Wigan retirees celebrate group's 10th anniversary

Mayor Stephen Dawber with son Oliver (left) and chairman of Ashtons branch of University of the Third Age Michael Iredale
Mayor Stephen Dawber with son Oliver (left) and chairman of Ashtons branch of University of the Third Age Michael Iredale

Wigan’s retirees have celebrated their branch of a leisure group’s 10th anniversary with a grand dinner party.


The University of the Third Age, commonly referred to as U3A, is a national movement of retired and semi-retired people, which exists to provide opportunities for its members to make new friends, share interests and take part in leisure activities.

The group is a worldwide organisation that originally started in France and caters for retired people of all ages.

It set up its branch in Ashton in 2009, originally starting at the former YMCA building, but due to increasing numbers the group had to move, and currently reside in the Community Centre on Captains Lane, Ashton.

There are more than a thousand such groups in the UK alone and rely on volunteers who give their time freely.

It is aimed at people who have retired from work but not from life and is a wonderful way to try out new activities and make new friends.

The Ashton members marked their first decade with a celebratory dinner at Bryn Masonic Hall at the end of May, at which the Mayor of Wigan, Stephen Dawber, was present.

The group’s secretary, John Gostelow took time to reveal some of the activities the group holds on a regular basis.

He said: “We hold two main meetings a month with a speaker meeting on the first Friday of the month, and a more informal coffee afternoon on the third Friday of the month.

“Meetings are normally open to members from 12.30pm and finish no later than 3pm.

“Prospective members can attend two meetings without joining and we have meeters and greeters to welcome them and a new members table to inform them of our
activities.

“The heartbeat of our organisation rests with our group keaders who run and organise our group
activities.

“At the moment we have about 25 groups ranging from singing, ukulele playing, poetry appreciation, line dancing, French and German classes, local history, theatre trips and holidays and are always on the lookout for new members with skills that would enhance our group.”

To find out more about the group, visit ashtoninmakerfieldanddistrictu3a.co.uk