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- May and June meeting reports

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

June meeting - Keep Learning: Live long and prosper

Keep learning and stay mentally active - and prevent or delay mental decline and even dementia. That was the message given to people from Todmorden, Hebden Bridge, and the surrounding area last Thursday when Dr Alex McMinn, expert in ageing and advisor to Government and the UN, spoke to members of Todmorden University of the Third Age (U3A).

Dr McMinn said that there are huge changes taking place as we live longer - people over 100 are the fastest growing sector of the population - and we can expect (hope for, anyway!) a much longer, and more fulfilling, period of retirement than our ancestors enjoyed. Many of us will have more years of retirement than we had at work.

It's important, said Dr McMinn, not to get trapped into expecting physical and mental decline after retirement - think that way and it's likely to come true. By keeping physically active, and by keeping the brain working - by continuing to learn new things - we can actually continue to make our brains grow and work better, science shows.

Combine that with an active social life, meeting new people and staying in touch with old friends, and - very importantly - having a laugh - Dr McMinn's funny talk had his audience rolling in the aisles - and we have the recipe for a later life that is a period of flourishing and well-being, a benefit to ourselves and to others - and enjoyable as well.

U3A, with it's regular monthly meetings and talks and wide range of interest groups and activities, is a splendid help in staying mentally and physically active, especially as it gives lots of opportunities to meet new and old friends, said Dr McMinn.


May meeting - the role of the Lord-Lieutenant

Many of us are probably aware that there is such a personage as the Lord-Lieutenant of the county without necessarily thinking much about what their actual role might be.  Members of  Todmorden U3A were enlightened in this regard at their May General Meeting by Kate Moreton-Deakin, one of the 50 Deputies who support Dr Ingrid Roscoe, the present incumbent. Kate started her talk with an outline of the origins and history of the post.

Henry VIII gave a a commission of lieutenancy to a number of noblemen to be his eyes and ears in the county to warn of any local unrest and to raise and lead the local militia in the event of a Scottish or French invasion. After the threat of the Spanish Armada, Elizabeth I issued commissions in all counties and the importance of the office was reaffirmed by James I.

There have been 28 Lords-Lieutenant of the West Riding and West Yorkshire since 1660 and all were drawn from the aristocracy until 1970.  Present day responsibilities include deputising for the Queen and accompanying her on visits to the county.  The Lord-Lieutenant and her deputies undertake many more responsibilities on behalf of the Queen.  These include attending parades and functions of the Armed Forces and the British Legion, including Remembrance Day Ceremonies.  The Lieutanancy also deals with nomnations for honours and the Queen's Award for Industry as well as attendance at Buckingham Palace Garden Parties. Further responsibilities include alerting the Palace to  those eligible for birthday and wedding anniversary messages from the Queen and officiating at citizenship ceremonies. Kate pointed out that being a deputy is an honorary role and one she finds immensely rewarding, as most of  what she does involves meeting the ordinary folk of West Yorkshire, many of whom she feels priviledged to meet because of  the extraordinary things they have done.


See also

HebWeb News - April meeting report

HebWeb News - March meeting report

University of Third Age, Todmorden website

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