THE newly formed Leigh & District Group of U3A attracted 100 members in its first month and is growing fast.

The University of the Third Age is a national organisation set up in the 1980s to promote the development of self determined learning groups for the retired and semi-retired.

The third age is defined as that time of life when offspring have grown up, or you are no longer in full-time employment.

It is a fast growing movement with a third of a million members nationally, and 90 groups in the North West alone each run by a committee of dedicated volunteers.

Initially focussed on academic study U3A now generally encompasses crafts, exercise based and social activities in recognition of health concerns and well being in older people.

Leigh & District spokeswoman and former lecturer Lesley Bates told the Journal: “Presently we have groups in Spanish, general history, local history, family history, book reading, Tai Chi, play reading, scrabble, strategy board games, water colour painting, singing for fun, walking, bird watching, knitting, art appreciation, chess and play reading.

“We expect further groups to be coming on stream very soon.”

Theatre visits and trips to places of interest are included in a busy programme.

General social meetings are held on the first and third Friday of each month from 1pm to 3pm at Leigh Miners Welfare Club, Kirby Road, off Twist lane, Leigh.1-3pm.

Subscription is £15 per year, which includes 5 issues of the U3A magazine ‘Third Age Matters’ with a £1 fee for interest groups or general meetings to cover costs.

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