This page will have all of the written reports that have been generated on topic discussions and topics of interest.

Posted by TPC-ADMIN on August 8, 2016

The Ten Tors Challenge

Ten Tors
Torquay Girls Grammar School B Team, the first all-female team to finish the 2015 Ten Tors Challenge. Photo: Corporal Daniel Wiepen
approach the finish line to rapturous applause from friends, family and Ten Tors fans. The Torquay Girls Grammar School girls teams were the first two all female teams to finish the event in 2015.
The Ten Tors Challenge is one of the biggest outdoors adventure events for young people in Britain today.
2,400 youngsters aged between 14 and 19 will take part in Ten Tors, trekking unaided over 35, 45 or 55 miles of some of the toughest terrain and highest peaks in Southern England, relying on their navigational skills and carrying all their food, water, bedding, tents and other essentials as they go.
A further 300 youngsters with physical or educational needs take part in the Jubilee Challenge and complete routes of up to 15 miles.
Ten Tors is also a vital high-level military exercise – called Exercise ARIES TOR – designed to test interoperability between the Armed Forces and Devon and Cornwall Police, The British Red Cross and Dartmoor Search and Rescue Group.
MoD release authorised handout images.
All images remain Crown Copyright.
Photo credit to read – Corporal Daniel Wiepen
Daniel Wiepen – 07880 052437
Richard Watt – 07836 515306
Shane Wilkinson – 07901 590723

Over the past 55 years, the Ten Tors expedition has provided a uniquely demanding challenge to many thousands of young people. They are required to hike over Dartmoor for up to three days, without adult support and solely responsible for their own well-being. Their safety, however, remains the primary concern of the team organising the event together with the Dartmoor National Park Authority, the emergency services, and various volunteer groups.

Simon Bell discusses his love for Dartmoor

Our talk this month told the history of the Ten Tors expedition and was given by Simon Dell, who is currently the Director and Coordinator of Moorland Guides. Simon has, for many years, had a special interest in the Dartmoor Rescue Group and in 1997 was awarded the MBE for services to the community as well as mountain rescue.

The Ten Tors Challenge started life in 1959 as a military exercise by the Junior Leaders Regiment, based at Denbury Camp. The exercise was a great success with those taking part enjoying the challenges of navigation, bivouacking and field cooking. The officers in charge, among them Colonel Gregory, felt that such an expedition could greatly benefit the youth of the day and should not be confined to Junior Leaders.

The first Ten Tors Challenge

The first public Ten Tors expedition took place on 15th September 1960 starting at Haytor, with teams of 10 walking 55 miles over the moors to Hexworthy. Teams of girls were included the following year. In 1996, heavy snow initiated a mass evacuation and two years later a heat wave created a major risk of dehydration. The expedition now starts and ends at Okehampton Camp.

David Rippon thanked Simon for his most interesting talk which showed an astounding knowledge of Dartmoor. The subject for our September meeting is “The Falkland Islands and Antarctica”.

Tavistock Probus Club is pleased to welcome new members. If you would like to join us, please have a word with our secretary on 01822 615669.

Posted by TPC-ADMIN on June 4, 2016

My Family Life in China

China is one of the world’s fastest growing major economies with a population of 1.4 billion and covering an area 73 times the size of England. In this month’s talk, Peter Brinsden gave members an illuminating description of life in China and how this has changed over the past 100 years.

Tell us a bit about yourself Peter

Peter was born in Peking in 1940. His great great grandfather moved to China in 1856 as an American Presbyterian missionary. His great grandfather Robert supervised the building of a university in Hangchow (now Hangzhou) in 1912. Peter’s father was taught Chinese by the tutor to the last Emporer of China (Puyi) and Peter, himself, has travelled and lectured extensively throughout China, including visits to Xi’an which was the start of the famous Silk Road and is now famous for its terracotta warriors. Peter had the honour of giving a lecture in The Great Hall of the People and has four Honorary Professorships at Universities in China.

Life in China

Life in China has changed dramatically over the last 100 years. Horse drawn carts have been replaced by bullet trains and shanty towns by modern skyscrapers. The Chinese people are generally very happy people – Peter’s presentation was notably full of smiling faces. China now contains one of the largest Christian communities in the world, possibly numbering over 100 million.

Members were also given an insight into modern China: the modern hospitals and the flourishing traditional medicine markets; the shopping malls and the many massive infrastructure projects. The Three Gorges Dam is an imposing example, towering to a height of 600ft.

Peter Lane, our Vice Chairman, thanked Peter for his most interesting talk. In July, the Tavistock Probus Club will hold its Club Lunch at the Bedford Hotel.

Tavistock Probus Club is pleased to welcome new members. If you are interested in joining, please have a word with our secretary on 01822 615669.

Posted by TPC-ADMIN on May 8, 2016

Michael Ridley Miniature Autobiography

The Tavistock Probus Club members celebrated the start of a new Club year with a veritable abundance of activities.

A tour of historical buildings in Launceston was led by local historian Arthur Wills and included visits to the Guildhall, the Town Hall and the parish church of St Mary Magdalene.

An excellent lunch with Launceston Club members in the White Hart Hotel was followed by a talk and slide presentation by Lou Fletcher showing many of the delightful tourist spots in the north island of New Zealand.

Michael Ridley Miniature Autobiography

For our monthly talk in the Bedford Hotel, Tavistock Probus Club members were entertained with an amusing autobiography by the Reverend Canon Michael Ridley covering his war experiences as a young child, his time in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve and leading on to his entry into priesthood in Old Leake, Crediton and Salisbury. A keen cricketer, Michael scored a half century playing for Harlaxton (Grantham). Ray Hurle thanked Michael for his talk ably given without notes.

Probus completed its month’s agenda with a visit to Mary Tavy Power Station. Karl Jones, the engineering team manager at Mary Tavy, gave a slide presentation of the development of the power station from 1932 onwards and followed it with a tour of the turbines and workshops. Not only does the team generate enough electricity to power Tavistock, they also maintain a picturesque habitat for wildlife

Next month’s talk will be on family life in China and will be presented by Peter Brinsden.

Tavistock Probus Club is pleased to welcome new members. If you are interested in joining, please have a word with our secretary on 01822 615669.

Posted by TPC-ADMIN on March 4, 2016

Devon Air Ambulance

Devon Air Ambulance

Imagine you are enjoying a walk in Dartmoor’s National Park and you come across someone who has fallen and injured themselves. You may be able to summon help but your location is very remote. The Devon Air Ambulance is at the ready to come to your aid and to do so at great speed.

Tony Canon gives his insight

Tony Canon gave members a detailed insight into the air ambulance ways of working. Formed in 1986 by a mother whose son was fatally injured in a road accident, the Devon Air Ambulance Trust now owns two Eurocopter helicopters, each able to carry a crew of three plus one patient and yet small enough to land in difficult and otherwise inaccessible places. These aircraft cost well in excess of £3 million each and the annual running cost of the service is around £5 million. The Trust relies entirely on voluntary donations, money raised in its charity shops and its own lottery.

A day in the life of one of the Devon Air Helicopters

The helicopters can reach 50% of Devon locations within 5 minutes. Typically, they handle more than 1000 incidents in a year, mostly cardiac, but they are also called out to traffic accidents, falls and sports injuries. The patient isn’t necessarily taken to the nearest hospital but to one which specialises in their needs. Speed is essential in cases of trauma. A patient in Barnstable can be air-lifted to Exeter in 14 minutes – the equivalent road journey is 1hr 12mins. Specially trained paramedics are on board who can carry out small surgical procedures and administer drugs, and the aircraft pilot enjoys priority clearance over almost all other aircraft.

David Denton gave a vote of thanks saying that it is a great comfort to all of us to know that the air ambulances are there. The Tavistock Probus Club will be meeting for lunch in the Bedford Hotel in April followed by our AGM.  

If you would like to join the Tavistock Probus Club, please have a word with our secretary on 01822 615669.

Posted by TPC-ADMIN on February 8, 2016

Snapshots in the life of a Parish Priest

Tavistock Parish Church

There is a wind of change blowing through Tavistock – and one that will benefit everyone. Rev Dr. Christopher Hardwick gave Probus members an insight into his plans for the future of Tavistock Parish Church.

History of where it all began for Chris

Born in Lichfield to a church family, Chris first chose a career in banking before setting out on the difficult road to becoming a parish priest. As Dean of the Cathedral of Truro, and working with the Cathedral’s Chapter, he merged his priest work with the job of tackling the Cathedral’s budget deficit. By improving outreach, opening the choral activities to all, and by making the building’s heritage more widely available, the deficit was turned around and the Cathedral was placed on a firmer financial footing.

Chris is now using his proven expertise to secure the future of our lovely parish church and aims to achieve this in time to mark the church’s 700th anniversary in 2018. St Eustachius Church will strengthen its outreach and mission, widen the appeal of its services, engage more widely with local schools, and open its magnificent building in the centre of town for the appropriate use of all. The church needs better facilities to make it more welcoming as a place of worship, a place to visit, a concert venue, and much, much more.

Many tales of amusement

One of Chris’s many other talents is the telling of amusing stories and his presentation was well seasoned with these. Ray Hurle thanked Chris for his most entertaining talk. Our meeting in March looks at the activities of the Devon Air Ambulance Trust.  Probus has an interesting and varied program ahead including a tour of the historical aspects of Launceston, a backstage visit to part of the Plymouth theatre complex and some wide ranging topics for our talks.

If you would like to join as a Tavistock Probus Club member and get involved in these talks, please have a word with our secretary on 01822 615669.