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U3A logo IN BATH

U3A in Bath marked its 25th anniversary at its AGM in July 2011. To celebrate this event Audrey Cloet, founder of U3A in Bath and an important figure in U3A nationally, and Eric Frank, the first Chairman, were invited. Affectionately introduced by Eric as the person who ‘bullied’ U3A into being, Audrey spoke to the meeting about its first years in Bath.

Eighteen people attended an inaugural meeting in November 1985. Within a year there were 100 members, a committee and a constitution, ten study groups, and social activities including outings and a lunch club. Monthly meetings with invited speakers packed out the Bath Society Meeting Room at Green Park Station. And that was only the beginning of a growth curve which has continued, making Bath one of the biggest U3As in the country. Membership is now over 1500; there are around 100 study groups, and monthly meetings now fill the Pavilion.

But little else has changed over the years. The principles on which U3A was established are as strong as ever. Its activities foster mental well-being, physical well-being, and social connectivity for older people. It remains an organisation of members who support each other in learning all sorts of subjects in a wide variety of ways. Membership is open to anyone no longer in full-time work.

Over the years new activities have emerged, others disappeared, to meet the interests of the current membership. In the early years there was a lunch club run by members who enjoyed cooking, and a library, housed in Green Park Station. Arts and crafts exhibitions have been organised; anthologies of members’ writing published.

Currently study groups read and discuss literature, find out about history, philosophy, computing: members write, create art, perform music, dance, play sport or ma-jong. There is a thriving group who organise outings and in 2011 a theatre group was set up.

U3A in Bath thrives on the diverse interest of its members, supported by its Committee, members who provide IT and other kinds of administrative support and its Group Leaders. There is always room for new activity or social groups, and the Committee will provide any support members may need.


Pictures at left (top to bottom): 1.Audrey Cloet addresses the 2011 AGM; 2.A bouquet and applause for Audrey after her speech; 3.Eric Frank chats with Audrey after the AGM; 4.Ron Court and Jenny Woodhouse with Audrey and Frank.


To view the video of a Scrapbook created by Ron Court for the U3A 25 Year Celebration, click here.
The video, which lasts about 10 minutes, will open in a new page.