What is a Probus Club?
A Probus Club is a local association of retired and semi-retired professional and business people, and others who have had some measure of responsibility in any field of worthy endeavour, who are of good character and respected in their communities.
The name ‘Probus Club’ originated with the first club formed by the Caterham Rotary Club. The name was derived from the words PROfessional and BUSiness and has a comfortable association with the word ‘Probity’.
Clubs meet regularly for fun, social activities and fellowship, and an extension of their interests.
Each club is autonomous and chooses its own rules and regulations. Some clubs meet weekly, some monthly, some twice a month. Some have coffee mornings with guest speakers, some have lunches or dinners. Most organise day trips and holidays to which partners and friends may be invited if the club so chooses.
Each club elects its own officers, typically a president, vice president, secretary, treasurer and membership secretary.
PROBUS is not a fund-raising organisation.
There are over 2,000 Probus clubs in the UK, and many thousands more internationally.
History of the Crowborough Probus Club
The Probus Club of Crowborough was established at around 9pm on Thursday the 16th of April 1987 at a meeting organised and chaired by Bill Pickering, the Chairman of the Activities Committee of the Crowborough Rotary Club. He told the 10 other people at the meeting that the Crowborough Rotary Club was willing to sponsor the formation of a Probus Club in Crowborough and to make available a donation of £25 to help with it.
At that time several Rotary Clubs were sponsoring the formation of Probus clubs – in part so their retired members would have another club to join!
Two of the most active of the 11 at that auspicious meeting had both been members of the recently formed Tunbridge Wells Probus Club and so they brought with them lots of enthusiasm and knowledge. One, Jim Nicholson, was elected as the Club’s first President, with the other, Ken Dowling, as its first Secretary.
The Club met monthly at the Winston Manor Hotel and then in 1988 moved to the Plough and Horses Public House.
Membership grew and by November 1990 there was a queue of some 30 people wanting to join the Club but couldn’t because it was already at its maximum of 50.
So in January 1991, the Committee instructed the Secretary to write to all prospective members and hold a meeting to agree the formation of a second Probus club, and on the 28th of February the Ashdown Probus Club was formed with the 30 waiting people – together with the same donation of £25, this time from the Crowborough Probus Club!
The Crowborough Probus Club today
The Members of the Crowborough Probus Club meet monthly for lunch at the Crowborough Rugby Club 12:30 for 12:45 on the second Thursday of the month.
The meetings usually last for about two and a half hours often with a speaker.
Members may bring prospective members, guests or visitors by prior agreement with the Luncheon Secretary.
In total around 150 people are in regular contact with the club. These are the members, associate members, members’ spouses and partners, widows, friends and senior life members.
The Club has a Committee which organises the monthly lunch and a series of events and outings throughout the year including an annual holiday usually of a week’s duration. Most months there is the members’ lunch and another event.
The Club’s Committee
In April every year the Club holds its Annual General Meeting and elects its officials to hold office for the following 12 months. Most officials hold two or more positions. The current officials are as follows.
President – Bob Bruce
Immediate Past President – Philip Spicer
Vice President – Mel Parsons
Secretary – Philip Spicer
Treasurer – John Bokor-Ingram
Committee – Graham Bucksey, Graham Hughes, Terry Mason, Lawrence Muffett, Mel Parsons, Chris Rapley, Robin Streatfield & Tom Waldron
Membership Secretary – Bob Bruce
Assistant Treasurer – Mike Bonds
Luncheon Secretary – Chris Rapley
Minute Secretary – Robin Streatfield
Almoner – Graham Bucksey
Risk Assessor – Peter Boorman
Speaker’s Secretary – Mel Parsons
Newsletter Editor – Tom Waldron
Lunch Payments – David Martin & Chris Seymour
Auditor – Graham Hughes
Monthly Lunch Raffles – Tom Waldron
Probus Sales – Vic Humphrey
Name Badges – Chris Rapley
Archivist – Bob Bruce
Website Administrators – Bob Bruce, & Philip Spicer