Poetry and advice talks as membership reaches 400

Speaker Robert Cockcroft with Chairman Keith Coates and two members of U3A Todmorden. Picture by Gail Allaby
Speaker Robert Cockcroft with Chairman Keith Coates and two members of U3A Todmorden. Picture by Gail Allaby

A record number of 141 people attended February’s U3A meeting in Todmorden’s Central Methodists, and new sign-ups meant the total membership has now surpassed to 400 mark!

The main speaker was Robert Cockcroft, another talented person bearing the Cockcroft name.

A record number of 141 people attended February’s U3A meeting in Todmorden’s Central Methodists, and new sign-ups meant the total membership has now surpassed to 400 mark!

Keith Coates, chairman, Todmorden U3A

Robert is among other things an author and poet, whose talk, “Lament for the Mills” was based on his book of poetry with that title.

Reading a selection of the poems, interspersed with reminiscences of his boyhood in Todmorden, Robert conjured up images of the mills and their environment and some of the characters in them.

His words and moving delivery struck a chord with many in the audience who could remember the places and the people.

Robert left Todmorden and for almost 40 years taught in the School of English Studies at the University of Nottingham. His family ran John Cockcroft and Sons and when writing the book he turned his memories of growing up around cotton and all who built their lives around it into a set of poems, aided by a few carefully-chosen poems written by his uncle Philip.

They bring to life his family and the company’s workforce, some brilliantly descriptive lines placing them in the town’s geographical setting and how they applied the industrial skills they had learned.

How many of the mill are now just spaces in the landscape, filled with our memories!

For the first time for some months there was also a short talk.

Elizabeth Barron, Head of the Direct Payments Team at Calderdale Social Services, provided a very clear and helpful explanation of direct payments which are offered to people who need care and support and to carers.

Direct payments enable people to arrange their own services rather than have them provided for them by Social Services.

For further information you can contact enquiries.socialservices@calderdale.gov.uk or call the Direct Payments Team on 01422 363561.

The next General Meeting is on Thursday, March 19, when the speaker will be one of our members, Sue Hayter, who admits that she is descended from a line of convicts and will speak of “My Convict Ancestors: A Genealogical Journey”. Details on u3atod.org.uk