Data Protection


from 2.30 Notices, The Talk
Dean Court Community Centre
from 3.30 tea and biscuits*



From 14 February 2022 all the talks are given by the speakers in person in the hall. 



The schedule of talks until June 2022 is as follows :



24 Jan

Chris Perrins

Swan-upping: the Queen's Swans on the Thames.
The mute swan – the bird that every child can identify – is a royal bird, owned by the Queen, if it lives on a particular stretch of the River Thames.  Every year a census of the swan population on the Thames is taken under the direction of The Queen’s Swan Warden, Professor Christopher Perrins of the University of Oxford. Professor Perrins will tell us how the centuries-long practice of Swan-Upping, as it has come to be called, while still a ceremonial event, has become an important element of wildlife conservation.

14 Feb

Eugene Matthias

The Ugly Duckling and the Magic Wand.
Eugene Matthias is a professional performer, magician and toastmaster.  He has had a long and illustrious career in the business and is now the President of the Magic Club of Great Britain.
The Ugly Duckling and the Magic Wand is the story of how magic impacted on his life.  How receiving a magic box from his parents one Christmas became a turning point helping him – a shy and bullied boy – develop self-belief and, eventually, reach the top of his profession.

28 Feb

Mervyn Edwards

Walking the Beat to Nirvana.
Mervyn Edwards served for more than 30 years with Thames Valley Police, retiring in 2002.  Over half of his service was spent as part of the Tactical Firearms Team as a police marksman.  He rose to the rank of Chief Superintendent in charge of Special Operations.  After retirement he worked with the Police Service on a number of projects, including the building of Terminal 5 at Heathrow.  Currently, he runs his own Specialist Security consultancy.
In 2019 Mervyn published his memoirs.  The book focuses primarily on his 15 years with the Firearms Team, including numerous incidents which attracted national interest in his talk.  Mervyn will recount these, and other, experiences and he will tell us the reason for writing his book, entitled Walking the Beat to Nirvana.

14 Mar

Jane Stubbs

Corsets, Crinolines and Mangles.
Jane Stubbs is the author of Thornfield Hall, a novel of Jane Eyre below stairs.  Written from the point of view of Mrs. Fairfax the housekeeper, this tells the story Jane Eyre never knew as servants kept their secrets. Based on her research for the novel, the talk considers everyday lives of women in the 19th century, looking at clothing, washing and women’s place in society and the changes it underwent.  She will bring along some appropriate ‘props’ to illustrate.

Jane has taught English in colleges and schools, and alongside raising a family has worked in journalism and for various charities.  She has won prizes for her short stories.
28 MarJane HumphriesHistory from underneath: women and girls experience in the era of industrialization.
Some of you may remember watching the award-winning documentary ‘The Children Who Built Victorian Britain’ which Jane Humphries co-wrote and presented for BBC4.  Alongside her seminal research into the lives of working-class children during the Industrial Revolution Jane has focused on the experiences of women in this era of high mortality, high fertility, fatherless households and economic stress.

Jane is a very distinguished social and economic historian, holding professorships at Oxford and LSE, author.
11 AprBob FosterThe Mary Rose.
This illustrated talk will tell the story of Henry VIII's favourite ship, built in 1510. Bob Foster, a retired Chartered Engineer, is a volunteer presenter and fundraiser for the Mary Rose Trust. He has held this role for over 30 years, during which time he has collected substantial amounts for the project. The presentation will cover the entire history of the ship, from its years in service and its sinking in 1545, as well as the intervening years until it was raised in 1982. We will find out about many of the nearly 20,000 objects recovered from the wreck after 437 years under water, and Bob will pass around several replica objects for us to handle.

This is clearly a labour of love for Bob and we can look forward to a very interesting afternoon.
25 AprLeah Lewis, WheelpowerThe Transformative Power of Sports.
WheelPower has been providing opportunities in sport for people with physical impairments for over 70 years, and now support over 62,000 people across the country. Based in Stoke Mandeville, the home of the Paralympic movement, the charity is at the heart of wheelchair sport. They get involved in a range of activities, from running, cycling and team games, to skydiving.

WheelPower say: "We have seen how playing sport can enrich lives, offering tremendous physical and psychological benefits, whatever a person's age or ability."

In this talk, we will hear about the charity's work, helping to develop confidence and improve health, through the transformative power of sports.
9 MayRecital by Launton Handbell RingersMusic comes in many different genres, and group handbell ringing is one of the less familiar forms for most of us.  For 70 years the Launton Ringers, based in Oxfordshire and Bucks, have not only been maintaining the tradition of handbell ringing but also expanding its repertoire. As well as giving many recitals they have issued a number of CDs showcasing a range of musical styles.

In this session the group will demonstrate the art of handbell ringing, with a history of the bells and their music.  They will accompany that with a recital to demonstrate the versatility as well as musicality of handbells.  There will be an opportunity for members of the audience to participate.  Come along and join in!Handbells - Talk and Recital 
23 MayShelley EdwardsKeep Safe: Avoiding Conmen and other Risks.
The fastest growing area of crime and the biggest crime risk to us as ordinary citizens is now the financial scam. The elderly and less tech-savvy are particularly vulnerable. In this talk Shelley Edwards, Liaison Officer at Trading Standards for Oxfordshire County Council, will give us insights into how scammers operate and advice on how to detect scams and protect ourselves against conmen. Let’s keep safe, and avoid being landed in distressing and potentially expensive scams. It is not all gloom and doom; we can learn to take charge and look out for ourselves.
13 JunPeter Hague Inside the World of a Film and TV Extra.
Peter Hague will tell us about life "Inside the World of a Film and TV Extra". He says that until age and Covid made him stop two years ago he was working as an Extra and as a professional drummer. Nowadays he uses his experience in these fields as a basis for his presentations as well as guiding groups to stately homes in Buckinghamshire where he lives.
27 JunGraham HornHeirs and Spares.
West Oxford U3A is looking forward to a visit from Graham Horn, a highly experienced and qualified Blue Badge Tourist Guide and tour leader.  Graham also finds time to research family histories, often of the aristocracy, which provide him with material for his talks.

*Special teas, with home-made cakes, are arranged from time to time (see Newsletter for details).



More up-to-date details may be available in the current newsletter

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