Ilkley & District u3a: 10 Year Celebrations - 2007

Members who took part in the recent tree trail event will have been intrigued to learn that the lime tree near the west entrance to the memorial gardens was planted by Alan Kay (a founder member and trustee of Ilkley u3a) in 2007 to be a permanent reminder of the first ten years of the organization. These pictures show the original planting and the current very splendid looking tree.
What members may not be so familiar with is the celebration on the previous day, which was held to mark the tenth anniversary of our very successful u3a. An organizing committee of four members started the initial planning in early 2006 to decide what form the event should take, as we wanted to showcase all the groups which had subsequently developed from a standing start in 1997. Initially the Kings Hall & Winter Gardens were booked for the last weekend of September 2007. It was felt that a central location would allow more visitors to drop in so that our achievements would have the widest possible audience and be very accessible. Unfortunately, the clerestory lighting in the Winter Gardens was found to be unsafe, so the site was closed for repairs. There then ensued a mad scramble to find an alternative venue at short notice: Clarke-Foley to the rescue! Fortunately, the whole site was available for Sunday October 28th 2007 and our ambitious plans could go ahead.

The organizing committee benefitted from liaison with Fiona Mann, a local professional events consultant who was able to advise we amateurs on the best way to present a really sharp programme. Although a great deal of work was involved it was relatively easy for us to persuade group leaders to participate in setting up a cohesive, visual representation of their groups’ activities, as u3a membership was about eight hundred at that time.

In all, forty-four groups contributed. Everything from Archaeology to Wines and Wherefores, Cosmology to Science Horizons had a display from ten thirty until three. Ann Cryer, our local MP, opened the event officially at eleven o’clock and founder member Irene Booth presented her with a house plant. There were timed displays of the more active groups: T’ai Chi, Circle Dancing (both of which are still going strong) and Singing Together participated. Croquet, table tennis, Mah-jong, Bridge and Scrabble games were in progress during the day and visitors were invited to ‘have a go’. Refreshments were also available throughout the day provided by a rota of willing members.

At three o’clock, as if by magic, the displays, which had been the central element of our showcase exhibition, were dismantled in preparation for the main celebratory event in the evening. At seven, pre-dinner drinks were served in the coffee bar area to the accompaniment of a jazz trio. A three course, silver service, formal dinner with wine and coffee, provided by outside caterers Gilpins of Leeds, was enjoyed by 150 members in the concert hall. It had been hoped that Archbishop Sentamu would be our after-dinner speaker but he was unavailable for the revised date, so Dr. Arnold Kellett, prize-winning author, President of The Yorkshire Dialect Society and former Mayor of Knaresborough, gave the highly entertaining after-dinner address.

The top table, a view of all of the guests, the excellent serving staff and the ticket for the event.

Our thanks to Rosemary Hoyle for writing the narrative for this feature and providing many of the photographs, to Alan and Julia Kay for helping to collate all the information and to Janet Leach for mentioning the significance of the Lime Tree on the Tree Walk during the Summer Programme. 

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