Dr. Theo Weston MBE is very well-known in our locality, with his variety of roles in rescue services, having previously built a reputation as a greatly respected GP with the Birbeck practice in Penrith between 1992 and 2015. He has contributed significantly to the Patterdale Mountain Rescue team, the BEEP scheme, a training programme, BASICS (standing for pre- hospital emergency medical care), and to the Great Northern Air Ambulance Service’s emergency work as a HEMS (Helicopter Emergency Medical Service) doctor.

In his talk to our U3A group he will focus on his work as a doctor with the Air Ambulance, Mountain Rescue and Beep services. This last is a Cumbrian based charity bringing skilled emergency doctors to the scene of the accident.


Editor of the Cumberland and Westmorland Herald, Emily first worked for the paper in the late 1980s as its farming editor. After a career break she returned as a news reporter and took up her present role in 2015. She is just the eighth editor in the Herald’s history and its first female editor. On the announcement of her role, she said, ‘The paper has a long history and I intend to make sure that continues into the future. These are challenging times for print journalism, but I believe a local paper has a vital and irreplaceable part to play as a voice and a watchdog for the community it serves.’ The past year has thrown up many unexpected challenges, however. The possible demise of the paper brought an outcry from the diverse readership of this much-loved local newspaper until a Cumbrian,

Andrew Barr, came to its rescue. Next came the addition of the Keswick Reminder to his portfolio and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic resulted in further stresses and strains. Nevertheless, the paper has ridden these storms. It is a real, local institution and many a Cumbrian continues to read the Herald each week, whether they are living in the far south of England or have even located abroad. Emily will be focusing her talk on the recent period of change and transition.


This photo is how many people picture Revd David Sargent, Team Rector of Penrith and Rural Dean. He is, though, a person of many parts with a wide variety of interests. As well as being a very good fell-runner and keen walker, devoted to his wife and family and very keen on his dogs, he is a great reader, having pursued English Literature as his first degree. His talk will be entitled, ‘Times & seasons, people & places’ in poems & pictures.’ One poem David discovered is by a local poet, John Rice:

Running at Briggflatts on Christmas Morning

A firm frost defines the field’s hoof hollows;
the glass sun, drained of strength, blushes.
The Howgills are ice-gold and pummelled, like baker’s dough. Roads are soundless, footpaths hushed.
Crows squawk just occasionally.
A Cumbrian Christmas morning is a wordless world.
A farmer strides a quad bike, sheepdog on the trailer.
Its ruddy tongue trembling, its hazy breath bulging
like ghostly grey balloons in the day’s true air.
A runner pads past, streak of yellow, gloved but hatless.
His steady pace matches his measured, easy breathing.
His single cough frightens a heron into flight.
Farmer, dog, runner – alive and active on Christmas day;
no other but those among us who demand to be
forever gripped by earth, grasped by sky.
And I nearly forgot: two lambs were born this Christmas morn.

JIM HOLMES, 15 APRIL, 2021. Landscapes of Afghanistan

Central Afghanistan at the onset of winter offers a stunning landscape and a place of surprising tranquillity. Jim Holmes is a professional photographer who has worked all over the world for several aid organisations. His assignments have taken him to disaster zones as well as to observe the long term development work undertaken by charities.

In Afghanistan he followed rural solar engineers as they supplied sustainable power systems to remote, peaceful Hazara villages. With no mains power but plenty of sun in this mountainous desert landscape, solar power offers an opportunity for small-scale industry and easier communications. This talk follows local specialists as they train the villagers to manage their own power sources giving them independence and an income opportunity. As Jim Holmes himself says, ‘It’s good to have a positive story emerging from Afghanistan.’


Katharine May and John Sanderson of Eden Baroque moved into our area, attracted by the landscape in which they enjoy fell-walking and cycling, and have become a significant part of the local musical scene very rapidly, establishing their own ‘Music Barn’ at Salkeld Dykes where John Upson’s Music Appreciation group enjoyed their wonderful recital last year. Delighted by this introduction, they seemed to be an ideal choice for our Christmas music this year, expecting that we would be enjoying their performance face to face. However, thanks to the efforts of several people, notably Andrea Willett and Katharine and Michael themselves, we were treated to a concert of beautiful music in our own homes. (READ MORE)

Impact of Glaciation and Local Landscapes, a talk by Zoom to be given by Dr Richard Waller. 


 5th November at 2.15 pm  2020

Richard Waller’s initial interest in physical Geography was sparked off by his enjoyment of fell-walking. During his degree course he had the opportunity to spend two months in Alaska, which graphically illustrated the power of ice and led to his current specialisation in cold environments.  He is now a senior lecturer in Geography at Keele University. He runs annual student visits to observe glacial features in Norway but he also greatly values the opportunities at weekends to experience and study our local Cumbrian post-glacial environments.  As an expert speaker we can expect Richard to be both informative and lively.



Roger Leech has kindly offered to give his talk on Rocks and Minerals, originally scheduled for April this year, on THURSDAY, 15 OCTOBER AT 2.15 PM, BY ZOOM. 2020

With a father who was an engineer, Roger’s early family experiences in Africa and elsewhere sparked his interest in rocks and minerals. His own career was as a scientist, initially focusing on micro-biology, but he has always maintained a serious fascination for geology and he has a most extensive collection and knowledge of a wide range of rocks, minerals and mining. Living in our local area has enabled Roger to develop his interest further. This promises to be an excellent, lively and well-illustrated talk with an exploration of rocks and minerals both above and below ground.



Zoom Conferencing Calendar Link

Zoom Video Conferencing Calendar. This is a 3 month rolling calendar showing dates and times that are available to groups to hold remote online meetings / sessions. Members can use this to check when their group has a conference session. Conveners wishing to use Zoom, please contact :-

Josie Dunlop.

Andrea Willett.  

Alan Beale.


There is usually a monthly meeting every month of the year except July and August. These meetings take place at the Penrith Playhouse from 2.15 pm. There are also occasional study days on Saturdays at St. Andrew’s parish rooms. In the current circumstances of Covid-19 these meetings have been suspended until further notice.