Chairman's Report 2018

University of the 3rd Age, Helderberg

Chairman’s Report for the Year ended October 2018.


In 2018 the Committee experienced a year of consolidation. I say this because the changes made in 2017, to the Membership practices, were tested and further refined. The new streamlining processes, that were initiated last year, have exceeded our expectations. This year was also special, in that we celebrated our 15th anniversary. 

     The Committee continued to stay in touch with the Group Leaders, Facilitators and Course Presenters, because our Courses and Group activities are our “Core                 Business”.

It is the Group Leaders, Facilitators and Course Presenters who stimulate the imaginations of our members and who, together, create that vibrant atmosphere, that U3A Helderberg is known for.

I am proud to be part of this organisation.


     At the AGM on Wednesday 01 November 2017, the following people were elected to the Committee:

     (At the first meeting of the Committee, they were elected to the serve in the following capacities)

            Chairperson                             Tony Searle

           Vice Chairperson                     Ken Lightfoot

Treasurer                                 Richard Tompkins

Secretary                                  Muriel Rowcroft

Newsletter Editor                     Ewald Swart

Publicity Coordinator               Brodwyn Wilson

Speakers Coordinator              Lyn Robinson

Webmaster                               Judy Henry

Membership Coordinators       Richard Tompkins

Database Manager                   Les Wilson

Education Coordinators            Robin Searle and Ken Lightfoot

Audio Visual Coordinator        Mike Reynolds assisted by Ken Lightfoot

Venue Coordinator                  Theo Mastenbroek assisted by Mike Reynolds

Catering Coordinator               Lee Randall

Visitors                                    Gay Lightfoot

Front of House                         Theo Mastenbroek assisted by Ewald Swart


 As a result of my appeal to all U3A Members, for volunteers to serve on the main U3A Committee, 15people responded. I am very grateful to those who stepped up to the plate. After a diligent “recruitment process”, the following Members were coopted onto the Committee: Angela Morton, Roger Pitot, Penny Louw, Peter Moore and Jackie Blundell. All these Members are available for election at the 2018 AGM.

     All existing Committee Members are available for re-election in 2019, except: Lee Randall, Robin Searle and myself, Tony Searle.

The Committee Members have been very supportive and have readily volunteered for additional tasks, such as: The Membership Subcommittee and the Recruitment Subcommittee.

On behalf of all the Members, I thank my Vice Chairman, Ken Lightfoot, our Treasurer, Richard Tompkins, our Secretary, Muriel Rowcroft and each one of the Committee members for their unselfish service to U3A Helderberg. Special thanks must go to Richard, who ran the Membership portfolio, as well as being Treasurer, for the past year.

It has been a pleasure and an honour to serve with these good people.


Our membership at the end of August this year was 1971, whilst last year in August, it was 1888. This is a growth of 4% for the corresponding 12 months. 1858 of our members, receive U3A correspondence by email, which is 94% of the membership.

We have managed to keep the membership fee R60 per member for 2019.

     The Membership Subcommittee met 3 times and the following emanated from those meetings:

(1)   In general, the new Membership Renewal System was working well.

(2)   It is crucial for members, when making payment, to add their membership number and surname in the reference section.

(3)   Cheques and cash cannot be accepted, as bank fees are exorbitant (a single cheque deposited at a teller costs R57.50 in bank costs)

(4)   Only EFT payments will be accepted i.e. Electronic Fund Transfers (Internet Banking)

(5)   Members who do not have Internet Banking facilities can approach their banks with their credit/debit cards. The bank will then do the transfer on their behalf (all the major banks have confirmed this).

(6)   It is very important for members to inform the Membership Coordinator of changes to their physical addresses, and also if their email addresses have changed.

(7)   Membership Name Tags will continue to be posted, although the postal services are still fairly erratic.

(8)   All members must renew their membership between: 01 October and 31 December 2018.

(9)   The Application Form for new members has been revised and they should use the 2019 form.

(10)  Our membership contact details are, email:    OR   tell: 060 490 7308  OR  PO Box 403 Somerset West, 7129

Thanks to the other members of Membership Sub-committee: Les Wilson, Richard Tompkins, Ken Lightfoot, Muriel Rowcroft, Ewald Swart and Mike Reynolds. Special thanks to Les for work on formats.


The Courses and Activity Groups have again excelled during 2018.

The Course Leaders have been innovative and enthusiastic and are fortunate to also have Members, who are willing to participate and give them support.

At present we have 34 Groups, providing a wide variety of Courses and Activities.

Listed here are a few of our very popular Groups:

Ø  Exploring the Countryside – the Group planned 36 outing for the year and collectively accommodated over 500 members, who enjoyed the interesting and fun trips.

Ø  Current Affairs & Media  approximately 24000 members attended 26 meetings in 10 months with speakers such as: Dawie Roodt, Mosiuoa Lekota, Jan Jan Joubert, Jeremy Cronin, Dave Steward, Glynis Breytenbach. Bantu Holomisa and Chris Steyn will speak later this year.

Ø  Theatre Group – this Group was divided into local theatres and theatres in Cape Town. Tickets, buses and parking for members were organised for the shows.

Ø  Hiking – many hikes were arranged. Hikers are divided into 3 levels according to their abilities.

Ø  Wine and Dine – wine tasting on many wine estates was arranged, usually followed by a meal

Ø  Lunch Club – different volunteers arranged lunches at various restaurants once a month.

Ø  Technical Support – members were invited to meet at a restaurant and bring their devices, such as tablets and smart phones. They were offered advice, over a cup of tea or coffee.

Ø  On-line Courses – although these courses started off slowly, they have recently gained popularity, with titles such as: Introduction to Ecosystems, Continents on the Move, The History of Mystery

On the Monthly Course Lists you will find a variety of courses available, for example: Splash Out with Colour; The Armchair Travel Groups; The Film Club; Makers of History; Paleontology; Poetry for Pleasure; Afrikaanse Leeskring; Canasta; Chess; Bridge; Tai Chi; Creative Movement and of course, all the Language Courses and Book Clubs

Certainly, some groups are very popular, whereas others will have a more distinctive following but it is important that we offer a variety of subjects to the Members.

Robin Searle and Ken Lightfoot, our Education Coordinators, have arranged a meeting for Course Leaders on 09 October 2018. The meeting will be followed by a lunch. The U3A Committee will also attend. The purpose is to: (a) promote communication (b) share ideas and (c) to thank Group Leaders and their helpers.

The last Open Day, for our members (and the public), was held on 06 December 2017. A number of Groups participated in the event, showcasing our activities and courses. It was a great success.

I thank Robin and Ken who have worked tirelessly to coordinate the Education Function - well done!

On behalf of the Committee and all the Members of U3A, Helderberg, I thank all the Course Leaders, Facilitators and Helpers for a great effort during 2018.



For many Members, the U3A General Meetings are a highlight each month. Members arrive early to read the notice boards, to note the latest Group activities and to keep up acquaintances with other members.

335 visitors (non-members) attended the General Meeting during the year (many applied for membership)

Grateful thanks to Lee Randall and her helpers at the Tea Table.

The stunning posters advertising the speakers were designed by Brodwyn, our Publicity Coordinator. They were emailed to members and also displayed at libraries. The speaker presentations were of a high standard, with varied subjects. Listed below, are the titles of presentations, during the year:

·         Nov 2017 – Tackling the challenge of Cape Town's water crisis   [Dr Kevin Winter]

·         Feb  2018 –  The Pressure to Obey and when it is okay to say No!   [Dr Timothy Visser]

·         Mar 2018 – The Octopus Teacher [Craig Foster] Special production to celebrate our 15th anniversary

·         Apr  2018 – Sea Scurvy   [Roger Stewart]

·         May 2018 – How to improve your Eyesight, Naturally   [Lawrence Batchelor]

·         Jun  2018 – The Channel Tunnel   [Alan Cully]

·         Jul   2018 – A Life Less Ordinary   [Matthew Willman] (Photographer to Nelson Mandela)

·         Aug 2018 – My Life of Fifty Years at Sea   [Louis Crole]

·         Sep  2018 – The Aliens are Coming   [Phil McLean]

·         Oct  2018 – The SA Navy   [Admiral Anthony Howel]

Lyn Robinson, our “Speaker Seeker” identifies the speakers, negotiates dates and manages all the details. This is a very stressful job. We are very grateful to Lyn for her dedication and huge effort.



The Newsletter: Ewald Swart our Editor suggested that we change the quarterly newsletter to 6 per year. The articles, sourced from Group Leaders, individual Members, the Committee (and also written by Ewald) feature interesting articles about U3A Helderberg and surrounds. News letters are emailed to Members but those without email facilities, may collect free paper copies, at the General Meetings.

Thank you Ewald for the all the work you do to present such a high-quality magazine.

The Website: Judy Henry, our Webmaster, has been doing much work to keep our website attractive and relevant. The site displays course lists, newsletters, brochures and information on forth-coming events and speakers. Groups that constantly use the website are: The Explore Group, Theatre, Hiking, Splash out with Colour, Wine and Dine, and the Lunch Club. Excellent work Judy; grateful thanks !

The web address is:



Ø  Our Vice Chairperson, Ken Lightfoot and I attended the annual meeting of the Western Cape U3A Forum. The Forum is a platform for various U3A branches to meet and share ideas.

Ø  U3A Helderberg is represented in the municipal Wards by the following members: John Havinga for Somerset West, Ken Lightfoot for Strand and Tony Searle for Gordon’s Bay.



Our Financial Report will be presented by Richard Tompkins, our treasurer, at the AGM.

Thank you Richard, for managing the finances superbly.



Sincere thanks to all those who helped to make U3A such a friendly, vibrant and exciting organisation. My wife Robin and I have served on the U3A Helderberg Committee for 12 years. For the last 8 years, Robin was the Education Coordinator and I the Chairman. It is now time for us to hand over to others, who will surely come up with new ideas and initiatives. We will certainly remain loyal members of U3A Helderberg.  I thank all those who helped and supported us during that time.

God bless you all !

I wish you and your families a Blessed Christmas and a happy and exciting 2019.

If you are traveling during the holiday season, please take care on the roads and come back safely.


Tony Searle

Chairperson, U3A Helderberg.

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