Journey through History with Tarporley and District U3A

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Journey through History with Tarporley and District U3A

On Monday (July 14th) a small number of village residents enjoyed a day on the Manchester Ship Canal. Sailing from Seacombe to Salford Quays, the 'Snowdrop', a traditional Mersey ferry, took a leisurely trip through an area famous for its role in the industrial revolution in Great Britain.

Though the names of many of the companies has changed in the last few decades, the 36 mile stretch of inland waterway still flows through an important industrial and commercial area that provides employment and incomes to thousands. Initially developed by Manchester entrepreneurs to avoid having to transfer cargoes in Liverpool, it was fascinating to find out that now new container docks are being developed on the canal to do just that, to tranship goods from the massive Seaforth Container docks and bring them by smaller vessels closer to the motorway and rail networks.

It's a 6 hour journey enlivened by a knowledgeable commentary but best enjoyed in the company of friends and with a good picnic. For more information go to

But there is more to the story as the title might suggest!

These intrepid explorers were part of a group from the Tarporley and District Branch of the University of the Third Age (U3A) Now about to enter its second year, this branch is one of many in the UK and one of the thousands that exist throughout the world. The Third Age does not define a chronological age, but refers to a time in life when full-time employment and parental responsibilities decrease. The UK model is based on the idea that older people have a life time of experience and a fund of specialist knowledge that can be harnessed for the pleasure, enjoyment and enlightenment of its members.

For a modest fee of £15 per annum and a very small cost for each meeting, members can enjoy a regular monthly talk, but, and perhaps more importantly, can join a group that reflects their own specific interests. Each branch is different, reflecting the skills, interests and concerns of their unique membership.

So much is written about the problems of getting older that it is important to realise that there are many things now that enhance and enrich this time of life. The Tarporley Branch has over 200 members, from the very active to the frail, from the gregarious to the retiring. Indeed, based as it is on mutual interests, it is a place to meet new people and develop new friendships, not so easy when you get older. There has been so much talk of the dangers of loneliness to good health and U3A is one way that people can still connect with others and be part of their community.

For Tarvin residents there is the slight problem of the 5 miles of the A51, but if shared transport can't be arranged, there is always the trusty 84 which will drop you outside the Tarporley Community Centre. For more information see