University of the Third Age
- April meeting report
Wednesday, 27 April 2011
Once again, one of their number entertained and enlightened members of Todmorden U3A at their April monthly member's meeting. Bob Hayter, whose talk was entitled, "Belt and Braces - An Everyday Guide to Risk and Chance", started by saying that driving his car was the most dangerous thing he would do today. Alerting his audience thereby, to the fact that we don't necessarily consciously consider how dangerous are many of the things we routinely do. Despite this, he assured his listeners, we are all expert at risk assessment.
Should I get up? This rhetorical question formed his next remark. Safest thing, many might think. Then again, most heart attacks occur in bed. Quick! Get out of bed. Careful though, 20 people die each year falling out of bed. Returning to driving, Bob pointed out that driving children to school was the most hazardous driving journey and the approach to the school gates the most dangerous part of that. 5 - 6 year old children are those most at risk and boys are twice as likely to have an accident as girls. He related how some areas have instituted "Park and Stride" schemes where parents and carers park a little way from the school and walk the rest. As well as reducing accident risk, it has the added benefit of introducing some healthy exercise.
Bob then turned to trains, boats and planes, saying they were much safer means of transport than cars. He sparingly illustrated his talk with some statistics but cautioned his audience to the difficulties in interpretation, since calculations were made per billion miles. Since different modes of transport will take vastly different time scales to achieve such a great figure it makes accurate comparison well, risky. And though cruise liners may not sink very often, some of the everyday risks are still present on board.
Bob spoke a little about chance, citing the oft-quoted statistic of the chances of winning the lottery, pointing out that it not entirely down to chance as one first has to buy a ticket.
He compared the chances of winning with the chances of dying, the latter are greater. Bob finished on a cautionary note about safety, relating the story of a company that had a weakly enforced policy on conduct on stairs. This resulted in a number of accidents and the policy was then rigorously enforced backed with training and the installation of handrails which employees were instructed to use. The result was not only a decrease in accidents on stairs but an enhanced safety record all round. Food for thought on which to end before wishing us all a safe journey home.
Stuart Clayton gave the Short Talk on the Paulinus Heritage Walk which will be inaugurated in August. Paulinus was a 7th century monk and a member of St Augustine's mission to England. He was active all over the kingdom of Northumbria, most of today's North of England, and there is strong evidence that he came to Todmorden. Three heritage walks are to be instituted: West to East, Todmorden to York; East to West, York to Todmorden; and a full circuit. A number of events will take place at the time of the inauguration, including a Special Celebratory Event at York Minster where the Archbishop will greet the first pilgrims. Leaflets have been produced and more information is on the website or by contacting St Mary's Church on 01706 819300 (weekdays 10 - 4).
HebWeb News - March meeting report