INCOMING CHAIR'S WELCOME & OPENING SPEECH

Thank you all for coming today - for sure you'd rather be curled up with a box of chocolates and watching an old film. At this precise moment, so would I, but that will pass. Pam and Jackie have both promised that it will and after all, like everyone else up here, I am a volunteer ... but I'm not holding my breath!

Regardless of what any of us would prefer doing, thank you very much for coming. I would also like to add my thanks to the Committee who have stayed, and welcome those others who have just joined. And I want to thank Rita and Pam for handing over such a financially healthy U3A - I will try and keep it that way, and with Chris to keep me on the straight and narrow we should be safe enough.

Pam has told us all the tidings of this year, but I would like to look forwards, to the coming year and beyond. I am counting on Pat and Jackie putting on some sort of a show at the end of the year, but beyond that, we have our 25th Anniversary coming up soon. Hopefully we will include ALL the members, not just the original Dirty Dozen! We are none of us as spry as we were, so it will need to be something fairly gentle and preferably indoors, just in case! If you read your Third Age Matters, you will see that lots of U3As have a party with a cake. We can do better than that, indeed we did better for our 20th, but only if everyone gets involved. When I said this at the AGM I was under the impression that our 25th was 2017, but people with better math skills than I have convinced me it will be 2018. Discussing this with a few people since, the reaction was generally variations on "Oh good, we have longer to prepare" rather than "Daft bat, fancy getting that wrong!" which was something of a relief.

Before then, of course, we have all the events for this year, which will include the annual Quiz in June, an enormous marquee at The Big Free at the Caerleon Festival in July, our Open Day in August and the Senior Citizens Information Day at Newport Leisure Centre, usually in October, and we have fixed the date for the Carol Service in December. The Spanish group are off on their holidays in May, and the Third Age Singers and the Ukulele Daze have concerts planned, plus of course Pat, Jackie and Isabelle will have lots of trips and visits lined up for us too - it is going to be a busy year!

I've said enough (Tony will say more than enough!) so once more, thank you all for coming and thank you in advance for the help and support you are going to give to the Committee and to me over the coming year.

Barbara Phillips
April 2016