This page will have all of the written reports that have been generated on topic discussions and topics of interest.
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.
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.
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.
The remarkable story about “The loss of Prince Imperial of France” was recounted by Lou Fletcher at our January meeting. Napoleon Eugene Louis Jean Joseph Bonaparte, heir to the French Empire, was killed in action while fighting with the British army in Zululand.
The Young Prince
The Franco-Prussian War, 1870-1871, saw the defeat of France by German states led by Prussia. The young prince, with his mother Empress Eugenie, fled to Chislehurst in England where they made their home, together with the prince’s father Emperor Napoleon III. As he grew older, the prince imperial longed for battle and pressed the British army for a commission. Although he could not be offered a position he was allowed to wear a uniform.
On the 1st June 1879, the British army advanced into Zululand, and a small patrol led by Lt Carey and accompanied by the prince imperial set out to locate a site for an army camp and to draw maps of the area. The prince, with his skittish horse and his Austerlitz sword, was considered risky and go-ahead but soon assumed command of the patrol. They stopped at an encampment to make coffee and smoke their pipes unaware of the many Zulus close by. In the ensuing attack, the prince imperial was trampled by his own horse and his arm broken. He fought valiantly but was killed by a veritable hail of assegai spears.
Tony Dunk complimented Lou on giving his presentation without notes and with such historical detail. It was as if Lou had himself been there! Our talk in February is entitled “Snapshots in the life of a Parish Priest” and will be given by the Very Rev Dr. Christopher Hardwick.
That Tavistock Probus Club is always happy to welcome new members. Anyone interested in joining Probus may contact the secretary on 01822 615669.
A road made from old car tyres is certainly an innovative concept and this month’s presentation by Joe Toland described how old railway tracks can be converted into rubber roads made of panels of shredded car tyres which are locked together and laid over existing railway lines. They allow trams and cars to travel on the same road at up to 50mph, although the “roads” would be too narrow for overtaking. Holdfast, the Company behind the scheme, also produces rubber panels which are used as decking on railway crossings.
EU legislation has made it illegal to burn old tyres or bury them in landfill sites. Each mile of a Holdfast Road usefully uses 250,000 old tyres and a 980 foot demonstration track, built in Corby Northamptonshire, successfully handled up to 1000 cars per week. Joe highlighted the many miles of old and disused rail tracks up and down the country which could be converted into rubber highways to relieve traffic congestion and suggested this could even offer an alternative to the rail link from Tavistock to Bere Alston.
David Wixon thanked Joe for his imaginative and innovative presentation. Members then retired to Tavistock Golf Club where a truly excellent Christmas lunch was enjoyed by all.
The subject of the January meeting of the Tavistock Probus Club is “Prince Louis Napoleon”.
If you are interested in joining the Tavistock Probus Club, please contact the secretary on 01822 615669. We are always happy to welcome new members to the club.