The History of Probus

Probus Clubs worldwide work to provide regular gatherings to those retired or semi-retired business or professional men who, in retirement, appreciate and value opportunities to meet others in similar circumstances and of a similar level of interest.

The club endeavours to be simple in structure, be free of the constraints and obligations of service clubs, involve members in a minimal cost. The club is directed primarily to providing fellowship between members who are compatible with each other, and the opportunity for development of acquaintance.

The Probus Club movement was formed in the United Kingdom in 1965. The Probus movement had its beginnings in two clubs, both created by members of Rotary Club. In 1965, Fred Carnill a member of the Welwyn Garden City Rotary Club, met with other retired friends for morning coffee - mostly ex-commuters to London, with professional and business backgrounds. From this, he started a luncheon club.

The Probus Club

The emphasis is that the club be simple in structure, be free of the constraints and obligations of service clubs, involve members in a minimal cost. The club is directed primarily to providing fellowship between members who are compatible with each other, and the opportunity for development of acquaintance. Clubs can be all men, all women, or combined men and women, decided usually at the first interest meeting by those attending. (The spouses of club members are often included in the club social activities).

Activities usually fall into two categories:

A meeting on a set day of each month, usually from 10 am to 12 noon comprising about 30 minutes business, 30 minutes coffee break and 60 minutes to hear a guest speaker as well as have discussion.
Visits (between meetings) to organisations or places, sports and social activities of every conceivable nature. Arising out of their membership activities there is a self-generating goodwill, a sense of belonging, a diverse background of interests, ensuring for Probus a highly successful future as a firmly established part of the community. Indeed the general public often recognise that although the club itself is not involved in service work or fundraising, the persons in the Probus clubs, are perceived to be collectively but separately involved in a wide range of volunteer pursuits, even greater than most service clubs

Probus Clubs are:

  • be non-political and non-sectarian
  • be non-profit making and non-fundraising
  • be initially sponsored by a Rotary club, using a How To manual
  • not only for retired service club members
  • use a distinctive lapel pin, and name badges to assist in friendship
  • keep membership fees low

Probus Clubs are not:

  • impose a restriction on the number of members from one former vocation
  • require compulsory attendance at meetings
  • place any restrictions on members belonging to other clubs or organisations