Probus Club member appointed Mayor

Image courtesy of Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council

Probus Club of Basingstoke member, Paul Miller, a member of the Executive Committee, has been appointed the new Mayor of Basingstoke & Deane following the Mayor Making ceremony at the Civic offices on Thursday 12 May.

Cllr Miller, who has served as a councillor in the Chineham ward since 2009, will represent the borough at events during the landmark Queen’s Platinum Jubilee year supported by the Mayoress, his wife Sandra.

Describing his appointment as “an honour”, Cllr Miller said at the meeting: “I am privileged to have been elected the 71st Mayor of Basingstoke and Deane during the reign of Her Majesty The Queen in her Platinum Jubilee year and as the 44th Mayor since the establishment of our borough. As first citizen I am here to dedicate my term in office to the residents of this borough.”

Cllr Miller is a retired Royal Air Force officer, who served in the armed forces for 25 years, followed by 10 years as an international staff member of NATO in Brussels. He continued as a contractor in the defence aerospace industry before retiring in 2014.

Probus Publicity May 2022

The report on the talk by our Hon Secretary, Stephen Thair, about Creatures Great and Small was received well by the local magazines.

The full report was featured by the Rabbiter and Kempshott Kourier while the short version was published in the Bramley, Basinga and on the web site of the Link. The CommunityAd magazine for Bramley & Sherfield features the older report about the atom bomb and a piece of string.

While not unusual in failing to feature in the Loddon Valley Link magazine, for once, and for an unknown reason, our report did not feature in the Villager magazine.

Probus Spring Ladies’ Lunch 10th May 2022

Despite all the concerning, recent changes at the Test Valley Golf Club the Spring Ladies’ Lunch was a complete success. The new chef produced excellent food on the day, and it appears that all 32 attendees are carnivores since no one selected the main course option of roasted vegetables.

The members on the table with your correspondent had every option available and all were very complimentary about the quality of the food.

Revd Jane Leese, president of the Ladies’ Probus Club of Basingstoke, was the guest of honour and gave an outline of her move from being a teacher into church ministry only two years after the ordination of women priests was allowed.

Guest of Honour Revd Jane Leese, President of the Basingstoke Ladies’ Probus Club with President David Wickens

Unfortunately it did not prove possible to take a photograph of Michael & Pam Luck or that of Dave Kitson with Hilary Shopland. Apologies are offered to all concerned.

Probus Enjoys a Twin Visit to Salisbury

The benefits of having an arranged trip to Salisbury Cathedral manifests themselves with small nuggets of information that evade the casual visitor. Such things came to the fore when members and wives/partners of the Probus Club of Basingstoke visited Salisbury Cathedral and to Arundells, situated in Cathedral Close, the home of the ex-prime minister Sir Edward Heath who is buried in the cathedral.

A guided tour of the cathedral was only able to gloss over the surface, but it was enthralling learning about the foundation of what has become known as the cathedral that moved. The original cathedral shared space with the local garrison but relations soured so much that the Pope gave permission to build a new place of worship. An arrow was fired and where it landed would be the site, but it hit a deer that eventually died where the cathedral now stands.

The foundation stone was laid in 1220 but the eight hundredth anniversary could not be celebrated as the building was a vaccination centre during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The dimensions and logistics are extraordinary. It took only 38 years to build and used 60,000 tons of stone, 2,800 tons of oak and 420 tons of lead and all this sits on foundations of only four feet.

The Nave. The dark columns are polished stone

Several rivers pass beneath the building and the presence of water maintains the firmness of the ground. The water level is regularly checked with a dip stick.

Demonstrating the water level dip stick

This constant supply of water is used in the modern font which is over ten feet across and has overflowing spouts at four corners clearly demonstrating the style of infinity pools. In opposition to this is the world’s oldest working mechanical clock which has no dials but rings the hours. For a church of such size the cathedral does not possess a change ring of bells typically seen in our churches.

The 14th century choir (or quire) that today has a membership of girls with the traditional boys

Salisbury Cathedral houses what is claimed to be the finest of the four remaining copies of the Magna Carta, signed by King John in 1215. This is on permanent display in the Chapter House. Photography not permitted.

A short stroll diagonally across Cathedral Close sits Arundells, now known as the Prime Minister’s home. It was home for the last twenty years of ex-prime minister Sir Edward Heath and was bequeathed to a charitable foundation set up in Sir Edward’s name following his death in 2005.

Arundells the home of Sir Edward Heath

Parts of the house go back to the 13th century and six architectural periods are visible and it is set in a two-acre walled garden that stretches down to the confluence of the rivers Avon and Nadder, with amazing views back towards the spire of Salisbury Cathedral.

Inside the house has been largely left as it was when Sir Edward lived here with gifts displayed from world leaders such as Richard Nixon, Chairman Moa and Fidel Castro and many photographs depicting a life spent in politics.

Display case showing models of the five versions of Morning Cloud yachts

Only taking up sailing at the age of 50 Sir Edward became a successful sportsman. There is a collection of models of Morning Cloud yachts, which is the name most people remember when Sir Edward was the owner and skipper of the winning British crew of the Sydney to Hobart yacht race. Because the sail number 2468 was allowed to be transferred, Sir Edward named four subsequent boats to also be called Morning Cloud.

As well as paintings of his boats the house is decorated throughout with original paintings, some by famous artists including two by Sir Winston Churchill, L S Lowry and Augustus John. There are  beautiful collections of ceramics, glassware and sculptures and treasures from the Far East – including hand painted Chinese wallpaper, and a stunning collection of Japanese woodblock prints.

Life size bronze bust of Sir Edward Heath

Many bronze sculptures can be seen in an adjoining building with life size busts of Sir Edward Heath and HM Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. Some depicting other famous people are available to buy but need a fat wallet.

The house is open from the middle of March to 1st November this year, with guided tours on Tuesdays which provide the visitor with a greater sense, not only about its last inhabitant, but also the great history of this house so connected to Salisbury Cathedral.

Garden of Arundells with its view of the spire of Salisbury Cathedral