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Creative Writing in u3a

woman and pen

Creative writing has been centre of movement over the last month. In this article, we take some time to look at some of our talented u3a creative writers and what’s been going on across the movement.

u3a Creative Writing Competition

The winners of the u3a Creative Writing Competition were announced this month. Over 300 members entered the short story competition and at the STAR award ceremony, u3a members from across the movement came together to celebrate creative writing and hear the stories from the three winners.

Alysoun Owen, editor of the Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook published by Bloomsbury and one of the judges for this year’s competition, says, “I think this competition is a great testament to u3a and also to the amazing talent within u3a writing groups.”

u3a Creative Writing Groups

There are so many u3a creative writing groups across the movement who come together to find creative and fun ways to write together and share their love for this.

There are too many for us to share all the amazing stories from members but we have chosen to share this really special story from Dyfi u3a in memory of group member, Eithne.

Val, a member of the group, explains the background of the story; “Eithne, one of our 10 strong creative writing group, and a winner of a short story competition, had an idea that would keep us ‘on the go.’  Why not start a joint story and we all agreed.

So Eithne started off  the first joint story and the sequence that followed was from names drawn from a hat with a co-ordinator sending  her version to the next person.

Sadly, Eithne died before she had a chance to see what a success the group had become.

“In memory of Eithne,  we have carried on with her idea and we are now on our 10th joint effort.” – Val, Dyfi u3a

Dyfi u3a’s Story

It was a really nice day- mixed sunshine and clouds, a gentle little breeze and a hint of spring in the air. At last the house was tidy (ish), beds made and everything ready for the overnight visitors. We felt we deserved a bit of relaxation and what could be better than to take the dog to the beach. It’s doggy heaven there. She races around like a puppy fetching sticks but too excited to wait for us to throw them for her, sometimes stopping for a few seconds to dig a hole, then dashing off again. At the end of our lane where the cliff path starts, there’s a tumbledown shed. Usually we don’t take any notice of it, but, that day Ruby who had run on ahead, stopped and started growling.
End of Eithne’s

Wonder what’s in that shed that’s bothering Ruby thought John. With some difficulty he opened the door and to his astonishment he saw three figures huddled In a corner, a man, a woman and a small child. “Pat. come quickly please” They were terrified as John tried to explain that he wasn’t going to hurt them but, they obviously didn’t understand as he asked who they were. So he tried talking to them first in French then Italian and as a last resort Arabic (which he had learned in Saudi Arabia year ago) To his delight they understood him. “Who are you and what are you doing here”? It transpired, the man was called Karam, his wife Aylaf and their 5 year old son Abbus. Last night they had been dumped on the beach below and had found their way up the cliff path to the shed. “We will have to take them home “ said Pat “ and decide what to do next”
End of Val’s

Its was difficult for them to make any decision on the spare of the moment. The fact that they had been basically dumped made them illegal. They both knew that they would either have to hand them over to the authorities or keep them undercover at their home, with all the complications and subterfuge that this would entail. At the best they agreed they would give them some respite, food and overnight shelter. The following morning, when they had all woken up, Karam told his story.
End of Junes

Pat thought how much better they all looked for a shower, some food, a change of clothes and a decent nights sleep. She was pleased she’d kept her grandsons outgrown clothes for Abbus. She was even more pleased with the adult clothes she had found for Karam and Aylaf to wear, despite hanging off their bony shoulders, were a vast improvement on the dusty stained garments they’d been wearing when found. They now sat, close together around the large kitchen table, each staring down at their porridge. John had already made the decision he would contact the authorities but realised that this had the potential to cause a major disagreement between them all.
End of Pat’s

What to do next, obviously the little family had suffered a great deal and gone through a very traumatic time in their bid for a new life away from the fear and terror that they must have lived through. John felt that he really had no option but to get on the phone. He averted his eyes away from the group and walked into the hall to be away from the expectant looks from their visitors.. His fingers hovered over the phone, what would their future hold, -he really had no option.
End of Jean’s

As his hand rested on the receiver, John noticed a small face peering at him from the open kitchen door. Two huge brown eyes bored into him. Abbus was busily stroking Ruby’s luxurious head. He smiled shyly at John “sadiqi effendi” (my friend Sir) and he continued to run his small hand over the dog’s fur..John was overcome with self loathing. What had this little boy been subjected to – what atrocities had he seen ? How could I betray hem now” he thought.? He called to Pat “We need to talk dear” Quickly and quietly they discussed what action to take. “I’ll ring Bruce right away” said Pat. Bruce was her brother who owned a soft fruit farm in a small village near Evesham.. He also had several caravans on his land which he let out in the summer. Maybe, just maybe this could be a short term solution. After all, the farm employed casual workers and nowadays they were becoming more difficult to hire. She dialled Bruce’s number.
End of Maggie Ingleston’s and Pat H’s

After talking to her brother at length, Pat put the phone down. She experienced a feeling of elation of satisfaction and realised how pleased she was that she had taken that action. Her brother Bruce had set her mind at rest as he had offered to house the family in a caravan on his land and was glad to give them work on a short term basis , picking fruit. Also, his wife who was a teacher, would teach them some English which would be very beneficial . Both Pat and John had previously agreed that, after a period of time, allowing the family to settle, the authorities would be informed.. They agreed that, as Karam was a doctor and Aylaf a physiotherapist, they would be looked at favourably, and given asylum. Pat felt so relieved for the family after the ordeal they had suffered. She went to finish her breakfast and hoped John would know enough Arabic to relay the good news to them. !!!
End of Monica’s version

The family were delighted that temporary accommodation had been found for them and said they were very happy to work on the farm. While Pat and Aylaf were sorting out some provisions to start them off in their new home, John took Karam to one side.
“As you know you have entered this country illegally and it is my duty to report you. If I don’t I too could be in trouble with the law. However you have told me that you are a Christian in an oppressive regime and that you feared for your lives. However, you both have professions which are in short supply at the moment. In Britain. I am not a lawyer but, I think you stand a very good chance of getting political asylum. I also am a Christian and as such would like to give you some leeway. May I suggest you take a little time to recover from your horrendous journey, try to learn some English and find a bit about life in this country. You cannot spend your whole life fleeing from authorities and always looking over your shoulder. It is no fair on you, Aylaf and especially Abbus. He needs to go to school and lead a new life, free from fear. You and Aylaf need to do the work you were trained for as you both will be an asset to our National Health Service” Karam thanked John for his advice and Pat for all they had done for them. He promised he would contact the police as soon as they had recovered from their ordeal and would never forget the kindness shown to them , by strangers, in their hour of need.
End of Margaret (V)’s version

See more on creative writing on our Learning Pages