THE HISTORY OF 'WESTON-SUPER-MARE PROBUS CLUBS'
(extracted from a document written by Hon Vice-President Dennis G Parsons.)
The following information about Probus may be of interest to old and new Members.
In 1966 the idea was created by a Mr.Harold Blanchard, President of the Caterham Rotary Club.
Having just retired, he thought the Rotary could organise something for all retired Professional & Business men that he knew. A meeting was organised and over 40 men attended. and discussed ideas, including having regular meetings, trips of interest and general outings to theatres.
Even ideas of having a ‘Line to a Stockbroker to help with invested pension lump sums was mooted as were Snooker and Bowls as recreational activities. However it boiled down to fortnightly meetings with Luncheons and at other times Coffee mornings with Wives.
The name PROBUS was invented by a Member’s brainwave from PROF. and BUS. I.e. from Profession and Business. Some still think it is a village in Cornwall. Shortly the idea spread to Coulesdon, and a new club was started. Now over 500 clubs exists, I believe, in the U.K. and some have started overseas – so it will be International eventually.
Whilst Rotarians started the idea off”‘ it is correct to say that Rotary has no inﬂuence in our constitution, and no afﬁliation exists.
Whereas, Rotary can be quite expensive f or a retired man, Probus has always tried to keep its costs down and keep within peoples pockets.
I understand Harold Blanchard died in 1982. leaving a well established organisation with all clubs being self sufﬁcient and independent.
Probus do have a central point to contact in Worcestershire, if required, but as a policy —our club is not involved.
The Probus Club in Weston – Rotarians were involved in its formation. and a prime mover was Leon Godby, a well known Shoe retailer and brilliant musician. The President of Weston Rotary. W Jenkins called a meeting on Nov. 1974 of interested men and a preliminary. meeting was held with Leon Godby as Chairman, at which 40 people turned up.
The Chairman of Clevedon Probus spoke on how they had started a few months earlier.
The meeting went well, with John Prescot being elected Secretary of first meetings.
Our President. Mr H.O.Vaux played a part in the early organisation of meetings, and was elected Chairman in December 1974.
The venue for meetings was the Victoria Bowling club and many meetings took place there.
The Constitution for the club was developed during the first few months of 1976 and rules and regulations kept to a minimum.
Over the years the club developed its programmes of fortnightly speakers and trips to interesting places.
A limit of 70 active members was included in our regulations during 197 6 and so it has remained. Those who have served the club but have health problems and cannot attend regularly can be offered Hon Life Membership.
We also now have a President and Vice-president – a quite recent innovation.
Our club is a very healthy and active club and has been built on a strong foundation.
Our members will ensure it continues to be so.
There are two other Probus clubs in Weston. namely numbers 2 and 3.
We have elected to call our Club “Probus” Weston-Super-Mare and have no number.