Discussion Nights

The Discussion Group was started to facilitate open and free discussions with wide ranging topics.

The ability to speak freely without fear or favour was of prime importance and has been warmly received by REX Probus members.

Meetings are held on the first Tuesday of each month at 7 for 7:30pm in the Mere and Tabley Community Club. Meetings usually finish at 9pm.

Confidence of the free speech aspect is much appreciated and used to good effect.


The Discussion Group meetings were held the first Tuesday of each month at 7pm at the Mere & Tabley Community Club meeting room.

In January 2023 we had our annual dinner at the Dun Cow restaurant. We used this meeting to set out serious goals for the coming year. We had a variety of topics:

In February the topic was ‘Art.. is it important? The April discussion was ‘The House of Lords’. The May discussion queried ‘Is this the last coronation’. In June we discussed the problems arising from the closure of banks in Knutsford and in July we discussed ‘The Yorkshire cricket racism scandal’. September’s topic concerned how the arts are financed and how they differ in the USA compared to the UK. On the other months we had general discussions on current events such as the Russian-Ukraine conflict and current political events with Conservatives and Labour. There was no December meeting.

The major problem this year was the lack of members present with some meetings being attended by only 4 or 5 members. This prompted us to offer the Discussion Group Secretary’s role to David Howard and to use the January 2024 meeting to consider the revision of the format of future meetings.

John Newhouse – December 2023


MEMBERS – We had a range of up to 11 Members at our Meetings.

TOPICS – Some of our members led the discussions:

 Andy Whitaker led a topic on ‘BIG PHARMA’ -A study on the Pharmaceutical Industry.

 Andy also led a topic on ‘WORKING FROM HOME’

David Howard led a topic called ‘WAR ON THE WEST’ concerning western democracy being attacked by Russia and China amongst others.

David also led a topic on the Death of the Queen and changes in the Monarchy.

Richard Martin led a topic on the ‘FUTURE OF THE BBC’.

OTHER TOPICS – General discussions included:

            Pros and Cons of Cyclists

            Electric Cars

            Climate Change and how it may change the way we live

            Transgender issues in Sport

            Trying to speak to call centers and similar issues

            Pros and Cons of social media


It was a very interesting and informative year.

John Newhouse and Peter Hayes – Discussion Group Coordinators


After out enforced break from meeting for most of 2020, the group decided to experiment with meeting by zoom, and the first such meeting was held on 5th January 2021. Although zoom meetings inevitably lack some of the flexibility and spontaneity of face-to-face meetings, it proved a highly successful experiment and we continued to meet by zoom until we resumed conventional meetings on 3rd August. The group is very grateful to our Club Chairman, Jim Flett, for acting as host at each of the zoom meetings. It is a measure of the success of the medium that our attendance at the zoom meetings was broadly comparable with the numbers attending our live meetings and sometimes included one or two members of the club who do not usually attend the live meetings. Consequently, it has been suggested by some members as a future possibility that some of our meetings could again take place by zoom in the dark winter months when it is inconvenient to travel to live meetings at Mere.

In the course of this year, the group has discussed a wide range of subjects including the lottery, the future of the monarchy, the commercialisation of professional sports, and the existence of Robin Hood. As always, we have not sought to reach any formal conclusion to our discussions and our meetings have remained amicable and lively. In the year to come, we hope to address an equally wide range of subjects, including the future of the BBC and the issue of parliamentary standards and conduct.

Our meetings take place at 7pm for 7:30 on the first Tuesday of each month at Mere Club and all members of our club are most welcome to attend the group, whether on a regular or occasional basis.

John Beaumont and John Newhouse, Discussion Group Secretaries


After the last AGM, the discussion group was, for obvious reasons, restricted to only one regular meeting at Mere Club on 3rd March before the first national lockdown took effect. In the summer, Scott Martin very kindly offered the use of his garden for the resumption of meetings, but it was felt that the risk of face-to-face meetings was sufficient to hold off until a later date. It was probably our view at the time that we would be able to resume more normal activities in the autumn, but the second spike and the recent mutations of the virus have put paid to any such plans.

 However, following the successful resumption of club meetings by Zoom, we decided to revive the discussion group by the same means. At the time of writing, we have held two meetings and a third is to take place in a few days. The experiment has proved a success, and the attendance is not far short of the usual number expected at our conventional meetings. Consequently, it is our intention to continue with Zoom meetings on the first Tuesday of each month until we are able to resume our convivial gatherings at Mere Club when it is considered safe to do so.

It is fair to add that the use of Zoom meetings is not familiar to a number of our members, although we are rapidly becoming more familiar with it. It has therefore been particularly helpful that our club Chairman, Jim Flett, has agreed to act as host for our discussions, and I would like to express the gratitude of our whole group for his valuable assistance in this and for his patient advice for those of us who are less accustomed to the new ways of getting together.
John Beaumont and John Newhouse

Joint Discussion Group Secretaries


The discussion group meets at the Mere and Tabley Community Club on the first Tuesday of each month from7:30pm to 9pm. Michael Harrison was one of the founders of the group, but after acting as group leader for ten years, he stood down a year ago and John Beaumont and John Newhouse act as Joint Secretaries. The format has now been widened so that instead of the leader providing a topic each month, the whole membership suggest subjects of interest, and the evening is often broken up into two short discussions rather than a single main topic.
This year we have discussed the history and future of railways, gender and transgender issues, pensions, assisted dying, artificial intelligence, electric and driverless cars, the rise of populism and social media and various other newsworthy matters as they have arisen.

Our meetings are open and friendly, and there is no pressure upon individual members to speak or to provide subjects for discussion. The regular attendance this year has been up to 15 members each month, and all members of the Rex club are welcome to join us, whether on a regular or an occasional basis.

Anyone who wishes for more information about the group, please speak to either secretary.


The Group has met on a monthly basis for the past year and it is proposed to continue for the next 12 months.

Meetings are held on the first Tuesday of each month but are subject to change for the Christmas and Easter periods.

We meet at the Mere and Tabley Community Club, which is the venue for our regular Probus meetings and we aim to start at 7.30pm.

Subjects are mostly announced beforehand with exception of open evenings when members bring their own subjects for consideration. 

Over the past twelve months we addressed  New Years resolutions /Why are we here? /History of our democracy /Gender evolution /What is music? /and surprisingly for a discussion group subject we even had Silence!

Our aim is to provide a friendly, comfortable and open venue to allow discussion/debate with views taken on a ‘without fear or favour’ basis. New members are assured of a warm welcome and there is no pressure to talk or provide subjects if so desired but in most instances people usually get drawn in and cannot avoid saying something. Drinks are served at the bar and this may be the reason for some of the contributions!

Occasional visitors or non Mere and Tabley Community Club members will be asked to contribute £2 per visit, but joining forms are available at the meeting if so desired, which will allow full access to the Mere and Tabley Community Club facilities other than summer bowling.

For other information please contact the Discussion Group Secretary.