A RUTHIN IT specialist wowed the town's u3a group with his presentation of spectacular underwater photography

Dave Snape, an IT specialist living in Ruthin, made a welcome return at the end of September to the Rugby Club for the u3a's general meeting.

Two years after his Zoom presentation brightened members’ lives back in the dark days of the Covid lockdown, Dave took his audience on a journey entitled ‘Around the World of Underwater Photography’, with images of parrotfish sleeping in bubbles of mucus; jawfish giving birth by spitting babies from their mouths; white tipped sharks amongst the fan corrals; and a poisonous blue ringed octopus lurking in the shallows.

Dave describes his popular presentation as “a trip around the world, as I show why photography under water is very different to photography on the surface."

He said: "We cover some 30,000 air miles and a further 1,000 miles over-land, on a trip covering the UK, Europe, Africa, Indonesia, Australia, South Asia and the Caribbean.”

The u3a (University of the Third Age, or p3o in Welsh) is a national and international organisation for people who are retired or no longer in full time work. It began in Toulouse, France in 1973 and spread to the UK in the 1980’s. Its name comes from the idea that your “first age” is the world of school, college and university; your “second age” is the world of work and career; but your “third age” is whatever you choose to make it when you no longer have to work. Its motto is “Learn, laugh, live!”

Ruthin and District u3a, which began in April 2015, is a registered charity and member of Denbighshire Voluntary Services Council (DVSC). It is made up of more than 30 activity groups, from Badminton to Bird Watching, Singing to Spanish, Walking to Whist, all based on members’ own hobbies and interests. New groups form all the time.

Although there are no age restrictions, members tend to be mostly older people, and the u3a tends to be popular with recently retired people looking for a new social life.

The group held a packed open day in the Old Courthouse in Ruthin on September 23 as part of the Town Council’s 2023 Ruthin Future series of events. Tables displayed a wide range of local u3a activities, the choir sang, and the Ukulele Group played as new members queued to sign up.


Anyone who is curious can come for free to a monthly General Meeting to find out what the u3a is all about, and where membership forms are available. Membership costs £15 a year, which covers as many groups and activities as members can fit in.

The next general meeting is on Halloween (October 31), when Derek Arnold will be telling the story of Eddie Chapman, the criminal and wartime spy known as Agent Zigzag. Chapman was notorious as a villain, conman, jailbird, womanizer, double agent and friend of Ian Fleming. Doors open at 10am, and the dark tale begins at 10.30am.

To find out more, email dmhislop@gmail.com