|The Origins of Probus
The name PROBUS is an abbreviation of the two words
PROfessional and BUSiness. It also embraces those who worked in
Government and other organisations and also other persons who have held some
aspect of responsibility in any field of endeavour. Some Probus clubs
are for gentlemen only, some are for ladies only and a few have a mixed
membership. Here at St. Annes-on-the-Sea our Probus Club is for
Around the country and, indeed, abroad, there are thousands of autonomous
Probus Clubs. The essential purpose of our club is to provide a
regular gathering of members and guests who appreciate and value
opportunities to meet others in similar circumstances or have similar
interests. The Club offers a warm friendship and fellowship to its
So when did Probus Clubs begin?
According to Probus World, the organisation that holds the copyright to the
regalia of Probus, it all started in the mid 1960’s by two separate
Rotarians. One belonged to the Rotary Club of Welwyn Garden City, the
other of Caterham. Independently and without knowledge of what each
other was doing they created a club for their retired and semi-retired
colleagues, reporting their success in these ventures to Rotary
International at more or less the same time. Quite quickly the idea of
linking the words professional and business was made and a leaflet was
circulated around the Rotary Clubs worldwide. Bit by bit other Rotary
Clubs created a Probus Club within their own town or city.
In 1972, in Bromsgrove, a Rotarian by the name of Ralph Harper had the idea
of a lapel badge similar to that of the one universally worn by Rotarians.
He asked a jeweller friend and the design of the Probus lapel badge was
created. It is Ralph’s daughter, Louise, who currently runs Probus
The Club at St. Annes-on-the-Sea was formed on 25th February 1971 at the
instance of the Rotary Club of the same town. Since that auspicious
date its primary objects have been to provide an opportunity for its members
to meet for fellowship and to foster friendship, goodwill and understanding.
Our first Presidents were Sir Herbert Pollard CBE and Sir William Cocker OBE
who, between them, steered the club for the first eight years after whom
have been well over thirty further Presidents, all of whom have been elected to
this high office by their peers.
Unfortunately the directory of Probus Clubs does not state when each club
was formed but it is clear that the club at St. Annes is one of the oldest.
It is certainly one of the largest in terms of membership, usually boasting
about 120 members. Even though there are many at each meeting you can
be assured of a warm welcome when you come to visit us as a guest or to join