Manning Valley University of the Third Age (U3A) hosted a special luncheon at Club Taree to celebrate and commemorate 20 years of 'Learning for Life' by seniors in the Manning Valley.
Members were welcomed by president Lina Ingram who introduced guests local MP Stephen Bromhead, mayor David West and U3A regional representative Bob Birrer.
Following the buffet lunch, a special cake was cut and shared.
Manning Valley U3A began in May 1999 with Betty Harding gathering public support, with the assistance of Judith Johnston of the Neighbourhood Centre and Lions Club funding.
A steering committee started off with eight courses and under 60 members in July-August 1999.
Members of the initial committee still involved and present at the lunch were Bob Beardmore, Lucia Bokulic, and Ern and Pam Hollebone, all of whom spoke about the early years and their delight to see U3A continue and prosper.
A display of memorabilia comprising photos, video, magazine and newspaper articles, a booklet of writings from the Creative Expressionists group of the early years and a 10 year anniversary booklet of class leader profiles produced by Maggie Abberley sparked happy memories.
Current members wrote their sentiments about the positive influence of U3A in their lives which will soon be collated into a booklet.
The current enrolments are 405 members with 21 popular courses, varying from term to term and including social activities and special events. The tradition of members teaching and learning together, will continue with new Term 3 enrolments on July 22.
Founder Betty Harding summed up the U3A philosophy neatly: "But the greatest achievement of the U3A is the bringing together of older people with a lifetime of experience, education and knowledge to share, and the friendships that have formed, the wonderful feeling of intellectual growth that continues, and the pure enjoyment we gain from the exchange of ideas and skills."