Category Archives: Health & Wellbeing

Hearing dogs for deaf people

For the November meeting sadly, we had a low number of attendees. However, those who attended were pleased to welcome Jenny along with her Hearing Dog Tazzy – a two year old black Labrador and also her former HD Molly who is now retired. Liz (a hearing dog socialiser and group member) bought along Eden a 7 month old Cockerpoo. We were able to see the full spectrum of Hearing Dogs – 1 just  learning, 1 a young qualified working dog and 1 former working dog who still happily lives with Jenny alongside Tazzy.
Jenny was able to explain life as a deaf person both before and after a hearing dog and how life changed for her when she was given her first HD Jango so many years ago. Jenny ‘went’ deaf later in life and so she was able to function with communication skills formerly learnt as a hearing person. However, life became more and more difficult for her and it was suggested to her that a hearing dog may be the answer. Enquiries were made of the Charity who were in their infancy and she qualified. She went on to tell us that the Charity is celebrating 30 years this year and have gone from strength to strength, now with a successful breeding programme they are able to help the rising number of people with hearing problems. Both adults and children are now considered – they have come a long way in the 30 years !
Jenny, was able to answer questions explaining that although deaf, she could lip read. All too soon it was teatime although members continued to chat and make a fuss of the dogs. (They were both hopeful of a chocolate biscuit but unlucky !!)
Sally gave out U3A notices regarding the next couple of months and thanked those members for coming.

Princes Risborough – Shops and Shopkeepers

On the 1st of September we had an exceptional number of both members and visitors who joined us for an afternoon with the popular Michael Payne. His talk highlighted the local shopping area both past and present with an interesting slide show. One slide showing Granny’s Pantry at the Market Square end of the High Street created much interest as few remembered it having been sited there. They had always known it more in the middle of the Town in the now Indian Restaurant next to Shaw Trust. The trip down memory lane certainly bought back many memories of the very busy shopping area and also the many different shops and characters all of which made up our ‘then’ bustling market town. Following many questions we enjoyed our refreshments and continued to discuss our topic.

It was a very pleasant and informative afternoon

The British Red Cross

  • Today we had a lesser number of people but as it’s August, expect them to have been on holiday.
    Those in attendance were pleased to welcome Jenny Eveleigh a Red Cross Trainer who was able to give us an overview of the British Red Cross and its overseas organization.
    Initially a businessman named Henri Dunant founded the organization (more by chance) when he organized his villagers to treat casualties in a War torn area from, both sides and they went on to save many lives. Henri wrote a book of this action raising money and as a result the National Society in Switzerland was borne. (1870) Henri along with four other businessman set
    about sorting ideas of what could be expected of the Group. It was later that the UK felt that this organization should be a part of great Britain and so Colonel Robert James Lloyd-Lindsay in London published a letter stating his vision of an organization assisting in war torn areas, giving aid to both sides, as well as assisting with aid for all disaster victims. The Red Cross is thus as
    we know it today relying on donations to provide aid to flood victims, fire victims either abroad or at home. Interestingly, The Red Cross is Protected and at all times stands on “neutral ground”.
    Jenny also highlighted the assistance given at a more local level and they are able to supply mobility aids/independent living, assisting in a safe exchange from hospital to home, shopping, patient transport services, and also the provision of First Aid Courses in the local area. Should a disaster occur (Grenfell Towers fire) then they were able to co-ordinate aid/clothing/food
    bank etc for the residents with support vehicles etc on hand. It was a very informative talk and Jenny bought many leaflets etc which highlighted the various assistances on offer. We were then treated to a short “hands-on” First Aid demonstration ably assisted by Marci – also very informative.
    Jenny then steered us to the website “” which has a host of useful information. Sally thanked Jenny for her interesting talk and gave out notices. She particularly mentioned the need for members to think about joining the U3A committee and gave a brief insight. Refreshments were served.



“Reminisces Sans Frontieres”

We had only a very small number who attended the July meeting when Mr Matthew Welling gave us a talk named “Reminisces Sans Frontieres”.  Mr Welling had, for most of his working life, worked Abroad and throughout had noticed the different variations from Country to Country. These variations could be time differences all over the world, which side of the road different countries drove, various languages throughout and how the world was accepting of these variations, to name but a few. He was able to share with us his many interesting anecdotes from around the World. Food for thought !!
Sally thanked Mr Welling and gave out notices. Following refreshments the meeting closed

Action on Hearing Loss

At our meeting  on Friday 2nd June we welcomed Helen and Lucy from the Buckinghamshire Integrated Sensory Services formerly known as the RNID. They are based in Aylesbury at 44 Wedgewood Street Fairford Leys, Aylesbury (01296479970)

BISS provide support for adults, children and young people with sight or hearing loss which includes Visually Impaired, Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Deafblind adults. Lucy will visit your home and talk to you about the support or equipment you may need; the assessment is free and can be arranged by contacting BISS. They can give help on e.g. Registration of sight and dual sensory loss as well as hearing loss; Training for safe independent travel;  Equipment provision with demonstrations; Benefits advice.

Lucy also gave us a demonstration on some of the equipment to help with hearing loss. Many many question were ask and answered by Helen and Lucy – in fact we nearly didn’t have time for a tea break. A very enjoyable and informative afternoon.




Falls and Age UK

Health and Wellbeing Friday 5th May 2017

Anne welcomed over 30 members to our meeting and we welcomed two speakers for the afternoon. Anne explained that our first speaker is Sue Gehnich from Buckinghamshire Age UK and Dr Raj Thakkar and Sophia Wilson from the Falls Risk Team, south Buckinghamshire Trust.

Firstly Sue gave us a very good insight into what services  Buckinghamshire Age UK were able to give and assist with. They are based in Aylesbury at 145 Meadowcroft,HP19 9HH. (01296 431911). They are a local independent charity working throughout our County. They support people to maintain their independence for as long as they wish and make more of later life. They are a first contact for information and advice on a wide range of issues affecting older people, their families and carers.

They are able to give advice and help on eg. Welfare Benefits (to include a welfare benefit check) and can provide regular home visits by volunteers who are able to offer a friendly chat, obtain prescriptions, shopping trips, social outings, and getting to appointments. Loneliness is of course a large part of “getting old” and even a phone call with a listening ear can boost the feeling of isolation. This can be a free service. However, for a commercial charge they are able to introduce clients to a Handyperson Service, Neat Feet, Hairdressing, Computer training, Help in the home, Garden Maintenance and much more.

They have a charity shop in the High Street, Aylesbury (they are not funded and receive no government assistance). Access to a range of services and products which can be tailor made for clients, is available. Sue also brought along many leaflets which were very interesting and useful in explaining the service. She encouraged us to give them a ring if we are in need of assistance or advice.

Our second speaker was in relation to our risk of falls in later life. Dr Raj Thakkar from the South Bucks Hospital Trust along with Sophia Wilson gave us a “whistle stop” tour !

Raj explained that 50% of falls can be avoided and with 30% of those over 65 falling at least once a year ! He explained that we should take a look at our environment and ourselves as we have many hazards which can be removed and thus avoid accidents. (Loose rugs/mats, worn door mats, slippers worn and a bad fit, bed covers around the bottom of bed – the list is endless). Our life style may need to change and there are many things we can do to avoid a fall. He was also concerned as to how to get up from a fall and to keep our muscles strong (exercise) especially our legs. He suggested standing up from a chair without “holding on” (practice) – move about more – and think before getting out of bed in a hurry (give ourselves time to raise our blood pressure and concentrate when moving around at night – put the night light on !). We could apply for an alarm button to alert should we fall. Lots of helpful tips ! Don’t take unnecessary risks and whilst we should attempt to keep fit and healthy we should also listen to our bodies !!

There is a YouTube link which gives further information :-

We had refreshments and notices and the afternoon was most enjoyable andinformative.


Hughenden Manor

A smaller group than of late (perhaps it was the beautiful sunshine surprise !) but nevertheless we were pleased to welcome Mr Bernie Knill a volunteer from Hughenden Manor who had returned for a second time to complete the history of Hughenden Manor and to tell the group about the little known, and important use of the Manor during the Second World War. Continue reading Hughenden Manor


Blood Bikes

On 3rd March Health and Wellbeing had a visit from Alastair Borland MBE who is Chairman and an active member of the Rapid Response Medical Transport Service which is a Registered Charity and delivers blood, platelets, plasma, samples, vaccines, pharmaceuticals, X-rays, scans, donor breast milk and any other urgently needed medical items out ofhours, free of charge to the NHS. Alastair gave us a brief history of the little known service which started, by chance, by Margaret Rice offering to go to the Brentwood Blood Bank to collect some much needed blood for her dangerously ill husband (out of hours).

There is no out of hours service to deliver urgent bloods etc and without this service deliveries may go via Taxi, Courier or even an ambulance (taking it out of service to make this delivery) and therefore is a costly exercise ! This out of hours/emergency service is run by volunteers with motorcycles who are on-call 7pm-6am weekdays and cover weekends and all bank holidays. Motorcycles enable a rapid response both quickly and efficiently particularly in heavy traffic. The service operates mostly between NHS and medical establishments with a bank of riders available for service and there is a rota of three bikers per shift although others can be deployed as and when.

All riders are voluntary and do not receive payment, they are like minded “bikers” both male and female who give their time for free. It costs an average of £6500 per annum for fuel, servicing, maintenance and repairs for each of the dedicated response bikes. (This does not include purchasing bikes/replacement, equipment, training, insurance and other costs). Ten bikes with trackers, satnav, and sirens as fitted, are in service and as these are heavily used these require upkeep and indeed regular replacement. Riders for the service are highly qualified with advance qualifications and undertake induction to include route/hospital contact point training complete with an exam. The service runs across Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire Hospitals and is very well used ! This service has been running for 12 years and yet the majority of the meeting were unaware of its existence. A real eye opener for us all!

( or