Di Fischer Harman

We will very soon be saying our fond farewells to Di as she returns to her native Australia, to the house where she and her husband lived, before the globe-trotting began.

Di joined Beeston U3A in April 2015 and since then has become a larger-than-life figure participating enthusiastically in many aspects of our organisation. It was a suggestion from Jenny Seth and a chance meeting with Helen Stewart that encouraged Di to join up in the first place, after having tried several other pursuits such as the WEA and the Arts Society; anything to satisfy an inquisitive mind. Since then, Di has been a prolific group leader and participates with gusto in other interest groups and U3A events.

Di came to be here in Beeston by a circuitous route, beginning in Sydney, Australia, over to Norway where Peter worked with a Pharmaceutical company in a newly formed Drug Discovery group. Whilst there, Di was able to do a bit more professional acting work with playing Lady Bracknell in The Importance of Being Earnest, and post syncing for an award-winning animation. From Norway, they moved to Arbroath in Scotland, where Di undertook several “Highers” in various academic subjects such as Psychology and Sociology. The quest for more learning, particularly in the human condition, was developing strongly.

Arriving in Nottingham in 2005, when Peter was offered the Chair in Medicinal Chemistry in the School of Pharmacy at Nottingham University, Di looked to expand horizons with administrative work as well as taking advantage of any learning opportunities. This quest for learning about new subjects, exploring new possibilities, and making lots of new friends epitomises what a U3A is all about, and Di has demonstrated the U3A ethos to perfection. We’re going to miss you Di, and the idea of bringing our mugs to open meetings will endure!

Parting is such sweet sorrow!

Di writes:

Now, where have I heard that before? A truism in my case.

I am having to say goodbye to the UK, more importantly though, goodbye to the Beeston U3A.

There are so many people to thank for all their enthusiasm, kindness, patience (you know who you are!) and a willingness to join in.

Firstly, to all the groups I have had the pleasure of joining past and present:

Religion & Philosophy – Nic Harrison and now Dave Smith as well as the late Geoff Bagley (he of immense patience!), delving into the human condition and the need for beliefs and rules to live by.

Yoga – Ken Morrel taking us through our paces, in the gentlest of ways, with a great sense of fun, I will miss my yogis (or is it yogii?)!

The Murder Book Group – Helen Stewart and co introducing us to the, sometimes, oddest writers and themes, to other categories sneaking in – the thriller – thanks to Jim Turner I am now hooked on Jack Reacher!

Scrabble – boy are they competitive, I started to worry when they whipped out thick volumes of specialist dictionaries and looking up words before declaring! What is the world coming to (oops ended a sentence with a preposition)? Needless to say, I only lasted 2 sessions.

Medium Walks – Alan Bailey, and the motley crew! Patience once again on their part, though I was at the head of the long line at times! Great conversations, views and walks led by members.

Long Walks – Mike Allery, how on earth he can be at the end of the long line and then run past us, up to the front ready with secateurs, plastic sheets and a delusion that the mountain ahead of us is just a gentle incline!!

The Gallery Visits Group – Barbara and Nadya, taking me to areas of the arts that was so rewarding, sometimes baffling, not forgetting those “the emperors’ new clothes” moments.

What the Papers Say – Karen Stainer now Mike Norman, bringing us into the world of politics, craziness (yes, still politics) but especially how the media present the facts (?) of a story to we mere mortals. Great fun and discussions along the way.

Patchwork & Quilting – with Elaine and Mary, another wonderful group of crafty members sharing their knowledge, talent and imagination.

The Cinema Group – Al Windsor, ever on the ball with just the right take on things.

Unfortunately, I was unable to continue with this last group as I had taken up with – The Architecture Group which met on the same day of the month.

A huge thank you to all who joined in, coming up with great ideas for site visits, doing research and presenting on all manner of topics to do with Architecture. This group will now be run by a great team, here’s to many more parts of the world to discover.

My first foray as leader of a group, however, was starting up Let’s Right Shakespeare! Another great array of people from all walks of life and knowledge (yes I am looking at you Bob!) to do with all things Will, now in better hands with Elizabeth Le Marchant-Brock.

Lastly Psychology & Sociology, what an amazing look we had into the working of the human mind, our hopes, wishes and dreams and how we get to grips with life. Thanks again to a wonderful group of people – plus the discussions, the guest speakers, a great time.

None of this could have happened without the support of Chris Chater as Group Squadron Leader, now in the good hands of Anne Pinnock and Kathy Shipway. The committee members, the group Leader’s Lunch (yummy), the Open Meetings, the Outings with Lucy Beardsley, the social events and that great Disco night organised by Janis Patterson, the long list goes on, and this missive!

A big group hug to you all and then some.

All success to everyone involved and keep up the good work with the Recycling Initiatives!

Di Fischer-Harman

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