An organisation for retired and semi-retired individuals – started in the Hexham Courant – is celebrating its 40th anniversary with a series of events and festivities.

To kick off the celebrations for Tynedale u3a, nearly 100 members gathered at the Mart in Hexham on Saturday to enjoy a splendid afternoon tea.

Chairperson Wendy Dale expressed her delight at the large turnout, highlighting the organisation's active and vibrant nature.

Notable attendee Councillor Fay Hartland, Deputy Mayor of Hexham, shared similar sentiments, expressing her pleasure at seeing such a sizeable gathering.

She had recently learned more about Tynedale u3a and its activities through an interview conducted by Hexham TV.

The party-goers were treated to live entertainment by local group Gaja, featuring u3a member Adrian Woolley on guitar, Grahame Easthope on tenor sax, Anthony Wilson on drums, and John Ridley on bass.

The Mart provided a spread of sandwiches, savouries, scones, cakes, and meringues, adding to the festive atmosphere.

Attendees enjoyed catching up with old friends and making new acquaintances.

Tynedale u3a originated in 1983 when three individuals placed an advertisement in the Courant, inviting interested individuals to attend a meeting at the Beaumont Hotel on April 21 of that year.

Eight people responded to the call, leading to the formation of Tynedale Leisure Learning, later renamed Tynedale u3a.

In March 1984, the organisation formally affiliated with the UK u3a movement, becoming one of the first nine u3as in the country and the first in the Northeast.

Over the years, membership has steadily grown and currently boasts nearly 500 members ranging in age from their 50s to 90s.

With over 50 interest groups, monthly talks, and various events and visits, Tynedale u3a offers a fulfilling and engaging experience for those no longer in full-time work.

To find out more about the organization and its activities, visit their website at