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Ladies Probus Celebrates 30th Anniversary

Probus Ladies 30th Anniversary

Founder member Joan Musselwhite, seated, newest member Pat Bambury and President Jane Leese cut the cake.

Basingstoke Ladies’ Probus Club recently enjoyed a celebration of the club’s 30th anniversary, at their monthly lunch meeting at Basingstoke College of Technology restaurant. A cake, made and decorated by Probus member Pam Luck, was cut by founder member Joan Musselwhite and the club’s newest member Pat Bambury.

President Jane Leese proposed a toast to the club and spoke of her hopes for the future of the group now that it was recovering from the interruption of Covid lockdowns.

Probus is a club for retired or semi-retired professional and business women. The inaugural meeting was held on July 16th, 1993, when Eva Wells gathered a group of 11 ladies in her home, offering stimulation, interest and friendship to retired ladies. It now meets once a month for a speaker and lunch at BCoT. If you are interested in finding out more, contact the secretary by email: or phone: 07890 152846.

Pelican Cancer Foundation

Basingstoke is home to one of the world’s “centre of excellence” for sharing lifesaving, life-enhancing knowledge and skills with cancer specialists. Known as the Pelican Cancer Foundation, it is based in the purpose-built education and conference centre, The Ark, which is positioned at the rear of the North Hampshire hospital.

Since 2001 more than 8,000 clinicians have attended Pelican training courses and meetings and, in the process, set national standards for cancer diagnosis and treatment. It is possible with video technology to conduct live surgery to groups of up to 240 delegates.

With no government funding the Pelican Cancer Foundation has considerable reliance on voluntary contributions and the Elvetham Masonic Lodge donated £1,000 towards its general fund. Such a donation will cover the costs of a full day of intensive training for two surgeons. This was part of a programme of charitable giving by the Lodge this Spring totalling more than £6,000 it made to local causes.

As the local name suggests, the Elvetham Lodge was founded 103 years ago based on the outskirts of Hartley Wintney remaining in the village until it moved in 1993 to join other Lodges based in the Masonic Centre in Victoria Street, Basingstoke. Today members live in and around Basingstoke which ensures that the Lodge maintains a close association with local groups.

These days, Freemasons in the UK are recognised as major contributors to worthy causes. In Hampshire around £1 million per year is granted while across England it equates to around £58,000 per day. All the money comes from their own resources as they never have street collections.

43rd AGM

The 43rd Annual General Meeting of the Probus Club of Basingstoke has just taken place. All the officers stood down although many seek re-election. The only essential transfer is the election of the president, who, unlike the other members of the Executive Committee, normally has only one year in post. The custom and practise is that the president is elected unopposed, and the vice president is the heir presumptive. Other committee members keen to serve again ensures that there is no loss of expertise as the committee is organised on cabinet lines with specific portfolios taken on by each member.

The clubs’ executive committee is a prime example of the diversity of the working lives of the membership. The new president, Dr Jeff Grover, was a nuclear safety consultant, Alex Marianos is now the past president and lunch steward who was a civil engineer who built bridges over the M4, the vice president, Stephen Thair, who combines the role with being secretary, was a solicitor, the outings organiser, Chris Perkins, was an officer in the RAF, David Wickens is the speaker finder and was an engineering sales manager, the publicity officer, Paul Flint, had a small printing business, while the remaining member of the committee, Paul Miller, was another RAF officer who has just concluded his year of office as the Mayor of Basingstoke & Deane.

The Probus Club has been in continuous operation since it was founded in Basingstoke in 1979 and has had an extensive array of members over the years with the criteria that they be retired and like the name of the club, Probus, that they had professional or business experience.

If you are considering joining see for more information.

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