Coffee Exchange

u3a in Kennet’s Coffee Exchanges are held in the Assembly Room upstairs at Marlborough Town Hall. They’re a great opportunity to meet other u3a in Kennet members, have a chat over coffee, enjoy a thoughtful presentation on local events in Marlborough, and get the latest u3a news.  Members can also let the Executive Committee know what’s on their minds.

For potential new members, this is the best way to learn if u3a in Kennet is for you.

u3a in Kennet Coffee Exchange February 2024

All are welcome!

The last Thursday of every month, doors open at 10.15 with tea & coffee. The talk begin at 11am, and the meeting ends at 12 noon.

Do join us to keep in touch with what is happening in u3a in Kennet.

You don’t want to miss them.

Hope to see you then!

Next Event

Coffee Exchange 23rd May 2024: Wiltshire Air Ambulance

More details to follow shortly.

Past Events

Coffee Exchange 18th April 2024: More Lives than a Cat, with Mike Gardner

u3a in Kennet member Mike Garner talked to us about his fascinating life and escapades as set out in his autobiography ‘More lives than a cat’; flying, building his own planes, romances, and now an active member of u3a in Kennet.

Coffee Exchange 28th March 2024: Poetry Appreciation with Mary Caudell.

A relaxing morning of seasonal poetry readings from our Poetry Appreciation Group on the topic of ‘Spring and new beginnings’, led by Group Leader Mary Caudell. Poetry provided an opportunity to pause from the daily routine, to reflect on important issues and times in our lives, and to appreciate the poet’s skill in the use of language.

Coffee Exchange 29th February 2024: Your Garden Today, with Sonia Wright.

Sonia Wright has a lifetime of experience and a lifelong passion for plants. She has created 3 award-winning gardens at Chelsea Flower Show, and produces all her own plants from seed and propagation. Her talk was all about the blizzard of jobs awaiting all gardeners as the weather improves and everything starts to grow again.

Coffee Exchange 25th January 2024: Marlborough Orchestra Quartets

In a variation to our usual arrangements, we began our 2024 series of events with a musical morning kindly provided by members of the Marlborough Concert Orchestra, some of whom are u3a in Kennet members too. They entertained us with a varied selection of pieces from Mozart, Borodin, Elgar and Holst.

Recording of the Marlborough Concert Orchestra at the January Coffee Exchange

The Orchestra will accompany the Faringdon Singers to perform the Mozart Requiem on Saturday 16 March 2024 at 7:30 pm in the Corn Exchange, Faringdon. They will also hold a Beethoven and Mozart concert from 7.30pm on Saturday 23rd March at St Mary’s church in Marlborough (

Festive Coffee Exchange – 7th December 2023

Coffee, mince pies and carols with the Marlborough Community Choir.

Coffee Exchange 30th November 2023: Crossing the Pond

Mike Morison, our Membership Secretary, presented a talk on ‘Crossing the Pond’. Mike is a former RAF pilot and instructor at Oxford Aviation and described the many and varied activities that are required to ensure a safe and smooth flight from London Heathrow to New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport. presentation

Mike’s presentation is as below. Click the download button below if you wish to download the presentation to your device.

Coffee Exchange 31st August 2023: Family History research

Our speaker, u3a in Kennet member Tony Globe, updated us on the establishment of the new Family History Group. Tony showed us what is available today to help us to build our own family history. Watch the video of his talk below.

Coffee Exchange 27th July 2023: Greatwood Charity

Our speaker was Mariana Baschiera from the Greatwood Charity at Clench Common. Her presentation focussed on the Charity’s therapy work with animals, including horses and dogs. You can see the video of her presentation below.
Information about the work they’re doing in the community this summer is shown below the video.

Coffee Exchange 29th June 2023 – Qidong

Felicity Simpson introduced us to us to Qidong (pronounced Chi gong) which is an ancient form of Chinese medicine using breath control, gentle flowing exercises and meditation to stimulate vital life energy aiming to prevent disease and increase longevity.

The session stimulated much interest and as a consequence I am pleased to confirm that Felicity has agreed to set up a Qigong Group. Further details will follow in our next Newsletter.

Click here to watch the video of Felicity’s talk and demonstration.

Click here to read Felicity’s presentation, and download or save it.

Coffee Exchange 25th May 2023 – Staying Safe Online

Alan Brown from the Bobby Trust talked about the important topic of keeping safe online. Click here to watch the video of Alan’s talk.

Coffee Exchange Thursday 27th April 2023 – Dogs’ Trust

Lucy Maynard of the Dogs’ Trust  talked about the work done by the Trust, how money is raised and how people can volunteer.   Click here to watch the video of Lucy’s talk.

Coffee Exchange Thursday 30th March 2023 – Bay Meadows

Anthony Atkinson’s interesting presentation about the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust, and their project to develop the Bay Meadows site as a nature reserve, stimulated many questions and appreciation of the Trust’s work. We recorded the session and it is available by clicking here – Bay Meadows project. The Trust is also pursuing a project at Great Wood near Grittenham in North Wiltshire – click here for more infomation about the Great Wood project

Coffee Exchange Wednesday 2nd November 2022

This was ‘Hybrid’ Coffee Exchange in Marlborough Town Hall and Zoom.

Our speaker was Sophia Bentley.  She was speaking about:

Salisbury Cathedral

Sophia is a volunteer floor guide at Salisbury Cathedral, where she enjoys meeting visitors as they explore the Cathedral and its surroundings, and all it has to offer.  There is so much history to learn about, and on a guided tour it is possible to be shown things, and be told many interesting stories about the architecture, the many different tombs, windows and of course our 1215 copy of Magna Carta.

In her talk to the u3a, Sophia took us on a similar tour as she gave plenty of background history to the building of the Cathedral, highlighting particular points of interest which you can see, as well as pointing out any links with the Marlborough area and Salisbury Cathedral.  Sophia’s talk was illustrated with some beautiful photos, alongside some useful tips about planning a visit of your own.

Coffee Exchange Thursday 24th November 2022 10:45

This was a ‘Hybrid’ Coffee Exchange! in Marlborough Town Hall and Zoom.

The Wansdyke

The last Coffee Morning talk of 2022 was given by Eileen Hill, a key member of our Local History Group.

Eileen says:  ‘Many of us will be familiar with the distinctive feature of the Wiltshire landscape known as the Wansdyke.  Its origins are a bit of an enigma, but its impact as it snakes along the Downs between Devizes and Marlborough is undeniable.’  Eileen will talk us through a series of maps and photos taken along the length of the route in a virtual ‘Walk along Wansdyke’ and refer to the work that has been done by historians and archaeologists to understand its significance.

Coffee Exchange Thursday 26th January 2023

This was a ‘Hybrid’ Coffee Exchange in Marlborough Town Hall and using Zoom.

Chalk, the Bedrock of our Lives

Robert Fitzpatrick was speaking on how bedrock affects our current lives.

Most people view chalk simply as an out of date scribbling instrument.  Instead it is fascinating: unusual in both time and space, a prolific oil reservoir, a building material and with a considerable impact on our immediate landscape and even the distribution of horse racing and UK population.

We are most fortunate to live on chalk in the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty which provide the ideal conditions for chalk-loving flowers, insects and rare butterflies and internationally rare chalk streams that support some of the UK’s most threatened and fragile plants and animals.

Robert FitzPatrick is a geologist and has 40 years of geological experience:  Far East, Africa and the North Sea.