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There was a good turnout for our September lunch, blessed by a continuation of the summer's fine weather. Sadly, due to the absence of our very talented regular photographer, we have no photographic record of the proceedings.

Our speaker on September 6th was Andy Thomas, returning to us by popular request, on the subject: "A Conspiracy History of the World."

Andy's talks have always been popular because he presents well known phenomena or events, challenging our perceptions of each with a well argued set of inconvenient facts or possibilities. He doesn't draw conclusions, but he does make us think.

We were taken through a string of historical events and their attendant alternative explanations or conspiracy theories: the Gunpowder Plot, Pearl Harbour, the first moon landing, the JF Kennedy assassination and sequel, the Gulf of Tonkin incident (trigger for the Vietnam War), Watergate, 9/11, the death of Princess Diana, etc, etc.

Certainly many events have subsequently been admitted to having been not as originally presented; the Gulf of Tonkin incident being a notorious example. The first moon landing pictures are quite extraordinarily good, considering the available equipment and prevailing circumstances. Were improved versions of the (understandably) poor quality originals staged back on Earth or were the photographers incredibly lucky/skilful or, as some suggest, did the whole Moon landing never actually happen? Certainly there are several lighting and physical circumstances which challenge the official account. Andy presented one pair of very similar spacewalk images which strongly suggested publicity staging. Nobody contests the reality of the event, but a terrestrial training shot might well have been edited for the publicity picture. And therefore, what else might have been faked?

Andy took a fascinated audience through a series of conspiracy theories, with quite startling implications if ever proved to be factual, presenting awkward questions regarding the currently received accounts but being careful not to jump to conclusions. Once again we all thoroughly enjoyed Andy's presentation and look forward to a return visit.



The August lunch followed the previous month's lunch, with a similar, relaxed, dress code. The hot weather showing little sign of disappearing.

We made great use of the terrace outside and our speaker, Paul Whittle, concurred that the setting we have is just about unbeatable.

He spoke enthusiastically, and knowledgeably, about the Hill Stations of the Raj. A full report will be posted shortly.

Our Chairman, Ian Reeves, sponsored a survey, which was undertaken by Club Secretary Mike Sinclair. Members were asked if the timing and/or format of monthly lunches should be amended in any way. Some 30 responses have, so far, been received, and members still have until August 25th to voice their views to Mike Sinclair. So far, there is a clear indication that some form of change might be welcome. A Committee meeting in September will consider all views and decide if any change will be proposed.

Mike Sinclair reported that the recent trip to Fort Nelson was a wonderful success, and he is looking at other trips for the coming months.

Our Investement Group is still on its summer break. The next meeting is September 20th, when we welcome Joe Davies, of Investec Guildford.


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We made great use of the terrace outside and our speaker, Paul Whittle, concurred that the setting we have is just about unbeatable.

He spoke enthusiastically, and knowledgeably, about the Hill Stations of the Raj. The 42 members present were given a short tour of the relevance of some of the key hill stations in India, and the colonies formerly known as Ceylon and Burma. The importance of the steam railways to the successful running of these territories, could not be underestimated.

Paul’s excellent speaking style, and good slides, prompted a number of questions. Those countries have, Paul said, benefited, to a greater or lesser degree, from our legal system, democracy, education, railways, electricity, sewerage systems and port facilities – really the complete infrastructure.



This glorious weather resulted in an unusually relaxed dress code - smart casual - for our July lunch. Guest speaker Margaret Taylor, from the National Trust, thought it "splendid."

Our Chairman, Ian Reeves, spoke enthusiastically about the good turn-out, some 55 members, the weather, and the three new members that had joined.

Please note that the Investment Group is now on a summer break - the next meeting is Thursday, September 20th, when we welcome Joe Davies, from the Guildford office of Investec.

The golf team has done rather well - please see the detailed report under Bowls & Golf. The planned bowls match against local rivals Guildford Probus has been cancelled - neither managed to raise a minimum team. We'll try harder for next year.

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And a very hot day it was. How grateful we were for that bar!

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Our speaker for the meeting on Thursday 5th July was Margaret Taylor. She is a retired teacher of History and has been a National Trust volunteer for the past five years. Margaret has worked at Clandon Park for most of that time and now gives talks about the property to various groups.

Her presentation started with a brief history of the house up until the time of the catastrophic fire on 29th April 2015, at which she was actually present when the fire alarm first sounded. As there had been no indication that day that a test alarm would be sounded, Margaret and her colleagues duly evacuated the building, all believing that they would be back in within minutes. As Margaret had said earlier, history would tell them otherwise!

The presentation continued with Margaret detailing the subsequent salvage operation and what was learnt about the house as a result of the fire. She also appraised us of the aims of the National Trust with regard to the renovation of Clandon Park and brought us up to date with the current state of progress. The ambitious main objective is to complete the work within four years. As Margaret said, it would wonderful if that could be achieved, but we shall see.
Before the talk, a few members were wondering what Margaret could tell them that they did not already know. In the event, they were all pleasantly surprised and, given her knowledge and enthusiasm for the subject, it was difficult not to be carried along by her presentation.



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At our lunch on Thursday 7th June Dr Colin Summerhayes gave a talk entitled: "Antarctica's Journey: from North Pole to South Pole". Dr Summerhayes, returning to speak to us again by popular demand, was trained as a geologist and geochemist and is currently an Emeritus Associate of the Scott Polar Research Institute of Cambridge University.

The presentation started with a movie of drifting continents showing how Antarctic moved from the N Pole to the S Pole over the past 500 million years (and how Scotland and England were once separated by a vast ocean). What makes the continents move? We used to talk of Continental Drift, but since 1968 it has been superseded by Plate Tectonics. Plate Tectonic theory explains how the continents move, and their relation to ocean ridges and trenches, earthquakes, volcanoes, heat flow, and mountain chains. Colin explained how different East and West Antarctica are, and why. He goes on to look at the modern volcanoes of the continent, and what may happen to Antarctica next as the climate continues to warm.


Investors Group Update

Our next mtg will be on Thursday June 21st, which will be a general discussion amongst ourselves.  Usual time - 10 am for coffee.  Usual place - Weybourne House. All Probus '83 members are welcome.

Golf Match Report by John Coleman

 The Probus ’83 Golf Team hosted the annual match against Farnham Probus at Clandon Regis Golf Club on 14 June 2018.  Having experienced weeks of dry sunny weather, we were alarmed to discover that the day selected for the match coincided with storm “Hector” from the north!  However, despite our trepidation, the wind and rain turned out to be modest and the sun eventually shone through – though a few players are still insisting that the breeze (“wind”) was the cause of their less than usual sparkling performance.

Unfortunately, Farnham Probus had difficulty raising the team of 6 that they originally envisaged and after dropping as low as 2 at a very late stage, they eventually managed to muster 3 players.  As the Guildford ’83 team was 9 strong, we changed the format of the match to an Individual Stableford Competition, with the best 3 scores from each side counting.

In addition, we had prizes for a “Nearest the Pin in Two” competition on Hole 10 and a “Longest Drive” competition on Hole 15.

The Probus ’83 Team included Leslie Cowie, Peter Brown, Barry Calder, Chris Greening, Ian Mackrell, Ian Rutter, John Harbor, David Mayne (retired injured) & John Coleman (Captain). 

The results of the match were as follows:


 Stableford Competition Guildford '83  Farnham   
 First Prize  Ian Myers -31 Points
 Second Prize  Peter Brown - 30 Points
 Third Prize  Barry Calder - 28 Points
 Chris Greening - 27 Points
 Mark Vardy - 24 Points
 Geoff Macklin - 20 Points
 Match Total:  85 Points

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Nearest the Pin in Two: Peter Brown

Longest Drive: Chris Greening

Investors Group Update

To all members of the Guildford Probus (1983) Club

The next mtg of the Investors Discussion Group will be on Thursday next week, the 17th May, at Weybourne House. 10am for coffee and we aim to finish at 12 noon.

The speakers will be George Coster and Nic Clarke from Guildford stockbrokers Charles Stanley. All members of the Club are welcome to attend.







I am happy to report another highly successful Ladies Lunch last week, entertaining not only the ladies, but also the Guildford Chairman and his wife.

The event was enhanced by the arrival of further, unexpected, shinshine, which allowed many members, and guests, to socialize on our large decking area, with its lovely views, whilst enjoying their Welcome Drinks ( see photos above). A lucky lady on each table took home the beautiful Orchid Table Centre Decoration, by winning each table draw prize. I have already received a thank you letter from the Guildford Probus Chairman, expressing how much he and his wife had enjoyed their time with us.

This May Ladies Lunch follows on from the very successful Christmas Ladies Lunch, when we entertained the Mayor and Mayoress of Guildford, who also sent us an extremely complementary thank you letter.

These events involve a great deal of organisation by certain memebrs of our committee, to ensure that out members, wives, partners, friends and guests thoroughly enjoy themselves. Their efforts are rewarded by seeing those attending having a great day out, and the many favourable comments received from those attending.


The speaker, Alf Turner, gave a talk entitled The NHS @ 70 - myths, truths and transformation, with particular reference to The Royal Surrey County Hospital.

Alf recently became the Managing Director of Healthcare Partners Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of the Royal Surrey, which effectively owns and maintains equipment of the Hospital. His task is to drive transformation of medical equipment, servicing, contracts and procurement, somewhat neglected areas of the NHS, which can yield significant clinical and financial benefits. As he spent the earlier part of his career in the private sector with major companies such as Unilever, British Oxygen, British Gas and Serco, he is able to look at problems from a different perspective to those who have always been in the NHS.

The Royal Surrey’s main challenge, as for all other NHS trusts, is to stay within budget, despite the ever-increasing number of years of life expectancy, the problems of Social Care causing bed-blocking and the much greater expectations demanded of Secondary Care. However, other major factors impact on the Royal Surrey and, in particular, the costs of living, housing and travelling in and around Guildford. Car parking is a challenge for the hospital with a limiting factor on expansion being Highways England which does not want to see increased vehicle flows on the A3 at peak times which is already at capacity. Whilst consultants and doctors can be recruited fairly readily, the same is not true of lower-paid workers, including nurses where the Trust has had to go to the Philippines. Another factor is increasing layers of national regulation, though necessary as a result of the failures at the Mid-Staffordshire Trust, but which further the funds and resources available to the Hospital. On the positive side, there are the successes. The Royal Surrey is renowned for the care it provides and has an excellent Intensive Care Unit and is destined to become a world leader in the treatment of prostate cancer. Alf is currently involved in setting up the Prostate Project to enable the Hospital to be a Beacon Trust for Urology.

Although one hour was barely enough time for Alf to do justice to the subject of his talk, nevertheless his presentation was very well received and many favourable comments were heard from the members of the Club and their ladies.

  Golf Match Report

The annual golf match against the “Other” Guildford Probus took place at Clandon Regis Golf Club on 26 April 2018.

Given the poor weather conditions over the last few months, the course was in surprisingly good condition and even sanding of the greens earlier in the week did not adversely affect play. (Apart from the odd player who was desperately looking for an excuse !)

The weather gods were kind to us (apart from the occasional short shower and burst of hail !) and the 18 players battled it out fiercely in a spirit of Bonhomie. The result was a very close run thing, with Probus ’83 winning by the small margin of one game.

The “Nearest the Pin” competition on the Par 3 Sixth should have been called “Nearest the Green” – as not one player got on the green with their Tee-shot ! However, the “Longest-Drive” competition was more fiercely contested – with the winner being the Opposing Captain, Mike Collins, and the Runner-up our own Peter Brown, who plays off 11. Mike therefore won the prize for the Longest-Drive and Peter won the prize for “Nearest the Pin” !

The “Odd Ball Prize” for the Most Amusing/Amazing Story was awarded un-opposed to our Ian Rutter, for his heroics when hitting his ball from inside a large conifer (from which he eventually escaped) and his sang-froid when hit by his opponent’s golf ball on the seventh hole ! (As said above, the competition was fierce !)

The golfing performance of our newly appointed Captain, John Coleman, did not live up to the high expectations of his predecessor Leslie Cowie – but the bar was high !

As a penance, John produced a miniature silver cup to be called the “Guildford Probuses Cup”, which will be played for annually by the two Guildford Probuses – and then he promptly presented the cup to himself ! (The Guildford Probus Chairman, Roger Newth, who played against John, is expected to make sure that this doesn’t happen again next year.)






Perhaps it's because I'm just back from four weeks in Australia, or is ot the lovely waether we had for the lunch: Whatever it is, I feel there is definately "spring in the air" at Probus '83.

The lunch was very well attended. We had an excellent speaker in Jim Kemp, and the meal was particularly good.

Next month is Ladies Lunch - our chance to show off a little, and impress our lady guests. Look forward to seeing a large number of attendees for this special lunch.

Please let the organisers of the golf matches, the bowls match and the visits know if you would like to participate. The Investors Discussion Group meetings are open to all members. The next one of on April 19th. Full details of all these activites are in the latest Probus News.






Our friends at Guildford Probus have challenged us, again, to a Bowls Match. Date is August 8th. Please see the BOWLS AND GOLF section of this website for more details.

We are still short of players for our Golf Match against Guildford Probus on April 26th. Do please contact John Coleman asap if you'd like to play. 




Investors Group Update

To all members of the Guildford Probus (1983) Club

The next mtg of the Investors Discussion Group will be on Thursday next week, the 15th March, at the Masonic Centre. 10am for coffee and we aim to finish at 12 noon.

The speaker will be Andrew Withey, a former HSBC fund manager, whose views on the economy and investment market are always interesting and informative. All members of the Club are welcome to attend.


March Lunch

Dr Richard Phillips, our March guest speaker, has a Chemistry PhD and, since retirement, has completed an MA in Classical Studies and is researching for a PhD in Ancient History in the Department of Ancient History and Classical Archaeology of Birkbeck College. Much of his research is focused on the Cyclades, where he and his wife spend several months each year based at their village house on the island of Antiparos. The full title of Richard’s talk was ‘Hard Rock and Soft Power: Parian marble as a source of wealth, prosperity and influence in the ancient Greek world.’ Some might have anticipated a rather dry subject, but all were carried along by Richard’s knowledge and enthusiasm for the subject.

The small Cycladic island of Paros was remarkably prosperous during the Archaic and Classical periods of Ancient Greece. This prosperity was based predominantly on its trade in Parian marble, an exquisite material that was widely sought-after by prominent sculptors throughout antiquity for its use in the highest quality statuary and the most prestigious sanctuaries and public buildings. Many of the most beautiful statues found on the Athenian Acropolis, as well as many of those now housed in the great museums of Europe and the United States, are of Parian marble.

Some of greatest sculptors of the period were from Paros and others were drawn towards the artistic community that developed there in the late Archaic period. Artistic styles reflected the trade that Paros had established throughout the Eastern Mediterranean over many centuries. The famous marble, combined with the excellence and prominence of Parian sculptors, endowed Paros with considerable influence in the ancient Greek world, influence of a kind that we would now call ‘soft power’.



Investors Group Update

The next mtg of our Investors Discussion Group will be next Thursday, 15th February at Weybourne House.  10am for coffee and we aim to finish around 12 noon.  The mtg will be a general discussion which will commence with residential downsizing and equity release.  All members of the Club are welcome to attend.


February Lunch


Hutigruten Feb 2018


Our guest speaker at the February Probus ’83 lunch was John Bryant. John’s career started working on the British Rail ferries operating out of Dover and then latterly as Headteacher at a Primary School.

John’s talk began by introducing us to the Norwegian shipping line Hurtigruten which operates out of Bergen with a daily service up the Norwegian coast into the Arctic circle and round the north coast to the Russian border. The round trip takes 11 days and so a number of ships are required for the service.

The shipping line was established nearly 125 years ago and for nearly 100 of those years it was the primary means of mail communication for the 37 ports of call many of these being remote communities. Nowadays much of the mail service has been given over to airline services but the shipping route still continues to provide an important and significant mail service.

John illustrated many of the ships that have served on the route. In the second World War Norway was occupied by the Germans who made use of the ships to ferry troops consequently these ships became targets for the British Navy and Airforce. Most of the fleet were sunk by the British with considerable loss of civilian lives and this tragic loss of life is commemorated at various places along the route. A new fleet of ships was commissioned after the war to replace those lost and these too have been replaced with modern larger vessels. Nowadays much of the revenue comes from cruise passengers and the modern ships are now more luxurious and have better facilities to cater for this ever expanding trade.

John’s talk was amply illustrated with some excellent photographs, the last part of the talk showing us the principle ports of call and the scenery to be enjoyed en route. Bergen and Trondheim are particularly attractive towns and some time spent in these towns is very worthwhile.

Finally John told us of the book he has written on this whole subject entitled ‘Hurtigruten 120’ and, soon to be published, ‘Hurtigruten 125’ which are available from



January 29th 2018 update: Investment Group programme for 2018 is now available - see the Investment Group page.




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 We've managed to obtain a lovely photo of our December speaker/performer, Margaret Watson.

She enthralled us all so much there there is no doubt she will be asked to entertain us again.

In the Festive spirit, we immediately recommended her to our sister club, Guildford Probus. 





I’m delighted our January lunch was well attended, following the disappointing attendance at our December Ladies lunch.

You will be aware that we have decided to go on the offensive with publicity, to assist you, to assist your Club, in attracting new members.

In the past few weeks we’ve managed to have an article in the Surrey Advertiser – December 15th, The Guildford Magazine, January edition, P7, and under Community Websites in the Guildford Dragon – do take a look there on as it’s a major “plug” for our Club.


January Lunch


The speaker, David Skillan, gave us an excellent illustrated talk on Lincoln at Gettysburg. So much has been written about the subject, and all attendees probably had some knowledge of what occurred, but David managed to weave an incisive series of facts into a wonderfully entertaining 30 minutes. A good sign of appreciation is the number of questions posed – and these came thick and fast.





The next meeting will be at the Masonic Centre, at 10am, for coffee, on January 18th. A short talk will be given by Ian Halket, a financial advisor with HFS Milbourne, whose office is just down the road from the Centre at Artington. It will be followed by questions and a general discussion. All members of the Club are welcome to attend.





As you know, Patrick Lalor launched the revised website in early December. It has been very well received.

Please do take a look – - and encourage friends and neighbours to also view the website. This is an essential element in our marketing and our recruitment endeavours






                                  MESSAGE FROM YOUR CHAIRMAN





For those of you that missed what turned out to be one of the most interesting Ladies Lunches, with Mayor Cllr Nigel Manning and Mayoress Cllr Marsha Moseley in attendance, we were wonderfully entertained by speaker and harpist Margaret Watson.

There was more than a hint of party atmosphere present, and, unusually, a number of attendees, encouraged by what they found on the tables, managed to create just that - a truly relaxed and convivial lunch environment.

Margaret Watson will certainly be requested to come again. She not only played some exquisite pieces, during which no-one fell asleep (probably a first), but gave some truly amazing details about the harp.

The harp has 47 strings, equivalent to white notes on the piano. It has 7 pedals, each with 3 settings - equivalent to the black notes on a piano. The harp rarely stays in tune for long, the atmospheric changes playing havoc. Shostakovich once remarked that a harpist spends 90% of time tuning the harp, and 10% playing the harp out of tune!

Every harp has alternate black and red strings every 4 strings. The red being a "C" and the black an "F."

Having learned just how difficult, thereby, a harp is to both tune and play, no wonder everyone present was mesmerised by what we saw and heard.


We wish all members, and their families, a wonderful Festive Season.