University of the Third Age movement, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year.I'm mightily impressed by the
There are 840 U3As in the country and count 275,000 members, who are mostly retired people. There is no formal teaching as such.
Each is independently run and at their heart are volunteer, unpaid co-ordinators who lead study groups on an alphabet of subjects.
Or nearly. My local has classes that range from Art Appreciation to Yoga. It calls itself the U3A in London, because it was the first in the capital - there are more now - and is based at old Hampstead Town Hall.
I joined last week and have yet to decide which of a 160 study groups to join. But on the basis of two brief introductory visits, the expression "You're only as old a you feel" has taken on a whole new meaning.
With the shining example of fellow-members who wear their years so lightly my 70th birthday in 2015 now seems more a cause for celebration than despair.