As might be expected given the origins of the PROBUS movement, the Eastbourne PROBUS Club was founded by members of the precursor to what is now the Eastbourne Sovereign Rotary Club. In July 1973, Mike Procter became Past President of that Club and, at the suggestion of the incoming President, set about creating a PROBUS Club. It began with five interested individuals who met for the first time in the lounge of the Queens Hotel by invitation of the management who provided coffee and biscuits. All present undertook to bring another potential member to the next meeting and so the gathering grew rapidly to about thirty strong. Initially, Mike acted as Chairman of this essentially informal group but in due course, when its size became large enough, a formal motion was carried to create a PROBUS Club and the Members were asked to nominate a Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer, posts which remain constitutional necessities to the present day.
The first Chairman was retired vicar John Pain who predictably came from the Rotary Club and assumed office in 1974. The link with the Rotary Club was further manifested when it organised a “Charter Dinner” for its PROBUS offshoot in the Sussex Hotel in Cornfield Road (now a block of flats). At that Dinner, the fledgling PROBUS Club of Eastbourne was presented with a suitably inscribed gavel which is still in use today. Subsequently, what was titled “a simple set of rules” was drawn up and it also remains essentially unchanged as the basis of our Constitution. In 1990, the Club decided to buy a chain of office for the Chairman and this was presented by Mike Procter to the then incumbent, the Rev Gilbert Vigar. Finally, the Club, which had sampled a number of Eastbourne hotels over the years, moved its meeting place to its current home, the Cumberland Hotel, in January 1991. The Club was fully established in every respect and building on these firm foundations, continues to flourish to the present day.