January 2018

a Happy 2018 to all


It is with great sorrow that we have to start our Anniversary Year with the very sad news of the loss of two of our members shortly before Christmas, Douglas Elliott (83) and Roger Brunton (83). Roger was at our December meeting, but Doug had not been able to attend since September. Doug’s obituary is on the back page and Roger’s will be in our February newsletter. We also have to report that Reverend Malcolm Newman was, for the first time in many years, unable to join us due to having to visit his ill brother.

Following an excellent Christmas lunch, our Chairman, Gerry Thompson welcomed 35 members to December’s meeting and said how pleased we all were to see Tony Simpson back. Almoner, Hugh Roberts reported the following absences: Dave Garner (his wife Diana being treated for cancer), Roger Gould (treatement on legs), David Holmes (Mayday appointment), Arthur Trunchion (treatement on legs).

Please contact our almoner hughroberts67@aol.com, 01737 202243, if you, your partner or another member is unwell. Please let Andrew Kellard know on 01737 554055 by 10.30 am the prior Tuesday if you can’t make the lunch. Is anyone willing to take over from Andrew who is stepping down shortly?

The Chairman’s Charity contribution was £54.96 and the raffle raised £36 which for December was put aside for Rev. Malcolm Newman’s charity. A new edition of the Probus Magazine was available. Alan Green reported that speakers have been arranged up to June.


Outings and Events

Jim (01737 555974, jim@mulvey.uk.net) thanked members for their support during 2017 including bringing friends and relatives on our outings. He is working on this year’s programme – part of our Anniversary Year events.



Today: Chris Chippendale:

February 1st: Jim Mulvey: Royal Marsden Cancer Hospital

March 1st: The Chairman’s Charity – The Salvation Army

Laurence Fisher: Cane Hill Hospital, A Grand Tour of the Inside


Reverent Malcolm Newman was, unfortunately, unable to join us in December. But four members made impromptu offerings. Martin’s was deemed best and his prize of £10 is to be donated to his charity PSPA.

Martin Bergs: To support PSPA charity, Martin writes ‘everyday occurences’ poems.

Oh tree with burning candles bright

You give out warmth and soft tone light

You bring such joy to heart and mind

And all our souls become so kind

But once the candles have gone out

The alcohol gets passed about

And then so often folks start to row

Using names like mare and cow

And then storm off into the night

Thinking that they were in the right

This time please try, take my advice

Life’s so much better when all are nice

If you have been tickled by this little ditty

Why not put a coin into the PSPA kitty.

If you have been tickled by this little ditty

Why not put a coin into the PSPA kitty

I am Father Christmas, I come but once a year

I bring drinks and sweets and presents and bundles of good cheer

I come to the little children who have behaved so well

But only if they’ve washed and simply do not smell

Beware the non-believers and those who have been bad

I’ll bring a bleak and lonely Christmas and make you very sad

Further 4 verses and other poems on facebook.com/



Andrew Banfield: The Chief “Elf”

In 1984 I worked for a south London borough in the Environmental Health Service. I had just been promoted to lead the service in a north London borough. On my last day my boss, Bill, took me out for drink to discuss my time with him. We deliberately went to a remote pub so that we could be undisturbed. After we ordered our food and drink we went and sat in a corner. Nobody else was there. However Bill looked up to see the young barmaid light a cigarette. He went up to the bar and informed her of the offence. She screamed at him and fell on the bar smashing a number of glasses. “I suppose you’re the ‘elf’ [health]”. “It’s worse than that, I’m the chief ‘elf’ and there’s the little ‘elf’. At this a man, woman and three children came out of back room. All six then proceeded to clear up the glasses, wash the tables and chairs, even the windowsills. We decided to leave our drinks unfinished and left the pub. So ended my last day with Bill.

Ian Payne: Crowns 2017

Ian reminded us of the old crown worth 5/- and told how its value went up to £5 in 1990. Nowadays it’s issued as a commemorative, specially packaged at £13, but it’s the same cupro-nickel £5 crown. Since decimalisation, the Mint has had excess capacity which enabled them to mint all the new £1 coins in 2016 and early this year. But now, they’re using the capacity to mint commemoratives like there’s no tomorrow. In 2017, we’ve had: Duke of Edinburgh (on retirement), Queen’s Sapphire Jubilee (65 years), House of Windsor Centenary, King Canute (1000 years), Remembrance Day* (with red and black poppies £17), Platinum Wedding, Christmas Tree* (*1st time ever), Lion of England, Unicorn of Scotland. Nine coins – a record – and they’ve also been available in silver, gold and platinum but all too expensive for me. And because of the way I collect them, I need two of each – so that’s a total cost of £242 (plus all the other coin specials).

Dennis Evans: Dennis finished off with three jokes – here are two of them.

  1. A man goes to the opticians and is asked to read the eye-chart.

He reads the 5th line correctly, as P E C F D. The optician says can you read the
6th line, which is W Y R Z Y K. He says yes I can, and not only that, I know him.

(Note that this is a real Polish surname as above Wyrzyk)


  1. At an athletics meeting a chap sees an athlete carrying a very long pole.

He says are you a pole vaulter?   (Walter)

The athlete replies: No I’m a German, and how did you know my name?


Editorial – Ian Payne


Welcome to our 50th Anniversary Year. Here’s our story once again.

When in nearby Caterham, retired bank manager, Harold Blanchard, started the very first PROBUS CLUB for retired PROfessional and BUSiness gentlemen in 1966, little was he to know that in a relatively short time Probus would become worldwide with 4,000 clubs and over 300,000 members.

Shortly after starting the Caterham Probus, Harold Blanchard was one of the guests of honour at the formation of COULSDON PROBUS in 1968, it becoming the second Probus Club in the world. The idea quickly spread through the UK.

Here is our programme to date.


50th Anniversary Year 2018

Celebration Dinner: 11th May 2018 at 7 pm: with the Mayor of Croydon, special guests and entertainer. £35 per person. We will facilitate car sharing.
Old Coulsdon Fair: July 2018: Andrew Banfield and Ian Payne are planning our stall. Support and ideas are welcome to make this a Probus showpiece.
600th Meeting: 2nd August 2018: This will be our annual Open Meeting.
Celebration Lunch: 17th October 2018: Coach House Restaurant, Godstone.
3 courses, £5 reservation, otherwise free for members, wives and widows.
All outings and events in 2018 to be themed as part of our Celebration Year.



Douglas Noel Elliott 25th December 1933 – 11th December 2017

We all loved Doug’s humour, so it won’t surprise you to know that he wrote his own ‘History’ ready for such an occasion. All I have to do is to précis it down from 14 pages and, unfortunately, omit most of the quirky situations Doug got himself into. And many of us will remember his practice wake in May 2012. Doug’s parents were both mental nurses at Cane Hill Hospital, but by Doug’s birth at Christmas 1933, they were running the village store in Astcote, Northants. “The village store was busy and I was left to attempt to feed myself from a bottle suspended by strings above my cot.”

Doug’s father got a job at a new mental hospital and the family moved to a one-bedroom flat in Filton near Bristol in 1935 where they stayed until 1951. Sister Jean was born in 1938 and was eventually adopted by Uncle Dan and Aunty Blanche. Father was called up in 1939 so mum and Doug went to live with grandparents at Southwater near Horsham. School was a large Victorian building partitioned into classrooms. They listened to Lord Haw Haw “Germany calling”. Doug remembered the very loud bombing, but generally “Us kids thought the war was terribly exciting.” Age 9, he was left to find his own way to relatives who then put him on a train back to Filton to meet his new sister Mary.

Being shunted to different relatives meant that schooling was very disrupted, and he was downgraded to a lower class, but . . . “To this day, I cannot understand how I changed from a dunce to near top of class in a couple of years and earned a place at the prestigious Thornbury Grammar School.” Doug learned to play the piano and took some exams. This was to become useful when he took up the pipe organ after he retired. Doug matriculated in 1950, got distinctions in maths and history, but family finances meant leaving school and getting a job.

Doug applied for a job working out railway timetables but he was given a fill-in job of general dogsbody leading up to National Service. Called up in 1952 he travelled by train to Padgate, Lancs to be kitted out then by coach to Wilmslow camp. Eight weeks of square bashing was harsh but Doug passed all the tests and was sent to Credenhill near Hereford to learn to be a Progress Clerk. His postings involved recording flying hours. I’ve got to skip all the stories of what they got up to, but the bayonet is still in Doug’s tool shed. Social life was great – dances, cycling, skittles and guess who organised all the brewery trips?

Doug tried some correspondence courses and on demobilisation, found an actuarial post in Bristol but for more experience, joined the Royal London pensions department. He found cheap digs in Finsbury Park. He sat the actuarial entrance exams three times but to no avail. With friends, Doug went to the Hammersmith Palais where he met Babs (Barbara) for the second time and decided ‘that’s the girl for me’. He needed a proper career and applied to pensions brokers, Noble Lowndes and Partners where he started work in 1957. Babs and Doug were married on 31st May 1958 – they found an unfurnished flat in Stoke Newington.

Noble Lowndes moved to Croydon in 1959, Trevor was born in March 1960 and they moved to Caterham in April. An ICT 1201 was delivered and Doug thought that programming was for him. He did the aptitude tests and the training and this was his job to retirement. Nelly the motorbike was upgraded to a Norton with sidecar in 1960 and this provided outings and holidays for several years. Kevin was born in October 1962. Their first car, a Morris Minor, came in 1964. They needed a larger house and moved to Reddown Road, Coulsdon in 1967 where Jackie was born in 1968. Doug still had a passion for railways and went on many railway excursions especially with Trevor. Kevin became a pilot which enabled mum and dad to fly to more exotic places often with railways as the highlight.

Doug was a member of the Noble Lowndes Bridge Club [as was I – Ed], a keen aficionado of real ale – everyone he knew in Croydon was invited to the Dog and Bull in Surrey Street (the market). He kept up his love of the pipe organ and after retirement learned the organ and joined the Organ Club – he played wherever he was allowed at clubs and churches including the remembrance service at the Comrades Club in 2005. Doug and Babs took up short mat bowls and founded the Coulsdon SMB Club in 1990. His elixir of life, beer, continued to be important and he went with friends to numerous CAMRA beer festivals.

Doug joined Coulsdon Probus in 1998 where he continued to imbue everyone with his brand of humour. In 2006, he organised an outing for Coulsdon Probus and the Real Ale section of the Organ Club to Youngs brewery. Doug will be sadly missed. Thank you to Babs, Trevor, Kevin and Jackie for your wholehearted warmth towards all of Doug’s friends.



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