Past Events

INVESTMENT GROUP – November Meeting

To all members of the Guildford Probus (1983) Club

The next mtg of our Investors Discussion Group will be on Thursday next week, 15th November, when we will have with us Colin Alderman of local law firm, Barlow Robbins, talking about wills, trusts, probate, etc. Usual place – the Masonic Centre. Usual time – 10am for coffee. All members of the Club are welcome to attend.


Our November lunch on Thursday 1st was, as usual in November, our AGM where we get our act(s) together for the coming year. But there was still a very good turnout and, despite the inevitable business, there was still a decent lunch, the friendly chat and the beer.


To all members of the Guildford Probus (1983) Club

The next mtg of our Investors Discussion Group this Thursday, the 18th, which all member of the Club are invited to attend, will be a general discussion amongst ourselves on any topic of interest – an opportunity to share your solution to our Brexit problem or air the subject of your ‘hobby horse’. 10 am for coffee at the Masonic Centre and we aim to finish at 12 noon.


Our October lunch was a splendid success for several reasons. It was encouragingly well attended. The actual lunch was one of the best I’ve enjoyed there – I congratulated Vince afterwards – the best value for money in town! Our speaker, Geoff Burch, kept us spellbound for 35 minutes on the subject of “Ramblings of a Railway Man.” The number of questions he received following the well illustrated presentation was the largest I have ever encountered at Probus ’83.
We were delighted to induct David Bott as a new member.

There will not be a speaker at next month’s lunch on November 1st as it is the Club AGM. It is an important meeting, so do please endeavour to attend if you can.
Preparations are already underway for our Guests Festive Lunch on December 6th. This is one of two such events annually, where members can come alone, as usual, or bring their wife,

partner or a guest. This year we’ve engaged Peter Swan to give us a talk on the Royal Yacht Britannia – a bit fo nostalgia I’m sure.
Members who have not already done so are asked to contact Mike Jordan by email or ‘phone to say they are coming, with, or without, a guest.
The next Investment Group meeting will be a general discussion, held at Weybourne House on Thursday October 18th. All are welcome. It starts at 10.00am and should last around two hours.
Finally, our Club tribute to the Royal Air Force in its centennial year, contained in the Special Edition Probus News, was extremely well received – and it deserved to be so, following the extensive research and the wonderfully crafted Tribute written by John Glanfield and Steve Palmer.


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.



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.

Our July 2018 Lunch

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

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.

June 2018 Lunch

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.



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.



Perhaps it’s because I’m just back from four weeks in Australia, or is ot the lovely weather 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.