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The formation of the club:

The club was set up by Ron Rowland in 1999.

The first ten years - Reminiscences by Ron Rowland

I saw at the top of an old Club Constitution that it was adopted in May 1999. We do not seem to have a record of what else was decided on the day the Hungerford PROBUS Club was inaugurated but I can tell you that a lot of preliminary work went on before we got to inauguration stage.

An ex Round Table friend of mine had started a PROBUS Club in Ruislip / Northwood and within a very short time it was flourishing.

Based on my friend's experience I recommended to Hungerford Rotary Club of which I was, and still am, a member that they should sponsor a local PROBUS Club (usl). With Rotary's strong backing I publicised an exploratory meeting at the town hall. I persuaded my wife, June, and Joan Bond to organise teas and we waited for the crowds. Less than a dozen turned up and of those that did most were there just to give support and were not potential members! However, undeterred, I persuaded a few to join me (Francis Turner, Joan Bond, Peter Robinson are names I recall) and we organised lunches followed by a speaker at various hostelries in and around Hungerford. They attracted increasing numbers so - as I have already indicated, in May 1999 we went ahead and formally set up - The PROBUS Club of Hungerford.

Hungerford Rotary Club generously donated our Chairman's Jewel.

Our first year was very successful. From the minutes of our first AGM I can tell you that we ended the year with 44 members. The Club's committee was myself as Chairman, Francis Turner as Vice Chairman, Joan Bond as Treasurer, Alan Dawkins as Secretary, Margaret Wilson as Membership Secretary and Peter Robinson as a Committee member.

Speakers in our first year were:-Pam Haseltine (Cistercian Abbeys), Dr George Osmond (Berkshire Wildlife), Alan Giles (Life of a gamekeeper), Mr Bourser (Fine Wines), Mr Gregory (Pub Signs), David Liddiard (Ballooning)- oh and Ron Rowland (The National Trust).

We also held a very successful dinner at the Elcot Hotel when our speaker was Commodore Gibb of P & 0 Line talking about his career ' From Cadet to Commodore' and our cabaret - Maureen and Arthur - Surprise surprise we also had a BBQ at David and Jo Liddiard's.

So much for year one. With our AGM pending let me assure you that I do not intend going through our activities year by year. (also because we do not seem to have copies of AGM minutes!) So I will just summarise:

Over our first ten years we will have met for lunch about one hundred times and have enjoyed some excellent speakers talking on a great variety of subjects. Between a quarter and a third have been Club members and it has always been of interest to learn of individuals' contributions over the years - a period, I think you will all agree, of great change. For most of the lunches and events our caterers Coleshill Catering - in other words Ian and Heather (not forgetting dad Tony)- have consistently produced excellent meals.

Our social activities have included our annual January dinners and our Summer BBQs - all well organised and all enjoyable. Some of us have also enjoyed short breaks/ mini holidays - Malta, The Eden Project, Derbyshire, Normandy Gardens, Dubrovnic, Raleighs Cross and the Lake District etc. Day outings to various places - NWN, Beam engines, have also featured.

We have had our downs as well as our ups. I will mention just one; a meeting in May 2000. {Quote from Francis's note at the time)
I must finish with a sincere 'thank you' to all who have contributed in so many ways to the success of HUNGERFORD PROBUS Club over the last ten years - the committees, the organisers, the helpers. Many are still with us, ten years on. I am sure that in ten years’ time, whoever reminiscences, will be saying very much the same. Here's to the year 2019!!