Mayflower 400

Mayflower 400 is a video put together by the Script to Screen Group.

The video is basically in magazine format, with several short pieces on different themes. It starts with a tour round Plymouth using the App that was released last year, pointing out the various places that relate to the Mayflower. Then there’s a skit about the “Mayflower Steps” and a couple of pieces about the ship’s biscuits and other food on the journey. Next, we have a historian talking about the behaviour of the Pilgrim Fathers once they reached America and finally there’s a speech from a member of the Wampanoag tribe that was planned for the 350th anniversary, but was dropped.

Each section is broken up by images from last year’s Illuminate. The video is fully subtitled and lasts around 25 minutes. There is also a document detailing the making of the video.

A password is required to view the video and read the document. This is the same as for the Members Area.

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Let’s Write a Song

A Plymouth u3a Workshop

by Richard Keoghoe

Recently, I thought it a novel idea to run a short workshop spread over three weeks and hosted on Zoom. In the beginning of the New Year, a new lockdown was threatening to keep us at home for the winter. I had three applicants, Norma, Norman and Cheryl. We set about dreaming up a lyric in the first week. I had no idea whether the workshop would be successful or, indeed, if we could actually write a song between us. There was only one rule and that the song was written by consensus.

By week two, we had the bare bones of a song lyrics. Collectively, the group decided the rhythm and they were able to create a melody on a piece of Open Source music software called Musescore 3. To this melody, we decided on the basic chord structure. Together, we wrote a song called The Puzzle of Love.

At the end of the session, I worked on the music to tidy it up. I received two e-mails, one from Norman, who had set another verse to the music using his MuseScore. The other was from Norma, who sent me some more words. They completed the last four bars of the chorus I had been struggling with.

Our third and final week, we decided on how to arrange the verses into choral parts. Oh yes, full SATB! The song quickly grew into something very big and dramatic. What if it could be sung by a full Soprano, Alto, Tenor and Bass choir? The workshop surpassed my expectations. I was delighted with the result and it seemed Norman, Norma and Cheryl were as well.

I fully support the idea of workshops in U3A. They are short and punchy. But the great thing about workshops are that there is a product at the end of the experience. No doubt, you’ll want to hear the end result. You can view our efforts on this link:

Maybe there is scope to create another winter lockdown music workshop leading to the first Plymouth U3A virtual choir. If you viewed the video and you think you would like to come along to another set of workshops with a view to creating a virtual choir, I will be happy to set up another set of workshops. Any takers?

The Puzzle of Love


Help with Zoom

A Rough Beginners Guide to Using Zoom

For members of Plymouth U3A

Richard Keoghoe and Brian Mathieson have very kindly created a video demonstrating how to use Zoom. It is a very basic introduction on how to download Zoom, how to set up Zoom,  and how to join a meeting on Zoom, using your ipad, iphone or PC.

Should anyone experience any specific difficulty working with Zoom once they have watched this video, then see note in Members Area.



Keeping Fit

Keeping active from your own home

During this time of isolation, a lot of us are unable to get out and about and are not able to keep as active as we would like to. Perhaps the time has come to consider looking at the options available which provide guidance and advice on keeping active in your own home. The Plymouth u3a Committee invite their members to take the opportunity to do this by referring to the following websites.

At NHS Fitness Studio you’ll find lots of different exercise videos. There’s a wake up workout, belly dancing, couch to 5k and beginners aerobics. Also strength and resistance classes with no equipment needed, Pilates and yoga with specific options for those with back or knee problems, arthritis and osteoporosis, and a seated yoga workout. Why not give it a try?

Alternatively, try a simple ballet exercise class aimed at the over 50’s, at Ballet Based Movement. Susan Jacobson demonstrates simple moves with her Mother Elizabeth who is in her mid 70’s.

Sport England with Join the Movement has advice and video classes for all age groups and for less able people. Tips and guidance on how to keep/get active in and around your home with a section for older people.

We’ll get back to a fitter, leaner u3a in no time!

Janice Cawthorn

It is with great sadness that we announce the death of our dear friend and colleague Janice Cawthorn.

Janice has been a member of our U3A for 10 years and a committee member for 2 years – taking on the role of speaker co-ordinator to ensure we had a varied array of speakers at the monthly General Meetings. Her love of literature, travel, cinema, performing arts and music was always in evidence and readily shared with anyone and everyone.

In her working life, Janice was a Tax Inspector in the Inland Revenue Plymouth Tax Office situated in Pearl Assurance House Royal Parade. As you all may know Janice was afflicted with a very rare condition, this was made worse as result of an operation that was meant to improve things, however there were complications and so resulted in things being made worse.

She was a fervent supporter of causes and would often put pen to paper to support them. Janice also had a great talent for languages and could converse in several different ones – including Russian. I know those in attendance of the Marina Litvinenko interview in Feb 2019 would recall how we all sat in wonder as Janice conversed with Marina in fluent Russian, when offering Marina our thanks.

We can all only admire the tenacity, selfless attitude and relentless independence of someone who, despite of adversities that would have driven others to seclusion continued to be a very active, vibrant and lovely person to know and work alongside.

She will be very sadly missed by us all.

Coronavirus Latest

Please see the Coronavirus page for the latest information from Plymouth U3A

Being safe using the internet

On Monday 10th June we had a fascinating General Meeting at the Crowne Plaza when 2 excellent speakers from the Devon and Cornwall police described the dangers of using the internet and how we can minimise these.

After the event the speakers emailed:

Just a big thank you for inviting us to speak to your group today.  We appreciate there was a lot of information to put across to the audience and even so, we weren’t even beginning to scratch the surface.  It was great to see so many people in attendance, all I hope will take some tips away help prevent becoming victims of cybercrime in the future.

Here are some useful links for you to share with your U3A for further advice and guidance:

Take Five to Stop Fraud – general advice on financial fraud:

Get Safe Online (personal and business advice)

The Metropolitan Police’s ‘Little Book of Cyber Scams’  – we are in the process of producing a similar D&C document:

Have I been Pwned – check to see if your email account has been compromised in a data breach:

General advice and guidance from the National Cyber Security Centre:


Marina Litvinenko

Marina Litvinenko In conversation with John Dobson

In 2006, Alexander Litvinenko died from a mysterious poison in London. Marina tells her story about her husband with passion to Plymouth U3A.

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