Committee, 2017/2018  (as at 05/11/2017)

Name Appointment Contact
Sue Tovey Chairman
Martin Houghton Vice Chairman
John Weller Data Manager
Catharine Sharples Hon. Secretary 
Francis Wright Hon. Treasurer
Diana Tighe Assistant Treasurer  
Derek Henry Webmaster
James Underwood Speaker's Secretary
Phil Sharman Newsletter Editor 
Jane Bull Group Leaders Co-ordinator
Jeanette Smith  Membership  Secretary
Peter Franks  Archivist 
Lena Mullins First Aid Rep. and Publicity
Ken Ross Equipment Officer
Jan Campbell Committee Member
Felicity Cole Refreshments  

The above list identifies the committee as appointed at the 2017 AGM.  A full report of the AGM will be provided after the new committee have their first meeting. The membership Secretary can be contacted on 07593 539813  or via the e-mail web address

The Committee meets 4 times a year.  Click HERE for the minutes of the meeting held on Thursday 8th February 2018

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Report of the Trustees of Devizes & District U3A

for the year ending 31st March 2018


At the 28th Mar 2018 membership stood at 687, 15 up on this time last year, which coincidentally was 15 up on the year before. Whether we receive a significant increase in the next year seems doubtful as the annual increase has been slight over the last few years. We usually lose about 10% at the end of May as the 2 month period of grace for renewing comes to an end.


Group activities continue to thrive.  We now have 51 groups and, as ever, as some close new ones open or others are revived.

During the last year there has been 1 meeting of the group leaders and the trustees to report on individual group activities and to discuss issues among themselves. 

 We are all very grateful to the group leaders as without them there would not be a U3A. Also thank  you to Jane Bull for organising the Group Leaders’ meeting and for co-ordinating the groups.

 Web Site 

This has been active now for over 15 years and continues to receive regular "hits".  It aims to be a source of information for attracting new and existing members.  Most of those coming along to the coffee mornings to "sus us out" have looked at the website and decided we seem to be a good sort of group.   The group leaders provide interesting reports on group activities and new contributions from members are always welcome.   Our Webmaster, Derek Henry, always welcomes updated items from group leaders.

The Crown Centre

 Members will be aware that in December last year a special meeting of the Centre’s membership was held to discuss the Trustees’ recommendation that the Centre close at the end of September 2018 due to its lack of finance. We use the Centre for a number of our activities.  In light of this your committee decided it could not take the chance that group and other activities would find themselves homeless and we took the decision to actively look for alternative venues.  We now know that on 11th April the AGM decided to close the Centre.  This will happen in July.  Therefore all groups that met there have found new venues in various locations around the town.  In addition all our equipment that was stored there has been moved to the Nursteed Centre.  All who need access to the equipment have the necessary keys and padlock codes.

General Activities

Monthly Meetings

The Monthly meetings continue to prove popular.  Numbers have increased recently. Jim Underwood, our speakers’ secretary has done an excellent job in sourcing interesting speakers for which we are all grateful.  Talks in the past 12 months have ranged from underground storage and defence factories during WWII and the Hawk Conservancy to Dogs for Good and the Discomforts of Regency Bath. And not forgetting Great Magicians and the Magic Circle.  So, a huge variety of subject with, we hope, something to please everyone.

 We have recently started using our own speaker system with lapel mike and hopefully this has improved the sound to those seated at the back of this hall.  Some speakers however assure us that their voices can carry and they don’t take up the offer of the mike.

Roughly 10% of the membership attend these meetings and we would like to see more coming so please spread the word among your groups.

Coffee Mornings

Coffee mornings continue to be well attended and provide an excellent opportunity for members to socialise and for new and potential new members to meet others.  April’s coffee morning moved from the Crown Centre to the Cheese Hall at the Town Hall which will continue to be the venue.  There are some woodblocks of the town’s history that are well worth looking at.


The newsletter continues to be very popular.  An electronic version is now produced and emailed to all members who request it.  Only a relatively small number take just the electronic version but a lot of members have both. 

 Phil Sharman has edited this for a number of years now and would very much like to step down.  If you have an urge to take this on or are maybe wondering if you could then please speak to Phil at a coffee morning or phone or e-mail him.


The committee continues to do an excellent job.  John Cocking stood down during the summer from his role as Treasurer and Francis Wright, who had come on to deputise for John, took on the role in a seamless transition.  This was due to the willingness of both to ensure that everything continued to run smoothly.  Thank you, John for your input over the previous few years.  Diana Tighe who had previously stepped down agreed to come back to the assist Francis (she had been Treasurer in the past).  In addition, Felicity Cole responded to last year’s plea to take over as Refreshments Co-ordinator.  Both she and Diana were co-opted onto the committee.

 Regional Activities

The committee continues to liaise with the other local U3As that are members of the Bath and Wilts Forum.

 In fact some of us attended a very useful workshop on running a U3A that was led by a representative of the Third Age Trust specifically for our local network.

 Well-being day

 On Saturday 23rd June from 10:00 – 3:00 the Devizes Community Area is running a well-being day aimed at the retired or those considering or about to retire.  We have a stall.  Committee members will be there but the more members who can attend as well will be appreciated as no one will have to spend too long there. Please spread the word among your groups.


We have had another successful year; Devizes and District U3A continues to go from strength to strength.  This is entirely due to the trustees, group leaders and members who put in so much work to ensure that everything runs smoothly. 

 On behalf of the trustees,

 Sue Tovey

Chairman, Devizes & District U3A


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 Income & Expenditure Account for Year Ending 31st March 2018

 Treasurer’s Report to the 2017/2018 Annual General Meeting 22 May 2018

 I hope that you will all have seen a copy of the accounts which have been placed with the Agenda and I will go through these shortly.

 As many of you will know I took over as Treasurer from John Cocking in August last year and I would like to record my grateful thanks to him for handing the accounts over in such good order and spending some time explaining the various processes required.  Thank you John.  I would also like to record my thanks to Diana Tighe for continuing to manage the Museums and Galleries account which has made my job so much easier.  Diana also has access to the other Bank accounts and can deputise when required.  I am pleased to say that Diana has offered to carry on for another year which I have gladly accepted.

 I wish also to thank Brian Gatward for examining the accounts and providing advice which is such an important requirement for the proper management of the accounts.  I am pleased to say Brian has agreed to continue to stand as Auditor next year and I hope that the meeting will later approve his continuance as our Auditor.

 Turning to the accounts themselves you should have now have had a chance to see a copy which as I said is with the agenda.  I am pleased to say that we remain in a healthy state and continue with the Committee’s stated aim of reducing our reserves to more appropriate levels since the reduction of the subscription fee in 2016/17.  I should explain that it is recommended as good practice that we should only hold reserves equivalent to six months expenses and you will see that we currently have reserves of just under £17,000.  Rather than a knee jerk reaction to reduce the levels it has been agreed that they will be progressively reduced over a number of years.

 Our income has been slightly higher this year as a result of rising membership numbers and consequent increased subscriptions and Gift Aid contributions.  Our expenditure has also been slightly higher.  Looking at expenditure in detail you will see that General Admin is much lower than last year.  You will also see that postage is shown as Nil which is because this year I decided to combine this with the Newsletter costs to which it relates which I believe is more appropriate.  Materials and Equipment were much higher due to the need to replace and update the Membership Secretary’s computer and associated software.  It was decided to make the Christmas Party free to members this year and I understand that this was welcomed by many members and was very well attended.  Consequently this was a higher cost.  The First Aid courses costs look higher but this is because of a payment falling in the financial year for the course which was actually held this April.  It also does not reflect the contributions from those attending.  We no longer issue membership cards which are now printed on the back of the Newsletter or sent by email for those who subscribe to the electronic version and this has made a substantial saving.

 Looking at the Groups there has been a significant increase in activity on the part of the Museum and Galleries and also the Industrial Museums group started up during the year which has resulted in much larger income and expenditure than last year as you can see.  The Groups generally have a surplus of just over £800 as a result of outstanding expenses at the year end.  This combination results in an overall smaller loss than last year.  Overall the Groups themselves hold cash from their activities which for individual groups is not significant but has to be accounted for and when added together amounts to over £2,600.  I am grateful to all the Group Leaders for their co-operation and prompt reporting of their finances which is required on a six monthly basis. 

 Finally but not least I wish to thank John Weller who has designed and built an excellent computer package using his IT skills when I took over and which has made my task so much easier.

 I will not go into any more detail but will be happy to answer any questions now or immediately after the meeting.

 Francis Wright,   May 2018


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