What is Probus?
To some people Probus is known as a Roman Emperor who ruled from 276 to 282. To others Probus is a small village in Cornwall.
But for many thousands of people throughout the world Probus is a network of clubs, each run independently, for retired and semi-retired people who like to stay active by meeting people, socialising, listening to guest speakers and extending their knowledge and interests in an informal atmosphere.
There is another Roman connection with the word Probus. It is a Latin word that means good or honest but Probus in the context of Probus Clubs is an amalgamation of the words ‘professional’ and ‘business’ – although that is no longer a condition for membership!
The original clubs were started for men who came from a professional or business background. The concept was to provide retired men, who had held positions of responsibility, with a place to socialise with others who had similar interests.
It is accepted that Probus has its roots in The Campus Club which was formed by members of Rotary in 1965 in Welwyn Garden City. Other clubs started to form around the UK adopting different, and sometimes comical, names.
It wasn’t until 1966, at the inaugural lunch of one of these clubs in Caterham, that the name ‘Probus’ was first used.
Other clubs began to follow suit and by 1971 about 150 Probus Clubs existed. Over the years the movement developed and there was a steady growth in ladies only and mixed clubs with many choosing to welcome members from all walks of life.
Probus expanded into New Zealand in 1974 and Australia in 1976 followed by North America in 1987.
Although Probus membership has its greatest concentrations in Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand, clubs today exist in all parts of the world, including Belgium, India, Portugal, Holland, Germany, South Africa and several other countries in Africa and Asia.
There is now a healthy Probus Global website providing a worldwide forum for members and clubs.
Probus clubs are local to towns and districts. Typically, meetings are held at regular intervals, normally monthly, with a break (sometimes) during the summer. Probus Club meetings may consist of a lunch before or after a guest speaker. Some clubs are run on a more informal basis and may serve light refreshments before hearing a speaker.
Each club has its own constitution and organises its programmes solely for the benefit of members. Activities include, talks, lunches, networking, meetings with other Probus clubs, group trips, holidays and involvement in community projects.
Because no central organisation exists accurate figures are difficult to obtain but over 2200 clubs exist in the UK with another 4000 clubs worldwide.
Membership in 2018 was over 400,000 worldwide.
Preston Forum Probus Club
Preston Forum Probus Club like many others was formed by members of Preston Rotary in 1974. Originally it was a men only club but in 2013 a decision was taken to encourage women to join.
The move, in keeping with the times, was a great success and currently the balance between men and women is 50/50.
The club has had various meeting places over the years and currently meets at Our Lady and St Edward Parish Centre in Fulwood, PR2 9UE on alternate Thursday mornings (10.00 – Noon) from September to April.