Causeway & Chimney Tops

How We Started

The very large and successful Causeway U3A began through a combination of chance and hard work. It all started in 1995 when Mrs. Rae Morrison of Portstewart met Tim Connolly of Foyle U3A and noticed he was wearing a distinctive tie. She asked what it was and was told U3A, so she said "What’s that?" From small beginnings, and if Tim had worn a different tie that day…..The first meeting was held in a room provided at the former Coleraine Council Offices in Cloonavin with about 8 people present. Two visitors from Foyle & District U3A addressed the group, offering encouragement and advice.

Causeway U3A was officially opened as the second U3A in Northern Ireland on Wednesday 4 October 1995 in Coleraine Leisure Centre. Dr Brian Caul presided and introduced representatives from the First Trust Bank to speak about “The Risks and Rewards of Investment”. Financial topics, along with local history, travel and health, have been a regular feature at monthly meetings ever since. Other early activities included bridge, swimming and keep-fit. For a time there were also successful links with other groups in Malahide and Letterkenny.

Membership Growth

The earliest available record of membership numbers shows that in April 1998 there were 82 members. Subsequent years have shown a rapid growth:

Year Members Year Members Year Members Year Members
1999 103 2004 485 2009 760 2014 950
2000 132 2005 593 2010 809 2015 938
2001 240 2006 650 2011 853 2016 975
2002 320 2007 710 2012 868 2017 10
2003 398 2008 721 2013 895

On 29 January 1996, the committee was elected. Our thanks go to the first Chair, Rae Morrison, for her initiative and hard work to start the group and raise funds. Subsequent holders of the Chairman position have been:

Year Chair Year Chair Year Chair Year Chair
1995 Rae Morrison 2001 Joe Austin 2007 Judith Hegan 2013 Jerry Sayers
1996 Rae Morrison 2002 Joe Austin 2008 Judith Hegan 2014 Jerry Sayers
1997 Harry Downham 2003 Gwen Appleby 2009 Stuart Pollard 2015 Keith Browne (Acting)
1998 Fancis McAllister 2004 Gwen Appleby 2010 Stuart Pollard 2016 Keith Browne
1999 Gill Michael 2005 Gordon Ward 2011 Cliodhna Rae
2000 Gill Michael 2006 Gordon Ward 2012 Cliodhna Rae