All posts by Sue Galley

Group report

In September, we had a very interesting visit to Hilsea Lido and we invited the Local History Group 1 to join us.

Group members admiring the hand knitted swimming costumes! There is an exhibition of photos, posters and swim wear relevant to the decades of the Lido's history.

The Lido was built on the site of the fortifications known as Hilsea Bastion which was demolished in 1919. Early on this was known as Hilsea Bastion Gardens and as a forerunner of the Lido was an amenity with a tea stall and open-air music. In this area there were terraces, pergolas plus lovely gardens known as Hilsea Lagoon. The whole site was eventually known as Hilsea Lido, an Art Deco building with deco terraces and two large fountains, an adult pool large enough for swimming competitions and high diving, children's pool, cascades, flower beds and plenty of space for sunbathing and physical recreation. Previously considered 'a dirty corner of Hisea' the Lido became the seafront in the north of the city.

The opening ceremony in 1935 was a grand affair attended by dignitaries, the workers who constructed the pool, hundreds of spectators to whom the lido was a source of great pride and a 'fine city achievement.' It was a great success, immensely popular, used by hundreds of people and was visited by the 1936 Olympic British Diving Team who gave a demonstration in August 1936.

During WW2 the main pool was closed to the public and was given over to various military units in the area for their recreational use. After the war it came back to life, boating on the lake and the roller skate rink were very popular. A miniature railway ran along the Lido site from 1946 -1951.

In 1949 Sean Connery was in the Royal Navy, training at HMS Excellent when he was snapped rising from the pool, much to the delight of the girls!

Other notable visitors were the GB Diving Team who trained there for the 1952 Olympics. The Lido continued to provide a wonderful amenity for local people for several decades.

In 1974 the Lido was used as the set for Bernie's Holiday Camp when Oliver Reed and Ann Margaret visited to film a scene for the film 'Tommy'.

However, in the late 70's the diving platforms were removed, the advent of cheap package holidays abroad saw the attendance drop off. This triggered a downward spiral of under investment and it fell into disrepair over the next 30 years with limited use. The Council spent years trying to close it but there was an outcry from people of, 'no you can't possibly do that!'

It was close to being flattened in 2008 when Portsmouth City Council (PCC) abandoned plans to refurbish the Lido but with great support from the community, a group stepped in and has helped return the historic site from the brink of extinction.

In 2010 'Hilsea Lido Pool for the People' (HLPP) acquired the Lido and adjoining Blue Lagoon Building on a 99 year lease from PCC. The rejuvenation of the Lido began!

In 2011 the splash pool was damaged by freezing conditions and PCC replaced the pool with a new design featuring two pools named Hilsea Jubilee Splash Pool.

In 2012 Sport England gave HLPP £50,000 grant towards restoring the pool and the money was used to refurbish the pool's pumps and fit new lockers and showers.

The Lido reopened in July 2015 and in 2015 a new 2 metre diving platform was added to the pool. The Blue Lagoon Tea Room and Venue is open and providing great food and music events every Sunday and some Wednesdays.

This was an extremely interesting visit; we had a very good lunch, an excellent tour and talk. We learnt how the HLPP Trust volunteers have brought life back to the Lido, students from Highbury College have become involved using skills they are studying to help with renovation issues. The pool is open and swimmers come to train there as well as the recreational swimming available. There is obviously a long way to go but the Trust works hard to take steps to secure funding to help reinstate Hilsea Lido as a premier venue at the heart of the community.

Karen Walker


This is an article published in the Spring 2020 edition of the Hayling Island U3A newsletter

Group report

This group has been in existence for only 8 months, we have had some wonderful sessions led by Deanne Cushion who has been instrumental in teaching us the core elements of walking netball. I would like to give Deanne a huge THANK YOU! because although I came up with the idea of starting this group I hadn’t played since my school years and couldn’t remember the rules at all!!

We have increased our knowledge and become a little fitter but most of all we have had great fun and laughed a lot. We meet weekly and currently have 18 lady members but we are an open group and if any lady reading this report would like to find out if walking netball is a game they would like to try then please contact me and I will give you the details.

Anne Hollis

This is an article published in the Spring 2020 edition of the Hayling Island U3A newsletter .

Group report

Cast your mind back to the early seventies, when we left behind the lager & lime and Babycham and ventured into the world of wines with Mateus Rose and Blue Nun Liebfraumilch. Yes it was a modest start but a start never the less.

We spent decades living in Australia where we visited a number of wineries in areas such as the Hunter Valley (NSW), Barossa Valley (SA) and Margaret River (WA) in order to sample the excellent wines that Australia has to offer. We were able to gain a little knowledge about the wine production and the type of wines we preferred.

One of the first things we did upon arriving back in the UK two years ago was to join the U3A. It was one of the best things we did. We quickly joined a number of group activities and made some lovely new friends. Hayling Island made us very welcome and we settled in quite quickly.

It wasn’t long before a couple of friends suggested we start a U3A wine appreciation group. We didn’t need a lot of encouragement to do so, and it wasn’t long before we had a full group of 12 members and then assisted a second group to form.

None of us are experts but we all enjoy researching, tasting and learning about the different wines that the world has to offer. We meet once every 2 months at each other’s homes and the host chooses the theme for the evening – this could be for instance, white wines from different areas of France, red wines from different countries or a certain grape variety from different countries.

We arrange ourselves into pairs – each pair does research on the wine/region they have been given by the host, purchase one bottle of wine between them with a maximum price of £10. The research is then presented at the meeting. This means we have 6 different wines to taste at our gathering, and it is interesting what background facts and stories we can discover during this process.

Just for fun and not to be taken too seriously, we comment on our opinion of the wines and give them a score out of 10.

If anyone is interested in joining a wine appreciation group then we encourage you to contact us. It really is a very enjoyable social evening with good friends, good wine and a few nibbles.

Terry & Norma Downs

This is an article published in the Spring 2020 edition of the Hayling Island U3A newsletter .

Group report

This year we have taken turns to be ‘in charge'.

In January Elissa gave a thorough and entertaining talk after our monthly read of 'A Study in Scarlet' by Sherlock Holmes. She also gave a resume of his life as well. This was an unusual and enjoyable novel, rather dated obviously, unusually constructed, most of the group were pleased to have read it.

In February, Gill reported on Sweet Caress by William Boyd. Again, it was an unusual novel, a kind of autobiographical love story. Enjoyed by all and we hope to find another novel by this prolific Irish author.

In March, we read a book of short stories compiled by Tracy Chevalier. Titled 'Reader I married him', each story had a link with Jane Eyre. What changes a woman's life depends on if or who she marries. Exceptionally interesting and entertaining.

As a group leader I can recommend this to other groups. A wide range of writers contributed and each member of our group spoke about the author as well as the story. Personally I think this would last longer than a single meeting...

Usually at our get togethers we choose a poem to read aloud with a given theme. Such as children, the sea, humour, holidays, travel... most of the group enjoy this but I do have to twist one or two arms!!! I consider myself very lucky to be in charge of such a varied and delightful group of friends where everyone contributes to running it.

Thelma Cook

This is an article published in the Spring 2020 edition of the Hayling Island U3A newsletter .

Group report

Well, the Blues Appreciation Group got off to a good start and I’m fully subscribed for meetings at my house. So far we have looked at Robert Johnson and other artists that died at 27, Willie Dixon and the Chicago Blues, John Lee Hooker and B B King plus we did a Tracks of My Years for the Xmas meet.

This proved very interesting; I was introduced to the music of Elaine Delmar and by coincidence was lucky enough to receive tickets to see her at the Spring Havant. More Jazz than Blues perhaps, her set comprised of a tribute to Ella Fitzgerald, but what a performer at 80+ ….. Wow.

Unfortunately we’ve now got the Corona Blues and meetings would go against good advice, so I’m trying use a bit of tech by sending out a daily blues track and weekly magazine by email. Whilst this isn’t the same as meeting with people it might help a little with isolation and keep the interest going. I would be more than happy to include others on this email list. Any Hayling U3A members who would like to be included can email me.

Stay safe and well and I hope to see everyone in the not too distant future.

Steve Jones

This is an article published in the Spring 2020 edition of the Hayling Island U3A newsletter .

Group report

Social Bridge is a fairly quiet group. Actually it's quieter than that. We don't move around much either, except for a couple of times a year, when we de-camp to the Golf Club to rent the Sinah Room overlooking the lake, play and have lunch. The word "Frenetic" is not a good adjective for us, but we don't mind.


We regularly have enough members to fill 4 or 5 tables, and have space and kit for 6 tables as a maximum. So we have room for a few more members. If you would like to play Bridge, but don't know how, then we can direct you to classes that will get you started or improved (this is how many of us got started) - so don't give up hope!

We still miss Mrs. Vera Smith who led our group for many years, and trust she is enjoying her new home and U3A in Odiham.

Geoff Belding

This is an article published in the Spring 2020 edition of the Hayling Island U3A newsletter .

Group report

It was a year of great sadness for Bell Canto as we lost five of our members who had been with the team almost from its beginnings. The loss of Audrey and Derek Knight, Avril Keyes and Paul Chapman, plus Joan Palmer who went into care, was grievous not only because they were all good musicians who contributed sensitively to the music but also because they contributed significantly to the friendship and concern for each other that has evolved in the group. Happily we have made four new recruits and we look forward to their becoming integrated into the group and its music making.

Our main events were crammed into the latter part of the year. Just before the summer break we shared a concert in the URC Church with the Hampshire Guitar Group, organised by Hannah Hone. After a gap of a year we returned to the URC Church for the Late Night Shopping Concert. We had a goodly crowd in to listen, and appreciated the many kind comments at the end of the concert.

At the end of the year we had two contrasting concerts. We shared an event with the Solent Fellowship Band in a packed St Mary’s Church. We played two sessions, one of light classics and the other Christmas music. This was our best playing ever with the bells resounding through the superb acoustic in the Nave.

Later 15 of us went to play to the severely disabled people who live in the Bryony House Care Home. There are just eight residents. Although individual communication was very difficult, their evident pleasure and enjoyment came across very clearly: and whilst, with one exception, no-one could sing the words of the carols, they all joined in humming and singing as best they could until the whole room filled with music, their sounds blending with the bells.

Big events, broadcasts and CDs over the years have seen the team play to many people. Perhaps our most worthwhile event was playing to those eight people whose lives, to us, seem impossible to bear.

Derek Dunn

This is an article published in the Spring 2020 edition of the Hayling Island U3A newsletter .

Group report

One of the objectives of the U3A is to learn things. In History Group 2 we have found that a sure fire way of ensuring that you learn something is to be told that you are going to have to give a talk about it to your peers on your chosen historic subject. That is what we do.

Over the last year we have had talks on a wide variety of topics which included:

  • The Huguenots and their impact on British society;
  • Constantine the Great from 324 BC;
  • The Neolithic period of Prehistoric Britain;
  • Royal Navy Press Gangs from 1664 onwards;
  • The motion of the Earth round the Sun and its influence on how we measure time;
  • Conflicts between the USA and Mexico, Cuba, Spain and the Philippines;
  • What it means to be 'Celtic' in Britain from 1707 AD onwards;
  • The contrasts between reality and the Hollywood versions of the lives of Wyatt Earp and other western 'gunslingers';
  • Admiral Fieldhouse 1st Sea Lord during the Falklands War; and
  • The connection between the Meteorological Office and Pitcairn Island.

A very original and thought provoking talk was given by Richard North on what we mean by 'History', how it was taught when we were all pupils, and how it is taught now.

At present we are at maximum capacity but if we have any vacancies in the future it will appear on the U3A website.

Ben Lyon.

This is an article published in the Spring 2020 edition of the Hayling Island U3A newsletter .

Group report

All through the year, in the background, was Brexit! We kept stating that it wasn’t philosophy, but somehow it kept intruding itself on our discussions. We talked about the rise of ‘populism’ and what it was, and ‘sovereignty’ and such like.

However the group has evolved over the year. We have lost one or two members. We are all getting older, and ill health has taken its toll on some, the most recent and sadly missed being Paul Chapman, on the upside, we have new members who bring a fresh perspective to our discussions.

We have ventured into more scientific topics, such as ‘consciousness’ and ‘reality’, how far can we trust our senses? We still follow the same format: we agree a topic, somebody agrees to start off the discussion, and then pandemonium ensues! (No, we really are very polite and disciplined!) We always break for coffee and cake and a chat, (which I think is half the reason people come) but that is one of the benefits of belonging to this U3A.

I am often surprised by the interest shown by people in the group. When we started, more than ten years ago, I was sure we wouldn’t get many takers and it wouldn’t last. But here we still are, with people still wanting to join. We are even preparing for the return of Derek Dunn after his stints as past Chairman and past President. The problem always seems to be the timing of the group (Wednesday morning, third in the month) but I’m sure any other time would clash with other groups as well.

If anyone is at a loose end on a Wednesday morning and wants to try us out, do get in touch, there may be a short wait, but we can fit in one or two more.

Mike Silvester

This is an article published in the Spring 2020 edition of the Hayling Island U3A newsletter .

Group report

The Science and Technology group have had a fascinating lecture series over the past year or so. This has been augmented by a number of group discussions.

The programme over the period Jan 2019 to Feb 2020 is listed below

Date Topic Speaker
Jan 2019 The Future of Drones Group discussion
Feb Nanotechnology Group discussion
Mar DNA Group discussion
May Satellite Radar Images - What You See Is NOT What You Get!" Percy Phelps
June Climate Change Group discussion
Sep The Science and Engineering of the Honey Bee. Pt 1 Percy Phelps
Oct  The Science and Engineering of the Honey Bee. Pt 2 Percy Phelps
Nov The Paranormal Joint meeting with Portsdown U3A
Dec "Aerodynamic Characteristics of Reindeers" Merry Xmas
Jan 2020 The Internet Bob Hornby
Feb Boeing 737 Max And The Accident That Was Going To Happen Percy Phelps

Unfortunately the December meeting could not take place !

We have a membership in the region of 40, with an average attendance of 20. We meet on the 4th Wednesday of the month in St. Patrick’s Church hall. This venue has plenty of on-site parking so do come along and join us.

On a sad note, our founder member Paul Chapman passed away in January. He was a fine speaker and will be sadly missed.

Also realistically, it is unlikely that there will be any further meeting until September, as we normally take a break in the summer months.

Mike Lynch and Ann Pearcey

This is an article published in the Spring 2020 edition of the Hayling Island U3A newsletter .

Group report

From the 2nd November until the 17th November our U3A presented three outstanding events.

The first was the opening of the exhibition and book launch by Rear Admiral Colin Cook-Priest at the Royal British Legion on the 2nd November. The Rear Admiral gave a heartfelt appreciation for the effort that had gone into the book and its contribution to the history of the Island. The Mayor of Havant also attended as did Alan Mak, MP for Havant. Over the two weeks the exhibition was very well attended by Hayling Islanders, school children and many visitors from the mainland. Visitors were very complimentary about the exhibition, with comments of 'excellent' and commending its broad coverage of the years, interesting facts, illustrations, artefacts and Timelines. Likewise the book ‘Hayling Island, The Years of Change 1919 - 1946' was praised for the quality and content and many dozens were sold to the visitors.

The second event was a special service at St Mary's Church to unveil an additional memorial plaque to 19 Hayling servicemen who had lost their lives during WW2 whose names had not been recorded on existing plaques. A very moving service, when local schools and the College took part, 19 pupils placed a poppy and lit a candle as each serviceman's name was read out by the Head Boy of the college and the Head Girl read the poem 'Perhaps', by Vera Brittain. The service ended with a Hayling College student singing 'Keep the home fires burning' which brought a tear to many an eye.

The final event was on 13th November when the Mayor of Havant, Cllr Diana Patrick, unveiled a simple wooden plaque to all the civilian Men, Women and Children who lost their lives through enemy action on Hayling Island during WW2. Her speech is shown below

Hayling Island U3A with the help of the whole community presented three memorable events which brought together many organisations, families and individuals. The U3A were honoured to be able to interview men and women who served on Hayling Island during the war years.

Karen Walker

Shown below is the Mayor’s speech at the unveiling of a memorial to the civilian casualties killed by enemy action on Hayling Island during World War 2, on Wednesday 13 November 2019 at Hayling Island Community Centre

“Over the last couple of weeks I have been involved with the Hayling Island U3A commemorations of the period from the end of World War One to the end of the Second World War.

First we had the launch of your superb book “Hayling Island The Years of Change 1919 – 1946” followed by the opening of the Exhibition in the Royal British Legion room, a presentation of top professional quality, and then the Service in St Mary’s Church to unveil a new plaque to commemorate servicemen from the Island killed in battle whose names had not previously been publicly recorded. It was a moving and lovely Service enhanced by the way in which you incorporated schoolchildren and others from the wider Hayling Community: bringing the Lions and The Royal British Legion into the project.

And so we move on to the final event: the unveiling of the Memorial to the Hayling Island civilians who were killed on the Island in consequence of enemy action.

Before I do I must first commend Michael Burnham, most ably supported by his wife Jill, who conceived the project, gathered support around him, and worked towards this wonderful series of events: and to Paul Chapman for leading the Book Launch the other Saturday and Derek Dunn for today’s event.

I have been astonished by the quality of the book, the incredible standard of the Exhibition, and deeply moved by the Memorial Service. And I am most grateful to have been invited. But if I might say so, the whole project has been an unbelievable example of the ability, skills and professional abilities that still reside in older people and which can be utilised to the benefit of all. We are perhaps far too ready as a society to write older people off and to disregard the manifest abilities and skills that they can offer for the benefit of our community.

And so we move on to the final ceremony of your commemorations. I know from my conversation with Derek that you were unable to be absolutely satisfied that you had garnered all the names of the Islanders killed by enemy action: and that you have worded a general and respectful inscription. I also gathered that this is the first memorial on the Island to the civilian war dead.

It is hard to realise, at this distance in time, the horrors wrought by War, even on this peaceful and gentle Island. In unveiling this plaque I do so with the greatest regard for the people who died, in gratitude for their contribution to the War effort that was ultimately successful, and with a deep desire that such sacrifice will never be required again.”

Cllr Diana Patrick, Mayor of Havant

Plaque unveiled by the Mayor of Havant, Cllr Diana Patrick placed at the Community Centre on 13th November 2019
Primary school pupil lighting candles for each serviceman named
Timeline display
Hayling College singers who sang ”Poppies” composed and conducted by Neil Ogley Head of Music
Head boy Ethan Lewis and Head girl Lucy Walker of The Hayling College unveil the memorial plaque at St Mary’s Church 7th November





Group report

We have had another good year in terms of fun playing together but have all been saddened and shocked by the unexpected death of our leader Avril Keyes in September. Avril was a brilliant and versatile musician who brought a breadth of knowledge and range of skills to our group and in wider groups across Hampshire. She leaves a big gap behind her.

Our group are meeting in late November to decide on a way forward and how to cope with the loss of our lead player. We will report on developments and decisions through the website.

Alan Bartlett

This is an article published in the Winter 2019 edition of the Hayling Island U3A newsletter