There were sheets of paper everywhere and there was a business like feel in the air.
What you wonder could these ladies be up to but of course it was the first A.G.M. of The Fryern Ladies’ Probus.
“I’m just delighted that we’ve reached the end of the year intact and all still speaking to each other – well done”, were the light hearted first lines of the retiring President’s speech; which set the informal tone for the rest of the afternoon.
Indeed all of the meetings during the year had been relaxed, entertaining and had been enhanced by different and varied speakers; often charging no fee so that we could get established as a new Probus and build up a sizable bank balance – this we have now achieved.
There was one step down from the Committee and Maureen Heath was warmly commended for her role as Programme Secretary and indeed had currently signed up monthly speakers through until July next year.
She was presented with a small token of appreciation being a metre high plant!
Two new committee members, Marie Titchener and Maureen Girard, had been previously co-opted and nominated and these two ladies were unanimously voted on to the friendly and welcoming committee .
Muriel Astley – our Honorary Auditor was similarly thanked and immediately signed up for next year as too were Wendy Cliffe and Pamela Sala to organise the raffle.
The Ceremony of The Handing over of the Collarette by the outgoing President, Russ Fry, to the new incumbent Jean Minter, was performed and we all settled down for a delightful Pam Ayres Moment.
No Pam Ayres is not a member (yet) of the Fryern Ladies Probus but was our Guest Speaker of the Day – Pat Beard is well known locally for her readings of Pam’s poems and is a personal friend of many of the ladies present.
Indeed it was an unusual coincidence that the first Speaker of our Probus Year was Paul Hayward and that his partner Pat was our last – quite tidy and auspicious.
Pat’s readings brought attentive silence to the room broken by many a laugh as she reminded us of the genius of Pam Ayres.
We were brought to the verge of tears by the sad plight of “The Battery Hen” and totally sympathised with that poor little “Dog Who Didn’t Win a Prize”- words so true and cruelly observant.
The Family was well represented with Gran seeing the resemblance of herself in her grandson as he steps up to receive his Nobel Prize in “My Little Grandson” and thoughts on Immigration, N.H.S., House Prices, Foot & Mouth, Joyriders, Muggers and Road Congestion from “They Should Have Asked My Husband” – all in time, no doubt, for our pending General Election!
We could all identify with, “Where There’s a Will” as we are all of an age to have one in place. We were reminded of the sobbing and hard done by relations intent on – watching –hiding – manipulating – unfolding - calculating and the justification and amusement of the final message – “Left to the Battersea Dog’s Home”.
This was just a little taster but was greatly appreciated by all present.
Maureen Heath warmly thanked Pat, for a lively presentation, and we’ll certainly all remember to Look After Our Teeth!
With our new President and Committee we look forward to our next meeting which will be on April 2nd when our Guest Speaker will be Mark Perry Nash speaking on The Role of Women in British History.
Report by Russ Fry. Picture by Simon Green, general manager of The Roundabout Hotel.