February 2020

Business Meeting 16th January 2020

Chairman, Roger Gourd, wished Members (25 present) a Happy New Year. The Chairman reported the sad deaths of Companion member Alfred Levy in November (last active 2016) and Roger Udall on Boxing Day (moved to Worthing in 2018). A short silence was observed.

Almoner, Andrew Kellard, reported the absences of Lionel Downton (met at bus stop – asbestos lungs – difficulty in breathing – pleased to receive newsletter), Hugh Roberts (under the weather – badly swollen feet), Tony Simpson (moved into a nursing home in Thames Ditton), Brian Thomas (very short of breath – neither he nor Nancy leave the house), Gerry Thompson (fall on stairs, broken tibia – now a serious reaction and in a special ward at Mayday).

Luncheons: Andrew Kellard (volunteer needed to replace Andrew). Due to change of date, only 20 had booked lunches, but 25 turned up. Kitchen had to spread it around! Please notify Andrew by 10.30 am the prior Tuesday if you are not able to attend. Also, if you, your partner or another member is unwell please contact Almoner, Andrew Kellard on 01737 554055.

Andrew reported a ‘BT’ phone scam. A discussion followed on avoiding scams. 

Speakers: (Bob Witham): 2020 fully booked.

Collections: Charity £47.65; Raffle £26 for amenity fund.

Outings: (Andrew Banfield) planned for third week of June, however, an unfilled coach would require a subsidy from the amenity fund. On show of hands about 50% were in favour of subsidising outings. Committee to consider.

Website: Jim Mulvey asked Members to please send photos of past events.

AGM 5th March 2020

Nominations, including self-nominations, to the Secretary please, for the following posts: Chairman, Vice-Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer, Luncheon Secretary, Speakers Secretary, Outings Secretary, Almoner, Membership Secretary, Committee Member, Newsletter Editor, Webmaster, Auditor.


Today – Nick Cook: Health and Safety Gone Mad
March 5th – Chairman’s Charity: Macmillan Cancer Support
April 2nd – George Wildridge: London, Stranger Than Fiction
May 7th – Linda Duffield: Kenley (Aerodrome) Revival

Ian Payne: ‘What’s in a name?’

Our guest speaker on the 16th Jan 2020 was our own Ian Payne. Owing to a change in date our scheduled speaker could not cover the slot and Ian stepped in at short notice. Thank you Ian.

Ian chose to outline his historical research into his lineage. We none of us know what we will find when we embark on this type of research. We all have fragments of family history handed down to us in the

oral tradition but it is full of holes and likely to contain inaccuracies either “planted” deliberately or just by mistake. Ian certainly encountered these problems in his meticulous work. In the course of which he developed an element of doubt as to which name he felt really reflected his identity. His family tree showed alternation between Goldman and Payne. The unravelling of this problem was complicated by handwritten documentation in both Polish and Russian. It is interesting to note that Ian’s mother spoke five languages of East European origin. Sadly the research was only commenced after her death so her help could not be called upon.

His discoveries revealed Yad Vashem web records showing the incarceration and death in Auschwitz of his maternal grandparents. Sadly, correspondence ceased in 1942. On his father’s side, links to the notorious Pale of Settlement where the Jewish community was effectively exiled within Russia. Ian’s ancestors had to flee the dreaded pogroms to England. His father served in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers placing an announcement in the 1944 London Gazette changing his name from Goldman to Payne.

The history and research were a rewarding challenge, but some lose ends remained till the last – most especially the origin of the use of Payne. It was noted in Ian’s father’s army record, that his father, Max, was British. In his 1920 naturalisation records found in the National Archives he had said that his and his parents’ original name was Payne. Ian assumed, being a Yiddish speaker, that Max had misunderstood the question.

Ten years later, a DNA test revealed a second cousin in New York who said that Payne was like the original Yiddish name in Poland. Ian was then able to find original birth and marriage records in a shtetl called Szreńsk in what was then Russian Poland. All the records were signed  which Ian initially took as David & Annie Payne, his great grandparents. But it turned out to be Давидъ Аппелбаумъ in Russian script or David Appelbaum, the Jewish registrar. Ian’s original Yiddish name was Pijen.

Ian’s NY Cousin

Open family questions were the reason for keeping the Jewish origin secret and why there was a breach within the family which resulted in Ian missing out contact with any of his relatives including his grandparents who died in his formative years. Ian finished by standing next to a picture of his newly found New York cousin. Is he a doppelganger?

Bar Room Reminiscences – 5: Taking a Risk

How many of us knew what we wanted to do after leaving school? After a year in the Commercial Sixth at Purley Grammar School my father advised “get into something safe like banking”.

Thus it was that I found myself calling into Barclays Bank Coulsdon asking to see the Manager. He passed my request to Head Office and in due course a letter arrived inviting me to start on Monday at Barclays Pall Mall East Income Tax Department. Four months later I was called up for National Service (the day after the king died in 1952), after which ones former employer was obliged to keep you on for a year. When my year was up I was mortified to learn they were giving me the sack. The Staff Manager said “you won’t thank me now but you will later on”.

That winter I was playing for the Old Purleans rugby team and by chance one of our skippers by the name of Harry Flower worked for the Norwich Union Life Insurance Society. “Why don’t you join us?” he said. “You get a car when you are on the road.” “Sounds great” I replied.

And so it was, but after ten years, married with a young family of two boys, dissatisfaction with it all set in. “Why don’t you visit the Vocational Guidance Association” suggested Louie, my wife. So with no further ado, an appointment was made and I found myself in Harley Street answering a paper with hundreds of questions to be answered in quick succession. A week later came a reply which confirmed my feelings that I was in the wrong job and alternatives were proposed, including graphic design and landscape architecture. I immediately set to, attending evening classes to qualify as a landscape architect, but needed a job in London. Our third son was born in August 1969. I was hoping to leave the Norwich Union in 1970 but I wondered whether at age 37 we dare take the risk into the unknown, with such a sudden change in our circumstances, having a mortgage and three small children. But Louie said “Go for it – we’ll manage somehow”.

So it was that I approached Lambeth Council who were expanding their Landscape Section at that time. John Medhurst, Group Leader of the Landscape Section took me on as a trainee. I have never looked back – Mondays were like Fridays.

The words of the Staff Manager for Barclays who sacked me echoed in my mind. I gave him a call. “You were right” said I.

Editorial FEB 2020

In the business meeting of Jan 2020 the question of trips and outings came up. These have often been organised by Jim Mulvey and Andrew Banfield. It is fair to say that they have proved enjoyable and stimulating. They are not easy to organise which is why we don’t all rush to take on the job.

Logistics are the key which in practical terms means 1.Finding an area of likely interest to members and probably their partners. 2. Costing the entire trip which can involve negotiating number-based discounts. 3. Presenting the proposal to the members. 4. Making the bookings and getting the funds in on time. It seems that to secure the bookings the organiser may well have to use his own funds initially which is an act of good will.

As Andrew mentioned our club is coming up against a particular practical problem which is partly due to our declining numbers. When coach companies are asked to quote they normally base their calculations on a 50 seater vehicle and our numbers might between 30 and 40. Obviously this puts the price to our members up a little.

The issue has been raised as to whether money from the amenity fund should be used to make up a shortfall and perhaps render trips which may otherwise be cancelled for lack of support possible. A brief straw poll was taken and I think numbers briefly estimated but not recorded.

Now would seem to be the time to consider on what terms the fund could be used if undue tensions are to be avoided, not to mention the simple matter of hard economics.

Might I speculate as to the two arguments in principle which might arise.

  1. Probus members much appreciate the efforts of its organisers to add a little something beyond the monthly meetings and may not object to the fund being used to “tip the balance” in marginal cases.
  2. Alternatively some may feel that that they will seldom be able to go on the outings for whatever reason and the money should be used in ways that would benefit all members equally or perhaps in individual cases of specific need.

Finally, there is the question of just how much of the fund should be available to support outings. If it were to be agreed that it can be applied to trips the organiser would need to know his likely budget in clear terms.

As with the case of the admission of Ladies perhaps we should take a formal vote on the use of the fund and if granted how much can be used. The latter point might be expressed in percentage terms of the fund’s balance per accounting year. I think we need a formal resolution and vote at this time. THOSE IN FAVOUR?

As a footnote, members may like to know that Tony Simpson’s address for the “winter” is: Emberbrook Care Home, 16 Raphael Drive KT17 0BL. He would appreciate any contact from our members.

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