Thursday, 29 May 2014

May Monthly Meeting Afghanistan

May Monthly Meeting Report

27th May 2014
Richard Streatfeild on Afghanistan
Following on from  the theme last month about World War One, we were pleased to welcome Richard Streatfeild to our May Monthly Meeting who talked about the more recent and ongoing conflict in Afghanistan. Richard is a local resident from Chiddingstone which made the talk even more relevant.

In 2009 Major Richard Streatfeild and his men fought for six months against the Taliban in Sangin, northern Helmand. They were engaged in over 800 fire-fights. They were the target of more than 200 improvised explosive devices. Ten men in his company were killed, 50 were wounded. This was their story – and it is the story, from the front line, of Western intervention in Afghanistan. 

He led up to his time in Afghanistan by giving us a brief history of his service in Bosnia and Northern Ireland and, in graphic detail, he outlined what it had been like for himself and the men in his command. It was a captivating talk and many questions were asked and answered ably by Richard at the end.

We thank, Richard, on behalf of us all, for such an informative and honest talk about a very difficult subject.

Captivating Talk
Photographic Presentation

Richard has written a book "Honourable Warriors" which was available for members to buy at a reduced cost with all the proceeds going to charity.

Honourable Warriors
There were a considerable number of visitors at this meeting and many of them joined. Membership renewal for existing members was also taking place. New membership will be until the end of June 2015.
Membership Renewal
Finally, we expressed our thanks to Sue Bell, our first and outgoing Chairman. Sue is moving out of the area and we are all agreed that the success of our U3A today lies largely with her dedication, hard work and leadership which she has shown since the launch about a year ago.

We wish you well, Sue in all that you do!

Molly Presents Sue with flowers as a token of our thanks
Thank You Sue!

London Studies Inns of Court

London Studies
Inns of Court
16th May 2014

We had excellent weather yet again for the latest visit of the London Studies group, organised this time by Jan. We started off with a visit to the Silver Vaults and saw a wealth of high quality (and suitably priced!) items. Our bags were inspected on the way in but not on the way out. Tempting but I am proud to say that honesty prevailed! 

Then after an enjoyable lunch we met our guide Shaughan for a tour of the Inns of Court and the warren of buildings associated with the legal profession. Shaughan proved to be a highly informative and amusing guide as he showed us around the myriad of private courtyards, buildings and gardens  - a world away from the hustle and bustle of 21st Century London. Shaughan's wealth of factual knowledge was interspersed with numerous tales (with suitable impressions!) of those who had worked and lived in this area from Elizabethan times up to the present. At the end of the tour some of the party went into the High Court - but not, I hasten to add , as defendants! 

We then went our separate ways but not before thanking Jan for organising such a highly successful day.