IT WAS a silver milestone celebration for the University of the Third Age group in Chester when an anniversary tea was held at the Hilton Doubletree Hotel.

Cllr Stuart Parker, Sheriff of Chester and Northwest trustee of U3A Gill Russell joined past and present chairpersons, 10 original members and nearly 200 Third Agers for an afternoon of entertainment and an exhibition of the history of the development of Chester U3A .

On display were many photographs of group activities and social events.

It was on September 3, 1993 that an article in the Chester press, written by Roy Wilson, who had recently retired from a career in education, explained what U3A was all about.

This self-taught educational organisation founded in France in 1972 was now flourishing worldwide. It could thrive here in Chester for Third Agers, offering the study of many subjects with no exams, purely on self-help.

Art, history, music, sciences, foreign languages, bridge and all sorts of sports were possibilities if there was sufficient interest and enthusiasm.

One hundred people arrived at the Friends Meeting House on September 7 that year where they met Roy and a small committee, filled in white post-its listing their preferences.

Soon, group leaders volunteered and Chester U3A was launched with high hopes.

There are now 1,100 members with 90 interest groups.

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