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Last Updated: Friday, 17 June, 2005, 05:40 GMT 06:40 UK
Meeting of Mensa minds in Wales
Image of brain

Some of Britain's sharpest minds are converging on Swansea for the first Mensa weekend meeting held in Wales since the late 1990s.

But the gathering of 77 Mensans, as they are known, is as much about being sociable as it is about being clever.

The events, including a tour of Gower, learn Welsh in an hour and a version of word game Countdown, kick off on Friday afternoon at Swansea's Dragon Hotel.

Organiser Jackie Lyndon said: "We're trying to put Wales on the Mensa map."

Mensans are travelling to Swansea from Ireland, Scotland and England, and one is even making the trip from Texas.

It's certainly not elitist. We haven't got two heads - well, not most of us anyway!
Mensa weekend organiser Jackie Lyndon

All the activities are designed to be fun but with an intellectual edge.

The trips to mining museum Big Pit, the Dylan Thomas trail and around Gower's coastline give delegates the chance to learn about Wales' people, past and landscape, as well as entertaining them.

And back at the hotel, Mensans will have the chance to exercise their ample brains with talks about environmental sustainability, games of Welsh Monopoly and a poker competition, though not for money.

Mensan Ms Lyndon, who is from Swansea, said: "I'm really proud of Swansea, I love it. It's my jewel and not many people know about it.

"We're trying to give something for everybody. Yes there are these adventures - going off to big pit and the Mine All Mine tour - but there's the brainy stuff.

"What I like about Mensa is it's a lively social circle. It's a wonderful way of getting out and about."

Sir Jimmy Savile
Sir Jimmy Savile is one of Mensa's more famous members

Although people must have an IQ in the top 2% of the population, Ms Lyndon - a Mensa member for eight years - was keen to dispel the myth that Mensans are all brainboxes who do nothing but read.

"We have got some people who are academic but with most people, you don't know about it," she said.

"This is finding people who think laterally - they're just got a way of looking at things that's slightly skewed and that's what I like about it.

"It's certainly not elitist. We haven't got two heads - well, not most of us anyway!"

The name Mensa comes from the Latin word for table, chosen because the organisation views itself as a round table where everyone is equal.

British Mensa was founded in 1946 and currently has about 25,500 members, 1,000 of whom live in Wales.

Famous Mensans include entertainer Sir Jimmy Savile, TV presenter Carol Vorderman and inventor Sir Clive Sinclair.

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