A GROUP which provides education and stimulation for retired members of the community is putting out the welcome mat for new members.

Durham U3A (University of the Third Age), which is said to be thriving after a busy year, is preparing for festive activities during December.

Publicity officer Kath Currie said: “It seems no time at all since it was last Christmas and in that time Durham U3A has flourished.

“We have new members joining us and new groups starting.

“Anyone wishing to give us a try will always be made welcome.

“We have had speakers on foreign travels, historical buildings and those involved in commendable charity work.”

Its next meeting, focusing on seasonal entertainment, is at Durham Indoor Bowls Club, at Pity Me, on Thursday, with doors open from 1.30pm for a 2pm start.

Members enjoy their Christmas lunch, at the Honest Lawyer, near Croxdale, on the A167 near Durham, the following week, at 12-noon.

It must be booked in advance, so anyone wishing to attend is asked to express their interest.

Several of Durham U3A’s 16 constituent groups still have meetings prior to Christmas and some also have their own festive celebrations planned, with further details available on 0191-371 9521.

Its new Middling French group, which meets on Wednesday afternoon, is now up and running and would welcome new members who want to improve and practice their use of the language.

Anyone interested is asked to check the web site, u3asites.org.uk/durham or contact Mike Gibb, on (07928) 486787 or 0191-659 6852.