Arundel Probus Club

What is Probus and Where is it?

Probus is an English invention. The first club was formed in Caterham, Surrey, in 1965, mainly for retiring Rotarians. It was a great success and now there are over 1,500 clubs in the UK and the idea has been exported to 13 other countries. So as a Probus member you would be welcomed in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa and many more countries. Each club is autonomous as there is no central organisation, so very little admin and very few rules.

If you'd like to come along for a visit to see what it's like, contact Tony Reynolds
Tel: 07974 021045 Email:

A very modern dilemma

When PROfessional & BUSiness men retire ...

What do they do?

How do they keep their brains active ?

Retired? ...Why are you ready to let your brain slow down?

How do you avoid wasting all that experience you've built up? do you make new friends ?

There is an answer - It's a social club for retired or semi- retired men

How We Started

In April 1980, the Rotary Club of Arundel decided to look into forming a Probus Club here, and asked two members, local GP Keith Stenson and Norman Bell, to explore the idea.

Succeeding meetings followed at the surgery (where the good doctor prescribed 'Bells' - a great enabler!). The search for a venue followed - The small public room at the Bridge Hotel (now Martlets Court) was chosen at a rent of £1 a meeting.

So the first meeting was held on Thursday 29th May 1980, with Robert Cook as President, and eleven members. The club now has fifty members whose age ranges from the lower 60s to a few who can almost match our Queen for longevity. As the club has developed and grown we now have members from twelve local towns & villages as well as in Arundel itself. The purpose of the Club is to provide regular meetings for Business and Professional men who are retired or about to retire, are resident in Arundel or the surrounding area and who value social contact and other group activities.

To join costs £15; the annual subscription is also modest.

We have SPEAKERS on all topics from Sinking the Tirpitz to Monsters of the Deep

We invite a speaker to address us on the 4th Thursday morning of the month. We usually meet in a hotel in or near Arundel at about 10.30 am for coffee, then a short business session at 11, followed by the speaker. After any questions we go down to the bar, until lunch at 1 o'clock.

PUB Lunches
In between the monthly meetings, on the 2nd Thursday of the month, lunches are arranged at a pub or restaurant, usually well away from Arundel, to which wives and partners are warmly invited.

Places we have visited

Club Diary

Thursday 27th SeptemberSpeaker - 'Winning Isn't Everything' at The White Swan (David Fearnley)
Thursday 11th OctoberPub Lunch - The George, Burpham (David Tippett)
Thursday 25th OctoberSpeaker - 'National Arboretum' at The White Swan (John Barkshire)
Thursday 8th NovemberPub Lunch - The Lamb, Angmering (David Tippett)
Thursday 22nd NovemberSpeaker - 'An All Inclusive History' at The White Swan (Kevin Newman)

All "speaker" events will now be held at the White Swan, Chichester Road, Arundel

Recent Events

Visit to Caffyns at Angmering

A family success story… of a very English entrepreneur.

150 years ago an Iron Monger, William Caffyn, saw a strange and very rare thing….a motor car…parked on the road just outside his shop…not that parking anywhere was a problem then.

He was impressed & enthused….by this strange machine. So he bought one….and sold it immediately

Within weeks he had extended his shop and had 16 machines in his new extended showroom.

Thus started the 150 year history…the success story of the Caffyns family car sales empire.

Now with 12 showrooms in Sussex and a branch in Kent …..selling a range of cars…..of many makes….., they have built a big success and …have won awards for quality customer service…a rare thing today.

Last year`s group sales were £214 million……which, as their accounts show their own business….and own their own property…. Making them a very rare thing…a self funding, successful family owned…substantial business.

Seeing this new facility being built…we often drive along the A259, we wanted to see inside it.

So we invited ourselves…….. to visit their this new very large facility at Angmering.

But …………… they had only just opened they were not yet planning any tours.

But…..we still asked, …..if you don’t ask you don’t get. So …thus we were the very first.…

We met a number of times over previous week… with the Top Man , to plan what we wanted to see and how the tour could go…..

We had the best reception. Coffee first …..then sat in the Top Man`s office and there we not only saw their excellent web but also held a question & answer session.

Thus we had a fascinating insight in to a substantial 150 year established Family business,

We , all 8 of us, had full tour of every part of the whole building…even seeing how they wash all their cars,..old & new…but they even clean the washing water before they use it.

There is an official opening of the whole facility being planned for November the 1st…..

To which we are invited…. In effect this tour was the reversal of us inviting a speaker to come to us…

Instead we went to him…and so ….. all at no cost.

Of course some of us then went on to a local Inn for lunch

Report by Tony Reynolds 12/9/2018

St Wilfred's Hospice

Report on a very important subject.
Who looks after seriously ill people the last year of their life ?

What is a Hospice and what do they do ?
Hospices provide a service when other organisations ....don't or can't

So what is their aim...?
It is to.... “ provide a tailored end of life care”...both in the community and the Hospice itself.
Supporting the terminally Ill and their family and friends.
They provide this service for those with a predicted life span of a maximum 12 months.

This costs money....but not to the patient or their family.
The cost per week £3000 per patient.
The total Hospice budget is £20 k per day
The NHS provide 16% of the the Hospice has to raise the rest..
Nearly all by public donations...some from their 10 shops..some by donations from Wills. Some by fund raising events.

Area covered...Arundel in the East and up to the county boundary (Emsworth) in the West...with the South Downs as their northern boundary.

Further facts...
The team is 200 strong
They are building a new centre at Donnington..cost £1.5 million ...because more & more the NHS cannot offer what they offer.
Nb..Macmillan nurses do not operate in St Wilfrids area.
They are not set up to help those under 18 years of age.

Report by Tony Reynolds FCIM - June 2018

The Samaritans

A talk to Arundel Probus by a Volunteer from Worthing Samaritans

The Facts

Founded in 1953 it now has 201 branches in the UK & has 21000 trained Volunteers and is a registered Charity.


This is a 24 hours a day (7 days a week) service to provide “Emotional Support” to anyone who has emotional distress. The vast majority of the help offered is by the telephone...however with the ever changing World 198 of the branches can offer help by E mail.

Their PR image is that everything that they do is..confidential.= very important. Only in rare situations do they go out to meet a client face to face....but their office in Worthing is open to visitors ....and 420 people walked in to it last year.

In 2016 their Worthing office received 29000 phone calls! All calls to it are on a no charge basis.

The volunteers are trained to..listen and listen..calls are not cut off...they just continue to listen....i.e no time limit.

They operate in teams of protect themselves from getting emotional ...they hear so many 'sad cases'.

They visit Hospitals and Surgeries, work with National Rail and Even Gatwick Airport... in effect are a very important service ......akin to Outreach.

Volunteers are not easy to find. ..4 hour shifts listening to other people's problems ..... is a challenge....

Some of the problems are easier to deal with...someone to listen to your problem ....other problems are ...a call of last resort

Their service saves hundreds...maybe even thousands of lives a year.

Report by Tony Reynolds FCIM - 24th March 2018

Noel Coward

A talk to Arundel Probus by Mark Perry Nash
An ACTOR talking about an ACTOR/Writer

Mark Nash is an Historian…a speaker on over 30 subjects….some about History ..some about Famous people…some about politics. Reading both History and Religion at university, he has a vast range of talks which he has presented for more 20 years.

Today's talk was about Noel Coward….a most unusual & highly talented “character” who strode the stage for 74 years. Noel…born in 1899 ,in Teddington,…. to a family who had very little income.. So one might ask how he created the voice and style of a high society “TOff”. Aged 7 he appeared in many amateur concerts. His voice, we were told, was as the result of him having to speak clearly and firmly to his very deaf Grandma. He attended, as a child, a dance Academy and made his first appearance on stage aged 11. He had seen an advert in the Daily Mirror looking for a “talented boy” to appear in an all children “Fairy” play called The Goldfish.

It was in his teens that he was introduced to High Society which formed the basis for many of his plays… He was very successful as a playwright, writing more than 50 plays…many of which he appeared in . He composed 100's of songs and wrote volumes of short stories.

At the outbreak of World War 2 he volunteered for the Army and initially worked for the UK Secret Service running a Propaganda operation in Paris ..aimed at persuading the USA to help the UK war effort But…Then Churchill ,recognizing Noel's ability to bring hope and cheer to UK audiences, persuaded Noel to return to what he did best….singing happy songs and creating entertaining which he often starred.

His songs & plays again grew in popularity in the fast moving “swinging” 1950's 1960's & 1970's Noel was knighted in 1969….and his plays are still regularly seen on the London stage.

Just a few of his plays:

  • Where the Rainbow Ends
  • An Autumn Idyll
  • A little fowl play
  • Italia Conti
  • London Pride
  • In Which e serve
  • Design for living
  • Blithe Spirit
  • Hay Fever
  • Peter Pan
  • Bitter Sweet
  • Private Lives
  • Mad Dogs & English Men

Report by Tony Reynolds 26/2/18

Lavender Farming

The story…

This is a story of a Dairy Farmer who had 180 cows and yet found it impossible to make a living selling milk. His farm was set in glorious countryside….just a few miles north west of Chichester.

This is very much the 'story of modern farming in the UK'. So like so many farmers he was left with no choice but to rethink his whole operation.

Really a classic Marketing Strategy review.

With only a small farm there was no way that he could complete with the 'big farmers'. He needed to grow something that was unusual and not so price sensitive.

He concluded that he had to ….get out of the food growing business…a decision being taken by so many UK Farmers today. With Eastern Europe's low overheads & low cost wages…and the 'euro land' ever expanding regulations…resulted in imports from Eastern Europe undercutting the UK grown prices …..he had to …stop being a 'traditional English Farmer'.

A SAD STORY…another 'genuine English' food source lost…. But it has turned out well…for him.

He sold his cows…..and decided to diversify…and get out of the 'food creating. The new & exciting idea was to …… HOW to make a living out of just 4 acres.

Now he produces a product that is grown without fertilizers or pesticides…that is a haven for wildlife…at least 12 different 'Red listed' birds... including Skylarks and Owls…as well as Mice, Moles, Hares , Rabbits and many others. Including Bumble Bees and many other insects.

His Farm is now ..rated as a quality conservation farm.

Growing a quality product


The best quality Lavender is 'Mailette' from France…The hot dry climate of Provence ideal for growing top quality lavender and so is sunny Sussex.

He planted the first crop in 2002, using …'borrowing'… local farmer's cauliflower planting machine. Initially he bought 25 thousand 'plugs' of lavender……and with the help of his family …that part of Sussex changed it's colour.…to 4 acres of purple.

The crop is harvested just once a year…in late summer.

As usual the Eastern European countries produce large quantities of lavender but their's is a quantity product rather than Andrew's quality range..Producing just a modest quantity each year…not even as much fuel...…that the average car takes to fill it's tank just once….he needed to concentrate on Quality and not to try and compete with the 'quantity' producers…..Now even China has started to grow and export Lavender oil. So the next step in his Marketing plan was not only to offer quality ..but to offer variety….ie …sell the difference..

The next question whom should he sell it..Who was his targeted market.

It became obvious that with just a small amount of land that he could not complete on volume or price. So the plan was to offer a wide range…nicely packed..sold direct to the User…This meant that the best 'outlet' for his ever widening range was…Famers Markets

….His plan is to…Sell Quality …and offer Specially formulations (for different usages) So Farmers Markets now is his targeted market.

Basically a classic Marketing Strategy …..his plan would make an ideal teaching example re Marketing..for Schools and Universities

His whole family run this business. A 'TEAM'
Growing a quality product …to be proud of …and 'conserving nature'

Report by Tony Reynolds FCIM

Speaker: Simon Langdon of Denhams Auctioneers

Things change...Trends & Fashions apply not only to clothes. Today we had a talk by an Expert in his field.

At first it appears that his 'world' does not affect us. But it does.

With many years as an Auctioneer...he combines many skills. A lot of his time is helping Probate area where the Tax Man respects his proven skills...

Many a surprises follows his 'home valuation visits' what we may think is valuable.....just is not. The market has changed

Silver just does not sell at the prices it fetched 10 years ago.

Silver & Gold often has more value as scrap

Dining room wooden furniture & almost any 'brown furniture' hard to sell at any price.

So he spends most of his time 'valuing' our 'treasures'....and giving his expert opinion on whether your 'treasures' are worth selling or best given to a charity Shop

But....occasionally we may have a nice surprise.

'I visit many local auctions and...and few months ago I noticed , on the pre auction viewing day a Chinese vase being very closely inspected by man who looked Chinese...The vase was in the sale catalogue at £ sold for £30k.'

The fashion/trend 'hot selling items' are now Chinese. The Chinese are buying back what their ancestors sold many years ago.

A few years ago the Russians were paying 'big money' for anything from pre revolutions times.

One of the big influences on price is the Internet.Any modern Auction house will put their entire sale catalogue on 'the Net' so that the buyer could be 12000 miles away..i.e may be even in Australia watching and bidding at 3 am his time..So rather that just 1000 people at an auction there can be 1000's watching and bidding.

'I go to many Viewing days and even to some auctions... but I particularly enjoy looking at the Auction Web sites when, after the auction, they show the price achieved....and so I can spot the trends in achievable price and also see what is worth selling or buying'

Simon gave us a clear insight into what is real in TV auction competitions....when experts buy from local so called Antique shops...Don't expect to get the big bargains that they sometimes get. Many a shop keeper ..gets carried away with appearing on 'the telly'.

Most auction houses charge the seller anything from 15% plus Vat to 20% and even more to the the Auction houses really want to sell your family treasurers...and enjoy up to 40% or more of the sale price..

If you are thinking of selling or buying ...ask the Auctioneer for cost..valuation...His/her finger is on the pulse..

You may have a hidden treasure...or just things that even the charity shop will not take.

Simon says....Ask an expert

Tony Reynolds - 28th August 2017