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North Cotswold University of the Third Age - U3A

North Cotswolds U3A Gardening

The first age is learning at school., the second is learning at work and the third age is when that is over and you can learn whatever you like. Our name can be misleading. We are not remotely like university students. We do not sit exams. It is all about friendship, keeping active in body and mind, and enjoying our leisure hours in ways that our parents would have envied.
We are local people like you living in the North Cotswolds. Begun in 1996 we have grown to currently 30 interest groups and over 400 members.

For more comprehensive information do visit the North Cotswold U3A Website and here is the latest newsletter.

Go here to download a copy of the membership application form from the North Cotswold U3A Website. Monthly Open Meetings are held at Willersey Village Hall on the second Thursday of each month starting at 2.00pm and usually finishing by 4.00pm. You usually pay £2 entry fee. There are over 34 special interest groups who hold their own meetings at various village halls within the area and at members homes. Meetings are usually held during the day.

Thursday 8th June 2023 is our last Open Meeting until September. Do come to Willersey Village hall at 2pm if you can to hear Robin Burton, a Trustee of Gloucestershire Traditions, talk and demonstrate our heritage of song in Treasure Chest. Robin previously worked for the International Red Cross implementing information systems in disaster prone countries.

Tickets for our visit to Wightwick Manor on July 12th 2023, £14 for National Trust members, will be on sale. Cash or cheques for payment, please. We could do with a few more so if you are wavering, please do join us. My husband and I had a most enjoyable visit there last week.

Our last Coffee and Conversation until the Autumn is on Tuesday, 13th June 2023 at the Noel Arms in Chipping Campden at 10.30am. This will be our first time at this venue and was suggested by a few of our members.

During our Summer Recess we do have a Ploughman's Supper and Scottish Country Dance Social at Willersey Village Hall on Friday 11th August 2023. Tickets £5 from Diana Lucas or members of the Scottish Country Dancing Group or contact Andrew Williams email andrew35131 at or telephone 07891 561030


Group Venue Day & Time Contact
Art Appreciation Willersey Methodist Community Room 1st Thursday PM Peter Grant 01386 858268
Bridge for Improvers Willersey Village Hall Alternate Thursday Mornings 10.00-12.00 Michael Robinson 01386 852675
Classic/Vintage Cars Various 2nd Wednesday or Thursday AM (alternating) Mike Baggott 07761133851
Discussion & Debating (in conjunction with Winchcombe U3A) Private House – Greet 1st Wednesday 9.45 for 10 am till 12.30 pm Nick Hoskins 01242 352805
Effortless Entertaining (Aga Cooking) Private House - Willersey 4th Wednesday, Thursday, Friday 11.00 – 2.00 pm Fiona Tierney 01386 854654
Engineering & Transport Childswickham Memorial Hall 4th Friday April – July AM, Aug-March PM David Dunbar 01386 858833 & Penny Valender 01386 852853
Exploring Music Jubilee Room Willersey Village Hall 2nd Tuesday 10am Andrew Mackrill 01608 684884
Food & Cookery 1 Private House - Broadway 2nd Tuesday PM Phyllis Andrews 01386 641361
Food & Cookery 2 Private House - Broadway 1st Thursday PM Phyllis Andrews 01386 641361
French Conversation (some knowledge required) Summer: French walk (approx. 1.5 miles). Various locations. Winter: French scrabble session The White Hart Royal Hotel, Moreton-in-Marsh. 1st Wednesday and 3rd Wednesday 2.00-3.30pm. Ghislaine Craik 07733112089
French Improvers The White Hart Royal Hotel, Moreton-in-Marsh 4th 1.30-2.30pm Ghislaine Craik 07733112089
Gardens & Gardening Childswickham Memorial Hall (winter) Garden visits (summer) 2nd Friday 10 am (winter) 2.30 pm (summer) Mary Burfitt 01386 859661 Jackie Emsley 01386 858342 Di Johnstone 01386 853578
Golf Croquet Behind Methodist Church, Willersey 1st & 3rd Tuesday PM May to October Richard Ingles 01386 853306
History Weston-sub-Edge Hall 1st Tuesday 10.00 AM David Pegg 01386 858232 and from Sept 2022 Beatrice Corry 01386 848837
Historic Churches Various 3rd Wednesday AM John Thompstone 01386 852930
Kurling Willersey Village Hall 4th Monday AM Sandra Spensley 01386 858637 Christine Sneddon 01386 854841
Mahjong Moreton-in-Marsh 2nd & 4th Monday PM Diana Lucas 01608 238092
Opera Appreciation (in conjunction with Winchcombe U3A) Burland Hall, Stanton 3rd Wednesday 2.00-5.00 Colin Davison 01242 603317 Ann Pitcher 01242 621328
Photography Willersey Village Hall 2nd Monday AM Paul Kirby 01608 651640
Poetry Reading Private Houses – Various 2nd Monday AM John Thompstone 01386 852930
Reading for Pleasure Private Houses - Various 1st Monday PM Phyllis Andrews 01386 641361
Recorder Consort Private House - Blockley 4th Monday PM 2.00-3.30 Hilary Thornburgh 01386 701235
Science for All Meetings, field trips and videos Wickham ford Village Hall 3rd Friday AM Marilyn Watts 07747186282
Scottish Country Dancing Bourton on the Hill 2nd & 4th Friday AM Diana Lucas 01608 238092
Singers Group Willersey Village Hall Every Wednesday except 3rd AM Keith Horden 01386 852145
Skittles The Snowshill Arms 3rd Thursday 7.00 PM Alan Andrews 01386 641361
Sunday Lunches Childswickham Inn 3rd Sunday Lunchtime John Bissett 01386 859319
Table Tennis Willersey Village Hall 1st & 3rd Thursday 5.00 – 6.00 PM Helen Trussell 07496 112706
Touch Tennis Willersey Village Hall 1st & 3rd Mondays 10.00 – 11.00 AM Ken Spensley 01386 858637
Ukulele Private House - Blockley 2nd & 4th Tuesday PM Leigh Richardson 01386 701072
Walking (nature rambles up to 4 miles) Optional pub lunch 3rd Tuesday AM Sue Lindsay 01386 446541
Walking Five Milers Optional pub lunch 1st Friday AM Phyllis Andrews 01386 641361
Walking Medium Walks Optional pub lunch 4th Tuesday AM John Bissett 01386 859319 Chris Selby 01386 853512
Walking Long Walks (6.5 to 11 miles) Optional pub lunch 1st Friday & 3rd Thursday AM Anne Robertson 01386 701564

How our u3a works.

Meetings are held during the day. We publish a regular emailed Newletter containing the latest news, updates & group information and forthcoming events together with all contact details. Like all u3as we have a Committee to guide policy and involve themselves in the day to day running of the organization, but the real backbone of the North Cotswold u3a is the Group Leaders. These are the people who prepare sessions, hire rooms, arrange speakers and make our u3a what it is. It’s all about friendship, keeping active in body and mind, and enjoying our leisure hours in ways that our parents would have envied.

ChairHilary Thornburgh   
Vice-ChairMarion Davies  
Business Secretary   Alun Davies   
TreasurerAngela Hope  
Ably supported by     
   Membership Secretary   John Bissett  
Minutes Secretary      Rosemary Mclaren      
Welfare SecretarySue Lindsay  
Group CoordinatorSharon Thackeray  
Website ManagerColin Sagar  
  Paul Kirby  
  Peter Grant  

Springtime Frolics

The Coffee and Conversation Meet at Fosseway Garden Centre is at 10.30 on Wednesday 13th April. It will be the first time we've tried a Wednesday. You don't have to join this group; just come when you like. The May meeting was our last until September.

The Fairly New Members' Tea on April 21st at 2pm, for those who joined our u3a from September 2020, is an opportunity for you to get to know each other better and also to meet group leaders who will give you more information about their groups. If you have not already signed up for this then there is still time and we should be very pleased to welcome you. Some committee members will also be present. We do need to have reasonably accurate numbers though for seating and catering arrangements so please send an email to if you would like to be added to the list.

With very best wishes to you all for a happy Easter, Hilary

North Cotswold u3a celebrate Silver Anniversary

In September 1996, after several months of preparatory work, the North Cotswold u3a was launched. The prime movers were residents of Willersey, Penny Ingles, John Busbridge and his late wife Doreen. Initially, there were about 20 people involved, but, by the end of the first year membership had grown to around 100, with a wide range of activities, including Art Appreciation, Madrigals and Bell Ringing. Many of the founders established groups that are still running today. For example, the late Doreen Busbridge will always be associated with the development of the excellent u3a choir. Willersey residents have also been prominent in leadership roles, whether on the committee or in running groups, The two immediate predecessors of the current committee Chair both lived in the parish of Willersey- Diana Lucas and Chris Selby. Willersey village hall quickly became established as a popular venue for meetings, and to this day, it is, by far, the most important meeting place.

The North Cotswold u3a has been blessed with having a core of members who have given sterling service over very many years: apart from the founder members, Diana Lucas, Alan and Phyllis Andrews and many others have given decades of service. Over the years, and thanks to the work of successive committees and group leaders, membership grew to a peak of 415 in 2019 pre-lockdown with over 30 activity groups ranging from the academic to the purely recreational. As with most other u3a branches, the pandemic led to a fall in membership and currently our membership is about 360, though with the same number of activity groups as before.

Covid concerns meant that it was not possible to celebrate on the exact anniversary, so both events took place in December. Given the origins of North Cotswold u3a, it was felt appropriate that the two celebratory events should take place in Willersey. On December 2nd a lunch was held at Willersey Village Hall, with Penny Ingles and John Busbridge among the guests of honour. The need for safe spacing meant that attendance was restricted to 62, but all present enjoyed a fine 2 course meal followed by a quiz from regular quizmaster, Keith Horden, a former committee Chair and stalwart of our u3a. A thoroughly enjoyable occasion! Beautiful table decorations were provided by long-term member, Mary Burfitt.

Willersey Parish Council gave us permission to plant a commemorative tree on the village green. On December 20th a Liquidambar tree was planted in a short ceremony attended by about 30 people despite the cold, damp weather. The formal planting was led by Penny Ingles and John Busbridge followed by other long-standing members.

Membership of the u3a is open to anyone who is no longer in full-time employment; so why not join us ? The ambition of the u3a movement is that members should LEARN, LAUGH and LIVE in a congenial, stimulating environment. We have groups covering a wide range of activities from Food to French conversation, from Singing to Skittles and you will be assured of a warm welcome. To find out more contact our Membership Secretary, John Bissett, on 01386- 859319 for an information pack and membership form.

December 2021 U3A 25th Anniversary tree planting     December 2021 U3A 25th Anniversary Lunch

Our members are drawn from towns as far apart as Shipston on Stour, Blockley, Moreton in Marsh, Chipping Campden, Broadway, Evesham, Stow on the Wold and Winchcombe and the many villages within this area. We also welcome members from outside our immediate catchment area. As a u3a, we are not large but we have approximately 350 members who belong to 34 groups. We are very friendly and, with our size (or lack of it) it is almost possible to know everybody in all the groups.

On the afternoon of the second Thursday of each month, we hold an Open Meeting in Willersey Village Hall when we are entertained and informed by a wide variety of speakers. We hold Christmas events and have a regular summer outing. We often have a Summer Soirée with in-house entertainment followed by a meal provided by members – and it has been known for drinks to be involved! Speaking of drinks, we annually celebrate Burns Night.

Classic/Vintage Car Enthusiasts

Do you own a Classic or Vintage car or are you just interested in old cars? I am proposing a monthly meeting for a chat and food at different pubs, run outs to car collections, shows, motor museums (there are quite a few around here) and local places where car enthusiasts meet up, eg. the Classic Motor Hub at Ablington, Caffeine & Machine at Ettington, Fisher Performance Cars at Chateau Impney, Wheels on Wednesday at Worcester Rugby Club in the winter and Spletchley Gardens in the summer.

Interested? Please contact Mike Baggott at who will arrange a venue and first meeting when we can discuss a format for the Group, etc.

North Cotswold U3A 25th Anniversary
It was back in 1996 when a group of enthusiasts based in Willersey decided to form a new U3A covering the North Cotswolds. From that tentative start with just a few members, the organisation now has over thirty groups and around four hundred members and has proved to be very successful, with many members residing in and around Willersey and Broadway.

What is the U3A? The full title is University of the Third Age and is open to all people no longer in full time employment, or no longer raising a family, and is a self-educational and social body with members instructing and guiding other members in subjects such as opera appreciation, earth sciences, French, Italian, history, engineering and transport, art appreciation, singing, cooking, gardening, making greetings cards, sewing, painting and photography. Members can learn to play the recorder or ukulele; there is a reading group; scrabble and mah-jong are eagerly pursued. For the more active type there are walking groups, there is a skittles group, a table tennis group, a touch tennis group, a golf croquet group and a Scottish country dancing group. On the purely social side there is a Sunday lunch group and a theatre group which attends performances all over the area.

We have been building up to this healthy state of affairs for twenty years and in order to showcase our achievements the North Cotswold U3A held an Open Day at Willersey Village Hall on Saturday September the 10th 2017 (admission FREE!!) from 10:00 a.m. until late afternoon, where the various groups will demonstrate their activities to anyone enlightened enough to attend. Refreshments (not free!) will be available all day and the lucky visitor may hear the singers sing, the ukuleles strum and the recorders warble.

So, why not come along? Parking is plentiful and we're not known as “The Friendly U3A” for nothing. You never know, you may be so impressed that you wish to join us!

Keith Horden
North Cotswold U3A (Retired) Chairman

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