A GARDEN party was held at Corbridge Cricket Club.

The Tynedale U3A Garden Party was the charity's first major social event since the pandemic.

Members of more than 40 interest groups met to socialise, play quoits, croquet and listen to live music by Robson's Choice, a group of Northumbrian Pipers.

Sally Hewitt, Tynedale U3A's publicity officer, said 65 members attended the event.

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Numbers had to be limited in case it rained as the cricket club could only hold a specific number of people.

"It was nice to get people together, and we were entertained by Robson's Choice. They don't charge a fee but request a donation to St Oswald's Hospice, and we did a raffle and raised £305," she explained.

Hexham Courant: CELEBRATE: Members playing croquetCELEBRATE: Members playing croquet

The event was supplied hot beverages by Top Nosh and the Cricket Club also opened the bar for members to get drinks.

"It went very well, everyone was very happy, the food was good and it was good to get to know different people and we'll definitely be doing it again next year," Sally said.

Events secretary Sarah Bowen, helped by members of the group, organised the event. 

The national U3A is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year and Tynedale U3A will hold events later in the year to celebrate the occasion.

"The group's open to anyone, there's a misconception it's for people who are retired but anyone who's not working full time can join, or people who are raising young families," said Sally.

Hexham Courant: MUSIC: Northumbrian pipers, Robson's Choice MUSIC: Northumbrian pipers, Robson's Choice

"It's about developing interest which can be old or new. The motto is: Live, Learn, Laugh."

Some of the interest groups include art appreciation, language groups, Tai Chi, geology and landscape.

Others include bird watching, wine appreciation, and poetry reading, or members can set up their own interest group.

The charity has more than 400 members and Sally said during the pandemic a few new people joined.

Tynedale U3A organise regular coffee mornings and monthly meetings.

The latter are open to non-members, and both events take place in Hexham Abbey's Great Hall.

The next monthly meeting will take place on Tuesday, July 5 with a speech by Professor Mike Bentley on 'Living, Working and Doing Scientific Research in Antarctica'.