The Probus Club of Horsham and District took the opportunity to celebrate and mark the 100th birthday of its founding and honorary member Edwin (Ted) Lynch OBE at its annual New Year lunch at Roffey Park Institute on Friday.
It was in April 1985 that Ted wrote these words in the pages of the County Times:
“The Rotary Club of Horsham is calling a meeting aimed at forming a Probus Club for retired or semi-retired businessmen in Horsham.
“Liberally interpreted to include any man who has held a responsible position.
“Probus Clubs are spreading rapidly in the U.K. and abroad.
“Their main purpose is to provide a regular meeting place for conversation, mutual interests and fellowship.
“There must be many who would welcome a monthly get together on this basis and I hope this will be confirmed at the initial exploratory meeting to be held at the Sunset Restaurant at 10:30 for 11:00 on Thursday 25th April.
“Ted Lynch, President of Horsham Rotary Club”.
In the event some 40 attended the initial meeting at the Sunset Restaurant in West Street, (which was located above what is now Lloyds Bank) and the club was inaugurated on the June 13, 1985. membership reached 50 within a few months and the club has continued to be active ever since.
Within a few years this first Probus Club in Horsham spawned, four others for retired men from the community in and around the town.
More than 90 people attended the lunch including Ted himself, club members, wives, partners, and other guests.
The club president, Chris Spiers, spoke of the debt Probus Members throughout Horsham owed to Ted for his role in establishing the club and on behalf of all Probus members in Horsham gave Ted an authentic copy of the ‘Sunday Pictorial’ issued on the day of his birth (January 20) in recognition of not only his landmark birthday but his role in making Probus in Horsham the success it continues to be.
Each Probus Club, the name being derived from PROfessional and BUSiness, is entirely autonomous aspiring to provide opportunities for companionship amongst people who have retired from a busy working life and are looking for an outlet amongst people from similar backgrounds.
As well as regular meetings clubs organise trips to places of interest, theatres and restaurants when wives and partners are a key element of the success of such events.
Today there are over 2000 clubs in Great Britain and Ireland with others in Europe, South Africa, USA, Canada, Bermuda and South Pacific, Argentina, Chile, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand and India.