Passion for People Drives U3A Success

Andy Fechner.
Andy Fechner.

Good communication has been key to quadrupling Beaudesert’s University of the Third Age (U3A) membership.

At 350 members, it is arguably one of the largest community groups in Beaudesert.

Under President Andy Fechner’s stewardship, membership has quadrupled from 87 to 350 since he took the reins eight years ago.

He is the longest-serving President of Beaudesert U3A, which was incorporated in March 2011, and he has gained the deep respect of the group through his supportive approach.

Andy, 73, became a member nine years ago alongside wife Laurel, 74, who has been a member for 10 years and has also volunteered her time as a course coordinator and facilitator.

He became President in his second year, after starting out as editor of the group newsletter, ‘OWLS’ (Older Wiser Learning Seniors), and he also facilitates the weekly discussion group.

Andy joined the group after retiring from his role as National Marketing and Purchasing Director for global food service company Bidvest Australia.

He has applied his expertise in people management to his leadership of Beaudesert U3A, which runs 22 courses across four terms, from Nordic walking, aqua aerobics and table tennis to German and French language lessons, ukulele and calligraphy.

He has instigated reciprocal arrangements with the Boonah and Tamborine Mountain U3A groups to give members access to an even greater variety of classes and formed strong relationships with local Council representatives.

Now, Andy is ready to pass the baton to a new President at the AGM on 18 March and encouraged those interested in the role to apply.

“It’s all about communication and people management. Everybody likes to be recognised and appreciated,” he said.

Beaudesert U3A member Liz Avery applauded Andy for his contributions.

“As a facilitator myself I can attest to how supportive and encouraging he has been and he, along with wife, Laurel, has gone above and beyond to ensure the success of this very important group in our community,” she said.

The Beaudesert U3A AGM will be at 1.30pm, 18 March at The Club on William Street, Beaudesert. Nominations close 4 March.

To nominate, email Secretary Yvonne Berry at

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About Susie Cunningham 0 Articles
Journalist telling the stories of where I live. I love living and working in Beaudesert and when I'm not working you'll see me walking the dogs with my husband Zac.