PROVING you are never too old to learn, about 800 of Fleet's more senior citizens now attend classes ranging from bridge to bird-watching, calligraphy to cookery and dancing to dress making.

They are enthusiastic supporters of Fleet's branch of the University of the Third Age (U3A), which has spent a lottery grant of £2,850 on a new computer system to keep track of its rapidly growing membership, which includes those who have retired early and are 50-plus.

It has been described as "Fleet's largest autonomous charity", offering over 50 well-attended regular study groups catering for interests that range from art and chess to country walking, language classes and family history.

The various groups will hold a spring exhibition of work on April 17 at the Harlington Centre, Fleet, (10:45 - 12:`15am) to show what they are doing.

Fleet's U3A has daytime activities going on every day at about a dozen different locations around the town and holds regular monthly meetings, open to non-members.

The U3A is a French idea by which a university for the retired and semi-retired was launched in 1971. The idea spread across the globe with the first British University of the Third Age formed in 1982. The Fleet branch opened in 1994.

There are now more than 470 local U3A's throughout the United Kingdom with a total membership of more than 110,000 enthusiasts of both sexes. And, although it is called a university, no educational qualifications are required or given.

Fleet's U3A organises visits and short trips to destinations ranging from the London Eye to the European Union headquarters in Brussels.

Anyone interested in joining should contact the membership secretary, Peter Weeks, on 01252 622317. Membership is £8 yearly, with a 50p charge for each group attended. All meetings are in the daytime, since many seniors do not like to go out in the evening, and you are not limited to one group, but can attend as many as you like.