READING RETIREMENT CENTRE    (registered charity No. 281830)


(Friends in retirement taking relaxation, exercise and education)


February 2018                       Firtree Newsletter                    Issue 469


Welcome to the first issue of 2018. Already daylight is getting longer, though with the dull weather it may not seem so. I hope you came through the winter unscathed as it has been one of the busiest ever for the NHS.  According to the government they have put more money in but we still have insufficient doctors and nurses. Why are our young people not training to be nurses? Is it because they have now got to pay for their training?  How short-sighted some of the policies are. They say one thing and then do something that works against it! The truth is what actually happens. Our age group is more demanding of resources than our predecessors and we cost more, especially when we need extra care. Surely it is time that the whole health provision was looked at from a non-political stance. It needs so much more than good intentions. What makes you think that I have been poorly over the last month! But I had good value from the NHS.


Back to our normal diary and Tuesday mornings should look like this;

23rd January            Lionel Williams  – The War Hospitals

30th January            Jean Hill – Poetry and Pam Ayres

6th February            Quiz time with Mark Bowman

13th February          Either Tony Weston or Colin Ferguson (Cowboys and Canyons)

20th February          as 13th

27th February          Planning ahead with Daniel Kasaka of Symponia .

6th March               tba


Our Holiday arrangements have now been sorted out. The problem was that the Hotels we were offered had no downstairs bedrooms and that is no use to us as many of our members now need to be on the ground floor for health and safety reasons. In order to get ground rooms we have already booked next year for the Lake District. Further details about this later.

The Garden Circle meets at Christine Cook’s home on the 12th Feb, to plan the year ahead. Their January tea and cake meeting with plants was at Hare Hatch.

We are going to Bournemouth from the 29th April for five days, (back on 3rd May) and this meets all our needs, but sadly, all the available rooms have now been booked unless you can find someone to share a twin bed room. If you are interested please see Gloria as soon as possible. She will also need full payment this coming month

This week we will be having our ‘Christmas’ lunch! The Water Tower has kindly given us a special Christmas meal even though they stopped their normal Christmas service at the end of December. Why? Because we felt that so much happens before Christmas and that January can be such a bleak month. I was told last week that the 15th January is known as the most miserable day of the year! Not just the weather but apparently the day when people discover just how much they have spent over Christmas!!

The committee has been looking at our finances and have heard from some of the groups that the present bitty approach is not working happily. We propose therefore to increase the basic membership back to the £35.00 we were paying.  The collection tin at the talks will only be used when a charity is presenting the talk and then all the content will go to the charity. There will be no extra charge for groups other than the choir when we have to pay our choir leader. Hopefully we can reduce that before long if the choir grows in number. There will be a meeting to approve the increase on Tuesday 6th February which should only last for ten minutes. If you cannot be there please let any of the committee know your opinion.

The older peoples working group meets at the new Civic Centre on Friday 2nd February with an agenda including discussion on local health watch, Readibus, powers of attorney and Community nursing. This is your regular opportunity to meet with the local authority and to hear and take part in the discussions affecting adult Social Care in Reading. It starts at 2.00 and ends by 4.00.

Rivermead is arranging a Valentines Tea Dance on the 14th February from 1.30 p.m. to 3.30 on behalf of the Maples club. There will be a buffet, live music and a raffle. Ticket (£5.00) can be booked by telephone to Sara – 07580870945 or Ellie at 0118 9374894. All are welcome.

It has been good to see new members joining us in January. It is very tempting to get together with those we know and have a good natter before we go in to the talk but please be aware of new people coming in. It is hard enough to come in to a new group but if you don’t feel welcome or able to break in to the group then once will be the only time. Thank you to those who have put their names down for the kitchen duties. I would like to invite at least a couple each week to be on a welcome watch.

Michael is finding it difficult to get new speakers so please come up with some ideas for him. He has been doing a grand job for us but it can be quite frustrating sometimes, especially at this time of the year.

We don’t normally notify deaths in this newsletter but June Raeburn was our longest serving member and a great mainstay of the movement to music group. She will be sadly missed.

If you want to know more about Firtree, contact Colin Ferguson ( or Mark Bowman (0118 967 7130)

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