A group of hobbyists are getting a new lease of life through a lens.
The Chorely Snappers, a branch group of the Chorley U3A, came together last September under the direction of retired salesman and photographer Paul Willamson.
Around 25 amateur snappers are now enjoying the monthly get togethers, regular competitions and days out across Lancashire and beyond to make the most of their new found skills.
Paul says: “We are very pleased the way it (the group) has grown – in a short time members have been taking better pictures, are more involved in photography, asking more questions and keen to develop their skills.
Paul himself has been a keen photographer for 30 years and, as a member of the Leyland photographic society,the Bolton Digital group and of The Lancashire & Cheshire Photographic Union, he was happy to share his knowledge and experience with those with an interest.
He adds: “A lot of the members within the snappers are involved with other groups of the U3A – there’s a lot of overlapping between groups, there is a hobby for everyone.
“We recently had a U3A “Gardeners Appreciation” trip to Bodnant Gardens in Wales.
“The weather was forecast to be dull and wet but we were extremely fortunate to have a dry day and enjoyed a wonderful trip.
“Several of the Snappers are also gardeners so we were able to record this event for the U3A.”
The group meet the first Friday of the month at St George’s Church Hall in Halliwell Street.
Paul adds: “Most people appreciate the fact we meet right in the town centre, close to the bus station, ideal for people who want to come into Chorley on the bus.”
As well as Paul sharing photography techniques and basic editing skills, the snappers are invited to take part in group competitions.
“A lot of members just want a little help technically – how to capture better pictures outside, portraits of their grandchildren, learn something about computer enhancement, making photo books, calendars and slide shows.
“We’ve looked at ways to keep pictures alive rather than printed out and lying in a draw.”
Recently, 14 of the group enjoyed a trip to Skippool Creek, near Blackpool, to put their skills to use, the next day some members stood on railway bridges in Euxton to photograph two steam locos.
And, most of all, Paul says the group is about having fun: “Retirement should not mean stagnation and the U3A provides many opportunities for people aged over 50 to engage in all sorts of activities.
“Some are strenuous and others may be sedentary, the main thing is we keep ourselves (mentally and physically) fit and happy and make new friends as we separate ourselves from our previous working environments.”
The U3A offers a diverse range of activities and courses for retired and semi- retired men and women, from art appreciation to card making, walking group to yoga and musical appreciation.
Chairman of the U3A Lily Maltman adds: “We are a self-help voluntary organisation of retired and semi-retired men and woman meeting to take part in learning, leisure and physical activities.
“All our activities are organised by are members and include talks, trips,walking etc. for more details contact www.u3asites.org.uk/ chorley.”