Hotel de Ville.
The highlight of the trip was a visit to the European Parliament in nearby Strasbourg. We sat in the visitors’ gallery for about half an hour where we heard several MEPs, including Eurosceptics, speaking for or against the election of the new Commissioners proposed by Mr Juncker. Later, after a vote on this, (which was carried) they were to discuss a revised Free trade Agreement with the Republic of Korea, the situation in Kobane and the threat of IS, the situation in Hong Kong and European IS fighters.
We then had an excellent talk by a guide from Denmark. There are four elements to the structure: the Parliament, the Council of Ministers, the European Council and the European Commission. The Parliament has 751 MEPs directly elected from the 28 Member States every five years. The UK has 73 MEPs, including 7 representing the West Midlands. It works with the Council of Ministers to decide on European Union (EU) laws and the budget. It meets in Strasbourg and has a number of specialist committees which meet in Brussels. The Council of Ministers has one minister from each EU country. In addition to legislation, it develops the common foreign and security policy on the basis of strategic guidelines set by the European Council. The European Council is a summit of the heads of state and governments of all the EU countries together with the President of the Commission (Jean-Claude Juncker) and the President of the European Council (Donald Tusk). It sets the general political directions and priorities of the EU. The European Commission has one member from each country; it proposes new legislation and is the EU’s Civil Service.
This talk was followed by a very informative presentation by one of the West Midlands MEPs Anthea McIntyre who answered many questions from our group some of whom felt that we heard very little about the work of the Parliament.
In the afternoon, away from the ultra modern parliament buildings, we explored, by canal boat and on foot, the older parts of Strasbourg with elegant town houses, churches and, in the area called La Petite France, colourful, medieval buildings. In the evening we all gathered for dinner in the historic La Maison Kammerzell, a characterful old restaurant by the magnificent cathedral and were joined again by Anthea McIntyre.
Next morning, we woke to the sounds of the bustling market in Obernai but after a few quick bargains we were on our way again. We stopped in Luxembourg old city centre for a lunch break and then headed for Ypres in Belgium where we were in time to watch the Last Post ceremony at the Menin Gate and spend some time in the town before heading for our hotel over the French border on the outskirts of Lille.
On the final day, we were guided around some First World War sites in the Ypres Salient and visited Langemark German cemetery and Tyne Cot British cemetery, both containing many thousands of soldiers who died “in Flanders Fields”; a sobering experience. We travelled back via Calais arriving safely home on schedule. Thank you to Steve, our driver.
A very big thank you to Ann Wilkins and Jane Sleigh for organising such a rewarding visit and, as always, thank you all for your wonderful companionship. See photos of visit to Strasbourg
Lawrence Conway

Questionnaire for U3A members

If you have 15 minutes free please help a Birmingham University student carrying out a
research survey about the relationship between imagery and physical activity.

Please click on the links to find out more details, how the study will be carried out and contact details.
Study information sheet
Study Poster

An offer from Solihull Central:

As they are very close to each other we organise a combined trip to Kew gardens and/or the National Archives Museum every year. The trip attracts a mixture of gardening group and family history group members. We have seats available on the coach this year and thought that members of other U3As in our cluster group of U3As might be interested. If so could they please contact Tony Mortis directly for more information or complete the booking form on the link on this page Kew garden and national archive form

Many thanks
Tex Wales
Chairman Solihull central U3A


As we enjoy so many outings and visits, the committee thought it would be a good idea for us all to have an emergency contact number on our mobile phones. Add ICE and a name, eg ICE Fred and the contact's telephone number to your contact list on your phone. ICE is recognisable as "In Case of Emergency" In case of an accident or emergency your chosen person can be contacted.

Owners of iPhones may wish to download the "iEmergency+" app from the Apple app store, which will enable you to give fuller details.


As you will see from the flyers in the links pages , Kenilworth U3A are holding a Study day 'The Times of our Lives' and would be delighted if lots of U3A members could join them.

Study Days involve not only a lot of hard work but also a degree of faith that they will be supported. This is another occasion which can bring members of all the 'local' U3As together and we hope you will advertise this widely to your members to come along to support Kenilworth.

If you are interested in joining this study group check out the links.

Solihull History Group - Solihull History group have about 3 vacancies - they meet in the Methodist Church on 1st & 3rd Tuesday morning each month -- anyone interested in joining let Doug Cross know - his email is: