Past President David Ross delivered the history of Carnoustie Probus Club at the celebration of its 40th anniversary recently.
David said it had been an eye-opening exercise and he had to deal with handwritten minutes for the first 15 years of the club’s existence.
It was in 1982 when the foundation stone of Carnoustie Probus Club was laid and other momentous events that year included the Falklands War, Mark Thatcher getting lost in the desert, Channel 4 starting, Queen Elizabeth celebrated her Pearl Jubilee, Prince William was born and Scotland qualified for a World Cup and won a game at the finals!
A man of vision, Bob Robertson, then the Carnoustie Rotary Community Service Convener, arranged a meeting of the town’s retired businessmen in the Station Hotel Signal Box room on October 28, 1982 to gauge interest in forming a club of retired PROfessional and BUSiness people.
The main aims of Probus Clubs across the world are to promote friendship and fellowship amongst its members.
Carnoustie Probus Club was no exception in its formation and the club will be forever grateful to the encouragement, advice, friendship and support from the now sadly defunct Carnoustie Rotary over the years.
At that initial meeting in 1982, 15 interested men attended and unanimously agreed with Bob Robertson that a Probus Club be formed.
Sadly, none of the original 15 are alive today.
Inaugural cChairman (elected president) Bob Robertson died in 2007, aged 92 and is fondly remembered for his work in establishing the club.
The first meeting with a speaker was on November 24, 1982 and the speaker was no other than celebrated journalist and local raconteur Brain McCartney, giving his first of several talks to Probus over the years with tales of the funny and not so funny stories he covered over the years before retiring.
At the first AGM in February 1983, 30 members were present and the first Constitution was adopted, Bob was elected as first president, Colin Murdoch as inaugural secretary and Jim McLauchlan as treasurer.
The first subscription was agreed as £1.
Membership began to grow from these humble beginnings. It was 45 in 1988 and rose to a peak of 77 in 2000.
After a fall in numbers in early 2000s, membership rose again then fell in 2013 to 41.
A membership drive in 2016-17 was started and there is now a steady membership of around 50.
At the AGM in 1988, subscriptions were raised to a nose-bleeding £2 and this has also steadily risen to the current £15 which represents great value for money.
David Lowson is the club’s longest serving member at the age of 102.
His introduction to the club was on October 15, 1986 at which he talked about criminology, subsequently becoming a member and serving nine years as secretary and treasurer but never president.
To mark his membership of 34 years he was elected as Honorary Life President in 2020.
Over the past 40 years, there have been an estimated 750 talks, several quizzes, a Christmas lunch in the Station Hotel every year.
There have also been nearly 100 outside visits, including to the local Primary Schools and of course Carnoustie High School.
Outside Visits have been mostly local although members have been as far as the Royal Yacht Britannia, the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh and the Falkirk Wheel.
Music has been an important part of Probus life – initially with Mrs Walker giving classical renditions on the piano, Bill Cumming on the organ and regular appearances by local singers and skilled instrumentalists over the years.
All of the club’s presidents only serve for one year- the only exceptions have been when a president has died while in post and Grant Wilson who, due to the effects of the Pandemic on shutting down activities, served for two years.
Whilst the President has the hard job of putting together the programme for his year in office, he is always ably supported by his vice-president, treasurer and secretary.
There have been six treasurers, the longest serving of which was Leslie Hunter (15 years) and nine secretaries, the longest serving of which was Bill Parris (19 years).
The first recorded attempt at a Christmas celebration was December 1984 with wine at the regular meeting and Bill Cumming on the organ – heady days! The first proper lunch was on December 16, 1986, in the Station.
As previously stated, one thing that remained brilliant for the last 30 years was the quality of the after meal entertainment, for many years from the talented youngsters of Carnoustie High School Brass Band under the baton of Mike Robertson and latterly also from Sisterhood choir.
Tribute was also paid to those who have supported the club over the years particularly the Station Hotel, Brian and Arlene and of course Rose who looks after members so well.
The club still meets fortnightly in the Station Hotel and members have a natter about the old days, moan about our various ailments and listen to a great range of speakers.
New members will be made very welcomed and further information about membership can be obtained from secretary David Taylor. Annual subscription is the princely sum of £15.