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In the space of two short years Dulwich & District U3A (University of the 3rd Age) has gone from strength to strength. It now has over 400 members and over 60 activity groups.

U3A is not really a University but a national organisation for retired and semi-retired people with nearly 1000 local ‘branches’ and over 350,000 members in the UK.

The Dulwich U3A meets in local halls, libraries and members’ homes and has monthly meetings with specialist guest speakers covering a diverse range of topics.

Always popular, the Walking Group has walked the walks of the Great Fire of London, literary Chelsea, Victorian shopping arcades and completed, in sections, the 80 mile Capital Ring Walk.

The Art History group has visited galleries including the National Gallery, Wallace Collection and Mansion House while studying Italian Renaissance and the Dutch Golden Age.

The Play Reading group has read plays by Shakespeare, Alan Bennet, Tracey Letts and many more. The Book group has covered books which include Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont, The Last Runaway and Wide Sargasso Sea. The Poetry group has covered Politics in Poetry, Poems in Translation, Love poems, W.H. Auden.

There is a Quiz group which meets monthly for a friendly quiz, coffee and chat and which recently took part in a charity quiz.

The Gardening group is growing steadily! It has visited Horniman Gardens, Brockwell Park, the Sky Garden on Fenchurch Street ‘Walkie Talkie’ building. It has had demonstrations of ‘potting on’, a Gardeners’ Question Time and a ‘plant and seed exchange’.

Many of our members are keen to learn and keep up with their computer skills and we offer four different Computer groups, which range from virtual beginners up to users of advanced Apple technology. These groups increase members’ confidence when using IT and cover security, safe internet use, emailing, social networks, Skyping and members’ everyday queries.

There are groups covering Philosophy, Theatre Visits, Mah Jong, Geology, Photography, Languages, Music, Creative Writing, Politics, Cycling, Tennis and much more.

Guest speakers to our monthly open meetings have covered topics as diverse as The Magna Carta, Dulwich Park Gardens, Advances in Cancer Research, and The Times Obituaries.

Our AGM is taking place on 18th May at 2.00 pm at All Saints Church, Lovelace Road, West Dulwich, SE21 8JY. All the activity groups will have stalls displaying what they do, and it will be an opportunity to meet the group conveners and find out more about their activities. The meeting and display is open to the public and it is hoped to enrol many new members. The annual membership fee of £25 allows members to attend as many available interest groups as they wish, or have time for.

All the groups help to keep the mind and body active, learning new skills and developing friendships through active participation. The groups are run by volunteers who have an interest or expertise in the subject. There are no exams, certificates or qualifications. It is just learning for the fun of it!

Further information can be found on the Dulwich & District web site www.dulwich-u3a.uk, on Facebook, or by phoning 0843 8860 980.

Information compiled by Neil Abrahams.