The first AGM of the Ballymoney U3A was held on 3rd May at the Old Court House in Charlotte Street. It was well attended by members who filled the hall.
The retiring Chairman, Geoffrey Robinson and Treasurer, Marion McDowell, gave their reports, which were approved by the meeting.
The main business of the meeting was the election of the new Committee, conducted by Anne Marie Bradley from the Londonderry U3A. The meeting elected Marie Hegarty as chairperson, Marion McDowell as treasurer, Jenny Kerr as assistant treasurer, Julie Hudson as secretary, Jackie Cochrane and Sam Cochrane to share the job of membership secretary. Geoffrey Robinson and Jean Philp* were also elected onto the Committee.
Mavis Turner, from the Belfast U3A, who helped set up the Ballymoney group early last year, attended the meeting. She gave a short talk about her pleasure in setting up U3As, the number of which has grown considerably, now numbering 23 in Northern Ireland. She conducted the election of Zoe Morgan as examiner of accounts. The first year Accounts, 2015 to 2016, had been approved. The Constitution was also approved and adopted.
On display at the rear of the room was an exhibition of photographs. Davy Smyth, Photography Group facilitator, talked about the progress of the group and his pleasure in the improvement of the member’s work, as shown in the exhibition.
A U3A members’ trip has been organised for 5th July, when the Cookstown area will be visited. The trip will include the Garden Centre in Maghera. Next is a planned visit to Lissan House, outside Cookstown, then the Wellbrook Mill, a National Trust Property. Members are welcome to join together for an optional meal afterwards at the Brown Trout.
After the business, the main speaker at the meeting was U3A member, Reverend Frances Bach, formerly rector of Armoy, Loughguile and Drumtallagh. Her enlightening subject was “Human Trafficking in Northern Ireland”. In a statement, Frances has said: “Did you know that human trafficking is a huge industry in Northern Ireland? And that you probably walk past trafficked humans, or premises in which they work, far more often than you imagine? And that the level of demand in Northern Ireland for one of the industries trafficked humans work in, prostitution, is per capita among the highest in Europe?”