Ivanhoe Ashby de la Zouch U3A U3A Group Logo

Monthly Meetings

We meet at 2 pm on the fourth Tuesday of the month at the Congregational Church, Kilwardby St, Ashby.
There is normally a guest speaker or, in December, musical entertainment.
This is followed by tea, coffee and biscuits and a chance to meet and talk with other members.

Future programme
DateSpecial EventsSpeakerSubject

Tue 28th AprRoger Bisgrove"Leicestershire Industrialists and their legacy"
Tue 26th MayMike Storr"Masters of Mirth"
Tue 23rd JunKath Reynolds"Goose grease and brown paper"
Tue 28th JulJoan Hathern"Meanings of dreams"
Tue 25th Aug10th anniversary celebrations with Cream TeaGresley Male Voice Choir
Tue 22nd SepMartin Hanson"Church bell ringing"
Tue 27th OctIan Morgan"Pestilence"
Tue 24th NovSandy Leong"A nice cup of tea"
Tue 15th DecChristmas FareConcordia Choir
Tue 26th JanPeter Liddle"Houses of the Hastings"
Tue 23rd FebAlbright Pottery
Tue 23rd MarJulie Ede"Marilym Monroe"

Tea Rota, Meeters & Greeters, Reporting Groups

MonthTea GroupMeet & GreetReporting Groups
Tue 28th AprMargaret Aspinal, Eileen Taylor, Margaret LawrenceNeil & Lesley RobertsFamily History and Gardening
Tue 26th MayLynn & Richard Basham, Avril Wilson, Glenys MorriceHistory and Industrial Heritage
Tue 23rd JunSid & Ann Clark, Neil RobertsItalian and Literature
Tue 28th JulJulia Fraser, Henry Sharples, Sue & Phil BloorLunch and Medium Walks
Tue 25th AugThe Committee for the 10th Anniversary Cream Teanone
Tue 22nd SepSandra Fox, Brenda DummerMusic Appreciation and Quiz
Tue 27th OctKevin & Christine GreenRecorder, Social Events and Short Walks
Tue 24th NovJenny & Pete Slawson, Bridget & Jim FairwaySupper Club, Trips and Walking
Tue 22nd DecThe Committee for Christmas Farenone

25th February "Dancing with Diana" by Colin Hill

Colin Hill was for more than 20 years a 'close protection officer' with the Metropolitan Police ('the Met'). Colin explained that in ordinary parlance a close protection officer might be called a bodyguard. Colin grew up on a council estate in Rushden at No 3 Balmoral Ave. He didn't know at the time that he would in later life be dancing with the Queen Mother at Balmoral House. In his early twenties, Colin was working at an engineering firm near Bedford when he saw an advertisement for the Met. They were recruiting young officers to join them in London. Colin applied immediately and moved to London joining the Met in 1987. It wasn't until a few years later that he applied to become a close protection officer. The training was rigorous as you might well imagine, including training with the SAS, but Colin was one of the lucky 14 out of 300 applicants to be selected to join this prestigious group.

One of his earliest jobs was protecting Princess Diana and the two boys. Colin would often have to escort the family from their home at Kensington Palace to their weekend home at Highgrove House. He would be one of several officers circling the paddock on a Saturday morning guarding the two Princes whilst they went riding.

On one occasion when Colin was protecting Princess Anne at a rugby football match at Twickenham, he noticed a man acting suspiciously whilst they were leaving the stadium. When Colin saw the man heading for their car and reaching into his coat, he acted immediately believing that maybe the coat concealed a gun. In reality, the man in question was simply reaching into his coat for a copy of the match programme so all was well. However, Colin explained that as a close protection officer you had to be on your toes all the time and that often you only had a split second to react to what might be a life or death situation.

Colin regaled us with lots of stories about his time spent with the royal family such as the time at the Cartier International Polo Match with Prince Charles, William and Harry. He told us how amusing it was to see all the rich and famous in their finery stomping the divots, the ladies in their high heels trying desperately to stay upright. On another occasion, at a private dinner for the off-duty protection officers and their families, Princess Diana invited herself along to say thank you to them all and then asked Colin to dance the 'jive' with her. Colin admitted that he was no dancer and eventually Princess Diana said to him 'Colin, you really can't jive can you' before staying on the floor for a slow dance in close hold. She then led him back to the bar and thanked his wife for letting her take him away. Colin’s claim to fame was that John Travolta had to ask Diana to dance with him; Diana asked Colin to dance.

All in all, Colin said that he thoroughly enjoyed his time in the Met and never regretted his decision to leave engineering.

Colin's talk contained plenty of funny and interesting anecdotes whilst still conveying the seriousness of his job and the difficulties of protecting the famous from all sorts people with malintent. His talk was very well received by all who attended the meeting which attracted our largest audience yet for one of these monthly talks.