HALF PRICE OFFER Subscribe to Essex Life today CLICK HERE

Join a club in Saffron Walden

13:10 10 January 2011

Residents in Saffron Walden are spoilt for choice when it comes to trying a new activity. Joanne Jarvis meets just some of the town's social sets

Dance the night away


With dance shows such as the BBCs Strictly Come Dancing dominating the TV schedules, it is no wonder that dance schools have had an influx of people who want to learn a new skill, have fun and get fitter. The Saffron School of Dance, situated on the towns High Street, is no exception.
Theresa Goddard, principal of the Saffron School of Dance, teaches a variety of dances to youngsters as young as 18 months old through to adults, including adult tap dancing, belly dancing, quick step, ballroom and foxtrot.
The former dancer began teaching dance at a village hall in the town with just 20 members and now she teaches almost 400 men, women and children, six times a week.
Theresa explains: I have lived in Saffron Walden for as long as I can remember, so it was an obvious place to set up my school. It has been very successful with people of all shapes and sizes taking part. Dancing is a great thing to do. Its not only therapeutic (because people tend to forgot all their problems), but its a great way to keep fit as its more fun than going to the gym.
Its also got an end product because it enables people to learn a new skill and meet new people. Children also get a lot of enjoyment out of it and it builds their confidence which is really important.
Even Theresas five grandchildren, aged between five and 16, attend the school.
Its something Ive always loved doing, Theresa adds. I get a lot of satisfaction out of helping my students to pass their exams and go on to be successful dance teachers or performers on stage.



To find out more about the school or to join, call Theresa Goddard on 01799 525098. Eight-week courses for beginners in quick step, ballroom and the foxtrot are held twice a year as well as regular classes in tap, belly dancing and ballet. Theresas students will be doing their next dance show at Easter

University of the Third Age


If you would like to learn a new skill in the company of like-minded people, Saffron Waldens University of the Third Age could be just the club for you.
The club is part of an international network of U3As set up in the UK with the aim of encouraging people aged 50 and over and no longer in full-time employment to continue learning. Saffron Walden U3A was set up in 1982 and was one of the first in the country. Classes and activities are organised by members and include art, bird watching, bridge, crafts, history, French conversation, keep fit, line dancing, literature, music, pilates, play reading, poetry, rambling, scrabble, swimming, and tai chi.
Chairman John Letchford, who joined in 2008, explains: People join the U3A to associate with like-minded individuals in pursuing interests and activities which are best conducted as groups and to maintain their zest for life.
Last year we had almost 450 members and we are heading for a similar number this year. Ages range from 50 to those who have received a telegram from the Queen.
The group does not have any premises of its own so classes are held at members homes while larger meetings take place in hired halls. Its own members teach most classes, although some require a professional tutor.
There is also an open meeting on the third Monday of each month at which members are brought up to date with U3A announcements and then listen to a guest speaker. These meetings are held at the Saffron Walden Bowling Club during the autumn and spring terms and at the United Reformed Church Hall during the summer term.
Members also have the opportunity to go on trips organised by the Theatre and Travel Group. These visits have been to places such as country houses, the theatre, opera and classical music concerts, and even educational holidays.
John adds: You can come along to one of our meetings or to a taster session at one of our classes. You will be amazed at the number of people who, just like you, think that the joy of learning and socialising does not diminish as we get older. Instead, like fine wine, it matures and refines, especially when shared with friends.



For more information call John Letchford on 01799 522552

Life behind the lens


Budding photographers have no excuse not to develop their camera skills with Saffron Walden Camera Club on their doorstep. The club, which is based at Saffron Walden Day Centre in Hill Street, provides a varied programme of lectures, demonstrations and practical sessions on photographic technique for people of all ages and abilities.
The club was reformed in 1981 and every year since then it has held an exhibition of its work in the Corn Exchange Library in the centre of Saffron Walden. During this period, photography has undergone a major revolution and film has been entirely replaced by digital imaging.
Club secretary Tony Sweet was one of the first to join the club nearly 30 years ago. He explains: Photography has been my lifetime hobby and I have always had a darkroom. The aim of the group is to promote and encourage interest in the art and science of photography by means of discussions, lectures and demonstrations, or by any other means. We have a number of studio sessions where members can improve their skills in portraiture and also surgery evenings are held for giving members practical help on various technical issues.
One of the most important things is to take a critical look at each others work and a programme of various competitions is held to encourage members to show their best work. Comparing our work with that of other clubs is also important and inter-club battles are arranged to stimulate this.
The club is affiliated to the East Anglian Federation of Photographic Societies, which comprises 120 clubs throughout East Anglia. The organisation offers support to clubs by providing lists of speakers and judges who are prepared to visit local clubs. It also arranges special events bringing in speakers from outside the region which small clubs, such as Saffron Walden Camera Club, would not otherwise be
able to afford.
Saffron Walden Camera Club currently has around 30 members aged from 18 to people in their early nineties. It is always fascinating, when a group of members go to the same location, to see how many different pictures they come back with, Tony adds. People usually join because they want to improve their photography. We dont do any formal training courses, but personal help is provided when needed. The best thing about being a member is being able to enjoy photography more with like minded-people.
Tony explained that members get a lot out of joining the group including, greater confidence in using their equipment in a variety of circumstances and expanded artistic horizons by becoming a member.
The club meets on alternate Friday evenings from September until May. Although the club takes a three-month break in the summer, club outings to places of photographic interest are held throughout the year.



For more information visit www.swcamclub.org to see the clubs programme. Those interested are also welcome to attend two or three meetings as a guest before deciding whether or not to join

0 comments

Shop with us at Great British Life

More from Out & About

Yesterday, 11:14
Rettendon Church

This walk around Rettendon is evidence that Essex is not as flat as it appears, with some good views of the Essex countryside on offer from various places along the way

Read more
Yesterday, 10:22
Frinton Beach

Our Great British seaside resorts come in all shapes and sizes, but few are quite as unique as Frinton on Sea. Petra Hornsby speaks to some of the key players who make Frinton a summer sensation

Read more
Yesterday, 09:58
(c) David Branco

Beautiful Essex: stunning photographs of Essex from David Branco

Read more
Monday, June 20, 2016
Water vole

Water voles in Essex: Andrew Fallan shares his expertise in Essex wildlife, sharing his views on the conservation and environmental issues that we face

Read more
Monday, June 20, 2016
Ammophila sabulosa

Find out more about the county’s bird life from RSPB every month. This month: the creatures of Canvey Wick

Read more
Monday, June 20, 2016
Grab your picnic basket and picnic food

Wicker baskets at the ready! Us Brits jump at the chance to pack a picnic basket in search of somewhere peaceful for an afternoon spent eating, drinking and soaking up whatever sun we can. We picked some of the best picnic places in Essex

Read more
Monday, June 13, 2016
Southend

Of all Britain’s coastal counties, Essex can surely claim to be one of the best. With more than 350 miles of shoreline to choose from, the Essex coast is very much what you make of it, so even on those days when you’re planning a little run out to the seaside and want more than just the beach, Essex has the answer

Read more
Monday, June 13, 2016
Cuckoo by Andy Morffew

In May we welcome the summer influx of migrant birds

Read more
Monday, June 6, 2016
Brown Hare at Blue House Farm by Peter Hewitt

Essex is densely packed with wildlife: from nature and bird reserves to reservoirs and woodlands, we have picked some amazing wildlife spots in Essex

Read more
Monday, June 6, 2016
Havering Museum

Why not get out and about and visit some of the great local sites that are on your doorstep? Gemma Smith reveals some of the more unexpected highlights to see in the south of the county

Read more

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Local Business Directory

Essex's trusted business finder

Job search in your local area




Search For a Car In Your Area

Property Search