Recent Monthly Meetings
18th October 2023 at 2pm
Our guest speaker was Paul Barwick who returned to us with a presentation entitled 'The mystery of the body in the bag'.
This looked at the mysterious death of MI6 spy and codebreaker Gareth Williams. In August 2010 Gareth failed to return to work at MI6 headquarters in Vauxhall after a period of annual leave. When concerned family had Police attend his Pimlico flat they found Gareth dead. He was unclothed, placed into a large sports bag, padlocked from the outside and placed in his bath. There were no signs of a struggle and the flat, an MI6 safe house was locked from the outside. Paul recalled how events unfolded to a disbelieving world and asked 'was this a tragic accident, a deliberate act by Gareth or something a lot more sinister'? We considered the part played by MI6 and the Police service enquiry and whether international agents of espionage had a hand in his demise.
Wednesday 20th September 2023
Our guest speaker was Emily Evans with a presentation entitled 'Travelling Tales of the River Colne'
The presentation addressed the history of the River Colne and the crucial role it played in the development of the towns in our area. Artefacts and sensory objects were brought to bring the history to life.
Wednesday 16th August 2023
Our guest speaker was John Tyler with a talk entitled 'The Changing Wildlife of the Chilterns'
From tropical seas, through Ice Ages, tundra and forest to the farmland and beechwoods of today, we travelled through a hundred million years to follow the story of the Chiltern landscape and its wildlife and look at what the future may hold for it. This was the 4th visit by this renowned ecologist and his fantastic photographs.
Wednesday July 19th
Our guest speaker was Erica Bendall with a talk about 'Mission Employable'
This is a charity set up to help young people with learning difficulties to lead fulfilled lives, achieve independence and have the confidence to go out to work.
Wednesday 21st June 2023
Our guest speaker was Chen, a colleauge of Jake Hume, with a talk - 'Cyber Fraud, Part two'
Jake and Chen visited us in July last year and again explained ways in which we can protect ourselves from cyber-crime and online fraud, including the latest scams, the methodology and techniques of scammers and how you can stay one step ahead of them.
Wednesday 17th May 2023
Our guest speaker was Brenda Harold with a talk entitled 'Wild Flowers on a Country Walk'
The flowers that can be seen in woods, hedgerows and fields in southern Britain. Pictures, information and just a little science.
Wednesday 19th April 2023
Annual General Meeting (AGM)
Thank you to our speaker Janet Tublin, one of own members, for her entertaining talk on “Government Hospitality for overseas visitors, a few Royals and brave Coastguards.”
Wednesday 15th March 2023
The talk was entitled 'Growing up in London 1930-1960' and given by guest speaker Peter Cox.
Peter interviewed nearly 100 U3A members for his book with that title - How they spent their lives from birth to marriage in London – before, during and after WW2. He’ll give an illustrated talk about what he discovered.
Peter has visited us before when he talked about the John Lewis partnership, where he worked and eventually became Director of IT Waitrose. After 35 years he retired in 2003 when he embarked on writing the history of the John Lewis partnership.
Wednesday 15 February 2023
Our guest speaker was the ever popular Helen Fry with 'MI9: A History of the Secret Service for Escape and Evasion in World War Two'. An account of the human stories of MI9 alongside the organisation and its operation.
18 January 2023
The Special General Meeting supported the resolution from the committee increasing the Annual Subscription to £25
The talk was by our own Bev Gibbs - 'Where did I put my keys?'
The human brain is a highly evolved miracle of biological engineering. Incredibly, it weighs only 2% of our body weight, yet consumes 20% of our energy per day! What we eat and drink therefore has a profound effect on or brain health and is critically important in maintaining cognitive function as we age. In this talk, we learnt the secrets of keeping the brain energised and nourished to promote optimal memory and wellbeing.
Here are Bev's top tips
Wednesday 21st December 2022
Monthly meeting and Christmas Quiz. Run once again by our own member Chris Jones.
Attendance restricted to 80 at tables plus helpers.
Wednesday 16 November 2022 at 2pm.
Our guest speaker was Paul Barwick making a return visit with 'The Story Of The White Mouse Nancy Wake'
A remarkable true story of her incredible courage and strength of purpose that provided an awe-inspiring tale in a world set on fire. Her life from humble beginnings to becoming the Gestapo's most wanted female spy of the war.
Paul Barwick spent a 34 year career in the Police service in man y different roles, finishing in National Security. Upon retiring he started his own Central London Walking Tour company focused on Espionage in the Capital.
Wednesday 19 October 2022
Our guest speaker was John Tyler with 'The Forgotten River' - the wildlife and history of the tranquil River Thame from source to mouth and from the Stone Age to the present day.
John studied Zoology and Conservation at university and worked for the Ecological Parks Trust in London, creating and managing urban nature reserves where children could experience nature at first hand. He then spent 22 years as the Warden of the Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve in Kent. Now very much involved with local environmental studies and giving talks on many aspects of natural history.
Wednesday 21 September 2022 at 2pm.
Our guest speaker was Roger Yapp - Chairman of the Abbots Langley Local History Society and Project Leader of “Back to the Front”, Abbots Langley’s Great War Commemoration Project.
Presentation entitled 'The Sidelines of War – The Diary of Alice Slythe - Great War Nurse'
As part of the Abbots Langley Great War Commemoration Project, the talk is original research of local nurse Sister Alice Slythe’s 1,200 page diary of her time in France during the Great War.
Wednesday 17 August 2022 at 2pm
Our guest speaker was Anne Lawrence with a presentation 'Life of a Counter terrorist Police Officer'. Anne served 12 years in this role at Scotland yard. Whilst there she played a significant role in most of the terrorist investigations between 2003 and 2015 which included the London bombings. She has travelled extensively to countries such as Afghanistan, Somalia and Bangladesh. In 2011 she was awarded the Queens police medal for her services.
Wednesday 20 July 2022
Thanks to our guest speakers, Jake Hume and his colleagues, for a very interesting 'Cyber Protect Presentation', focused on ways in which we can protect ourselves from cyber-crime and on line fraud.
Jake spoke about the latest scams, the methodology and techniques of scammers and cyber criminals and how we can stay one step ahead of them.
Here's a link to a presentation containing some useful contacts supplied by Jake:
Wednesday 15 June 2022
Guest speaker was Paul Barwick, a retired policeman, who recounted the events of 2006 when two Russian agents came to the UK with the specific intention of poisoning Alexander Litvineko.
Wednesday 18 May 2022
Guest speaker was David Allen, a retired solicitor, who shared an enjoyable romp through the legal world as he told of encounters with raging judges, dotty clients, bizarre true life oddities and daft laws which are still in place.
20th April 2022 - Annual General Meeting
Election of Executive Committee for 2022. Followed by speaker Chris Jones, one of our members, who recalled some very interesting and entertaining aspects of his career in journalism, including his 'Life at The Beeb'.
16 March 2022: -
Our speaker was Beverley Gibbs, one of our members with her presentation -
'Knees, Bones and Joints - a user’s guide'.
Did you know that by age 60, 90% of people in the UK have joint pain?
In addition, osteoporosis (thinning bones) results in ½ million bone fractures per year; treating hip fractures alone costs the NHS £1 billion annually (source: Age UK, 2019). But it’s not all doom and gloom! There are some simple diet hacks that can help our bones at any age.
Bev Gibbs is a recently-retired Nutritional Therapist and revealed the research-based secrets of bone health, what nutrients are needed and where to get them, and how diet could help manage any joint pain
16 February 2022: -
We were delighted to welcome Helen Fry as our guest speaker on her third visit to our U3a!
She has never failed to deliver fascinating talks on her WW2 spy books. This time she set the scene for her latest book, 'Spymaster' - a truly fascinating account of Thomas Kendrick who was central to British Intelligence operations.
19th January 2022: -
Laurie presented an illustrated talk ‘Air Miss' with photos and her
own cartoons of her career in the WRAF - not quite 'Private Benjamin' –
15th December 2021: -
A Medieval Christmas’– Presented by Michael Brown
Michael, AKA the Medieval Gardener spoke about Christmas traditions, myths and plants of the
medieval period. He performed, dressed in 14th century clothing and playing music on early instruments.
17th November 2021 - Quiz
Chris Jones, our very own Quiz Master, ran another of his highly popular and successful quizzes for our U3A members. This was be a lively and entertaining event.
20th October 2021 - The Origin of Pub Names
Terry Penny gave an illustrated talk on the origin of many of our pub names. The Red Lion is the most common pub name having changed from The White Hart and back again several times. This was a fascinating glimpse into the mysteries of our sometimes peculiar often spectacular pub names.
">Our first post-pandemic meeting saw 64 members at St Oswald's and another 40 or so on Zoom.
15th September 2021 - ‘The Blood Runners’,
Our guest speaker was John McCombe who spoke about this vital but often overlooked group of volunteers otherwise known as SERV: Herts and Beds Service by Emergency Response Volunteers who use their own cars and motorbikes, out of hours (often in the middle of the night) to deliver blood, human donor milk, and hospice requirements for the NHS.
Following that, we attempted to present our new website and communications system, but technical difficulties with the PC meant that although the system was working perfectly, those on Zoom could not see the screen, and eventually we gave up.
Fortunately, there wasn't anything that could go wrong with the glass of wine or orange juice we enjoyed to celebrate our return to meeting in person.
18th August 2021 : -
Talk Entitled: My great Aunt’s trek out of Burma in 1942
month Jenny Mallin gave a fascinating history of the British Raj, from
the perspective of an several generations of her Anglo-Indian family.
This month, she is speaking about the time
of the Japanese invasion of Burma, and how life can change overnight
from being the wife of a British official living in high status in
Burma, to a refugee facing an arduous trek through jungle, across high
mountains and raging rivers at the time of the monsoon.
21st July: 2021 : -
Talk entitled 'My Family History'
Jenny Mallin gave us a unique insight into a family of British ancestry who were living in India during the British Raj. She effortlessly throws light on the life and times of Anglo-Indians during this period. Spanning the 19th and the 20th centuries, a period of expansion and drama, her story covers the lives of five generations of women of one family, beginning with Jenny’s great-great-great grandma Wilhelmina.