Never too old to learn

Checking out the vast range of courses available through U3A are (l-r) Mrs Bernice King, Northern Rivers U3A chairman Graeme Eggins, Northern Rivers U3A president Shirley Beaver, Mayor Merv King and Cr Jenny Dowell.

Use it or lose it, is what they say, long time learner and U3A chairman Graeme Eggins said, and he is, of course, right.

Research is constantly showing that keeping your brain active as you age keeps a range of age-related illnesses at bay, so what better reason to keep the grey matter moving.

For those not in the know, U3A stands for University of the Third Age and refers to the post-retirement stage of life, the third age when one has time for pursuing wider interests.

U3A is a worldwide education movement for older people and the Northern Rivers branch, which has been operating for 12 years, this week held its annual Open Day at the Lismore Workers Club.

Research carried out recently has shown that active membership of a U3A defers age-related illnesses by an average of six years, said Shirley Beaver, Northern Rivers U3A president.

Information that is obviously common knowledge given the large number of 50 plus people gathered on the day.

The cost is also a draw card. Members pay $30 annually or $50 per couple and that allows access to any number of classes during the term. Choose from languages, photography, crafts, computing, music appreciation, life sciences, philosophy, table tennis and a whole range of courses and activities.

The price is cheap because all tutors are volunteers and they are not necessarily qualified teachers, more they are experts through interest.

U3A is fantastic, said Cr Jenny Dowell who joined up last year. I just came to have a look and ended up joining. I do the Friday Forum and the Bookworm Group because thats all the time I can commit.

With people retiring at different ages, there is no official age limit to joining U3A although retirees are the obvious target group.

Weve got members in their 50s through to people in their 80s, said Shirley. And two members who are 91, which proves you are definitely never too old to learn.

To find out more about joining U3A contact president Shirley Beaver on 6624 3022.

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