October 2015


The Coulsdon Probus ClubToday: Jean Haynes: On being a bailiff
November 5th: NeilSaddler:Canals
December 3rd: Christmas with Reverend Malcolm Newman
January 7th: John Chisholm : Pub Signs

Club News

The Coulsdon Probus ClubAt the September meeting, there were 31 members present plus our guest speaker and one further guest, Arthur Davy. The Chairman’s Charity collection raised £36.70 and the raffle £30. Martin Bergs brought a full-size Bonnie Bogle to meet us (see September Newsletter about Maija’s charity – Progressive Supranuclear Palsy). Dennis brought the latest Probus Magazine – one club up north is on its 900th (fortnightly?) meeting.

Hugh Roberts is not expected to be back with us until November. Norman Cockcroft is in Hill House Nursing Home (see September issue). Ken Bennett is suffering from terminal cancer and taking each day as it comes. A recent sighting reported him looking much better.

Eric Jenkinson following various complications is hoping to be with us today. 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: 15th October at Coulsdon Manor.
Annual Quiz: 19th November at Old Coulsdon Centre for the Retired – £4 per head. Tea/coffee, soft drinks, biscuits provided – please bring own alcoholic drinks. Prizes to be won! Contact: Dennis Evans.

Barbara Stevens
Downe Dames in Paint for Demelza

The Coulsdon Probus ClubThis was Barbara’s third talk to Coulsdon Probus based on the 2009 calendar for the benefit of the charity Demelza, a specialist children’s hospice providing care and support to children and parents throughout Kent, East Sussex and South East London.

Barbara has lived in Downe, Kent (famous as the home of Charles Darwin) for 48 years. She has four children – Nigel (of UKIP fame), Andrew, Melany and Julian – levelled off at 14 grandchildren and, so far, 3 great- grandchildren.

Barbara was president of Downe WI for 10 years – no one else would do it. A local paper editor asked if six of the ladies would do an ‘Alternative Calendar’ along the lines of the ‘Calendar Girls’. The first calendar in 2005 was called ‘Downe Dames’ and the body painting emulated gentlemen’s professions, e.g. gardener. It raised £9,000 for Harris HospisCare.

Barbara in Roses
Barbara in Roses

The second ‘Alternative Calendar’ in 2007 was the first for Demelza Hospice for sick children in Eltham. £23,000 profit equipped one whole bedroom for the hospice. The third Calendar was the
2009 Demelza with an icon of Darwin and full of exquisite painted ladies. The newspapers may have called them ‘nude’ but one would hardly know. Professional body painters painted on clothes and jewellery in a colourful and amusing yet discrete manner. Ladies as tiger and cubs each took one and a half hours to paint. Spiderman with hair patted down and then painted all over was particularly impressive. Melany was Pocahontas and a friend, Cleopatra. All services were free of charge and the Calendar raised £32,000 for Demelza.


A fourth ‘Alternative Calendar’ in 2011 for the Stroke Disability Centre was less successful, raising only £5,000 despite very hard work. The poor economy played a part as did competition from ‘Downe Trousers’. Asked to do a fifth – the enthusiasm had gone. But a final joke from Barbara. A middle-aged couple with two beautiful daughters tried for a son. The son was not so handsome: “That son can’t be mine – have you been fooling around”? “No, not this time”!

Editorial – Ian Payne

Suppose the UK were to open its doors to migrants and accept an increase in its population of 1% each year. That’s what Germany will have done by accepting 800,000 migrants in 2015 into a population of 80 million. So we would accept 640,000 migrants this year. The UK has always been welcoming to immigrants – my background is 75% immigrant.

Every day, some 1750 people would arrive at Dover and be bussed to makeshift refugee centres – fed, clothed and gradually distributed. Eventually, 250 migrants would arrive in Coulsdon each year. To put this in perspective, Cane Hill will provide 660 new homes (2000 people say), Trinity Square (opposite Waitrose) provides 94 flats and apartments, and the car park behind Trinity Square is also being developed for housing. So all this new housing would be full in four years without fulfilling the desperate need for more housing to meet existing needs.

The demographics of Germany and England are very different. Germany has an ageing population and a negative population growth of 0.18% p.a. whereas the UK has a positive growth rate of 0.56% p.a. Germany needs to increase its working population and where better than from the well- educated classes of Syria – skilled people who want to work and will contribute positively to the economy. It is interesting that the Germans are likely to turn away Afghans and Iraqis who are deemed economic migrants.

Would the UK be choosy? Should we open our doors to the 3000 migrants camped in Calais? Does Germany expect to Germanise its immigrants or will it accept multiculturalism and multi-faith communities? The consequences for our society would be substantial and yet we are surely highly sympathetic to the people displaced by war who want nothing but a normal society to work in and to raise their families without fear. What the UK has actually agreed is to accept 4,000 migrants p.a. (11⁄2 people for Coulsdon) over the next five years. It shouldn’t make any difference, but will some people change their vote to NO in the forthcoming EU referendum?

At this morning’s Committee a major topic is ‘Recruitment’. Writing in advance, I’m sure we will consider Advertising, more Activities, Links to other groups, opening our club to Ladies and perhaps down the line, Merger. The topic is still open and the Committee would be very pleased to hear any suggestions from Members. Always remember to keep a recruitment leaflet with you wherever you go.

As Time Passes By: Reg Baker Part 4 (part ii) – Other Visitations

Reg originally called Part 4 ‘Regular Callers & Other Visitations’. In June we had ‘Regular Callers’ so today we have ‘Other Visitations’.

On either a weekly or monthly basis, Sunday lie-ins were disturbed by musical intervention. In my case because of the particular road layout it was convenient for the Salvation Army to post themselves outside our family home; and replete with bonnet, brass, drum and castanet, sang hymns and other praises; often in competition with the marching band of the boys’ brigade. At the time it was said that some ladies joined the ‘sally army’ because they very much admired the bonnet. Performances were often followed by a door-to-door collection. One motto of the Sally Army was in the form of a promise – “give us a ha’penny and we will turn it into a shilling”.

Lastly, in this grouping, a representative from the local surgery would call regularly to collect contributions to the Doctor’s Club. I remember, in about 1948 when the NHS was set up, implementing part of the Beveridge Report of 1942, how pleased my mother was not to have to continue contributions of 1/- p.w. (5p) for Health Care and attention; (An almost trifling amount by today’s standards, but should be compared with the average weekly wage for a tradesman, at the time, of between £2-10 shillings and £3-10 shillings per week); funding for health care then being provided partly by the purchase of national insurance stamps, the cost of these being deducted from an employee’s salary or wage according to rules applying at that time..

Callers or visitors on a daily basis will feature in Part 5 of this series.

Following my recent talk on Decimalisation, I thought I’d like to keep you up to date with the Royal Mint’s 2015 issues. We’ve had two £20 coins – Sir Winston Churchill; The Longest Reign, four £5 coins – Death of Churchill (50 years); Battle of Waterloo (200 years); Birth of Princess Charlotte; The Longest Reign, four £2 coins – Last of the Queen’s fourth head; WW1 (100 years); Magna Carta (800 years); Fifth head with a new reverse of Britannia, three £1 coins – Fourth head; The Royal Arms; Fifth head and two of every other denomination – Fourth and Fifth heads. In addition there has been the usual bullion issue in the Britannia (silver) and Sovereign (gold) ranges. Some coins are also issued in gold and silver as well as definitive year sets in base metal uncirculated condition and proof (polished blank) varieties.

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