U3A in London Update – 6 April 2020

Dear Friends,

It is wonderful that in these troubled times the spirit of our U3A is shining through and inspiring to see how many co-ordinators are setting up classes on-line and making contact with their groups, whilst so many others are helping in a variety of different ways.  We are all fighting back and showing that we are so much more than an organisation.  We are a family of friends, who are spreading love, kindness and support to each other.

For those of you on email it is so rewarding that we are able to stay regularly in touch.  For those who have not given us an email address, we have started a “buddy” scheme and between us we are making contact by telephone.  At present, only the committee and office helpers are able to do so without breaching the Data Protection Act.  For those of you who have volunteered to be “buddies” but whose offer we have so far not been able to accept, we will make phone calls to those not yet contacted, telling them of the scheme and asking them for their consent to pass on their telephone number to one of you.  It has been a lengthy process but, by the end of this week, we sincerely hope to have connected with every member of our family. The response so far has been overwhelmingly one of gratitude for the concern shown.  Some, we have discovered, have email addresses and will be getting our newsletter in future.

The response to our appeal to support Jo Rapkin has been nothing short of overwhelming and Susan Cohen (who has insisted that she does not want to be thanked for all the work she has done) has transferred a substantial sum, so far, to Jo’s bank account and all contributions are anonymous.  Amalia has spoken to Jo who has been greatly moved and found it hard to express how she feels but she used the words “humbled” and “family” and “frustrated”. Your generosity has reinforced the awareness of how much we care for one another.

Gilli Vafidis continues to add to her impressive timetable of on-line classes.  Please contact Gilli if you would like to participate but don’t know how.  She will be happy to advise you how to get going.

Here are some messages from our co-ordinators  and other members:

Maxine Jason who takes the Art/Collage group says that if you need any help with being creative, you can contact her.

From Wally Howard:  “Hi All, Sending best wishes and hope we can meet again and watch marvellous films in the not too distant future.  Until such times – keep safe and well!”

From Ruth Brook:  (Exploring Experiences of the Third Age). “In Beethoven’s opera Fidelio, the message in the main aria of act 1 was ‘one must turn fear and anger into hope’.   I believe this is an important message for us – we have to access our inner strengths in times like these”.

From Mary Rossiter: (Medicine Today)  “I have a list of on-line activities eg access to music, theatre films etc as well as more exercises and line-dancing”.  See the handbook for her email address.

From Catherine Osborne – well known member of the Drama Group: (on another lovely sunny morning).  “At least we can be positive about the weather just now, and the concession made to permit a walk outside once a day. We’d better make the most of it, in case that comes to an end”.

From Ken Baldry:  He has so many suggestions that we had to list them separately.

From Stephen Barry: “If you want to get away from today’s problems for a while and want to relive the pop music of your youth, I recommend ‘thenostalgiamachine.com’. You can pick any year from 1951 onwards and then click on and play the popular hits of the day. I’d forgotten how corny pop music was in the 50s (eg ‘How much is that doggie in the window’) and most of the 60s until the arrival of rock and roll and the Beatles”.

Last but not least, a message from U3A National:  Don’t forget the national website, the newsletter and the U3A ‘Keeping in Touch’ Facebook page.  And how about this?  The London Region 2021 Summer School has been booked at St. Bride’s for July 27, 28, 29.  Ask your members to SAVE THE DATES.  (BTW, some of you may not have a 2021 diary yet!)

Easter and Passover will soon be here and many of us will be spending these festivals alone which will be very hard.  Jewish members will know that on Passover night, the youngest child recites four questions, one of which is, “Why is this night different from all other nights!”  This year, we all know the answer to that one!  We hope you will still be able to enjoy Easter eggs and hot cross buns; Jewish members will be eating the “bread of affliction”, which is actually quite pleasant, but the name is nevertheless appropriate.

Remember if you want to have a chat, you can always phone Diana King on 020 8202 8836 or Amalia Michaels on 020 8444 7678.

Keep well!

From the U3A team.