THE University of the Third Age (u3a) in Ledbury has very much moved into the modern age, by embracing Zoom for online lectures.

The COVID 19 pandemic has seen a curtailment of many activities, including the u3aA monthly meetings which were a regular feature of the local calendar, engaging interesting speakers, locally and from far and wide".

Jayne McGlone, publicity officer for Ledbury u3a, which encourages members to develop new skills and interests in later life, said: "As the pandemic has progressed and such meetings have continued to be precluded, the u3a has finally bitten the bullet and bought a Zoom licence. This has seen the burgeoning of virtual group meetings as well as the re-commencement of the long-awaited monthly meetings.

"The first monthly meeting was held on January 21, featuring Brad Ashton, journalist and comedian with his talk entitled, 'Fun of a Laughtertime'. An exceedingly spritely 88 year old, he regaled us with tales of the people he has written comedy sketches for over the course of his long career. Ranging from Tommy Cooper, Dick Emery, the Two Ronnies, Tony Hancock and David Frost. He also touched on many anecdotes involving his clients, especially the parsimony of both Dick Emery and Tommy Cooper. The latter once tipped a taxi driver, saying have a drink on me – putting a tea bag in the taxi driver’s top pocket!"

She added: "The meeting was attended by 40 plus people via their online devices, and for those who are not internet connected, they telephoned into Zoom. All commented that the technology worked well, and that the speaker was very entertaining."

The online meetings will now be a regular feature on the third Thursday of every month, with the next meeting scheduled for February 18, when Francesca Riccomini, an experienced veterinary practitioner and animal behaviourist, will present her talk entitled 'Walking in the Steps of James Herriot'.

The future schedule of talks can be found on the u3a website. Zoom training is available and log-in details, including telephone numbers, for the next meeting, will be sent out to members via the monthly bulletin.

For non u3a members keen to attend the monthly meetings, and engage in the wider group activities, details are available on the group's website.