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The University of The Third Age
at Ixworth

On Wednesday 30 January, a large group of U3A members, along with quite a few Suffolk ringers, descended upon St Mary’s Church, Ixworth to hear George Pipe give a fascinating talk on bells and bell ringing.  This event had been arranged in conjunction with the Bury U3A as part of the commitment to making our Bell Restoration Project at Ixworth widely accessible to different groups in the community, which is a condition of our Heritage Lottery Grant.

George arrived with Diana, carrying several large boxes containing items from his wonderful collection of cards, photographs, models and other memorabilia, all to do with bells and churches.  The sun was shining as nearly 90 people gathered in the church to listen to an enthralling and entertaining journey through all aspects of bells and bell ringing, from the place of bells in history, to the intricacies of change ringing.  The Ixworth ringers laid on a bread and cheese lunch with plenty of delicious home made cakes which were enjoyed by everyone, and we decided over the washing up that George should be made UN ambassador for ringing - he had clearly caught the imagination of everyone there, many of whom had no idea about the subject before.

The feedback from the event was glowing and it was marvellous to see the church packed and buzzing with conversation.  We were in the most fortunate position of being able to give the morning’s donations to the church (£100) to help pay for the heating, and to the Suffolk Guild’s Bell Restoration Fund (£80) - our own fundraising having been accomplished with the award of a Heritage Lottery Grant back in September.

So what is the University of the Third Age? To quote from their website, ‘U3As are self-help, self-managed lifelong learning co-operatives for older people no longer in full time work, providing opportunities for their members to share learning experiences in a wide range of interest groups and to pursue learning not for qualifications, but for fun.’

If you would like to know more about U3as in our area why not visit one of the following websites  (Bury area)

A big thank you has to go to George and Diana for their wonderful support. We are so lucky to have people like them in our Guild, who not only have a great passion for ringing but can communicate this with such ease and confidence.

Thank you also to everyone who in so many ways has supported the Ixworth project.

For more information about the Ixworth project email me at

Ruth Suggett