Lanark and District U3A 10th anniversary

The pandemic has taken its toll on many local organisations, with meetings cancelled and memberships dropping.

Saturday, 19th June 2021, 2:00 pm
An afternoon tea had been planned for the U3A's 10th anniversary but the pandemic put paid to that. Instead, members unveiled a planter outside Morrisons. Inset: Margaret Dunlop presents a gift to Gavin Paton.
An afternoon tea had been planned for the U3A's 10th anniversary but the pandemic put paid to that. Instead, members unveiled a planter outside Morrisons. Inset: Margaret Dunlop presents a gift to Gavin Paton.

However, Lanark and District U3A has weathered the storm, with 150 members still on its books – thanks to the 30 or more interest groups it runs for people in their third age, who are far from ready to kick the bucket just yet, thank you very much!

This year marks ten years since the U3A was formed in Lanark, an idea initially mooted by Ed Archer and Lesley Gair who became the first chairwoman.

Lesley said: “After our first meeting in the Clydesdale Hotel with just 15 people, we quickly expanded as word spread and soon we had to move to Greyfriars Church Hall.

Founding chairwoman Lesley Gair with Lanimer horse.

"Again, it wasn’t long before we moved to the current venue of Lanark Memorial Hall as our membership grew to over 200.

“We now have over 30 interest groups, each requested by the membership, allowing members to share their experiences, learn new skills and enjoy each other’s company with a cup of tea and a chat after our monthly meetings.

“All the effort that was put in to get the U3A started has been amply rewarded by the enthusiasm of the group, the variety of interests shown and the new friendships that have developed over the last 10 years.”

There were plans for an afternoon tea with guest speakers to celebrate the 10th anniversary.

However, that celebration has been delayed until February to allow people to comfortably return to face to face meetings.

Instead, the U3A’s gardening group struck on a novel idea.

Irene McDougall said: “I saw a raised bed celebrating another group’s anniversary and it grew legs from there!

“One of our members, Valerie Paton, is also a member of Lanark in Bloom. Its members were happy to nurture the plants for us. Valerie’s husband Gavin made the planter, CCI cut out the u3a sign and Morrisons kindly agreed to let us use a space at its entrance.”

On Thursday, June 3, members assembled for the floral display’s grand unveiling. Among their number were Ed Archer and Lesley Gair, as well as gardening group members Nelson Waters, Chloe Bennett, Joan Davidson and Dorothy Duncan, who assisted with the planter.

Margaret Dunlop, U3A Lanark and District chairwoman, said: “The initiative was timed perfectly to coincide with National U3A day.

"The display is planted in the U3A colours of blue and gold and will be an attractive and distinctive way of raising the Lanark and District group’s profile during the summer months.”

Margaret hopes that, as restrictions continue to ease, members can start meeting once again.

She added: “Before the pandemic, we had 250 members – some of whom fell away because they don’t feel comfortable using Zoom.

"We hope some of those members, and new ones, will join up once things return to normal.”

To find out more about the organisation, visit www.u3a-lanark.xyz.