Monthly Lunch Reports

Wednesday 4th May 2022

Today’s speaker Barrie Galley from Cornwall Air Ambulance. He presented an overview of the history of the charity and gave examples of the life saving work the service provides the people of Cornwall. Formed in 1987 it was the first air ambulance to operate in the UK, leading the way for the current 19 now in service across the country. Their work is entirely funded from charitable donations and fundraising events. Chairman Mark Bardsley presented a cheque on behalf of Probus. 

Wednesday 2nd March 2022

Our March Meeting was held at the Britannia Inn, St Austell, where  Mr Richard Spencer Breeze, who is the founder of the Cornwall Aviation Trust gave us a very interesting talk. There is an Aerospace Museum at the St Mawgan, Newquay airport where they take up in the region of three acres for their aircraft displays. This is open to the public a full 5 days per week. Their aim is to provide entertainment and education to all ages and they have several aircraft on site which visitors can view onboard in an interactive and hands on manner.

They have some 19 aircraft on site including airliners, fighters and  trainers. There is also displays of engines and aircraft parts. Guided Tours are available with a full explanation of all displays. They have a Tornado, BAC111 airliner, a VC10 refueler, an Avro Shackleton, and the cockpit display of a Nimrod aircraft.

With regard to the education element they undertake full Cabin Crew Training and  Engineering training both with full qualifications available. This is done in conjunction with Cornwall College.

There are some 50 Volunteers who give their time at the Trust including some who are ex military personnel and are experts in their fields. Historical Aircraft need a large amount of looking after and care as well as maintenance and restoration, which is all undertaken at the Trust.

The Trust receive no money as grants and therefore its only income is through ticket sales and gifts. Currently the Trust is in negotiation with Cornwall Council regarding renewal of its lease to continue being on the site and developing the Trust in future.  A vote of thanks was given by our member Mr Reg Pears, who himself was a career R.A.F. Air Crew, and flew on some of the planes mentioned. Our Chairman, Mr Mark Bardsley, also thanked the speaker for his very interesting talk and presented him with a cheque for his chosen cause.

Wednesday 2nd February 2022

Our guest speaker this month was Brendan Hale from Cornwall Blood Bikes, who gave an informative talk about this local volunteer service.

Cornwall Blood Bikes are a team of volunteer members, dedicated to providing a weekday ‘out of hours’ service supporting the NHS.   They are not a ‘blue lights’ service, but have formal agreements to deliver essential Human Blood, Pathology Samples, Medication, Medical Equipment, Medical Notes and occasionally Donor Breast Milk to the NHS hospitals and hospices throughout Cornwall and beyond.

Cornwall Blood Bikes (Charity No. 1140165) was founded at an inaugural meeting of seven volunteers held in Pensilva, Cornwall on 27 January 2011 and received ‘Registered Charity Status’ on 2 February 2011, becoming fully operational in July 2012.  They are members of the Nationwide Association of Blood Bikes (NABB) whose membership of blood bike groups is countrywide, and they often link up with other regional blood bike services for deliveries farther afield. 

Their mission is to relieve sickness and protect health by the provision of transport or urgently needed blood, drugs, human tissues and other medical requirements between hospitals, clinics, laboratories, doctors, or other such places as the trustee’s deem fit.

Their riders deliver and collect from the hospitals and hospices throughout Cornwall and sometimes beyond.  The volunteer riders are required to be qualified advanced motorcyclists (IAM, RoSPA or equivalent) and have undergone an assessment of their riding skills as well as bespoke training in relation to sample handling and the procedures required for working with our NHS partners.  Volunteers freely give up their time to serve the community, but will almost certainly never meet the patients that they are helping: in turn the patients will probably never know of the existence of the Cornwall Blood Bike service or that it played any part in their recovery.

Blood Bikes have approximately 55 volunteer riders who fulfilled 5,853 trips in 2020, covering nearly 230,000 delivery miles.  Riders are provided with the necessary kit (satchels, spill kits, etc) to meet the requirements for carrying goods as specified by our NHS partners whether using one of our liveried Blood Bikes or sometimes their own private motorcycle. Identity Cards are carried by our volunteer members which are worn and visible at all times when on duty.

Wednesday 5th January 2022

The Meeting was held at the Britannia Inn for lunch. Our speaker for the day was unable to attend owing to Covid so our Vice Chairman, Mr Mark Bardsley, spoke instead about The Royal British Legion, (R.B.L) Mark is a member of this organisation, now retired, but having spent a career in the Royal Navy.

Mark told us that the R.B.L. was formed in 1921, a few years after the first world war, owing to so many men & families still suffering from the conflict.

 A Lancastrian, Lance Bombardier Tom Lister, was the instigator of the movement owing to a government unable to anything to improve the situation of millions of people, so on the 15th May 1921, at 9am at the Cenotaph in London the British Legion was born.

Its purpose is to care for those who have suffered as a result of Service in the British Armed Forces, whether through their own Service or that of an immediate family member.

The two minute silence had already been adopted as a token of remembrance and in 1921 the first Poppy was sold to raise funds for the injured and their families, and thus the Poppy Appeal was born. We recognise so well the Red Poppy that is its emblem.

On the occasion of its 50th anniversary in 1971 by Royal Decree, the Legion became The Royal British Legion that we know so well today. The Poppy Appeal today raises an average in the region of £43million every year, and with other monies being raised, totalling in the region of £150million, much needed funds to support the R.B.L. annually for all the welfare they undertake.

 This was originally inspired by a Canadian, Lieutenant Colonel John McCrea, who saw so many Poppies growing in a war torn countryside that he wrote the well known poem, “In Flanders Field”, & then by an Amercan, Miss Moina Michael, where the Poppy was adopted by the American Legion in 1920. it was adopted by the British in 1921.

We thank Mark for standing in at short notice & for such an interesting talk.

Wednesday 1st December 2021

The Club met at the Britannia Inn on Wednesday 1st December 2021.

The Vice Chairman, Mr Mark Bardsley led the meeting in the absence of Mr Hugh Walker, Chairman, who was unable to attend due to illness.

Mark introduced Mr Jimmy James who is the Publicity Officer for the Bodmin & Wenford Railway, (BWR). Jimmy began by advising that he had many hats within the organisation including driver, guard, ganger & maintenance engineer, all as a volunteer, which developed since he joined the BWR in 1991. He feels that it is very much “In The Blood” as he has always enjoyed the world of steam, particularly trains.

Currently there are six & a half miles of track running from Bodmin Parkway to Bodmin Central and then from Bodmin Central to Boscarne Junction, basically two separate branch lines. The railway has developed gradually since it was started by a few enthusiasts in 1987.  Currently they have 10-15 paid staff and up to one hundred & fifty volunteers. Of course, safety is paramount within the organisation & many of them have to obtain certain qualifications, the same as main line rail personnel.

Today it is a great visitor attraction & since restarting in May 2020, after the Covid problem, which saw them closed down completely without any incoming finance, they have managed to carry fifty-five thousand passengers, all with only

two engines & four carriages, a marvellous achievement. They continue a strict schedule on maintenance & training & can be examined at any time by the inspectorate from the O.R.R., the Office of Rail and Road. They do all possible maintenance in house, but there are some repairs & servicing such as boiler certification that have to be done outside by specialist companies & personnel.

They aim to run two hundred & twenty days per year normally, plus specials such as Santa Runs etc. The Company, a Charity, is made up of three sections, namely a PLC, a Trust & a Preservation Society, however, at the moment they are considering a restructure to one body which will make things easier.

Currently, one of the problems facing all steam train operators is the supply of coal, there are now no production facilities in the UK, and coal is being sourced from Kazakhstan, which of course adds a huge amount to cost.

Our committee member Phil Simpson, thanked Jimmy for his excellent talk and handed over a donation reflecting the Chairman’s wish that BWR be his nominated Chairman’s charity.

Wednesday 3rd November

The St Austell Probus Club held its A.G.M. on Wednesday 3rd November at the Britannia Hotel at St Austell.

The Chairman, Mr Phil Simpson introduced the Meeting by advising that the Honorary Secretary, Mr John Dearing, would lead the Meeting. John first asked absences to be given and then the Minutes of the previous Meeting dated November 2019 and the Matters Arising were accepted as a true record of the events.

John then invited the Chairman Mr Phil Simpson, to give his report. Phil advised that his two years in office was very unusual but was caused by the Covid problem experienced by us all. Phil mentioned that his was the longest chairmanship we had experienced but also had the fewest Meetings held. Phil thanked everyone on the committee for their hard work during the lockdown, keeping all the membership advised of details as they arose, and the Britannia management & staff for their continuous help in such difficult times. He thanked everyone for their support.

Following this John Invited Hon Treasurer, Mr Gary Truscott, to give his report. Gary advised that the Club was in a healthy financial position and gave the accounts as at the end of September 2021. this was accepted by all.

Secretary John then gave his report and again mentioned the very difficult period we had been through and that he was delighted that the Club had come through so well.

Membership Secretary, Mark Bardsley, then gave his report advising that there were now 52 members of the club, He also gave the names of those members who had died during the time we had been closed for lunches and they were all remembered.

Thankfully there were no deaths responsible to covid. Also, several member had moved away or had resigned from the club.

Lunch Secretary Hugh Walker then gave his report thanking everyone for their help in adopting the new procedure for paying for their lunches & the support they were giving.

The election of Officers & Committee was completed enblock with the exception of Jeff Blake who had decided to stand down from the committee, he was thanked for all his work whilst in office including his time of Chairman.

John then presided at the installation of the new Chairman for the coming year, Mr Hugh Walker, and the deputy Chairman, Mr Mark Bardsley. He also thanked outgoing Chairman, Mr Phil Simpson for all his work during such a difficult time. New Chairman Mr Hugh Walker then gave his address as the new Chairman by saying that we all looked forward to a good year ahead, there were good speakers already booked & again thanked everyone including everyone at the Britannia for their help.

Wednesday 6th October 2021

Wednesday 6 October, today Probus Club members enjoyed an informative talk by Mr Keith Trickey from the ‘Cornish Heavy Horse Society’.
Keith who is currently passing on his extensive knowledge relating to ‘Heavies’ to staff members at Heligan gardens pleased our members with his talk on the aims of the ‘Cornish Heavy Horse Society’, these are: To promote Heavy and Working horses by showing them at rallies and country fairs, holding working days, supporting charity events and raising funds.
Clydesdale, Percheron and Suffolk Punch ‘Heavies’ played a pivotal role in the agricultural and industrial revolutions working in the fields, mines, docks, quarries, factories, mills and alongside the canals and railways. At the turn of the century twenty six million horses were at work. Following two world wars and the introduction of tractors and lorries, numbers declined dramatically reaching an all time low in the 1950’s.
To ensure the existence of these wonderful animals you can support Keith and the Cornish Heavy Horse society by visiting one of the many Heavy Horse shows held annually here in Cornwall, they provide a spectacular sight.

Wednesday 4th March 2020

The Club held its monthly Meeting at the Britannia Inn on Wednesday 4th March. Following a lovely lunch our Chairman Phil Simpson introduced our speaker, Rev Dr David Hart, a Methodist Minister within the St. Austell Circuit, who is also an Organist and he spoke to us on the subject of “The view from the loft-Travails of a Church Organist”.
Rev David told us that he started his musical training in his school days when he used to play on a Steinway Grand Piano and his tutor told him it was about time he started to learn the Church Organ. From this Rev David developed a great interest in organ training and playing which continued through his College days and into adult life. As an organist he was invited to play a very special organ in Germany, a Gottfried Silbermann ( Baroque Master Organ Builder) organ which of course was a great thrill. David told us that althoughchurch pipe organs are predominantly a mechanical device, these days there are many electronic devises installed with them to actuate the various stops for registration, enabling significant numbers of sounds to be created. Rev David went on to say how different it is these days from when organs had to be hand blown, prior to electric blowers being installed. Rev David also said he had had the privilege to play a rebuilt organ in Dresden following a rebuild of a significant Church. There were many amusing incidents that had happened over the years including brides being so late that chosen music had to be played more than once. Rev David played part recordings of several of his favourite pieces including the very difficult Widor’s Toccata from his 5th Symphony as chosen by Princess Margaret at her wedding, and so many more Brides have chosen it for their weddings since. Rev David went on to say about the famous Organ Builder Company in this Country, the Father Willis Organ Co. The organ in the Royal Albert Hall is a Father Willis as is the one in Truro Cathedral.
Member Jeff Blake gave a vote of thanks and there was a time for questions. Club Chairman Phil Simpson presented Rev David with a cheque for £50 for his chosen Charity, The Incorporated Musicians Society.

Wednesday 5th February 2020

Our monthly meeting was held at the Britannia Inn on 5th February and following lunch our Chairman Phil Simpson, introduced our speaker Mr Grahame Mace, who is now a Police civilian expert on Cyber Crime, part of the Digital Capabilities Unit, Intelligence Directorate of the Cornwall & Devon Police. Grahame explained that he was a retired Metropolitan Police Detective Inspector who had spent a considerable part of his career investigating Fraud and Cyber Crime. All Police forces work together through from Local Forces to Regional Crime Units to National Crime Units. Cyber Crime falls in to one of two categories, either Cyber Dependent, meaning it is direct on Computer or similar equipment, or Cyber Enabled, more traditional crimes increased in scale by use of Computers.
Grahame went on to explain that Cyber Dependent is often multi offences at one time, offender not present at scene and is generally low risk with high reward. Because of its nature it is often not well publicised by the Press. Cyber Enabled, more traditional crimes often leave trails to follow, are one at a time and so are probably higher risk with lower reward.These days we have many pieces of equipment linked to the internet and so good security through passwords are vital. Think of computers, laptops, TV’s, Alexa’s, house security, house heating, printers, watches and many others are linked to the internet and so can be easily compromised if not fully protected and very importantly, can all be compromised by hackers once in to any one piece of equipment. Therefore it is vital to ensure strong passwords are developed and maintained and should be a minimum of fifteen characters having higher & lower case letters, numbers and marks. They should also be changed regularly. Care should be taken with “Phishing” where false email requests are received from bogus addresses, check carefully before opening and delete without opening if in doubt. When purchasing online be sure you are confident with the supplier, do not trust just because there is a padlock sign or HTTPS sign, check it out first. Grahame finished his talk by giving three important pieces of advice, Get the Basics Right, Education is Key and Build on Capability.A time for questions was given when there were several interesting topics asked about. Our Chairman then invited Club Member Jonathan Church to give a vote of thanks & Grahame was presented with a cheque for £50 for his chosen Charity, A D&C Police Charity.

Friday 3rd January 2020

The Club held its January Meeting at the Britannia Inn on Friday 3rd January 2020 when following a superb lunch our Chairman Phil Simpson, introduced one of our own members John Dearing, as our speaker for the day. John had spent his career in the Insurance Industry world, so the title of his talk was very aptly “The Only Certainty in Life”. John opened by saying that we live in a nice part of the world and enjoy one of the finest Health Care systems in the world, so his talk would be a “Lighthearted Look at Mortality”, the Science of Life Expectancy. A few whimsical saying such as “Death is the Worlds No 1 Killer”, Many folk have played competitive sport so the memory says “The older we get the better we were”, but actually “The older we get the better we are”.
John asked the membership what they thought the official average life expectancy in the world currently is as published by the United Nations, the answer being 72.Also, the prediction for World Population which is currently 7.8 Billion will rise to 11 Billion by the year 2100 but will then level out for the future beyond that year.At a World Leaders Conference Forum in Davos a few years ago the question was asked of the delegates, “How many of the world’s 1-year olds were or would be vaccinated, the answer being a surprisingly high 80%. This supports the statistic that in the year 1800 world life expectancy was 31, whereas now it is 72, proving that world living standards are continuing to improve and vaccination plays a significant role in achieving this. Currently in the U.K. life expectancy for men is 79 and 83 for women. All this data, and much more, such as living locations and lifestyles are used by the Insurance Industry when making decisions on risk, and ultimately on premium costs for life insurance. A question time followed and then Chairman Phil Simpson thanked John for his very interesting talk & presented him with a cheque for £50 for his chosen charity, Sarcoma U.K., the charity dear to John and his family.

Wednesday 4th December 2019

Our monthly Meeting was held at the Britannia Inn on 4th December with a festive lunch, which was much enjoyed. Following the meal our Chairman Phil Simpson presented the staff of the Britannia Inn with a Club Gratuity given by the members to thank them all for the very fine way they have looked after us during the year. Phil also presented our guest, Jimmy James, with a cheque for his chosen charity, Bodmin and Wenford Railway. Jimmy was to be our speaker on this subject at the meeting but due to a very unexpected circumstance when one of our Club members was taken seriously ill, it became obvious that it was not possible for Jimmy to give his presentation. However, Jimmy has agreed to come at a later date in our year to give his presentation.
Our raffle for this Christmas meeting raised a profit of £75.07 and we thank our Club Members for their support at all our meetings.
Members are reminded that the next meeting will be on FRIDAY 3rd January 2020.

Wednesday 6th November 2019

Following our monthly Lunch at the Britannia Inn when there were 45 members present, the Club held their 49th A.G.M. led by our Secretary John Dearing. There were 7 apologies for absence and once approval of the previous years Minutes were unanimously agreed andpassed with no Matters Arising, John asked outgoing Chairman Jonathan Church to give his Chairman’s Report. Jonathan said that he felt the year had passed quickly and was grateful to all the speakers that had made the monthly meetings so interesting. Jonathan also thanked everyone for their support during the year and his Committee who had worked hard to ensure the Club has maintained its fine reputation. There were to be six members who would retire as Committee members this year, namely Derek Archer, Graham Bulkeley, David Honey, Keith Lintern, John Lobb and Richard Wallis. Jonathan thanked them all for their many years of service on the Committee. New Committee members have been recruited this year, namely Mark Bardsley, George Miller and Terry Retallick. John Dearing then asked Gary Truscott, our new Treasurer, to read the report prepared by retiring Treasurer Mike Hackney, who will stay as a Committee member. Mike reported that the Club had had a successful year financially and thanked his colleagues Keith Lintern and Gary Truscott for their help. There would be no need to increase membership subscriptions this year.John Dearing then gave his Secretary’s report noting the fine quality of food that we enjoy on a monthly basis and our gratitude to the staff. He also thanked Jonathan for his leadership as Chairman during the year and the wonderful camaraderie of the membership.
John said that the Club had its first meeting on 1st July 1970 at the Clifden Grill Restaurant when there were an initial 24 members and the meal cost 70p (14 Shillings).It is intended for the Club to celebrate its 50th Anniversary on 1st July 2020 when our Ladies will join us for Lunch when there will be special celebration events taking place. Membership Secretary Richard Wallis then advised that we currently have 61 members and we will always consider new applications for membership. Richard advised that Derek Archer had received an Honorary Membership of the Club in recognition of his work as he moved away to another part of the Country to live. George Turnbull receives Life Membership as he reaches the age of 90.
Lunch Secretary Hugh Walker then gave his report thanking everyone for following the correct procedures for ordering their lunches in advance which was a great help to him. John Dearing then advised the names of the future Committee & this was unanimously agreed. John then formalised the Installation of the new Chairman Phil Simpson by asking outgoing Chairman Jonathan to pass the Chain of Office to Phil. Phil then presented Jonathan with his past Chairman’s badge and presented Hugh with the Deputy Chairman’s Medal as he takes up this role. Phil then gave his Chairman’s Address by thanking John Dearing for organising the A.G.M. and thanking Jonathan Church for his exemplary service and leadership during the year. Phil went on to say that our 50th year would be very special and we would celebrate it accordingly. Speakers for next year were already agreed & there would be an eclectic range of interesting topics to look forward to.Following this Phil thanked everyone for their support and after a short A.O.B. we had the Probus Toast and concluded the meeting.

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