U3A can change your life


U3A can change your life

OCTOBER 2016 | Marguerite McNeill

When Melanie Dennison (pictured) moved to Deloraine six years ago, she found it difficult to settle down and enjoy life in her new community.

Not knowing anyone she felt on the outside and missed chatting with friends over a cup of coffee.

That all changed just a few months ago, when Melanie discovered Meander Valley’s University of the Third Age (U3A) and started going to classes.

The 61-year-old took up yoga, Tai Chi and painting and enjoys it so much, that she is now on the organising committee and teaches a class of her own.

Sparkling with enthusiasm Melanie said that enrolling in U3A had turned her life around and she is encouraging more people to try it out.

“U3A is an absolute godsend. I’m a different person,” she said. “It’s been a huge turnaround.”

Sri Lankan by birth, Melanie has lived, studied and worked in Australia for a large part of her life.

In Brisbane she worked in administration in the Lord Mayor’s office and life was both busy and stimulating.

Tasmania had always featured in future plans for retirement, but the move came all too suddenly when her husband Victor (from Botswana) suffered a freak accident and fell onto a star picket when cycling.

The horrific incident and its life-changing scars left Victor unable to function to his normal capacity, so the couple fast forwarded their plans and moved to Deloraine.

The gently undulating landscape suits Victor who has balance problems and can no longer drive.

But leaving friends, family and her work was harder on Melanie who craved more social interaction and the busyness she was used to. Regular trips back to Brisbane became the norm.

It was on one of these trips when a friend asked if there was U3A anywhere close enough to attend, that Melanie discovered the Meander Valley U3A, virtually in her own backyard! “I was so excited,” she said. “I couldn’t wait to sign on.”

And since February this year her world has changed.

Delighting in her new lifestyle, Melanie now enjoys expanding her horizons as well as a regular get together with new friends.

She is eager for more people to take up a course at U3A to enhance their lives, or if they have specialist skills, to come along and teach others.

To join U3A you must be over 50 years old. Membership is a total of $50.00 a year that covers any number of classes.

Meander Valley U3A and activities that are available, will be highlighted at Westbury during Seniors Week on Thursday 13th October from 2.00pm to 4.00pm.

Activities on the Village Green will include Croquet, Tai Chi and Petanque. There will also be wood working, art, mosaics and lino cutting at the Westbury RSL.

Other U3A activities can be viewed on a slide show and visitors can meet members to learn more about what courses are on offer.

Everyone is welcome to attend and enjoy a free cup of tea. Come along and complete a free activity challenge to be in the draw to win a prize!

 Mike Moores