Town's u3a group celebrates publicity coup

Steve Down operating his compact radio equipment

Steve Down operating his compact radio equipment - Credit: Honiton u3a

Honiton u3a members were celebrating this week after four of their colleagues featured in the latest edition of the national u3a magazine, Third Age Matters (TAM). 

With a photograph of one of the interest groups on a pre-lockdown walk to Escot in the previous edition, Honiton u3a is clearly making its mark on the national stage.

The February issue of TAM included an article on Honiton u3a’s meteorology group, led by former Met Office scientist Howard Lyne. He says: “Weather is a particularly accommodating subject, as there is always something to talk about.”

Having spent over 30 years at the Met Office, Howard is ideally placed to pass on his knowledge and experience to members of the group who take part in the 10-session course.

“I make sure that everything is kept simple, but hopefully scientifically sound,” he said, “by using everyday comparisons.” For instance, he uses the analogy of a boiling saucepan to describe how convection works to get heat from the surface into the atmosphere.

Elsewhere in the magazine, fellow u3a member Steve Down shared his enthusiasm for amateur radio. A licenced radio operator for 55 years, Steve has communicated with fellow enthusiasts all over the world, from the first contact he made with an operator in Czechoslovakia in 1965.

Steve also described how he organised demonstrations of amateur radio at the RAF Signals Museum in Bedfordshire for the International Museums on the Air Weekend. 

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Also featured in the magazine is Alison Sharples, who described how she accessed the Woodland Trust webcam to follow the story of a family of ospreys nesting at Loch Arkaig in the West of Scotland. She watched the arrival of three chicks, who were named after the former Scotland rugby star Doddie Weir, Dame Vera Lynn and Captain Sir Tom Moore.

Finally, and in complete contrast, music fans of a certain age were able to read Malcolm Lee’s reflections on the history of Prog Rock. He was delighted to see u3a covering this subject, saying: “I wasn’t expecting that.”

Malcolm described how his love of progressive music had been ignited at the Reading Festival in 1973 when he saw Genesis, then fronted by Peter Gabriel.

New members are always welcome. Honiton u3a is presently planning activities to mark National u3a Day on June 2, when they will be promoting the work of the organisation and the local group, and encouraging people to join.

To find out more about Honiton u3a, go to their website:

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