The Big Help Out
As part of the Coronation Celebrations a “Big Help Out” was held at the Memorial Hall which was well supported with some 20 clubs/ initiatives seeking volunteers. Probus “sponsored” the refreshments from the 2022 Chair’s Charity Fund( the profit from the wine raffle), the guides and scouts were well represented and these guides were one of the first to the table!
The Big Lunch
We were at “The Big Lunch” serving in the end the vegetarian sausages as the new team at “The Bull” (who are opening end of May) offered at the last minute to do the meat sausages and an excellent lamb kebab. They were much busier than us! The food was free compliments of “King Charles” and the turnout excellent. Thanks to Marjorie, Bob ,Liz, Dierdre, Tim and Mike Montagu who is not in the picture.
Morris Dancers and Probus members, Tony Merry and Janet Sly, performed at the recent Charlbury Society AGM
At our Christmas bash at Witney Lakes, turkey was served along with Christmas pud. Other options were available. The entertainment was provided by Mike Summer’s terribly good rendition of a Desert Island Discs interview of legendary musician, and fellow Probus member, Richard Morcombe. We were treated to words from Richard relating to his long career in the music business and the many famous personalities he has worked with, not least his wife Tina. No other events were planned for December, so after lunch, we said our merry Christmases, and bade farewell until the next Charlbury Probus event in 2023.
After October’s look at solar farms, this month we were given a perspective of modern farming techniques and methods and all of the problems facing farmers in their quest to provide food for the nation’s tables. It was a real insight into the issues that farmers are attempting to deal with, particularly after Brexit. Also during November Charlbury Probus members participated in events such as the St. Mary’s Church Quiz, raising money for the Church, and the Christmas Fair bottle stand, where some of the bottles left over from the Street Fair were again presented in an attempt to raise more funds for the Corner House.
Tim Crisp gave us an inside look at the Southill Solar Farm which, despite initial planning setbacks and a target of £4.5 million to find, was successfully completed and is now working to reduce the carbon footprint of Charlbury. In the Kingfisher Mike Summers was able to give us a fascinating local perspective of Operation London Bridge, the planned sequence of events and procedures that were put in place following the announcement of the death of Queen Elizabeth II. While Stephen Barker took members on another trip through English Civil War history in an on site exploration at Naseby. Lastly, a theatre trip to Sonning Mill Theatre to see the wonderful, rib tickler play Funny Money, which was enjoyed by all.
At the lunch meeting at Witney Lakes our speaker was one of our new women members, Liz Reason, who, in her role as Charlbury Town Council Chair, gave us an insight into the workings of the council. During September the Probus Committeewas enlarged by one, new member, Deirdre Lunney, who joined with a responsibility for membership. Probus also assisted at the Charlbury Street Fair as part of its ‘helping others’ initiative. A number of members did their bit on a bottle stall after which a total of £947 was raised for the Corner House Fund. Well done all of those who participated, and of course all those who made generous bottle donations.
Back to Witney Lakes Resort for this month’s meeting. Mike Jackson was our guest speaker and had some intriguing tales about military intelligence gathering before and during the cold war period. Also during August club members travelled to the Watermill Theatre to enjoy ‘Whistle Down the Wind’. Later in the month a small group met up with Stephen Barker and were guided around some relevant civil war sites in Oxford city centre, finishing with lunch at the ‘Head of the River’ pub.
No Witney Lakes Resort in July and we met for a BBQ lunch at Charlbury Bowling Club; the weather was superb. No presentation of course, but a fine selection of food was provided by Marcia, who is looking forward to opening a new Bistro at the old Post Office. We had access to the bar at the Bowling Club and, for anyone that wanted it, some personal instruction in the fine art of propelling a hard round object at an even smaller round object some 20 yards or more away. It was during the latter days of July that temperatures in the UK broke all records and heat of 40 degrees was reached. I think, and I may be wrong, that in Charlbury it got up to around 38 degrees. Sadly we lost popular member Dick Heckman in July.
June featured the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations and the weather started to show signs of the summer to come. The lunch presentation was given by historian Stephen Barker, who is no stranger to Charlbury Probus. Stephen came to talk about the English Civil War, in a presentation entitled ‘Soldiers, Saints and Sinners’. More ‘war walks’ were arranged, including one later in the month to the battlefield at Edgehill. Charlbury Probus Club also began its mission in helping others, the first occasion being at the Jubilee Barn Dance on the 4th. A number of members turned out to don the blue colours of Charlbury Probus. The event was able to raise a total of £5500 for the new Cornerhouse Renovation Fund.
The Charlbury Community Centre was the subject of the lunch presentation, with a broad view of the project provided by the Chair of the Trustees Chris Potts. We also welcomed a number of new members including Leah Fawler (left) and Jenny Welch, whose husbands were members of Probus prior to their passing. From May onwards we started planning events that could take place out of doors, and who knew that the summer would be a scorcher.
Our presentation at this lunch was by Marjorie Glasgow BEM, the Lord-Lieutenant of Oxfordshire. Her role is basically being the Queen’s representative in the county and she was able to give us a great insight into her activities and connections. Also at the meeting it was announced that the club had received membership applications from no less than six women and three men since the AGM, a big stride forward in our efforts to increase Probus membership. There was also a collection for the victims of the Russian invasion and subsequent war in Ukraine which raised a magnificent £300.
The Annual General Meeting was a return to a normal sort of lunch meeting. We feasted on turkey and apple crumble before getting on with business of selecting the committee. Mike Summers stepped down as Chair and Mike White departed the committee after stepping down as Secretary. Additionally, Charles Bee also departed the committee after many years of service as Speaker Secretary. Then a new committee was voted in with the Chair passing to Paul Jackson, Simon Handley as Secretary and Mike Summers returning to his old post as Treasurer. Other selected included Graham Jowett, Jeremy Smyth and Tony Merry. Of course, the big change that came out of the AGM was the decision by the membership to allow women to become members, which was carried by a substantial majority vote after proposal.
We had our first lunch of the year, and were subjected to the restrictions that were in place for protection against Covid-19 and were required to wear masks until seated, all food and drink was served at the table and staff at Witney Lakes Resort had to wear masks and gloves throughout. Lunch was steak and ale pie. After lunch we were treated to a presentation by Yvonne Crane and her two guide dogs on the selection and training of prospective candidates. Yvonne was presented with a cheque for £150 from Charlbury Probus Club, and the members present at the lunch raised a further £300 for her to take with her for the Guide Dogs organisation.
There isn’t much to say about January 2022 in terms of what members of Probus were engaging in: there was no Annual Dinner and no Lunch Meeting, but there was an edition of the Kingfisher in its old form as a newsletter. We were fortunate that in the January edition ‘Paddy’s Page’ provided some wonderful photos of swans and foxes (above). I have selectedone of those photos to represent January. It seemed quite appropriate to see a perfectly framed fox set in a field of snow. My thanks go to Paddy for sending us such magnificent photographs for inclusion in the magazine. A successful “Open House” was held at the Community Centre which generated several new members.