Report of Diss U3A AGM and March 2013 meeting.

At the AGM the retiring chairman David Emerton was pleased to report that the branch continues to grow and now has a membership in excess of 270. In his final report he thanked the committee and helpers for their support throughout this year and his three year term of office.

Following the AGM the guest speaker for March was Val Attenborough JP who gave a most interesting and illuminating talk on “The Work Of  A Magistrate”.

For more information on Diss U3A please telephone 01379 642674 or visit the website.

The next meeting will be on 4th April at Diss United Reformed Church commencing at 10.30am.

At the AGM the retiring chairman David Emerton was pleased to report that the branch continues to grow and now has a membership in excess of 270. In his final report he thanked the committee and helpers for their support throughout this year and his three year term of office. He highlighted two of the most recent changes to the branch which he hoped would be of continuing benefit to both the new committee and members alike.

Firstly the adoption of a new branch constitution and secondly  the significant improvement to the sound system used at all monthly meetings.

As well as the chairman two other members of the committee also stood down following their three year tenure in office, David Love the interest co-ordinator and Sarah Cameron the programme secretary.  All three were thanked by the business secretary Bernie Morris and given tokens of appreciation of their hard work. Three new members, Janet Bloomfield, John Andrew and Mike Bowen were nominated and elected to serve in the respective posts. Three other members, Marion Wexler, Carol Nutt and Tim Bornett were elected from the audience to serve as members without portfolio.

Following the AGM the guest speaker for March was Val Attenborough JP who gave a most interesting and illuminating talk on “The Work Of  A Magistrate”. During her time on the bench going back over 30 years to the days when Diss had its own Magistrates Court held in the Corn Hall, Val has seen many changes to the justice system and sadly the closure of local courts has removed localism from the system and has left Norfolk with only three magistrates courts, Norwich, Kings Lynn and Great Yarmouth. The role of a magistrate is a voluntary position requiring no legal qualifications and at present there are 24,000 such volunteers dealing with 96% of all crime brought to court as an appearance at magistrates court is the first step in all legal proceedings. Val explained the work involved in the different divisions, adult, family and youth. She expressed a preference for youth court as the less formal atmosphere can sometimes make young offenders more aware of the traumatic effect that their crime and behaviour has had not only on the victim but also on their own families. Sometimes this is enough in itself to prevent a young person from reoffending. Modern day living, unemployment, the lack of suitable role models, dysfunctional families, alcohol and the increase in drug use are all reasons why people come before the courts. It is the job of the magistrate to see that both parties involved receive justice on the day.

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