Season's Greetings from

                  ILKLEY & DISTRICT u3a

To see previous issues of the News Flash, select or click here

Issue  23-24 (02 December 2023)

AGM update

Over 100 members attended the AGM on Saturday 18th November at All Saints Parish Church. The existing trustees were all re-elected and are joined two new co-opted trustees, Nikki Falconer and John Blewitt. Their contact details are here.

The AGM ended with a splendid performance from our Singing for Pleasure Group. Select here to see images. (This opens our Facebook page. Just close the “pop up” opportunity to join Facebook)

Clarke Foley financial appeal

You may have read the front page story in the local paper about the financial plight facing Clarke Foley. They’re launching an appeal for members of the community to become friends of the centre. Select here to read more about this initiative and how you can help.

Christmas cracker

Our annual festive celebration is scheduled for 10 am Saturday 16th December. Please select here to book your attendance so we know roughly how many mince pies are required.

New Group News

Silsden Ukulele GroupWanted: Small number of enthusiastic players to form a new group. It’s not intended as a teaching group, more about self-improvement and exploring possibilities. The start-up meeting will be Thursday 7th December 10am to 12 noon at the Silsden Methodist Church where future day, time, place and aims will be discussed. Don’t forget your uke! Please confirm you will be attending at

Spanish Book Club If you enjoy speaking and reading Spanish, why not join me in a Spanish Book Group? We will choose a Spanish language book to read and then meet up for a cup of tea and a chat about whether we enjoyed the book or not. The venue will be the Group Leader’s house in Ilkley. If you’re interested or want more details please contact

French for Beginners 2 Our six French groups are full so we are starting a second French for Beginners group. This will follow the same lines as our original French for Beginners group and work through ‘Beginner French Workbook’. Members will need to buy this. It’s available as a paperback for £7.99 and written by Imane Diouri.

If you’re interested in joining, come along to the Drop-in Plus meeting in the Clarke Foley Centre in Ilkley on Friday December 15th at 10.30am. We’ll discuss when, where and how often the group meets. If you’re unable to attend this meeting but would like to join the group, email

Family History (Experienced Membership) The next meeting for the experienced group will be 2 to 4 pm. Friday 5th January at the Red Lion in Burley. New members are welcome, particularly if you attended the start-up meeting. Email for more information. Note this is a change of date from that published in the last edition of News Flash.

Potential Groups

Folk Music from Around the World Dates, times and frequency to be determined. If this of interest to you, please email Rob Nicholls ( Rob hopes to start the group in the New Year and welcomes suggestions on format, convenient times to meet etc.

Short Courses

Get More from Your Smart Phone and Tablet Bookings now open on this link. Please read the criteria carefully. There will be four sessions at 10:30 am to 12:30 pm on Tuesday 16th / 23rd /30th January and 6th February at Abbeyfield, a short walk behind the bandstand on The Grove, in Ilkley. Note there is no parking on site.

The Novels of Lawrence Durrell Think of this as a book club dedicated to the four novels of the Alexandria Quartet and the five novels of the Avignon Quintet. So, a book a month for nine months starting in March 2024. If you’re interested, please write to indicating the days / times of the week that you can’t attend.

Refugees and Asylum Seekers Bookings now open on this link. A new short course starts weekly on Fridays from 2pm to 4pm, starting 5th January 2024 and finishing on 16th February 2024. The venue is the Flying Duck in Church Street Ilkley. The course is free but you will be expected to buy a drink from the bar. If you want to understand more about the course material, contact Richard Thackrah or on 01943 831032.

Aquacise in Ben Rhydding We are sorry to say this has not been possible to arrange. An update has been sent to nearly 40 members who have previously expressed an interest in these classes.

Fancy running a short course? An ideal opportunity to share your passion for a topic without the commitment of running a full time group. Please email and someone will be in touch to support you in getting organised.

Group News

Northern Towns and Friday Table Tennis both had their Christmas party since the last News Flash. Select this link for pictures of Northern Towns and here for Friday Table Tennis. (Both open on our Facebook page. If offered the opportunity to join Facebook, just close that tab.)

Please send photos of your group’s Christmas party (with permission) to Helen Stevens ( along with a three-line report that includes the name of the venue. We will then use these on our social media postings and, by linking to the social media accounts of the venue, help spread awareness of u3a throughout the district.

Tai Chi Jim Butterfield has recently retired as the leader of the Tai Chi group. They gave him a presentation of a Bettys hamper and Grove Bookshop token in recognition of the many years he has given the members of the group his extensive knowledge of this Chinese form of physical exercise. Although no longer teaching, he still maintains a daily exercise routine based on Qigong.

Select here to see a photograph of the presentation. (This opens our Facebook page. Just close the “pop up” opportunity to join Facebook)

Jim was one of the founder members of Ilkley & District u3a almost thirty years ago and has been involved in several group activities during his time as a member. A few years back we asked the founder members to record their memories of their early u3a involvement. Members can access these interviews, including Jim’s, by logging in after selecting this link.

New content on our website

Dressed for the festive season Select here to visit. Thanks to Neil Stevens for the art work.

Testimonials from our members Select here to read them. Always happy to receive more. Just write a few lines to

The Ilkley Gazette scrap book reaches 1995. Includes the announcement of the train type to be introduced following electrification on our local line, many objections to the new Booths Supermarket being overruled by the planners and a review of a late 19th century guide book. Always an interesting read. Select this link to read the whole collection.

Local media coverage The Town Crier picking the winners of the EYE prize draw has resulted in significant media coverage in both main stream press and social media. Read more and see pictures of the event by selecting here. Our short courses were also featured in the latest quarterly Otley Matters news sheet. Select here to read.

Members’ Market Place select here to visit the Market Place then log in to see the latest postings. These include:

  • A plea for assistance in helping at Oxfam shops in Otley and Ilkley.
  • Keyboard and mouse (nearly new) looking for a good home.
  • A member looking to buy a harmonium or advice on where to purchase one and learn to play.

Diary Dates

Christmas Concert 10 am Tuesday 5th December St. John’s Church, Ben Rhydding when our Singing for Pleasure group will be joined by Trans Pennine Harps for a wide range of music, both carols and secular, with opportunities for audience participation and refreshments. Select here for more information and contact details to help gauge how many mince pies to order.

Drop-in Plus 10:30am Friday 15th December at Clarke Foley when there is also an opportunity to meet with others who want to start a new French for Beginners Group. See above for details.

Christmas Cracker 10 am Saturday 16th December. The arrangements for this event are slightly different this year. This will be a member only event with a limit of 80 registrations. The main entertainment is The Daytones Barbershop Choir with a slot for a few poems and carols and mulled wine/mince pies. There will be a bucket collection for Martin House Hospice so remember to bring cash. Register attendance by selecting this link.

u3a National Festival due to be held in York from 18th to 20th July 2024. A huge event drawing delegates and events from u3a groups across the UK. More details on this link. Bookings open soon.

YAHR Summer School 31st July to 3rd August 2024. Booking now open. More information on the YAHR website. Select here.

Cracker jokes from Northern Towns Christmas Party

What do Santa’s little helpers learn at school? The elf-abet

What do reindeer hang on their Christmas trees? Horn-aments

What do you get if you eat Christmas decorations? Tinsilitis

What did Adam say to his wife on the day before Christmas? It’s Christmas, Eve


John & Christine


Latest u3a podcast Select here to listen to the November u3a podcast. At 29 minutes in, our own roving reporter, Lee Wellbrook, makes his podcast debut interviewing Marcia Humphries the national subject adviser for creative writing groups in u3a.

Here she is promoting the u3a national poetry completion which closes on 26th January 2024. Select here for details.     

If you could improve any aspect of u3a, what would it be?We really want your suggestions. Either email,or, if you would rather not be identified, just write to Ilkley & District u3a c/o Clarke Foley, Cunliffe Road, Ilkley, LS20 9DZ. To save yourself a postage stamp, our letterbox is at the foot of the stairs, near the toilets.

The latest newsletter from Third Age Trust(our parent body) can be read on this link. Actually an interesting read sharing what other u3a branches are doing.

Sharing ideas. The website teams from Ilkley and Wetherby got together recently to share ideas on how best to use the website package that we both use. With thanks to Ilkley Bid who let us use their conference room without charge. Select here for a picture of the teams. (This opens our Facebook page. If offered the opportunity to join Facebook, just close that tab.)

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