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12-02-2018   DUMFRIES THIRD AGE PRESS REPORT for February 2018

‘Staying safe on phones and computers’ was the theme of the talk given at the latest monthly meeting of Dumfries U3A members, given after the Annual A.G.M. This excellent talk was given by Dr. John Pearson who was formerly the head of the IT department of Dumfries and Galloway Council.
John insisted that our generation was the least trained in information technology and the most vulnerable to an ever-growing fraud industry. This industry was now adept at separating such folk from their money, and sadly this often meant the entire life savings of individuals.
He urged everyone to be aware of scams. These would often be phone calls from people pretending to be from our banks or local police forces asking us to reveal bank details. He also asked the attending members to use the Telephone Preference Service which would at least block out some unwanted cold calls. An alternative would be to use a screening service or a caller I.D. system. Above all, he emphasised, do not give away information to strangers phoning you up.
Among much useful advice on using computers John asked us to back up all our important files, and our external hard drive. As for passwords he said that three completely unrelated words would be sufficient. He also urged us not to put anything on an e-mail that we would not put on a postcard. Blocking unwanted senders of e-mails and also use the Bcc box for sending e-mails to a group of people was also suggested. As a final security precaution he urged members not to send photographs home via Facebook if they were away from home. This was just advertising to any prospective burglar that their property was probably empty.
In his vote of thanks Stuart King thanked John for giving such a splendid talk about the security which our generation needed in this age of social media. A good turnout of members had enjoyed a very fine talk.
Hugh Beattie – press secretary

17-01-2018   Report for January 2018

Dumfries Third Age members were given a very entertaining talk at their first monthly meeting of 2018. Nancy Duncan had travelled down to Dumfries to give details of her working life in a talk described as “In at the Deep End” .

Nancy was originally told by her father to enrol into nursing as soon as she left school. She did that in Carlisle in 1954, and after working there she moved up to Glasgow and worked in various hospitals as a ward sister. She had a turbulent personal life due to an abusive marriage and eventually got divorced. Later she worked in the Glasgow Royal Infirmary in the maternity wards. In 1973 she became a community midwife which she thoroughly enjoyed for several years.

In the 1980’s Nancy was persuaded to join the Territorial Army. This meant that she became a nursing officer employed to teach nursing skills to all T.A. staff one Sunday every month. This enabled her to earn good extra income for raising her family. She also had to attend a camping course for a fortnight every year to learn skills such as map reading and orienteering.

When the Gulf War started in 1990 she volunteered to help as a nursing officer out there. Her experience of life in a war zone was quite fascinating. All nursing staff had to learn how to dress in suits able to withstand chemical attacks and were also made to work twelve hour shifts in exhausting conditions. They also had to administer over 8,00 vaccinations to British troops, and be in constant guard against scud attacks.

Nancy had brought along several mementoes from her time in the Gulf War. These included photographs, a chemical suit, Desert Storm t-shirts and several campaign medals. Throughout her talk Nancy always included some humorous remarks. In her vote of thanks Carolynne Sorrell praised Nancy for giving a good turn out of local members such an illuminating talk. It had been a fine first monthly meeting of 2018.

Hugh Beattie – press officer.

29-09-2017   Press Report for April 2017 Meeting.

A little-known prominent figure in Scottish history was highlighted at the latest monthly meeting of Dumfries Third Age members. The Reverend Canon David Bayne from Castle Douglas gave an excellent and fascinating talk on the importance of the Duke of Lauderdale in the 17th century.
John Maitland was born into a wealthy family in 1616 and was later enrolled into St. Andrew?s University in 1831. There he learnt at least five languages including French and Italian. He attended the Coronation of Charles 1st in 1633 and then became embroiled in the extraordinary machinations of political and religious life which took place over the next few decades.
He soon built himself a reputation as a very skilled diplomat. Among his most famous deeds was his signing of the Solemn League and Covenant in 1643 in which he pledged to protect Scottish Presbyterianism against interference from England?s Charles the 1st. In the early years of the English Civil War (1642-1647) he helped to link Scotland with the Parliamentarians. However, he later changed his loyalties and was eventually captured by Cromwell?s men after fighting alongside Charles 2nd at Worcester in 1651.
After being released in the Restoration of Charles the 2nd in 1660 he was made the Scottish Secretary by the new king. It was during the next ten years that he built himself a reputation for being cruel towards the remaining Covenanters who were resisting the restoration of episcopacy. He eventually ruined his health through drinking too much, resigned as Scottish Secretary in 1680, and died in 1682.
In his vote of thanks David Dutton praised the Reverend Bayne for the thorough research he had undertaken, and for his splendid account of the life of a near-forgotten Scottish historical figure. The good turn-out of local Third Age members had received an excellent history lesson.

Hugh Beattie ? Third Age press secretary.

22-09-2017   Press Report for September 2017 Meeting.

Dumfries University of the Third Age members were given an entertaining and informative talk at their first Monthly Meeting of the new season. The B.B.C. correspondent Willie Johnston discussed ?The Changing Face of News?. Willie, who came from Annan, has worked for the B.B.C. for over thirty years. For most of these years he has been based in the Dumfries and Galloway region.

Willie informed members that the ?Reporting Scotland? TV programme presented each evening after the main B.B.C News still attracted over half a million viewers. With all the competing news sources, this was quite an achievement. He also stressed that the running order of news presentation had to be constantly changed throughout the day. However, he also said that the B.B.C. regarded investigative stories as very important This was part of the belief that pro-active news gathering was just as important as re-active news coverage. Another highly successful programme is ?Timeline?. This features ordinary people rather than politicians or ?celebrities?. (This has just started its second series on B.B.C. 2 on Thursday evenings).

A project which may be launched late next year is for a new B.B.C. Scotland TV channel between 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. This would include a news channel between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. For listeners B.B.C. Radio Scotland has also a large audience of nearly half a million which is an impressive proportion of the Scottish population. Willie also told the audience that his own role over the years had varied from occasionally doing news reports from overseas and sometimes doing weekend shifts in the B.B.C. Glasgow studios.

In his vote of thanks Bill Walker praised Willie Johnston for giving a splendid turnout of members such a fascinating and revealing talk on his career with the B.B.C. It had been a very rewarding afternoon for all the University of The Third Age members who had attended.

Hugh Beattie press secretary

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