What is PROBUS?
A fellowship for all of its members and, on occasions, their families and the widows of past members as well. Our regular slightly formal lunchtimes and much less formal coffee mornings are ideal for meeting new friends. At our regular lunches we also hear informative and/or entertaining talks on all sorts of subjects. We also arrange barbeques and outings to places of interest and the theatre.
Who can join?
All retired, or nearly-retired gentlemen from a wide range of recognised careers, including banking and finance, construction, engineering, sales, civil service, the armed services, medicine, law, the church, education, telecommunications etc.
Do I have to be, or have been a Rotarian or a Mason etc. to join?
No. There is no requirement to have belonged to any other organisation to qualify for membership of PROBUS. Our PROBUS does meet for lunches in a Masonic Hall near the centre of town, and we are most grateful for the use, for many years, of their bar, dining hall and catering facilities but, other than that, and the fact that some of our members could also be Rotarians or Masons, we have no formal connection with either.
Where and when do you meet?
- Lunches, on the last Wednesday of each month, at the Masonic Hall in Soane Street, Ipswich (almost opposite the main entrance to Christchurch Park). Exceptions are July, August and December, when we invite our wives, partners and friends to join us, and these dates, and venues in summer, vary with their availability.
- Coffee mornings, on the second Wednesday of each month, at The Swan, Westerfield. The management usually arranges tables for us in the front bay window.
What happens at the meetings?
At our lunches, we start with a chat in the bar, then enjoy lunch. Following lunch we deal with any club business, including notices of events, reports from the officers of the committee, information about members who are unwell and any other matters that may need to be conveyed to or discussed with the members. We then introduce our speaker for the day.
Coffee mornings are just coffee and a chat, or several chats at once, around a table for an hour or so.
How formal is it?
The dress code for lunches is jacket and tie. You choose your seat on arrival, but there are no restrictions on who you sit with. We say Grace before our meal (sometimes a secular text rather than traditional Christian Grace, but something to remind members of those less fortunate, for example) and we raise a glass to our Monarch during lunch.
The coffee mornings are come-as-you-are, and some do. Numbers are much fewer than at the lunches.
Would anyone talk to me?
Yes. If you were not introduced by a friend who is already a member, you would be given a named contact when you arrive for the first time. The contact would introduce you to others and be seated with you for lunch.
How would I know or remember people’s names?
It can be a little daunting first time for new members, but everyone (except those few who forget) wears a name badge.
Must I attend every month?
No. But you must let us know each time if you cannot make a lunch, as the caterers need to know numbers well in advance. The coffee mornings need no notice of attendance.
Can I just turn up?
Not to the lunches, simply because we have to notify the caterers of numbers in advance.
How much does it cost?
£18 per year for membership and £18 for each lunch you attend, including the talk and 3-course meal and coffee. There is also an initial joining fee of £30 for new members who are issued with a PROBUS tie and lapel badge.
Coffee mornings are currently £1:50 per head.
How many members do you have?
Membership in recent years has varied between the mid-forties and (our maximum) sixty.
What is the age range of your members?
Members’ ages range from about 60 to 90+.
Who runs the club?
An elected committee.
Is the club part of a wider organisation?
There are many PROBUS clubs all over the UK and abroad. There is a website http://www.probusonline.org that centralises information about all of the registered clubs in the UK and Eire, issues badges and ties, a magazine with reports of other clubs’ events etc, but every PROBUS club is entirely independent and runs itself.
Are all PROBUS clubs the same?
Many are very similar, but each club draws up its own rules, meeting dates and membership fees. Our own club is, like most, men only. However, there are some with mixed membership, and even some ladies’ only PROBUS clubs around.
Does the club do fund-raising activities?
Unusually, our club does pass a hat round twice a year to raise a small donation to a couple of strictly local charities selected by the membership.
Would I have to join immediately?
No. Sometimes, new members take a while to find their feet. You are welcome to come along to our lunches as a guest until you make your decision. The club rules do limit the number of times a guest or visitor may attend lunches to three times a year.
Can members bring guests?
Please do. This is the best form of introduction for new members.