In all the excitement last year about Richard III and this year about Leicester City, something has been forgotten. Exactly 175 years ago in July 1841, Thomas Cook organised the first package tour: a return trip by train from Leicester to Loughborough. Little did Thomas Cook know that his novel idea, which aimed to get the good people of Leicester out of the pubs, would shape tourism well into the 21st Century. Nor would he have guessed that his statue would stand outside Leicester Railway Station and a famous travel company would bear his name.
Leicester U3A are celebrating both the 175th Anniversary of this great event and our own 20th Anniversary, which falls this year, by making a similar train trip on Wednesday 6 July 2016. Naturally, we shall be travelling by steam train, on the Great Central Railway. Some of us will even be dressed up in Victoria costume.
We shall be on the 11.00am from Leicester North, arriving in Loughborough at 11.30am, before completing our round trip at Quorn for a pub lunch. Now a pub lunch is something of which Thomas Cook would not have approved.
• Nationally the U3A was founded in 1982 and has grown steadily since that time. There are now 996 U3As in the UK, with a total of 366,184 members.
• Leicester U3A was founded in 1996. Its website can be found at www.leicesteru3a.org.uk.
• The U3A organises social activities and informal, life-long learning for people in their third age – that is, those who are retired from full time work.
Peter Stanfield, Publicity Coordinator, Leicester U3A.
mobile: 07981 633 065.