Welcome - to the St Annes Probus Club!

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 gentlemen.

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 members.

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 World.

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, once as high as about 120.  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 our fellowship.

Matthew Willey