The Probus Club of Caterham grew out of an initiative in 1965 by the Vocational Services Committee of the Rotary Club of Caterham , under the Chairmanship of the late Harold Blanchard. There was seen to be a need for retired professional and businessmen, newly deprived of conversation around the office tea trolley, to meet together for fellowship and social activities on a regular basis.
The idea was publicised and an open meeting called on Tuesday 22nd February 1966 to assess the depth of interest and possible response. Forty two attended, forty of whom were to become our founding members. They enthusiastically approved the idea and settled on the name “Probus” derived from the first three letters of the words “Professional” and “Business”.
The inaugural luncheon meeting of the first Probus Club anywhere in the world was held on Wednesday 2nd March, at the Valley Hotel, Caterham. The Rotary Club President, Ken Parry, took the chair and 35 members attended. Lunches were held in April and May, also chaired by Ken Parry. A Committee was formed in May of that year under the chairmanship of Harold Blanchard who chaired the monthly luncheons from June onwards. He is widely regarded as being the “father” of Probus and his memory is preserved on plaques in St. John’s Church and in the Soper Hall (Link to plaque unveiling ceremony in ‘Meetings / Events’ menu).
There are now Probus Clubs in many countries — Australia, New Zealand, Holland, Canada, India, Belgium, South Africa, Germany, Portugal and South America to name but some of the countries. Find more information about UK clubs at probusonline.org.