Dear Members,

At last, we are enjoying glorious sunshine and the summer has definitely arrived. Looking at photographs from May last year, we were in summer clothes and sunglasses, and, I'm ashamed to say, I complained about the heat. Never again. I shall be grateful for every day that comes, be it rain, frost, or sun because we are surely on our way out of 16 months of restrictions and shutdowns.

Many thanks to members who attended the AGM last month, ensuring that we had a solid quorum so that matters could be completed quickly and the new committee installed. I have taken over from Tony Natt as chair, and am very grateful to him for his support during this handover. Thank you, Tony. You have very, very large shoes. Mine are rather small, but with an excellent committee, we are moving towards opening up our groups and activities with optimism.

This has been a difficult time and now it seems that we face another difficulty. Well, quite a few of us do - we have to step out of our comfort zones and face the world beyond our front doors, our gardens, or places where we have felt safe. Who would have thought that normality could feel so daunting? Some members have decided that they will wait until October or next year before joining groups, others want to join everything as soon as possible.

Whatever you feel about your groups starting again, the decisions we make are personal and there is no pressure on any member to feel that they have to rejoin their groups. One thing we surely can feel though, is that coming through this extraordinary time in our lives is a huge achievement. A quote from the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius: "How unlucky am I that this has happened to me - No, how lucky am I that I have not been broken by what has happened to me."

Cirencester u3a was certainly not broken, but kept more groups and meetings going than many other u3as, thanks to our Group Leaders and members. Many of us initially felt overwhelmed by Zoom. I certainly did. Not quite the same as a hug or handshake, but now we take it in our stride and perhaps even see more of friends and family than ever before.

The first big event as we begin to open up, is the 'Flash mob Walk' on Friday morning July 9th, being organised by Ruth Kelly. This is to celebrate our u3a and events are being held across the country during the summer to raise awareness of what the u3a has to offer. Many of you have signed up for this through your group leaders. If not, there is still time to write to Ruth to take part.

We are following the guidelines from u3a National Office and you will be notified by your group leaders about future meetings.

Whatever you decide to do, I wish you joy in it.

Anne Vadey – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.