October 2014

Editorial – Ian Payne

I bumped into Reg on the Brighton Road. He’d just been to his bank to
confirm that he’d suffered an attempted scam. A phone call pretending to be from his bank had informed him that his new credit card would be delivered by courier. Reg was then asked some personal questions at which he baulked and the conversation ended. Presumably they would have come with a dummy replacement card and taken (or scanned) his genuine one. It reminded me of an article I wrote two years ago for the East Coulsdon Residents’ Association (ECRA) ‘Review’ – reproduced on page three.


Today: Christine Jarvis: The rag, tag, and bobtail years
November 6t Nick Hill: Bletchley Park
December 4th: Christmas with the Reverend Malcolm Newman
January 8th: Jim Barnes: Water supply in the 21st Century

Club News

There were 33 members plus our speaker in September. £38.23 was collected for the Chairman’s Charity and £33 for the Amenity Fund (raffle).

Welcomed back: Doug Elliott; Eugene Lightbody; Roger Brunton (his wife has been in hospital). Still recovering: Laurie Painting; David Holmes. Alan Horwell is housebound and has a live-in carer. It is with deep regret that we report the death of Don Wilkinson. A short obituary is on the back page. 
Please advise news of members to almoner, hughroberts67@aol.com, tel: 01737 202243. Attendance: please notify Andrew Kellard, tel: 01737 554055.

Outings and Events

Ladies Lunch, Coulsdon Manor, Thursday 16th October: Late bookings to Jim Mulvey, tel: 01737 555974.
Coulsdon Probus Quiz, Thursday 20th November evening: £3 per person – prizes – more teams needed and different winners!

Chairman: We need a volunteer for Vice Chair next year. The real work is done by Secretary, Treasurer and Social Secs. – the Chairman just pontificates.

PACE: Purley and Coulsdon Clubs for the Elderly
Report by Graham Fox

As most members will know, for many years we have been supplying volunteer drivers to take the elderly and frail from their homes in Coulsdon to the PACE day centre at Purley. Originally this was for 3 days a week each Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, but latterly only 2 days, Thursdays and Fridays.

Cynthia Roach, runs the day to day organisation for PACE. When she started there some 35 years ago, Coulsdon Probus drivers were already providing their good services. Over this time our club has made around 5000 journeys each way from Coulsdon to Purley, with some 15,000 passengers. Not a bad record and something of which our club should be proud.

Over the months and years, our pool of able-bodied volunteer drivers has been much depleted with those remaining sometimes older than their “elderly” passengers! Now our committee has reluctantly decided that as we are no longer able to continue a full service that we should call it a day at the end of September. There are at least a dozen of our present members who have so willingly and freely given their time and services over the years and a big Thank You must go to them all. It was a job well done.

Ed: We have received a letter from PACE with great thanks for the care, kindness and consideration from Coulsdon Probus members. Graham wanted to mention all the drivers who have worked with him over the years, but he was worried he might leave someone out. And, of course, there’s all those members who helped with the PACE driving that are no longer with us. We thank Graham and all the drivers for their selfless contribution.

In Memoriam

Donald Frederick Wilkinson 1919–2014. Growing up in war torn London he excelled at school and having earned a degree in Electrical Engineering he joined the Navy as a Technical Assistant testing equipment and then working on complex communications and radio systems.

Don met and married Joan in Shirley in 1948. They were not to be blessed with children but they enjoyed an active social life with their friends and as a Freemason since 1947, many Ladies Festivals and Masonic functions. In the 1950s, at London Poly, Don wrote three text books entitled ‘Radio’.

Don lost his beloved Joan in 2008 but continued his love of travel especially to Bournemouth and with European trips including a cruise to Venice. His other interests included current affairs, Sudoku, Jazz and, of course, Probus.

Island Hopping: Glenda Law

urlsa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&ved=0CAcQjRw&url=http3A2F2Fwww.mymaltablog.com2Fmap-of-europe2Fdetail-map-of-malta2F&ei=YlJaVP_5GoW-mgWE84GgBg&bvm=bv.78677474,dGlenda loves travelling, studying and photographing unique flora and fauna. She’s been to Australia, Baffin Island and the Seychelles among the greater islands of the world. But that leaves lots of islands left over including 6000 plus that make up the British Isles. For her talk ‘Island Hopping’ Glenda chose to include Malta, Gozo, Isle of White, Brownsea, Ramsey and Skoma.

155905_307624099338259_501304887_nMalta: We were treated to scenic views of Mdina’s harbour full of unique Maltese boats (including the dgħajsa), streets so steep with steps to keep you fit, donkeys and carts and pharaoh hounds (a breed of Maltese dog). The Maltese shoot songbirds – our songbirds (against EU rules). With her knowledgeable commentary, Glenda showed us her photos of Mediterranean wild flowers, sea fig, large grasshopper, butterflies and swallowtail (rare in England). She took the ferry to Gozo – walked three quarters of the way round where she was forced back by a sheer cliff and only just caught the returning ferry. On Gozo, we saw Maltese lizard (3″ to 4″) with its distinguished coloured tail and Spanish sparrows.

urlsa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&ved=0CAcQjRw&url=http3A2F2Fwww.coal4you.co.uk2Fother-services2Fisle-of-wight-coal-merchants2F&ei=sVpaVNHmF-LbmgXqtIDwBw&bvm=bv.78677474,dIsle of Wight: Glenda’s stature, being similar to Queen Victoria, made her a perfect fit for the Royal Bed at Osborne House. We saw views of The Needles, Alum Bay with its coloured sands, the most interesting fossils, Ryde Pier (the longest all wood pier in the UK) and both of the two rivers called Yah. Flora: speedwell, scentless mayweed and scarlet pimpernel. Fauna: grey heron, little egret and buzzard. At Firestone Creek, Glenda saw carvings of red squirrels but not the real thing.

urlsa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&ved=0CAcQjRw&url=http3A2F2Fwww.dorsets.co.uk2FPoole2Fbrownsea_island.htm&ei=HVdaVJCVA8LamAWLz4CABw&bvm=bv.78677474,dBrownsea Island is in Poole Harbour and adjacent is the much smaller Furzey Island, home to an oil well hidden among the ancient gorse. There is a small jetty on Brownsea where Lord Baden-Powel held his scout camp (still used by scouts to this day). Red squirrels prosper here and are easily bribed to pose with the offer of peanuts. On the spit of mainland adjacent to Brownsea can be seen Sandbanks with the most expensive properties in the UK.

Ramsey (off the Welsh coast): Go round the rocks called ‘The Bitches’ with their beautiful cliff formations. Glenda showed us unique flora and grey seals, jackdaw and chough (onomatopoeic), a member of the corvid (crow etc.) family.

Skoma (also off the Welsh coast protected by rough seas and lots of mist): The island is flat at one end and mountainous at the other with bluebell carpets in between – Alan Titchmarsh did a programme here. This scenic island is home to razorbills, Manx shearwater, sea parrot and most important, puffin – the reason for coming to Skoma. The puffin grows an extra covering for its bill in the breeding season and will readily pose for the crowd. Herring gulls followed the boat to shore.


Going ex-directory helps, but if your phone number is out there, there are many unscrupulous companies who will sell your details over and over again. You could register with the Telephone Preference Service (make sure it’s the real TPS that doesn’t charge for its services) but most companies flout the rules and don’t refer to the list and of course callers from India haven’t even heard of it. A survey by Which? found that people registered on the TPS list received twice as many marketing calls as those not on the list! Enforcement is the responsibility of the Information Commissioner, but he relies on the likes of you and me reporting abuse by quoting precise details and corroboration from several users. Not surprisingly, there have been very few prosecutions. Calls purporting to be for “market research” are not covered by the TPS, but as we all know, such calls are often made to extract marketing details for later abuse.

Nuisance or scam – by all means invent your own responses – but never give any information even by way of ‘yes’ or ‘no’ except perhaps to acknowledge your name. If a foreign sounding voice asks “Is that Mr Payeenè?”, then of course, feel free to say “No” and hang up. Don’t acknowledge a phone number, don’t give an address, don’t give a marketing preference, don’t give your age and don’t give any information about your circumstances or family. If you enjoy the badinage, then fine, but hang up if you don’t. Never give any banking or credit card details if they have phoned you.

The distinction between phoning and being phoned is paramount. If you’ve been phoned by your energy company, phone company or your bank, how do you know that it’s really them? They may be genuine and offering you a new service, but when they ask you to give them your details for confirmation, you must say, “I can’t do that because you have phoned me, not I you, so I do not know who you are”. When they offer to give you a phone number to call back on, refuse it. You can ask for the name and department details and call back on the number printed on your most recent account or on the back of your card.

Here’s something many people don’t know. For a landline to landline call, only the caller can cut off. Try it with a friend – get him/her to phone you – put the receiver down then pick it up again – your friend will still be there. There are tricksters who use this information by asking you to verify their identity by putting the receiver down and phoning the number from your bill/card. But they’re still there and can pretend to be an operator/call centre until the point at which you think you’ve been put through. Best to make a call to a friend to verify that you have control of your phone.

Remember, unless you make the call, you don’t know who’s at the other end. If you are the recipient of the call, don’t give anything away.

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