May Main Meeting 2021

Lily of the valley – flower for the month of May

There was a wonderful turnout for the May main meeting: 47 screens and 68 members (of which 4 are on the waiting list) tuned in on Zoom.

As usual, members were welcomed by Chair, Chris Barwell who started with the sad news of the passing of Derek, the husband of a previous Looe & District u3a Chair, Kay Kettle.

On a happier note, she went on to appeal to those members who might be interested in helping to rebuild the u3a raft so that a crew could take part in the rescheduled Raft Race in October. Anyone interested in this project either as builders or crew should contact Laurie Watson on .

In Groups News, Chris explained that the Film Club was having a summer recess until September when Genealogy and Tunes in the Afternoon would also restart. The Book Club and Poetry Club are still meeting, quite happily, online each month. Both of the Walking groups had been out and about; the longer group led by David Barker walking the coast from Lantic Bay to Polruan and the Swallows walking around St. Neot, stopping to enjoy the distraction of the outdoor gym! (Photos of these walks are available to view on the Groups pages). Languages were also proving a popular choice both online and meeting in a garden. And finally, Chris made everyone feel hungry by showing pictures of the ‘Tagine’ inspired lunches that the Gorgeous Grub Group had cooked and enjoyed at their recent Zoom lunch. The GGG are hoping to meet face-to-face in June to enjoy a ‘Posh Picnic’. (Write up and pictures of this lunch also available on the groups pages). If you are interested in joining any of these groups, email on .

In Community News, Nick Bailey, Vice Chair, explained that, unfortunately, it had been decided that the Looe Live Music Festival planned for this September would not be going ahead but had been deferred until the weekend of September 16th – 18th 2022.

Nick continued with an update on the upcoming u3a Radio podcast which would be available on Monday May 17th and would include, among other things, the 3 winners of the u3a Poetry Competition and an article entitled ‘Fraud of the Rings’: now that sounds intriguing!

He then handed over to the speaker, Mr. Brian Fernley, who works for the South West Airfields Heritage Trust; a non-profiting making, educational, charitable trust.

The talk entitled ‘Destination Utah’ was a detailed and engaging presentation concerning the creation of RAF Upottery ( also known as Smeatharpe) a WWII Airfield in Devon, and how it affected the lives of the locals and also the men that worked there. Opened in 1944, it was used by the United States Air Forces and Navy, primarily as a transport airfield. It was made famous when it appeared in the first episode of the television mini-series Band of Brothers because it was from Upottery that ‘Easy Company’ of the 506th Parachute Regiment, 101st Airborne Division boarded the planes and made their first combat jump into Normandy on June 6th 1944- D-Day.

Brian Fernley illustrated his talk with many photos, readings of memoirs of some of the soldiers and officers, footage of planes from the time and recorded interviews with villagers who recalled how life changed for them during this time.

Such a detailed talk cannot be given justice here in a few paragraphs but because of the wonders of Zoom and the kind permission of the speaker, any member who would like to hear the talk may do so by emailing to be sent a link to a recording of the talk.