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Cutting the Anniversary Cake and Morning Tea

A sumptuous morning tea followed the completion of the AGM on 7th March 2023 and set in motion the program to celebrate the 20th anniversary. This included the cutting of the anniversary cake, artfully prepared by local cake-chef Sylvia Donoghue, by new President Alan Bates, VIP visitor Paul Tollis and his wife Elizabeth (see photo below).

Attendees then proceeded to the bench for tea and coffee, and collected their piece of cake on the way through. Savoury delicacies prepared by Catering Officer Bob Keenan and his helpers were served at the tables.

As morning tea got underway, our VIP guest, Mayor Claire Pontin of MidCoast Council arrived. 


L to R: President Alan Bates with Paul and Elizabeth Tollis, joined by March birthday Probians (middle photo) Sheila Capperauld, Lynne Smith, Kay Clucas (behind), Allan Buckingham and Jill Keenan; and (end photo) members enjoying morning tea - Marea Binskin, Cherilyn Leckner, Marilyn Ewin and Margaret Lawson.



L to R: Allison and Norm Maberly-Smith (Returning Officer and Lions Club President) and members enjoying morning tea - (middle photo) Lynne & Ron Smith, and John and Lorraine Blacklock; and (end photo) Walter Bolin (Foundation Member), Gwen Dean, Mary Marshall (Foundation Member), Karen Derwent, Marg Lock (behind) & Wes Tiller.


L to R: John Clucas, Mayor Claire Pontin and Ian Campbell; and (photo right) the Probus Plus Singers singing the song 'Alleluia' (L to R): Choir-mistress Lynette Hester (invisible at left, conducting), Beth Norling on keyboard (also invisible at left), John Willingham on guitar, Rhonda Gibson, Bev Baker, Wendy Pulsford, Terry-Ann Tregear, Peter Hester, Graham Lane, Warwick Pulsford, John Clucas, Alan Buckingham.

Thanks to Sheila Capperauld for assistance with the photography.

Mayor Claire Pontin, MidCoast Council

Following the singing of the Leonard Cohen song ‘Alleluia,’ with words customised by member John Clucas, President Alan introduced Mayor Claire Pontin of MidCoast Council, and local resident, to open the program. In his intro, Alan mentioned that Mayor Pontin’s objectives as a Councillor are to use her skills and experience to see the MidCoast region grow and prosper in a sustainable, culturally rich and diverse way. In her opening remarks, Mayor Pontin congratulated the club on achieving this milestone, thanked Paul Tollis for the part he played in bringing about the foundation of the club in 2003, acknowledged the Foundation Members for getting the club off the ground at that time and to current members for services and opportunities for social engagement provided to the local community.


Mayor Pontin       Paul Tollis        John Blacklock             2003 Foundation Committee

Paul Tollis, Rotary Club of Taree-on-Manning

In his introduction, President Alan mentioned that Paul was the president of the Rotary Club of Taree-on-Manning when HP Probus Club was founded in 2003. Paul related that Probus clubs were first formed in England in 1976. The first Probus club in Australia was at Hunters Hill in Sydney. Probus was conceived in response to the high mortality rate of CEOs early in retirement. Probus was seen as coming to the rescue of these CEOs by providing the means for social interaction.

The initial meetings for the formation of HP Probus occurred in 2002, with Bill Crockett (now deceased) the driving force at the Hallidays Point end and working with then President of the Rotary Club of Taree-on-Manning, Wendy McKeough. The first meeting to gauge the level of interest attracted 60 attendees. Paul became president in 2003 and continued to work with Bill and the Probus District Chairman, Brian Chown, to further progress the development of the new club. At the first meeting in May 2003 a committee was formed, with Eileen McMullen (now deceased) as President, with Bill taking on the Membership Officer position. Other members of the committee are shown in the photo above, but not Allan Buckingham, who was Bulletin Editor. Early membership numbers were around 72.

Member John Blacklock then presented photos from the 10th anniversary in 2013, when he was President. At this time the club had grown to 114 members and had moved from the bowling club to the surf club. As is the case today, the meeting was followed by lunch at the bowling club.

Foundation and Life Members

Alan Bates introduced Allan Buckingham as a Foundation member in 2003, Bulletin Editor 2003-06, President in 2007-08, was awarded Life Membership in 2014, continuous member for 20 years and an inspiration to us all.

Allan asked that Foundation and Life Members present to please come forward.

Once this group had gathered at the front of the room, Allan stated that we remember also Life Members Bev Crisp in Karingal Gardens Nursing Home (awarded in 2018) and Evelyn Crockett (awarded in 2010), also in care.


Allan Buckingham    L to R: Lois Wilson, Neil Meath, Robin Billings,
                                 Walter Bolin, Mary Marshall, Allan Buckingham

During the period the club has been in operation, these members served as follows:

  • Neil was Treasurer 2004-06 and Vice President in 2007-08
  • Walter was Speaker Liaison Officer 2003-04. Walter’s wife, Meryl, who has now passed also held many significant positions on the committee during the first 10 years, including President in 2010-11
  • Robin was Activities Officer for 5 years (2009-15) and Speaker Liaison Officer for 7 years (2015-22)
  • Mary was President in 2008-09
  • Others have been continuous members for the past 20 years

Members were asked to show their appreciation for these members who have made a very important contribution to our club. They were rewarded by acclamation and returned to their seats after the photo opportunity.

Allan then proceeded to read comments from Foundation Members who could not be present today.

John & Pat Coster, John was President 2009-10: Please give our sincere apologies and extend congratulations to the club for this achievement. We really enjoyed this Probus Club and have many happy memories for which we are very thankful. I am sorry to be unable to attend this special occasion and extend best wishes on behalf of my wife Pat, and myself. Have a wonderful day, everyone.

Bev Crisp, Foundation Member and Life Member (awarded 2018): Say hello to everyone and have a wonderful day celebrating on the 7th March 2023. I will be 82 on 9th Feb, feel like a teenager in here as most seem to be in their late 90s, hard-working country people, some are very bright and have amazing stories to tell. I have been extremely well looked after here especially with the staff shortages and the horrendous hours they are working. I would like to congratulate everyone for supporting and keeping Probus active.

Maureen & Wally Longmore, Foundation Members: Thank you for your kind invitation. Sadly, Wally is unable to attend as he is on dialysis on that day. Also, I have an appointment and will not be able to attend.

Ron & Pat Semken, Foundation Members, Pat was Inaugural Secretary: Thank you for the invitation. We are very disappointed that we are unable to attend. We will be in Brisbane. Please give our apologies and say hi to our old friends for us.

Richard & Margaret Flint, Margaret was Publicity Officer 2004-05 & 2005-06: Thank you for your invitation. I hope you all have a wonderful day. We are setting off tomorrow for a six-week motor home trip so we will be unable to attend.

Heather Cawthorn, Foundation Member, Inaugural Speaker Liaison Officer & Book Club Convenor: I thank you for your invitation … I do wish you all a very happy occasion.

Members were asked to show their appreciation for the messages of support from these Foundation members which completed Allan’s presentation.

Past Presidents

President Alan welcomed committee member Ian Campbell to the microphone. Ian asked all Past Presidents attending to please come forward.

L to R: Lynette Hester, Alan Bates, John Blacklock, Isobel Prindable, Mary Marshall, David Gibson, Peter Hester, Allan Buckingham, Ian Campbell.

Members were asked to show your appreciation for these Past Presidents in the usual manner, and before returning to their seats, they were asked to state the highlight of their year as president. These were recorded as follows:

Allan Buckingham (2007-08) – guest speaker presentation by Cameron Marshall

Mary Marshall (2008-09) – tour of north island of NZ

Isobel Prindable (2011-12) – planning and embroidering the Probus tablecloth, and deciding with Mary (Marshall) whether to add dolphins to the wording!

John Blacklock (2013-14) – 10th anniversary and great committee

David Gibson (2014-15) – TBA

Alan Bates (2015-18) – hats and life experience sharing

Peter Hester (2018-19) – morning teas and John’s . . . TBA

Ian Campbell (2019-20) – award of life membership to Anna Hamers

Lynette Hester (2021-23) – support from committee and members

Before reading comments from Past Presidents and committee members, Ian acknowledged the presence of former committee members –

  • Tricia Wootton, whose husband Jim was on the committee for 6 years – Secretary & Public Officer for 3 years 2007-10 and general committee for a further 3 years 2013-16
  • Margaret Waldock, Speaker Liaison Officer for 2 years 2008-10 and Welfare Officer 2018-19, travelling all the way from Turramurra to attend
  • Karen Derwent, Welfare Officer in 2017-18
  • Irene Sonne, Activities Officer in 2018-19

Ian then read email comments from those absentee presidents and other members who were not able to be present – 

John Coster (President 2009-10): I particularly recall the great committee of that year. I was so blessed to have such a cohesive group and one of my best memories is the super Christmas lunch we shared together at our home.

Bryan Paech (Vice-President 2011-12, President 2012-13, Committee Member 2014-15): Thank you for the kind invitation … I wish the Club continued success in the vital role it plays in providing companionship and friendship in the life of the local community.

Pat Marshall (President 2020-21): Past President’s (2020-21): If I were present I would say, The highlight of the year was that the Club survived, despite its very purpose being undercut by Covid restrictions.

Jack & Maureen McDonald (Bulletin Editor for 4 years, Publicity Officer for 2 years and VP in 2020, President for a short time in 2021): Maureen and I will not be able to be there but please give our best wishes to the club for the 20th and for the next 10 years.

Marilyn Wilson (Membership Officer for 2 years 2017-19, assisted Marilyn Ewin with Activities in 2020-21): Thank you for the invitation. I am unable to attend. Hoping it is a successful event for Probus.

Peta Power: Thank you so much my invitation to this event but regret being unable to attend. Please extend my congratulations to the President and Committee and I am sure it will be an enjoyable morning.

Message from CEO Silvana Martignago, Probus South Pacific Ltd

Ian Campbell, in his role as a Probus Ambassador, then read the message received from Probus South Pacific Ltd CEO, Silvana Martignago -

On behalf of PSPL, I would like to extend my sincere congratulations to Hallidays Point Probus Club on reaching 20 years of Probus membership.

It is an amazing milestone, particularly when you consider the number of retirees your Club has helped to stay engaged and connected over the years. Today is about your Club’s memories, Presidents who have led you, Members who have served on your committees, and all those behind the scenes and of course memories that have been created through the friendships that have been made.

It is well known fact that as we get older, those that are engaged and connected tend to live longer happier and healthier lives. Probus gives you the opportunity to do all those things and I personally want to thank all those members past and present that have made your Club the success that it is today.

Congratulations again on this fantastic milestone and here is to another 20 years of fun, friendship, fellowship and of course, food.

With my very best wishes.

Photos from the past 20 years

Ian Campbell then introduced a photographic segment, Remember When?, which included a sequence of photos in a MS-PowerPoint presentation put together by Ian, set to music of the Mary Hopkin song ‘Those were the days my friend . . . ’ by Peter Hester.

Each photo has a caption and there were not many from the early years. You can view the photos by copying and pasting the following link into your web browser.

The meeting was closed with the song ‘Rhythm of Life (is a Powerful Beat)’ by Sammy Davis Jnr., with words customised by Past President Lynette Hester.

President Alan thanked Peter and Lynette Hester for their work on the PowerPoint presentations, both today and for the duration of wife Lynette’s time as President, John Clucas for the words to Alleluia, Lynette for the words to Rhythm of Life, Beth Norling on the keyboard and John Willingham on the guitar, and last but not least, Bob Keenan, for arranging and delivering a fantastic morning tea.


Beth Norling & John Willingham  Activities Officer Jill Keenan   Bob Keenan
                                                               outlines some proposed      Catering Officer
                                                               activities for the forthcoming year.

The meeting/celebration concluded at 11:55am, with President Alan thanking all for attending. Forty attendees then adjourned to Hallidays Sports Club for lunch.