Probus Looks to the Future



Richard Wood
Richard Wood
President 2019/20

It’s been another successful calendar year for the Probus Club of Basingstoke. You know the one, just for retired male managers; but it’s not all male domination as their social events involve the ladies.  Just like their black-tie Christmas dinner held at the Test Valley golf club where over forty people had an enjoyable night accompanied by 60s and 70s music and dancing.

President Richard Wood is confident that the future looks rosy with several trips in the pipeline which wives and friends can attend. The world-famous Morgan car factory in Malvern will be an attraction not just for car buffs but maybe a spot of shopping and taking in the local medicinal waters will add something to the day.  And what about a visit to Highgrove House where their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall allow garden tours with expert guides. Or a visit to Bletchley Park that played such an important role in WW2 with the cracking of the German Enigma code and was the birthplace of modern information technology.

Richard waxed lyrical about the monthly business-style meetings where guest speakers entertain members with a diverse range of subjects. January has retired radio reporter Alan Jones, who will give examples of weird and wonderful and downright crazy stories, from nudists to royalty, dangerous animals and nervous bishops, giving truth to what can happen and go wrong when there is a live microphone.

February has member Stephen Thair, who had a private pilot’s licence, discussing Birds and Planes with shared names and features and some exotic species from his time working in the tropics.

March has author Mel Rees with amusing observations about his family and the national scene all in a very none politically correct style which guarantees laughter throughout his presentation.

Richard continued “We welcome new members, irrespective of how many years they have been retired.  Contact our secretary Jonathan Ratcliff on 07501 271547 if you would like to come along for a taster meeting.”
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Probus Christmas Dinner 11th December 2019

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President Richard Wood with organisers Liliane and Alan May

And so another calendar year has passed in the Probus Club of Basingstoke and was celebrated as usual with a Christmas dinner at Test Valley Golf Club.

Hosted by President Richard Wood the arrangements had been made by Liliane and Alan May with their now legendary expertise which ensured that every one of the forty one attendees received the food selections they had pre-ordered.

Not only that but they created a cryptic puzzle to get the grey cells working throughout dinner all about the shops in Festival Place. Possibly little contribution was made by the men folk to solving this task. And on top of that they purchased and wrapped all the prizes for the raffle.

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The entertainer for the evening, returning from his success at the Christmas dinner in 2017, was Billy Clayton. With a musical repertoire that included many of the pop songs from yesteryear we knew the words and were able to sing along lustily. It was helped by the distribution of a range of “timpani” type instruments which gave the impression that some enthusiastic players with tambourines had joined the Sally Army.

And there was plenty of “dad” style dancing to be seen as many couples took to the floor possibly for the first time since last year.

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Mayor’s Carol Service

The Mayor’s Carol Service held in St Michael’s Church on Sunday 8 December was a full house, and quite rightly so. It was a wonderful quality occasion, a celebration of Christmas music performed by choirs, soloists and the congregation, held in the Christmas spirit of support to the charities HeartSmart, Real Change not Loose Change, and Besom in Basingstoke, all of which are very dear to the Mayor.

The Service began with a child soloist singing without musical accompaniment. There followed all the seasonal favourite carols, the congregation accompanied by the choir, and interludes of readings and performances by the choir, a soloist, and the Hatch Warren Infant School Choir, all very charming. The Bishop of Basingstoke also gave a rousing blessing, before the finale of The Hallelujah Chorus, splendidly performed by the choir, with the congregation invited to join in if they felt able.

Afterwards, all participants mingled together to enjoy some mulled wine, mince pies and other sweet treats prepared and served by catering students of BCOT.