Monthly newsletter - December 2023

Who said it had to be Father
Image generated by AI

We wish you a merry Christmas!

In this monthly newsletter:

  • From the committee
  • Announcements
  • Notes for your diary
  • The November meeting
  • Our next meeting
  • More about newsletters
  • Future events
  • News from the groups
  • A short story
  • u3a online events in December
  • Hayling Voluntary Services (HVS)
  • Japanese Quince jam
  • Feedback

From the committee

The November committee meeting was held on the morning of Thursday 16th November.

  • Bob Hornby (Treasurer) reported that sufficient bookings had been received for the planned visit to Winchester Christmas market on December 14th to go ahead. The membership fee for 2024 will be unchanged from this year.
  • Peter Haskell (Membership Secretary) reported that membership is now at 581, the highest ever figure.
  • Bridget Docwra (Group Coordinator) reported that we have 16 registered interests, six of which were for the Sea Shanties Group (a second Group would have to be started).
  • Robert Bull (Newsletter Editor). Robert reported that two messages giving positive feedback were received but five more feedback messages were also received but these could not be read due to a technical error.
  • Sonia Keeble (the speaker’s secretary) was absent but ten speakers have been booked so far for 2024.
  • Arthur Jackson (Publicity). An article to publicise Hayling u3a will appear in the January 2024 Herald.


  • Food banks. Collections for food banks will be at each monthly meeting. Please bring tins and dried foodstuffs for distribution.
  • Volunteers required. We are always looking for volunteers to help run our various activities. Currently we need additional tea monitors for making the tea/coffee at the monthly meetings. We run a rota so that you would only have to cover once or twice a year.
  • Barley Mow parking. In the past we had an agreement with the Manager that our members could park in the pub car park when we had our monthly meetings. This is no longer the case.

Notes for your diary

  • New members meeting 23rd January 2024 10.30am – 12 noon: We have organised a coffee morning for new members who have joined since April 2023. It will be held in Hayling Community Centre and you will get a chance to meet members of the committee and discuss what you want to get from your membership.
  • Group leaders meeting 13th February 2024 10.30am – 12 noon: We have organised a coffee morning for group leaders to bring you up to date with our coming plans, share best practice and to answer any questions. It will be held in Hayling Community Centre.
  • 18th birthday celebrations 16th May 2024 2pm: We will be celebrating our coming of age on the afternoon of our May monthly meeting. Sandwiches, cakes, tea and coffee will be available after the talk.

The November meeting

The November meeting held in the HICCA main hall on November 16th was: RNLI: ordinary people doing extraordinary things.

Caroline Tilley was a very enthusiastic and energetic speaker giving the background to when and how the RNLI was founded and what it does now. Some snippets included:

  • The charity needs over £190M funding per annum.
  • Their work includes: life boat rescues, life guarding, water safety training and training other countries.
  • There are two life boat stations on the river Thames, one at Tower Bridge and the other at Chiswick. Both these stations are the busiest in the Country and require manning full-time.
  • Most staff are volunteers (excepting those working on the stations on the river Thames).
  • There are several levels of training required for the volunteers – depending on the job they are doing. The main training centre is in Poole, Dorset.
  • There are several classes of boats used across the UK depending on the location. They include the self-righting all-weather life boat and the two-man hovercraft for large area mud flats.

(My thanks to Julie Taylor for providing these details.)

Our next meeting

There will be no meeting in the HICCA main hall in December 2023.

The January meeting is titled "Animals in history" - more details here.

More about newsletters

  • We have introduced a monthly Newsletter (i.e., this Newsletter). This is designed to provide you with details of future events together with meeting reports and Group news. If you have an email address included in your details on our membership list, you will receive an email containing a link to access the Monthly Newsletter on the website. Otherwise, you will receive a (cut-back) paper version by post.
  • We will provide two biannual Newsletters (reduced from 3 per annum). This will be in the same printed and web format as previous years. The printed versions will be posted out via the Scouts delivery service in December and via Royal Mail in July. If you require a printed version of these biannual newsletters, please make sure that you have selected this on your details on the website. If you need help with this, please notify a committee member.

We value your feedback and suggestions on these new arrangements and their contents.

Future events

There will be coach trip to Winchester Christmas market, leaving HIADS on 14 Dec: 10:00 am. Click or tap here for details.

News from the groups

  • Group leaders meeting 13th February 2024 10.30am - 12 noon: We have organised a coffee morning for Group Leaders to bring you up to date with our coming plans, share best practice and to answer any questions. It will be held in Hayling Community Centre.
  • Island Shanties I did a short interview for a u3a podcast recently which is now on the u3a trust YouTube channel. The Hayling part is part of a longer podcast and starts about 15 minutes in. If you would like to listen you can access the channel by click/tap here:

    John Cushion
  • The History 2 group is now meeting monthly again. Alan Price gave a talk this month on the Zinoviev Letter. 2023 marks the 100th anniversary of the first (minority) Labour government, and the Zinoviev Letter contributed to it losing the 1924 election.
    Richard North
  • Painting and drawing 3 We were delighted with the many compliments received about our AGM display and delighted to welcome two new members to our monthly gathering, making us a full house once again. Hopefully some of the festive pictures painted at our November meeting will be printed off and given as Christmas cards. Merry Christmas to everyone from Art Group 3!
    Linda MacDonald
  • The Philosophy group is now meeting monthly again. At our November meeting, one of our members led a discussion about the still-alive American philosopher Daniel Dennett. This was a very lively discussion and a potential new topic arose - the value of art.
    Chris Skerry

A short story

Boxing day, 1965 and Paul and Jane were spending the holiday with his parents. On the excuse of visiting old friends in the area they had snuck out. It wasn’t that they didn’t appreciate the “Aged P’s”, but, mother especially, could be a bit stifling. She always wanted to join in. For heaven’s sake! They had only been married a year and wanted to do their own thing, it was the 60’s after all. Mothers and sons, they don’t want to let go do they?

Anyway, here they were on the open road in their pride and joy of a car, a classy Cortina GT, shiny dark blue with leather seats. With it being Boxing day, traffic was just pootling along in holiday mode. A queue of cars were being driven carefully by middle aged men wearing hats and scarves, along a straight road, too much to resist really with nothing coming the other way. Showing off a bit, Paul put his foot down and passed them all in one go. Ta Da! Never mind the frowns of disapproval aimed at them, they were young and carefree. They were giggling at their tailback. Then, a glance in the rear-view mirror. “Oops!” The blue flashing lights said it all as the police patrol car drew level and waved them over to stop.

The policeman appeared at the side window. “Is this your car sir? Can I see your licence, and will you step out of the car please?” This could be serious. The officer continued as Paul climbed out of the car and followed him to the back of the car. “You are aware that you were speeding are you sir?” The officer was frowning.

“Yes officer, very sorry” Paul was mumbling, trying not to show he was worried, and failing miserably. The policeman was still frowning as he spoke. “Could you look a bit more upset and frightened do you think? Just until all these good citizens that you have upset by your wanton speed, have passed us? That’s the ticket. Just keep it up a bit longer” The policeman continued to look serious. “Well now, I see that you already have two speeding tickets on your licence. Oh dear. Another one would be a bit disastrous, wouldn’t it?”. “Yes officer, it would” Paul was really, really worried now.

There was a long pause. Then the officer looked around him. “Right, the good citizens have gone now, satisfied that you have been duly punished by the long arm of the law, but, as it’s Christmas, I am your Christmas angel, giving you one more chance young man. Now, off you go, carefully mind, and don’t let me catch you again. Nice car by the way. Happy New Year!” The policeman, put his notebook away and with a cheery wave, got back in his patrol car and drove off

© Fiona Bartlett (Creative Writing Group)

u3a online events in December

The u3a Trust conducts a national learning programme month by month. For details of the December 2023 events click or tap here.

Hayling Voluntary Services (HVS)

HVS is a lively and active organisation which makes a real difference to the lives of many on Hayling Island. HVS is in desperate need of volunteers. Phone Lin Green on 023 9246 4730 if you can help or email, website:

Japanese Quince jam

As a change from a scam awareness video, here’s how to make Japanese Quince jam:

Video by Sue Kenworthy, Bedhampton


Any comments would be welcome. In particular, do you like the short stories? Do you like the videos? Please send any feedback to

Robert Bull