Sandbach U3A Diary Update December 2017



This post contains the first of the brief monthly updates to let members of Sandbach U3A know about new opportunities. If the website contains more detailed information, clicking the highlighted links below will show the detail.

• Walking Netball – people interested in joining this new group should contact Anita on 07850987898
• Cheshire East Council supplies a discount code to allow residents to buy a Senior Railcard at £24 instead of £30
4 Dec 2017 Members’ Morning – Band concert. In addition a U3A member will be selling handmade Christmas cards and gifts for charity – do bring some pennies along!
14 Mar 2018 Settle to Carlisle rail trip
15 May 2018 Day trip to York
30 May 2018 Kite Runner theatre trip
21 Jun 2018 Black & White Trail
14 Oct 2018 – 19 Oct 2018 Gems of Southern Ireland

We shall issue a more detailed newsletter in January 2018. To share information about something that has happened or is going to happen, please send details to


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Sandbach U3A Newsletter – November 2017

The publication of the newsletter has been announced to members by email but you can also download it by clicking on the link below.
November 2017 Newsletter

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Walking Holiday in Austria 22 – 29 September 2018

The Intermediate walking group has arranged, through Regent Travel, a walking holiday in Austria next September. If you fancy a walking holiday and are not a member of the Intermediate walking group, you can join this holiday which starts on Saturday 22 September 2018 and ends on the 29th. Click here to see the full description.

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Sandbach Partnership: Make Sandbach a Dementia Friendly Town


Sandbach Partnership working with others wish to make Sandbach a Dementia-Friendly Town. Many towns across the country are now exploring what they need to do to make their towns dementia-friendly.

A dementia-friendly town can be described as: a town or village where people with dementia are understood, respected and supported, and confident they can contribute to community life. In a dementia-friendly community people will be aware of and understand dementia, and people with dementia will feel included and involved, and have choice and control over their day to day lives.

We are inviting you and members of your organisation to an inaugural meeting where the Partnership wish to launch the process to make Sandbach dementia-friendly.

                                                    Sandbach Masonic Lodge 6.30pm

                                                          Monday 13th November 2017

                                                                     All are welcome

For further information, contact Sandbach Partnership on 01270 752124 or email to

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U3A Pétanque Weekend – Sep 2017

As last year, the pétanque group was again invited to join in a weekend in Hayling Island involving U3A pétanque groups nationwide. This year the fame of the competition had spread and there were even more teams involved – 52 in all. Eight people went from Sandbach comprising two teams of four  – Sandbach Saxons and Sandbach Crosses. Each game was played by three members of the team.

The weather dawned bright and sunny on the Saturday morning, and we all assembled for the league games at 09:00. Each team was to play 5 games in Saturday’s league.

Sandbach Saxons played their first game against Bills Wanderers from Guernsey who won 13 – 8. Bill reckoned that they won due to him drinking milk from a carton after each lost point. The carton had been left in the chalet by previous occupant!

The next game gave them their first win, playing Droitwich 4 and winning 13 – 6. Jenny ‘the boss’ had trouble getting the men to obey her instructions. The men were not very experienced players.

The Players, one of the many teams from Stanford -le -hope, won the next match 13 – 9. Perhaps Sandbach Saxons were just too helpful when they reorganised their boules so that they could loan a set to an opposing player who had lost his boules!

Their next opponents were Malmesbury Aldhelm whose leader was very efficient at instructing where to place the boules, but unfortunately for Malmesbury the boules weren’t listening! Sandbach Saxons won 13 – 7. Three cheers for Sandbach Saxons laid back approach.

Sandbach Saxons final match on Saturday was against a team of 3 ladies , Richmond Ravers, who insisted on measuring even when it was obvious which was the winning boule. Sandbach Saxons lost 13 – 9.


Meanwhile, Sandbach Crosses were having mixed fortunes in their Saturday games.

Their first game was against one of the Stanford-le-Hope teams (they had entered 11 teams in total!) The Jacks had a very professional approach but it was quite a close game until at one end they scored 5, and Sandbach Crosses could not recover from that, losing 13-7.

Their next opponents were Richmond Rat Pack, a very pleasant team who won 13-8.

Torridge 1 then wiped the floor with Sandbach Crosses, winning 13-1, but in the nicest possible way – saying that Sandbach were the pleasantest team they had played!

The next game was against Phil’s Shooters from Guernsey, on their first trip to Hayling Island. At last Sandbach Crosses got a break and won this game 13-9.

Saturday’s final game was against Islington 3. This was a very very close game right through, and it was level pegging at 12-12, with Sandbach Crosses having two boules in a winning position, and Islington with only one boule left in the hands of a very nervous player. She dithered for a while, being cheered on by several supporters from the wider Islington party, before landing the boule just where it could scatter Sandbach’s two winning boules and land right next to the jack. I think she did it with her eyes tightly shut!! Brilliant shot!


At the end of Saturdays play, Sandbach Saxons were very pleased and surprised to find that they were placed 29th out of 52 and were to play in the Silver consolage section of the competition.  Meanwhile Sandbach Crosses were at 41st place, destined to play in the Bronze consolage section.


Sunday morning took the format of 3 games in a league.

Sandbach Saxons first game was against Kings Hill, which they lost 13 – 9.

The next game against the Smiths from Stanford-le-Hope provided Sandbach Saxon’s lowest score of the competition  2 – 13.

The next opponents, B J Poplars, had very colourful logos on their t-shirts but it didn’t stop Sandbach winning13 – 11 in a close match. 

Sandbach Crosses meanwhile started well on Sunday. Their first opponents were the Nottingham Outlaws, who were painfully slow, measuring, discussing tactics, etc, but Sandbach kept going and won 13-7.

Next up were the Richmond Rowdies, who insisted on their own rules! They won 13-3.

And lastly yet another Stanford-le-Hope team (9), who were a really lovely team. It was a very close game which they won 13-11.

Sunday afternoon was the final knockout competition.

Sandbach Saxons started with a game against Kemarjo, which they won 13-3. Kemarjo praised Sandbach’s play but were unhappy with their result.

Their last match, the semi finals, was against the local team from Hayling Island, unfortunately losing 3 – 13. Sandbach were very impressed with the accuracy  of one of the lady players in this team who went on to became runners up in the silver section.

Sandbach Crosses started the afternoon with a game against Richmond Razors. This proved to be Sandbach Crosses’ best game, winning 13-0!

Their next game was against Southampton Slingers, which they lost 13-6 on a technicality when the jack bounced out of the playing area by one inch, allowing the other team to claim a point for each boule they had not yet played (3) and taking the game!

In all we’re very pleased to report that Sandbach Saxons were either 3rd or 4th in the Silver section, and Sandbach Crosses 3rd or 4th in the Bronze.






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North West Region News September 2017

To read the September 2017 Newsletter from the North West Region of U3As, please click here

The North West Region committee have also send us news of events and workshops coming up in our region:

Inclusiveness Awareness   7th November 2017, Warrington    10.30am – 3.45pm

        Please download details and registration form  (pdf)

Music Makers                             11th December 2017, Liverpool     10.30am – 4.00pm

        Please download details and registration form (pdf)

Language Groups Workshop  30th October 2017,  Lancaster    10.00am – 3.30pm

        Please download  details  (pdf)

From the Liverpool Mathematical Society:

LivMS Membership

To encourage an ‘across the generations’ appreciation of the role of mathematics-in-life, we now offer LivMS membership to U3A members at a Reduced Annual Subscription rate. Benefits include entry to all Public Events, including those in our Popular Lectures series.

The subscription year starts on 1st August and runs through to 1st October in the following year. For details, please see the Membership Section of the LivMS website:

 For details of LivMS Upcoming Public Events (Autumn Term), please click here      


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Sandbach U3A Newsletter – October 2017

The publication of the newsletter has been announced to members by email but you can also download it by clicking on the link below.
October 2017 Newsletter

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Sandbach U3A Newsletter – September 2017

The publication of the newsletter has been announced to members by email but you can also download it by clicking on the link below.
September2017 Newsletter

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Birdwatchers: Sandwell Valley 24th May 2017

This was the first time that Sandwell had appeared on our programme, but it was a struggle to turn that occurrence into reality. A motorway closure on the M6 halved the number of cars attending as two were forced to turn back by traffic density. The two cars that did make it were compelled to undertake a two-and-a-half hour trip that took in a good part of Shropshire. Sandwell’s position next to the M5 in Birmingham does little to inspire confidence, and some among us, rightly, were wondering whether the effort had been worth it.

The Visitor Centre was the first stop for our much-attenuated group of eight, and almost the first sighting was the bird of the day – a Rose-ringed Parakeet (or Ring-necked Parakeet) suspended from the feeders. This bright green addition to our avifauna established itself around London in the 70s, and has spread north in time. The RSPB’s estimate now puts its population at 8,600 pairs. Colour seemed to be the order of the day, as at least 3 pairs of Bullfinches adorned the feeders with up to 4 Greenfinches. Green Woodpecker and Jay flew across the glade in front of the Visitor Centre’s deck, while on the scrub edges Whitethroat and Great Spotted woodpecker attracted attention.

The piping and the sight of Oystercatchers finally urged us to leave the Visitor Centre and head through the woodland to the Lakeside Hide, serenaded by the song of several Blackcaps. The hide gave great views of an Oystercatcher pair, with two fluffy youngsters playing hide-and-seek amongst the undergrowth on one of the islands. Pairs of Black-headed Gulls were on the islands, while Lesser Black-backed Gulls and up to a dozen Herons watched the beach-side nest of a pair of Little Ringed Plover. We were lucky enough to watch their nest changeover while we were there, but the threat to their as yet unborn chicks was evident. Stock Doves were on the ground nearby, and Gadwall floated among the islands. Further out on the lake were several Mute Swans, a number of perched  Lesser Black-backed Gulls along a mooring rail, and two or three Great Crested Grebes.

We returned to the Visitor Centre for lunch overlooking the feeders, but of new list additions there were none. We set out for the east side in the afternoon, and the sound of Song Thrush and Willow Warbler set the list going again. We stopped at the Marsh Screen, where the local knowledge had directed us to listen for Reed Warbler, and sure enough they obliged. George, looking out of the side of the screen into the reeds, found a preening Water Rail, and all of us had prolonged views of this normally secretive reed denizen. A Sedge Warbler vaulted to the top of a small willow close to the screen, and began his song, an opportunity to separate it from the more distant Reed Warbler’s notes. We walked round on to the South Bank, alongside the River Tame and opposite the hide, and here, as promised by the locals, came the vocalisation of the Garden Warbler, another opportunity to compare the song with that of its cousin the Blackcap. Chiffchaff also rang out from across the river, and we turned back to the car park for an early departure, aware that traffic could still be dense on the motorways.

We need not have worried, we had a very quick transit back to Sandbach, and in the opinion of all, an excellent day, well worth the long outbound journey. Thanks must go to the drivers, George and Derrick, for their perseverance. We saw 52 species for the day, and took the group’s tally to 120 for 2017, and 126 for the season 2016/17. Additions to those totals at Sandwell were Whitethroat, Reed Warbler, Parakeet, Little Ringed Plover and Swift, proving the variety available here.

Sandwell Valley Bird List  24th May 2017                                                                          

Mute Swan Several on lake.
Greater Canada Goose      Several on and around lake.
Shelduck                  One on lake below VC.
Gadwall                   Pair in front of Lakeside hide.
Mallard                   Several
Great Crested Grebe       3-4 on lake.
Grey Heron                10-12 on lake/lakeshore E. of Lakeside hide.
Buzzard                   Seen soaring.
Kestrel                   One hovering to south of lake.
Water Rail                One seen inside reed bed from Marsh Screen.
Moorhen                   Seen from VC.
Common Coot               Seen from Lakeside Hide.
Oystercatcher             1-2 pairs seen flying, calling, on shore.
Little Ringed Plover      Pair on nest to east of Lakeside hide.
Lapwing                   4-5 on lakeshore.
Black-headed Gull         Small numbers on islands.
Lesser Black-backed Gull  Good numbers on rails on lake.
Herring Gull              One high overhead.
Common Tern               Pair on islands.
Rock Pigeon               Overhead.
Stock-Dove                Overhead.
Wood-Pigeon               Several.
Rose-ringed Parakeet      One on feeders in front of VC.
Common Swift              High overhead.
Green Woodpecker          One flew across in front of VC.
Great Spotted Woodpecker  Heard and seen several times.
Wren                      Heard in car park and several times thereafter.
Dunnock                   Seen near Marsh Screen.
Robin                     Seen near Marsh Screen.
Blackbird                 Seen near Marsh Screen.
Song Thrush               Near R. Tame.
Sedge Warbler             Seen from Marsh Screen.
Eurasian Reed Warbler     Heard & seen from Marsh Screen.
Blackcap                  Heard a number of times.
Garden Warbler            One heard on South Bank.
Whitethroat               One seen in front of VC.
Chiffchaff                One heard very clearly on South Bank from across river.
Willow Warbler            Many heard & seen.
Long-tailed-Tit           On seen from VC.
Blue Tit                  On VC feeders.
Great Tit                 On VC feeders.
Jay                       One flew across in front of VC.
Black-billed Magpie       Seen from car park on arrival.
Jackdaw                   Seen from Lakeside hide.
Carrion Crow              Several seen.
Chaffinch                 On feeders in front of VC.
Greenfinch                On feeders in front of VC.
Goldfinch                  Near Marsh Screen.
Bullfinch                 On feeders in front of VC.
Reed Bunting In reed bed


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Birdwatchers: Carsington Water 22nd February 2017

The fourth Wednesday of February proved to be a blustery day with showers on and off, but that did not deter 15 members gathering at Carsington Water for this month’s field trip. While preparing to set off in the car park, we saw Lapwing and Canada Geese, and Tufted Duck were glimpsed on the reservoir. We walked to the Wildlife Centre, where a grandstand-like effect allowed all of us good views.

A single pale Ruff was quickly spotted on the waterline, two pairs of Oystercatchers were on the shore on the inlet in front of the hide and 3 Pochard and 5 Little Grebe were fishing. The large flock of Lapwing present kept flushing for no apparent reason, and with them went at least two small waders, later identified as Dunlin. A total of 5 Snipe were seen huddled into mud mini-cliffs at the waters’ edge, and a Pied Wagtail hunted food. Among the feeders to the left of the hide, Tree Sparrows cavorted, a male Reed Bunting flew in, and  a Willow Tit came briefly to the feeder. Back across the water, among Teal resting at the base of some shrubby willows, Long-tailed Tits and Chaffinches dropped onto the “beach” to feed. And a small flock of Barnacle (of unknown but suspicious origin) grazed among more Canada.

We moved on to the Sheepwash Car Park, where feeders were attracting Bullfinches and Collared Doves, while Stock Doves were seen in flight. At the Sheepwash hide Common Gull was picked out among the resting gulls along with a number of Lesser Black-backs. Several Goldeneye were diving among displaying Great Crested Grebe and a single Goosander was spotted. A Grey Wagtail paddled in front of us and 6 Curlew flew along the waters’ edge.

The Paul Stanley hide produced little in the way of novelty, although we did nail down Herring Gull among better views of the resting Larids. We made the decision to head for the Millfield car park, as the wintering Great Northern Diver had been reported near the dam, and enroute picked up the only raptor of the trip, a Buzzard. The advance party were unable to pick up our target bird, as were the main party when they arrived, despite a half mile muddy trudge to a better viewing point. The only addition to the daylist was a single Pinkfooted Goose keeping company with a couple of Canada. This brought our day total to 49, and the U3A group annual total for 2017 to 63.

Richard Howells

Carsington Water Trip List 22nd February 2017

Pink-footed Goose Single off Millfields Island with 2 Canada
Barnacle Goose Small flock near Wildlife Centre.
Canada Goose Several small flocks and groups around.
Mallard Ubiquitous.
Teal Large numbers around the margins.
Pochard 3 in Wildlife Centre inlet.
Tufted Duck Small numbers in several places.
Goldeneye Diving off Sheepwash, Paul Stanley, etc
Goosander Single off Sheepwash.
Pheasant Male near Sheepwash.
Little Grebe Several on water, in groups up to 5
Great Crested Grebe Several spread across water
Cormorant Small group on Stones’ Island.
Heron Single from Sheepwash hide.
Buzzard Over Hognaston.
Moorhen Sheepwash hide.
Coot Ubiquitous.
Lapwing Large flock at Wildlife centre.
Oystercatcher 2 pairs from Wildlife centre.
Curlew 6 in flight from Sheepwash hide.
Dunlin Up to 4, Wildlife centre, Sheepwash
Ruff Single Wildlife centre.
Snipe 5 Wildlife centre.
Black-headed Gull Good numbers Wildlife centre, Sheepwash
Common Gull Several from Sheepwash hide.
Herring Gull Single Paul Stanley hide.
Lesser Black-backed Gull Several Sheepwash & Paul Stanley hides.
Stock Dove Sheepwash area.
Wood-Pigeon Seen from car park, Sheepwash.
Collared-Dove Sheepwash car park.
Magpie Seen from main car park.
Jackdaw Wildlife centre.
Carrion Crow Sheepwash car park.
Willow Tit Wildlife centre feeders.
Great Tit Wildlife centre feeders.
Blue Tit Wildlife centre feeders.
Long-tailed Tit Willows across inlet Wildlife centre
Robin Ubiquitous.
Blackbird Ubiquitous.
Starling Over Sheepwash car park.
Dunnock Sheepwash car park and other places.
Grey Wagtail In front of Sheepwash hide.
Pied Wagtail Wildlife centre, Sheepwash hide.
Reed Bunting Wildlife centre.
Chaffinch Willows across inlet Wildlife centre
Goldfinch Main car park.
Bullfinch Pair at Sheepwash car park feeders.
House Sparrow Main car park.
Tree Sparrow Wildlife centre feeders.
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