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The Annual General Meeting was on 27th February 2020 and the 45 members present confirmed the appointment of Jim Flett as Chairman, Richard Fenby as Club President (a three-year role) and changes to the Committee.  The outgoing President, Dick Warwick, and the outgoing Chairman, David Bryant, were thanked for their contribution to the Club as were the other retiring Committee members.  He also thanked members for their support of unwell members and widows and partners of former members.  The incoming President reminded members that the Club is looking for additional members and potential members are encouraged to contact the Club Secretary (see below).

The accounts for 2019 were approved as were the reports from activity secretaries.  Dick Warwick said that he was very proud that there had been 170 events in 2019 and that the Club was believed to be one of the most active Probus clubs in the country.  Events included, two Club meetings each month with speakers, six Club lunches, monthly IT meetings, the monthly Discussion Group and its annual dinner, competitive crown green bowling along with practices, winter indoor bowls and the annual bowlers’ dinner, long and short walks followed by a pub lunch, a three day walking holiday in North Wales, the Bridge and supper club, golf days, a five day holiday based in Deganwy, and seven one day or evening outings to places such as Heysham Power Station and the nearby famous St Peter’s Church and a theatre trip to see the Mousetrap. Wives and partners and widows of former members had been welcomed at many of the events.

The next walk is on 5th March at Acton Bridge with lunch at the Leigh Arms.  The Discussion Group meets on 3rd March to discuss the Future of the BBC.

After the formal business, Club member, Scott Martin spoke on the life of Sir Edward Heath.  The talk started with Sir Edward’s childhood and schooling, his time at Oxford University, his travels in Europe and his time in the Army.  After the war, Sir Edward joined the Civil Service and worked in the City of London.  In 1950 he was elected as the MP for Bexley and he retained the seat until he retired as an MP in 2001.  Scott talked about Sir Edward’s career path to becoming leader of the Conservative Party.  Sir Edward led the Party to victory in 1970 but his Government collapsed in early 1974 as a result of inflation, coal miners’ strikes, an oil crisis, the three-day week and other issues.  Harold Wilson and his Labour party came back to power, as a minority Government.  Sir Edward’s leadership of his party ended in 1975 when Margaret Thatcher replaced him.

Subsequently, Sir Edward remained as an MP despite being offered other roles such as Ambassador to the United States of America.  He became a Knight of the Garter in 1992.  He had several outside business roles and travelled extensively including his visit to Baghdad to meet Saddam Hussain to secure the release of British prisoners following the invasion of Kuwait.

Sir Edward had a lifelong interest in music as a pianist, organist and conductor.  He conducted orchestras including the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, the English Chamber Orchestra, and in Germany and the USA and worked with André Previn on tour with the London Symphony Orchestra.  In 1966 at the age of 50 he took sailing lessons and between 1969 and 1977 he owned five sailing yachts each of which was called “Morning Cloud”.  In 1969 he and his crew won the Sydney to Hobart race beating 78 other teams.  In 1971 he was made Captain of the Great Britain team for the Admiral’s Cup and he led the team to victory.

Given his music and sailing achievements, Sir Edward is regarded by many as the most multi-talented Prime Minister of recent times. In retirement Sir Edward lived in Salisbury.  He died in 2005 leaving his home Arundells, its contents and his memorabilia to his Charitable Foundation which continues to operate the house as a museum and holds events there.

The Club meets at Mere and Tabley Community Club on the second and fourth Thursdays each month at 10.00am for 10.30am.  The Club Secretary is Richard Martin who can be contacted by email at secretary@knutsfordrexprobus.co.uk. Further details are available on the Club’s extensive web site at www.knutsfordrexprobus.co.uk

Submitted by Scott Martin, Club Member, 27th February 2020

Contact details: – wsm@ntlworld.com, telephone 07885 295050