Honiton u3a group tackles international art theft

The Beehive in Honiton

The Beehive in Honiton - Credit: Archant

Members of Honiton u3a returned to The Beehive for the first time in 18 months last week for their monthly lecture.  

Marilyn Bishop gave an enlightening talk about international art theft, which she said led to losses estimated at $6 billion every year. Members were told that only around 5% of stolen artworks are ever recovered.  

The Interpol Art Loss Register presently has 180,000 items on it. So prevalent is theft in some places that one painting has been dubbed “The Takeaway Rembrandt”, so often has it been stolen. 

Since the start of the pandemic, u3a members have enjoyed their monthly talks via Zoom. Subjects have included the Beaver Trails on the River Otter, when Jake Chant of Devon Wildlife Trust gave the first indication of the presence of Beavers in the River Gissage. 

Despite the success of these Zoom talks, and following a very successful social event at the Sidmouth Arms in Upottery in August, it was decided that the time was right to return to The Beehive. Over the last few weeks, a number of Interest Groups, run by members for members, have also restarted their face to face meetings. 

Commenting on the September meeting, the chairman of Honiton u3a Peter Halse said: “The return to our Beehive venue was encouraging. There was a good turnout despite our need to wear masks and to be aware of Covid restrictions. The illustrated talk by Marilyn Bishop on Art Theft was fascinating, if also sad.” 

 “These monthly meetings are great,” he went on. “But the heart of u3a lies in the wide variety of interest groups available to members.” He urged anyone who is interested in joining u3a to look at the group’s website for details of forthcoming meetings and of the range of Interest groups on offer. 

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The next meeting at The Beehive is on October 20, when Robert Hesketh will be giving a talk about the history of smuggling in Devon. As with the September talk, it will be for members only. November’s talk is scheduled to be about the work of the charity ‘Shelterbox’. 

For further information about Honiton u3a look at their website: u3asites.org.uk/honiton/home 

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