West Dartmoor U3A Newsletter

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September 2017

August 2017

July 2017



Report of the August Meeting from Barbara Schofield

The new season of talks was kicked off in fine style at the August meeting of West Dartmoor U3A. David Lemon is a former Rhodesian policeman, turned adventurer and author.  His talk, "In Livingstone’s Footsteps”, was an account of a walk he undertook from the source of the Zambezi to Chinde, where it enters the Indian Ocean.  Amazingly, he was already in his late sixties when he began.  The trek took 292 days, spread over three years.  He was the first and is so far, the only person to achieve this feat.

The adventure began in Mwinilunga, where the river bubbles up through the roots of a great tree.  David travels without a tent, preferring to sleep under the stars.  Even so, with ten weeks supply of dried food his pack weighed 35kg.  The speaker said that his desire to challenge himself had already lead to a variety of expeditions, including cycling from Nairobi to Cape Town.  This time was different.  He had sponsorship and he was doing it for elephant preservation.

Although he has spent most of his life living by the Zambezi, the speaker said that he had given it no thought. He was determined to stay as close to the river as he could. There were some elephant roads and hippo paths he was able to use, but there was always the prospect of meeting one of the animals and for the most part he had to find a way through the bush, which was far from easy.

He was helped and charmed by the people he met who seemed always to know about him and treated him with kindness, respect and generosity. These were the highlights and he delighted in showing pictures and describing the happiness of the people despite the poverty, by Western standards, in which they lived.

The difficulties were endless and at times seemed insuperable. He spent three days walking through floods on the Luena Plain.  The Victoria Falls were incredible but going through the gorges beneath, he could only manage 6km, on a good a day.  After 184 days, he had walked 1800 km, lost 34kg in weight and knew he could go no further. His sponsors were very supportive, saying he had done enough, when he was forced to give up at Siavonga.

Fifteen months later, he was back to finish the task he had set himself.  Eventually he needed to find a way through the Cabora Bassa Gorge and was directed to Mawaya Hougaard, who knew of an old trail last used by David Livingstone.  Such was Mawaya’s enthusiasm that he formed a party who walked with David.  But by the end of the stretch, David had collapsed again, suffering from two types of malaria. He was 400 km short of his goal.  Three weeks later he returned to meet Mawaya who insisted that, if walk he must, then he should have a tent and two men to walk with him.  Thus he accomplished his walk, finishing on Chinde on September 7th 2014, three months before his seventieth birthday.

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Office Relocation - U3A moves to new offices

We are delighted to inform you that the Third Age Trust is likely to be moving to fully accessible offices based in Borough, Southwark, London. A rent break clause in the lease was invoked and the savings made in meeting space and dilapidation compared with the current more remote site means that the new office space provides real value for the Trust.

The proposed new premises are very close to rail, tube and bus transport serving the main London hubs. This will ensure that the NEC can be in close touch with the staff team on a regular basis by holding their sub-committee meetings on site. In addition, the larger NEC meetings will be held in a charity meeting room adjacent to the new space, again saving the cost of current hotel venue hire and most importantly, providing ready access to staff and information. The Trust is proud to finally have fully accessible office space allowing members to visit, regardless of their mobility.

The main reasons for the move were that the Bromley office was not accessible to the majority of members and that the office itself was not accessible to anyone with mobility problems.

The main considerations were firstly, the use of members’ money. It is considered that when all costs are taken into consideration, it is anticipated that there will be little difference in overall expenses mainly because of the flexibility of the new office space and its location.
Secondly, continuity of staffing in National Office. Some of the staff have worked for the Trust for several years and their experience, knowledge and dedication would take years to develop if the office were to move to another part of the country. The possibility that none of the existing staff would relocate to a new office location would have caused an unacceptable risk to the ability of the Trust to carry out its work for some considerable time. Trustees and members come and go but the office staff hold the organisation together by giving a vital daily service to members. They were therefore consulted before any steps were taken and all staff members have agreed to move to the new office. Their working environment will be much improved and the opportunity is being taken to have a thorough ‘spring clean’.
This was an operational decision taken by the Trust, which is committed to bringing the National Office closer to the membership. Trustees and National Office staff are all working for the membership in every way they can.
It is hoped that the move will take place in September/October and when further information is available, you will be notified at the earliest possible opportunity.

Pam Jones
on behalf of the National Executive Committee of the Third Age Trust.


Invitation to View - Go behind Devon & Cornwall's closed doors

2017 Brochure








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