Some Thoughts from a Past Chairman

Southport University Extension Society was founded in 1896, and at that time many towns in Britain had similar organisations, all of which had the aim of bringing education to the many adults whose schooling had been very limited. One by one most of them faded out. However, Southport University Extension Society, although having its ups and downs, survived two world wars and numerous general elections, and is in good shape to continue. During the five years I was Chairman (2011-2016) we held four talks a year, and prided ourselves on covering a wide-ranging selection. John Betjeman, the Atkinson Gallery, a Holiday in China, Napoleon III and the Bronte Sisters were the subject of some of them.

A member, Judy Hermida, now living in Ainsdale, lived for three years in the diplomatic quarter of Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea. I had myself been a humble member of the Commonwealth Division just after the end of hostilities in the Korean War. We gave a joint talk and learnt a great deal about North Korea, including how they now mow lawns without lawnmowers!

With all the trouble in the Middle East it was thought that we should have a talk by a Moslem, although it was realised that this might bring difficulties. However, Zia Chaudry, a Moslem and barrister working at the Crown Court in Liverpool, turned out to be charming and informative. I can recommend his book, ‘Just Your Average Moslem’.

For the first time in its history S.U.E.S. has money to spare, owing to a legacy of over £50,000 from a member, Muriel Wilde. So we now have better equipment than ever before, and the membership fee can be kept low.

S.U.E.S produces a newsletter quarterly which provides an outlet for poems, accounts of holidays, short stories, puzzles, etc. that members might devise.

The future of S.U.E.S. looks rosy at the moment, but it will always depend on the enthusiasm of its members of a wide variety of ages. May it live on for another hundred years.

Timothy Robey (Chairman 2011-2016)