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The Barwick And Scholes Probus Club

Barwicker No.42
June 1996

On 30 November 1976, a small number of retired gentlemen were called to a meeting at the John Riley Community Centre, Barwick, with a suggestion of forming a Probus Club in this area. Mr Lennox Simpson, a retired governor of Armley Prison, Leeds, and Mr George Greenwood of Crossgates Rotary Club spoke on the merits of a club with simple rules and many attractions.

It was decided to form a Probus Club and under the presidency of Mr Clifford Hawden, a retired magistrate, a committee was established and the founder members, only four of whom are still living, went away to recruit further members. The Club grew quickly in size and worked successfully. Speakers were invited and gave good and interesting talks and slide shows.

Many people still ask what does PROBUS mean. It is an off-shoot of Rotary and the name is taken from the first three letters of PROfessional and BUSiness. It is a club for retired professional and business men in the locality, hence the Barwick and Scholes Probus Club.

We meet on the last Tuesday of each month around 10.15 am for coffee and an informal gathering of "How are you?", "Do you remember?" greetings. At 10.30 we proceed in the correct manner to open the meeting by the President. The Secretary reads the minutes of the last meeting and these are accepted. The Treasurer tells us how we stand financially. We then discuss items of general interest. It may be a funeral of a departed member or to plan an outing for lunch, including wives, or perhaps to some place of local interest.

These items complete, the formal part is ended and a speaker is welcomed by the President. We may have a talk with slides or some descriptive experience. Over the years we have had some splendid speakers and learned many things in detail. If a planned speaker has to cancel we call upon our members to fill the gap and what a wealth of talent and experience we find amongst us. Question time shows what an enquiring mind is still alive in the 'old uns'. A vote of thanks brings an end to our morning and the President closes the meeting.

As time progressed after the club's formation, it was suggested that we had outings with ladies invited. This was put into practice. Over the years we have had some enjoyable times together. Perhaps the most exciting outing took place in the early years. We went by coach to Bedale for coffee and then on to Castle Bolton at Redmire above Leyburn. We had a first class meal in the ancient 'Baronial Hall' and enjoyed the long distance views of the hills and valleys when seen from the vicinity of this partly ruined fortified pile.

We proceeded to the Bowes Museum at Barnard Castle, looked round this very beautiful building and returned to our coach for the return journey. A call for a cup of tea was made but our driver said his driving time was getting short. Away we went and the driver with good intent took a 'short cut'. This was down a very steep hill with an acute hairpin bend, ending at a bridge limited to small vehicles. Consternation' There was no way of turning the coach round so it was necessary to reverse it up the hill and its tight bend. Silence on the coach with the occasional gasp! Our driver had done an excellent job and got us all safely to the top to the relief of everyone. It was exciting and after we had settled down we agreed that the experience had 'made the day'. We have had many outings since then and manage two a year if the necessary support is given.

A 'Christmas Dinner' is a feature of our club but as so many of our members have to attend their previous employment's dinners at Christmas time we have postponed our outing until March. A venue which we hope will please everyone is selected and members, wives and widows of deceased Probus members make the chosen visit. This is how our social activities fit into our curriculum. A bowls match is arranged once a year with a local Probus Club.

Our membership grew to 40 and we decided to set a limit at 50. Later that was increased but sadly we are down to 45 now. So many of our members have died or had to leave for health reasons. Only one founder member is regularly attending. New members are cordially invited.

Our recent activities include a visit to a helicopter station and we have had a visit to York and a sail up the river to Acaster for lunch and back to York for the coach return. The committee try to find something that will appeal to all and the ladies enjoy themselves and appreciate these opportunities to get together.

We meet in the excellent, well-appointed John Rylie Community Centre in Barwick. Any intending retiring or retired local man interested in Probus should contact a present member and come as a guest. If he is impressed, we have some vacant places to fill. The formalities are minimal and admission could be arranged next month.

We do not work for charities as the Rotary Club does. We are an informal 'get together' organisation for friendship and enjoyment. At Christmas time we do dispose of our surplus contributions to local good causes which we feel need help. Thus we keep our Rotary affiliation in a small way. It is a privilege to belong to such a friendly party.

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