New members welcome at Ellesmere social club

Members of an Ellesmere social club which brings together older people from all walks of life will be meeting face-to-face next week for the first time in 18 months.

From left, secretary Paul Goulbourne, president Jeremy Stretton and vice-president Bill Ferries
From left, secretary Paul Goulbourne, president Jeremy Stretton and vice-president Bill Ferries

The Probus Club was forced to abandon its monthly gatherings last year because of Covid lockdown restrictions, but has managed to keep going with regular Zoom meetings and by publishing an online newsletter.

Now, meetings will resume at Ellesmere’s Comrades’ Club from Thursday, October 7 with more women members taking part after signing-up during the pandemic.

“We recently undertook a ‘straw poll’ among many of our members and it was clear that the majority are happy to resume face-to-face meetings,” said club president Jeremy Stretton.

“We are also hoping it will still be possible for those unable to be present to join us via Zoom.

"Probus is an international organisation for retired and semi-retired business and professional people, and the Ellesmere branch celebrated its 30th anniversary two

years ago.

"The first woman member joined soon afterwards and several others have been welcomed since.

"We’ve all been looking forward to this for so long and we also want to extend the warmest of welcomes to potential new members. Sadly, we have lost several long-serving members since we last met in person, but our membership is still close to 50 and we would like to recruit more.

“Our meetings are a great opportunity for people to get together, enjoy a coffee, make new friends, enjoy an interesting talk on a subject they might know nothing about.

"Our first woman member joined shortly before the pandemic began and three others have been welcomed since, so we’ve become more diverse."

The first meeting back at the Comrades' Club will include a presentation by the army’s engagement team and there will be a comprehensive programme of speakers lined up for future meetings, including an RSPCA vet and the West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion.

With ages ranging from the early 60s to the mid-90s the club’s membership covers a large variety of interests and occupations from all walks of life.

“We’d be more than happy to see anyone who would like to come along to a ‘taster’ meeting and give us a try,” said Jeremy.

Meetings are held on the first and third Thursday in winter months, and on the first Thursday of the month in summer.

All meetings start with coffee from 10am.

Next year, the club hopes to resume its annual outing in June, along with its annual autumn lunch.

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