Outings & Events

Our garden Party at Great Gables, 20th July, 2022.

Some 40-50 members enjoyed the sun and, more importantly, the chat!

We had scone cream teas (thanks to Anne and Lorraine), some quizzes and also garden games were available which added to the fun. We were honoured to be visited by the newly elected Mayor of Stowmarket, Barry Salmon, and his Consort, Heather.

If you click on the picture, this will take you to the full gallery (opens in a new tab).


January 2022 Monthly Meeting – ‘Charlie and the Dig’.

We got off to a flying start to the year. More than 60 members turned out for the talk by the well known local celebrity, Charlie Haylock, about his vital contribution to this fascinating film.
You can read a full report on the meeting here Charlie and the Dig, January 2022

November 2021 Monthly Meeting – The Science of Santa.

Our November monthly meeting took us to the next normal – our first talk since the lifting of government restrictions following the outbreak of the COVID19 pandemic. We are pleased to report that the meeting went off with a bang. Stephen Ashworth of the University of East Anglia shared with us a number of experiments to help decide whether Santa was a magician or a scientist. Although the experiments seemed to include quite a bit of magic, we think that the only conclusion you can reach from the talk is that Santa is indeed an accomplished scientist.
Stephen showed how Santa gets down, and back up, the chimney, how all the presents can be stored in such a small space on the sleigh, how Santa keeps warm in the North Pole and how he can read the invisible Christmas letters from children informing Santa what presents they would like.
But, please, do not take our word for it. If you missed the talk, you can decide for yourself by having a look at our video recording….

Our belated (from 2020) 30th Birthday Party, 20th October 2021.

The hall was decorated with yellow and blue ribbons and balloons, the tables were laid, the cake was ready to be cut and 65 of our members turned up to celebrate the 30th birthday of Stowmarket u3a. We were officially a year late because of the pandemic but it was a really good way to launch a return to monthly meetings, meet old friends and catch up on all the news.
Glynis, our chair, opened the event by introducing members who have been with us for over 20 years and members who have moved out of the area but made a significant contribution to Stowmarket u3a in the past.
Phillip Weir gave a short talk about his memories of Stowmarket u3a over the past 22 years and Peter Dakeyne took us through the early history of the branch including the role played by Harold Turner, a longstanding member who sadly died last year.
The cake was cut by Wendy Atkins (known to us as Wendy Morgan) and then the party began with tea and cakes and lots of chatter.
It was a great return to face to face activities. Lets hope that Stowmarket u3a continues for another 30 years!
Here is a video of the introductory talks….

….And here is a short slideshow of video clips and photos taken at the event.

Our first event of 2021 – a Picnic at Milton House on 18th August.

Some 40-50 members enjoyed the sun and, more importantly, the chat!

We had some quizzes and garden games which added to the fun. We had a lot of publicity material available using the new u3a branding and, as the event had been widely advertised, we attracted some members of the public who were able to see first hand what we are about.

If you click on the picture, this will take you to the full gallery (opens in a new tab). These are high resolution so the gallery may take a moment to load.

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Our virtual “meetings” were a big success in 2021. Here you can find links to the original YouTube videos which went live at 2.00pm on the days which would otherwise have been our normal meetings.

If you would like to see all our videos posted over the last several years, please follow this link to our own u3a channel.

Date Key Topic/link Speaker
17 March Record Breaking and the unusual in Suffolk A talk that explores the things we thought we knew about Suffolk and Stowmarket Link>> Compiled by Keith Shelton
21 April The Hoxne HoardWho would have thought searching for a hammer could reveal so much? Link>> Tony Diamond
19 May Don’t Eat The Cabin Boy The surprising facts you find while tracing your family tree. Link>> Toni Neobard
16 June Wisdom of Winston Churchill Inspirational statesman, writer, orator and leader. What do we really know about Winston Churchill? Link>> Tony Diamond
21 July The Village Hall Murder Can you work out who is the guilty party? Link>> Gweek Players

19th June 2019, Notice – Summer Outing, Pensthorpe >>

“Trekking the World for Charity – £10 per mile”, Ken Snow, June 2018

Our Chairman and friends take us on a round the world trip.

Make sure you view full screen and have your speakers on…..

Acquainting Afternoon, April 2018

We had an enjoyable afternoon and were entertained by local singer, Gill Nicholls

Make sure you view full screen and have your speakers on…..

Annual Outing, August 2017, Glemham House and Gardens

Having driven past Glemham Hall on the busy A12 many times we often wondered what went on in that large estate, and who – if anyone – still lived there (?) – well, we found out!! A coach full of members descended on Glemham House on a warm August morning for our Summer Outing. We were met by the owner of the house, Major Phillip Hope-Cobbold, and our adventure began. What we did not know at the time was that this was to be a tour with a difference, more in the envelope of Fawlty Towers than National Trust. During the tour the Major recounted a number of anecdotes about both family life at Glemham and shared a little glimpse of his colourful ancestors.
With over 70 rooms and over 30 bedrooms we felt we had free rein of the house – nothing was omitted – including a tour of his bedroom equipped with his dressing gown, toothpaste and toothbrush. We were invited to sit on the furniture (although some members felt that this was not a completely safe option to take as most were created well before the Health & Safety Executive changed our lives so irretrievably!!) whilst listening to his talk and stories. The attic, in particular, proved to be a fascinating warren of corridors and rooms – many of which seem to have been unused for years, creating an atmosphere of nostalgia and a sense that the rooms had been left just as the servants had last used them. The cellar, used for shoots and corporate events, was equally atmospheric – you would certainly have a party with a difference down there!
The tour extended to the gardens, which were well laid out and tended. These were just a tiny part of the 3000 acre estate, with most of it utilised now for agricultural purposes. In the grounds they were setting up for a big modern music festival; this seems to be “what one does” these days, to help cover the overheads. As we strolled around the grounds and admired the view, Major Hope-Cobbold was busy making us a cup of tea and cutting the cake, in preparation for our refreshments in the conservatory, served by the Major himself.
This was an excellent morning, made all the more entertaining and amusing by both the quirkiness of the house and the manner and wit of the Major.
Back on the coach we ventured to Woodbridge for lunch and a few hours of leisure, exploring the quaint streets, visiting the range of independent shops and strolling along the river.
Finally, towards the end of the afternoon, we boarded the coach one last time. Tired but happy we made the journey home. A few of us rested our eyes, recalling the day’s events in our minds, of an experience not to be forgotten, with intriguing insights into how the Other Half lived in Britain all those years ago.

AGM/Groups Showcase, September 2016

Our Singing Group entertains with a selection of sing-alongs.

Make sure you view full screen and have your speakers on…..

Acquainting Afternoon, April 2016

We had an enjoyable afternoon getting know each other a little better!

Make sure you view full screen and have your speakers on…..

Click here to see all the quizzes – questions and answers – prepared for us on the day.

Christmas Lunch at The Cedars, 2014

Judging by the raucous laughter – yes, even for a U3A group – it was a great success!!  Thank you Dee for the negotiations, and Jean for the ticket admin.

In fact, the Cedars Hotel did us very well – good value, nicely cooked veg., excellent and generous portions, all served very efficiently and pleasantly by three ladies, all under the watchful eye of one of the owners.  (I am told that those who chose the vegetarian option were also very happy with their choice.)

Thanks to Roy Fidler for recording the event on camera. He’s certainly captured the mood of the 68 people there as can be seen from his photos below.

What else?   Parking was excellent and close to the entrance; Hazel won the Lucky Ticket Draw Jean had organised (but I do hope Hazel doesn’t drink it all at once); and Pauline gave us a rendition of her nightie-and-candle performance to round off the occasion.

PS  Tony Taylor decided to make a collection of people’s paper hats, to save money next year – well, our funds are a bit stretched!!

Bryan Hilton.

20th August, 2014, Summer Outing, Trip to Sheringham and North Norfolk Railway to Holt.

21st August, 2013, Summer Outing, Trip to Trinity College and the Botanical Gardens, Cambridge. See the pictures!

19th June, 2013, Summer Garden Party, Elm Farm

22nd August, 2012, Summer Outing, Bure Valley Railway & Wroxham Boat Trip

20th June, 2012, Garden Party, Elm Farm, Stonham Aspal

26th October 2011, London and Olympic Sites, click

15th June 2011, Summer Outing to Thursford, click

Christmas Party Lunch, 20th December 2010

After a few snowy, anxious days, most of those who had booked managed to make it to the hall for the annual Christmas Party. As usual the catering was excellent and everyone enjoyed the traditional fare. Each table competed in a ‘Pudding’ quiz – the winners (with 100%!) were each awarded a Chocolate Orange as a prize. Continuously running was a slide show of the activities of U3A group members throughout 2010. Over coffee we were entertained first by Pauline Taylor, suitably attired in a night dress, mop hat and carrying a candle, with an amusing Victorian song, “My mother said, always look under the bed, to see if there’s a man about” – much enjoyed by the audience! She was followed by Philip Weir, Pat Smith, and our guests Wendy Morgan and David Atkins with a variety of Christmas jollity.Overall, everybody agreed it was an excellent start to the Christmas festivities, 2010. Here are a few pictures taken on the day.

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Trip to the Olympic sites and around London, 13 October 2010
Whilst we left somewhat earlier than usual for a trip out, it proved to have been essential to give us time to enjoy all that was on offer. Without doubt our Blue Badge Courier (Ian) was most excellent, and our driver said that he was the best that he had encountered. Certainly his fund of knowledge about all that we saw or did was wondrous and, as it was delivered so well, he deserved great credit. Our first main stop was at Canary Wharf for morning coffee; we divided between the 1802 and JD Wetherspoon’s (with free bacon butty!). We then went on to the main Olympic area when, after a short walk, we saw a huge building site where the stadium and many other buildings were being made ready for 2012. Even though we could not get very near the main buildings we were at a height where a grand panoramic view without equal was to be had. Many photographs were taken (see some in the video below) and there was lots of information around to explain what was going on. There followed a circuitous tour around the whole massive site before we repaired to Greenwich for over an hour and a half’s lunch break which gave us plenty of time to explore this fascinating area of London (which many had not visited before). Whilst some visited the Maritime Galleries, the Royal Observatory or the 17th-century Queen’s House, others made good use of the excellent eating facilities on offer.Believe it or not we continually met or followed another Galloway’s coach on which a party from Felixstowe U3A was doing a very similar tour! Leaving Greenwich we crossed Blackheath to where the horse trial events would take place, then on to the Royal Artillery Barracks, which we were driven right around before going down to the Thames Barrier site, not just to see it but to have a break and a ‘cuppa’ before returning home. After a trouble free journey, we were only a few minutes later than planned, arriving back at 6.40 or so – not sufficient to cause any embarrassment to anyone. Happily the weather was reasonably kind to us – we had a dry day even if rather overcast and not exactly very warm, but this did not inhibit our enjoyment in any way. Finally we seemed one and all, to have thoroughly enjoyed the day and felt that it was time well spent.
Philip & Peter
Here is a video of some of our pictures
The day started with a sunny but windy day. The journey up to Pensthorpe was, as always with Galloway’s, a pleasant ride in one of their top of the range coaches. Arriving on time at 11 o’clock, we were dropped on the door step with only a short walk to the cafe for a welcome coffee.
As we had already received our tickets we could come and go at our leisure and our first port of call was the caged section with a mix of of some twenty or so different types of bird (as can be seen in the pictures). The setting here is as near to the birds’ natural environment as possible. It was now time for lunch and a return to the cafe where the meals are very reasonably priced; an excellent jacket potato with prawns was six pounds – the smaller portion, if required was almost as large as the normal sized meal.
Returning to the park, we wandered through the various walks which are forever changing from tall trees to grass and even dry sandy areas. Every environment for all the different birds and animals . We also encountered the BBC television crews as they were filming for the evening ‘Spring Watch’ programme (we were told that the cabling used amounted to some 33 kilometers).
Our next task was to get to the starting point for the Wensum Discovery Tour, a safari ride on a trailer (with seating) pulled by a Land Rover, through the many areas the we could never have managed to walk around. We saw the different breeds of sheep, cows, deer and a whole host of wild bird life and even heard a sky lark singing plus we saw a lot of the hides the BBC were filming from. The journey lasted about forty minutes and we were back in time for to get a quick cup of tea before boarding the coach for the return journey.
With the driver taking a different route back via Ely we arrived back at our starting point at six o’clock, rather tired but feeling exhilarated after all the fresh air. Our conclusion, well worth the visit!!
Harold Turner
Here is a video of some of our pictures

Summer Garden Party, 16 August 2009, Haughley Park Barn We were lucky to pick what must have been one of the best days of the summer for this year’s garden party. This was our first time at Haughley Park Barn and we were not disappointed (see what’s on offer via the link below).More than 70 members enjoyed the ambiance of the venue, two mind bending quizzes, a variety of garden games, the chance to chat and, of course, a wonderful spread of food.

Many thanks to Philip for his quizzes which kept many people occupied all afternoon (answers and prizes at the AGM) and general organization of the event, and to Liz , Molly and others for preparing the excellent food.

Click the arrow to see some pictures of the day….

“Haughley Park Barn”


Outings Archive – Follow the links below to view our previous outings

Gooderstone & Gressenhall, June 2009
Garden Party, August 2008
Burghley House, June 2008
Welney Wetlands, January 2008