Chanctonbury Probus Club
Chanctonbury Probus Club

Photographs & notes about Events


Thursday 16th May


A visit to Hampton Court Palace.


22 Probus folk including 3 guests and our guide Caroline Cloutte, boarded the Woods coach for Hampton Court. The weather was a bit iffy but as it turned out we only had to deal with a few drops on arrival and when walking on the grounds.


During the drive, Caroline gave us a brilliant and well knitted history lesson, including some ghost stories, so we were all ready to view the splendour of the palace once we had the necessary coffee and pastries at the Tiltyard Cafe at around 11 am. This is the official summary about the Palace........


The original Tudor Hampton Court Palace was begun by Cardinal Wolsey in the early 16th century, but it soon attracted the attention of Henry VIII, who brought all his six wives here. Surrounded by gorgeous gardens and famous features such as the Maze and the Great Vine, the palace has been the setting for many nationally important events.


When William III and Mary II (1689-1702) took the throne in 1689, they commissioned Sir Christopher Wren to build an elegant new baroque palace. Later, Georgian kings and princes occupied the splendid interiors. When the royals left in 1737, impoverished 'grace and favour' aristocrats moved in.


Queen Victoria opened the palace to the public in 1838. It has remained a magnet for millions of visitors, drawn to the grandeur, the ghosts and the fabulous art collection.


Personally, I preferred the Tudor part of the Palace with the amazing tapestries and superb ceilings. I think the Wren part was a bit dark inside but nevertheless splendid in architecture.


Overall, a lovely day out with friends and although unlikely to remember most of the details Caroline amazed us with, a very happy and long-lasting impression remains. 


Laki Marangos

Tuesday 14th May

Walk to Halnaker Windmill

On Tuesday fourteen of us braved the climb up to Halnaker windmill. It was a steady climb in ever improving weather. By the time we breasted the ridge the cloud had largely cleared giving us panoramic views over the County and out to sea. Towering over us the windmill sparkled in the newly arrived sunshine. It was a glorious sight.


After drinking in the views, we strolled back down to the Anglesey Arms to enjoy a well-earned meal and drink. Thanks, heavens, for the drier ground underfoot.


25th April


Annual Club Dinner


The Club’s formal Annual Dinner for 2023/24 took place on Thursday 21st April at the West Sussex Golf Club with some fifty-three diners present.  Probus Chairman John Gilbert and his wife, Gill, greeted everyone on arrival and a convivial pre-dinner session followed in the bar. The golf club’s restaurant, as always was pleasantly set up for dinner with round tables.  Dinner was served and the evening progressed with a brief speech from the Chairman who, among other things, expressed his pleasure in seeing everyone there, especially the lady associate members. He thanked members of the club for the work they do to help make the past year a success. There followed the toast to King Charles and another brief speech, this time from the Chairman nominee, Peter Bowen-Davies.  Flowers were presented to the Chairman’s wife and the evening ended with further conversations across the room.  

Sunday, 21st April 


Visit to Goodwood House


Twenty-seven members and associates visited Goodwood house, met at the splendid entrance by ‘The Butler’, for a private tour to learn more about the history and to see the magnificent State Rooms. Our guide started with a brief overview of the previous occupants of the house, some of whom had indulged in their particular interests that resulted in the various events held at Goodwood (for instance Goodwood [horse] Races, Festival of Speed and Goodwood Revival) that all help to defray the enormous costs of maintaining the Goodwood Estate comprised of the house, other properties and over eleven thousand acres of beautiful downland countryside. 


The tour started at the Hunting Lodge and its ‘Long Hal’l before returning to the main house and State Rooms. The Rooms are all individually designed and very different. The photo below shows the group in the Egyptian Dining Room.


Frankly I’m unable to provide a detailed description that would do the State Rooms justice but suffice to say, the historic furnishings and wooden furniture was beautifully restored and maintained. All rooms contained paintings that comprise what is considered “one of the greatest art collections in any English country house” and each one is taken down and cleaned every year, when the house is closed. If you’re ever in the area, Goodwood House is certainly worth a visit.


Afterwards, twenty-five people drove to the Anglesey Arms for lunch.


21st March


Guided walk around Arundel


Twenty of us braved a cool wind to learn more about Arundel from our guide Martin, who has lived in the town all of his life working as. Postman until his recent retirement.


Using an extensive library of historic photos Martin was able to show us how the town has changed. How it used to look and work. The antique shop that used to be a butcher’s shop with all of the carcasses hanging outside on hooks. The red and white chequerboard tiled tops to some of the buildings and the roof mounted symbols indicating what type of shop was to be found beneath. His countless stories of how people lived shopped and worked in this small town. How the local Duke used the proceeds from his sale of a small town he had up north (Sheffield!) to fund the building of the Cathedral and Castle in the Victorian era.


It soon became obvious how the period look and feel made the town an obvious candidate for films like the recent ‘Wicked little letters’ which was set in a rather sweary if still delightfully picturesque 1920s town. It helped us imagine how Arundel had once looked, felt and functioned. 


We ended the tour at the top of the town outside the Cathedral dedicated to the unfortunate, if sainted, Phillip Howard. During that couple of hours, we had learned so much not just about Arundel but how people, society, Dukes, the churches (both Protestant and Catholic) behaved and sometimes - sadly more interestingly - misbehaved throughout history.

Thursday 22nd February


Drop the Dead Donkey


In February twenty of our Members and Associates saw a performance of “Drop the Dead Donkey – The Reawakening” at the Chichester Festival Theatre. This satirical TV comedy about the goings on within a TV newsroom launched on Channel 4 in the 1980s and the play brought it up to date with the original cast being brought together again to form a new news channel. The script was right up to date dealing with current news items. The team was still as hapless and their organisation as chaotic as ever. The cast included Neil Pearson, Stephen Tomkinson, and Victoria Wicks together with a guest cameo performance from Trevor McDonald.


Following the performance 16 of our number had a fine meal at the Spur at Slindon.


Monday 5th Feb.


Ten Pin Bowling at Rustington.


The annual Ten Pin Bowling challenge between Chanctonbury and Storrington Probus clubs was held today Monday 5th February 2024 at the Out of Bounds Bowling alley in Rustington. Three teams from each club competed for the new challenge trophy "Lucky Strikes". There were 5 bowlers per lane and everyone had 2 games each of 10 frames. A closely contested match with Chanctonbury's Lane 1 team having the highest overall bowling score. The winning team were Tim and Jane Hulbert, Angela Jones, Laki Marangos and Graham Moss (virtual presence). The winning score was 935 with the Storrington team of Clive Boland, John Brocklebank, Ken Collins, Peter and Vanessa Edwards a close second with a score of 921.

The overall winner was Laki Marangos with a score of 220, with Peter second on 208, Paul Weaver third with 200 and Clive Boland 4th with 199.


Hard luck Storrington, but as the losing team they will be organising next year's challenge. Training starts soon I am told.....


I think everyone had an enjoyable morning. We then went to the Black Horse in Findon for our lunch, which was also enjoyed by everyone.


My thanks to all the participants and to Paul Weaver for collating the Storrington playing and meal pre-ordering information.

10th January


Skittles at the Black Horse, Findon


A group of fit, well relatively fit, mares and stallions from the Club met for skittles at the Black Horse, Findon. 


Some 18 riders were divided into teams of four and three in accordance with their horse breeds with two spectators on the rails. At the end of the first circuit or round the Old English team led the field with 24 points with the Shire Horses showing their age at the back with 15. 


By the time the field had finished the second round the Shire Horses had maintained their lead with 43 points but the following horses were bunching up close behind them with Mustangs on 39, the Arabians on 35 and the Shire horses at the back of the field alongside the Shetland ponies both on 32 points. 

The third round saw the Old English majestically still leading the field with the rest bunching behind them ready for a supreme effort on the final lap. The tense final circuit saw lots of excitement with a turnaround in the positions. The Arabians with two young mares and an old stallion stormed through on the inside to win with 84 points followed by the disappointed Old English on 79 points after having lead for the first three laps. It was clear that the Highland ponies prefer the Highlands to the flat Findon course. 

On the individual horse scores two mares, Zena and Judith, having both knocked down all nine skittles with two balls finished as joint winners with the magnificent individual score of 26, just pipping Valerie by a very short head on 25. Where were the stallions one might ask! 
Following the prize giving all the horses were grateful to be well fed and watered in the skittles barn after their morning exertions. 


4th November 


A night out in Brighton


Eleven Members and Associates travelled to Brighton on a Saturday night in November and after a fine, and remarkably economical, Italian meal at Pinocchio’s restaurant moved on to the Dome Concert Hall for an orchestral Concert.

The London Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by rising star Luis Castillo-Briceno treated us to a performance of Dvorak’s Carnival Overture followed in the first half by Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante, a concerto for solo violin, solo viola and orchestra. In the second half the intensity was ramped up with an exciting performance of Tchaikovsky’s fourth symphony which gave all the members of the 80 strong orchestra the chance to show off their talents.

11th October 2023 


Chairman’s Invitation Lunch


Chairman John Gilbert arranged the lunch at Avisford Park Hotel. After a few hic-ups (mainly one barman for 48 people), everybody sat down to an excellent meal. The food was good, the wine flowed and the non stop chatter, implied that on the whole the event was successful. It was made doubly special with the ladies in their fetching finery.



20th September 2023


Guided tour of Parham House


Alan Price ably organised some 20+ members visited one of the country’s finest Elizabethan houses and its gardens on our doorstep on Wednesday of this week.


On arrival at Parham House we were greeted by our experienced guide, Carol, in the house’s original kitchen where we had coffee and biscuits to prepare for our tours.

This area is not generally open to the public now but its display of copper cooking utensils is amazing.


Although many of us had visited the house before, probably on more than one occasion, Carol’s encyclopaedic knowledge and obvious love of the house, its history and all the many artefacts contained in it made it come alive in a way that is not normally possible.  We started our tour in the Great Hall with many paintings of the Palmer and Bishopp families who had owned the property and were intrigued by the large heavy leather water jug on display on the central table which was on casters for ease of use. The tour finished in the extraordinary long gallery, the third longest of its kind in the country, where the far sited architect had provided a panelled ceiling so that if the roof leaked and damaged the ceiling only the damaged part of it would need to be renewed.


We learnt that although the house was built in 1577 only three families have owned it since that time and that the house is in its current excellent condition with much of the original furniture and artefacts due to its purchase in 1922 by the Hon. Clive and Alicia Pearson who used their wealth and resources to restore the property and then opened a major part of the house to the public shortly after the last war.


We then made our way outside where we met by head gardener, Andrew, who proudly told us that the gardens were actually older than the house as they had been used for the monastery that had been on the site before the Reformation.  Andrew had only been head gardener for a relatively short time during which his major challenge had been to rid the gardens of bindweed. This had given him an opportunity to replant some of the beds where the new plants had quickly become established. 


We were fortunate to avoid the rain and adjourned to the nearby Crown Inn for an excellent lunch and listen to the local group Feelin’ Lucky who entertained us with songs and music from our era whilst the rain came down outside!


21st August 2023


Inter Probus Club Croquet


Simon Powlson and Jean Keeling were the winners of the Inter Probus Croquet amateur section held at Southwick SCCC. 


Laki Marangos was the runner up in the Professional handicap section. 

10th August 2023


Visit to Wimbledon 


A coach load of 31 members, partners and one guest made the trip to SW19 5AG for a guided tour of the All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet club, for a behind the scenes visit of the lawns, club facilities and the famous museum. The sun was shining to make this extra special. Our blue badge guide Caroline Cloutte, enchanted us wonderfully with her amazing knowledge of facts and figures and fascinating insights into the past and present events and personalities. We saw some of the 18 courts including sitting at the famous Centre Court (court 13 does not exist for obvious reasons!). Lunch was enjoyed at the Wingfield cafeteria, named after the "father" of lawn tennis Major Walter Clopton Wingfield in c.1873. We then had a leisurely visit to the world famous museum, past the inevitable shop, aided with audio guides, aiming to digest the incredible story of this club, to read about the star players, to view the trophies and play with interactive displays, before boarding our coach for the return journey home. 


Overall a very interesting and enjoyable day out.

25th July 2023 


Visit to Shoreham Fort


A group of 30 members, from Chanctonbury Probus Club, visited Shoreham Fort, where they were given a guided tour of the site. Built in 1857, in reaction to the threat of an invasion by Napoleon’s forces, the group learned about its clever design that makes it impossible to see from the sea, as it blends into the South Downs landscape. It was decommissioned in 1906 and nine years later it started being used for film sets and was bigger than Hollywood during these early days. Left to decay for a number of years a group of dedicated volunteers took on the task of rebuilding the site. Work is ongoing, but all the materials are paid for through donations. After the visit, 26 of the group had an excellent lunch at the local restaurant “Into the Sea”. – a very enjoyable and memorial day."

23rd June 2023


Inter Probus Clue Croquet


Some photos from the warm-up day for the Probus Inter-club croquet competition taking place in August. 

19th May 2023


A visit to the National Memorial Arboretum


Members of Chanctonbury Probus Club, drove to the Leonardo Hotel Hinkley Island, with a 3 hour stop off at Stratford upon Avon. That evening, the members had a very entertaining and palatable meal in the Marco Pierre White restaurant. The following day everybody visited the National Memorial Arboretum, Staffordshire which was stunning and very moving. There are 150 acres of manicured lawns, bushes, trees and gardens, together with over 400 memorials, plaques and figures relating to ALL services that have taken part in the various campaigns, battles, skirmishes and national confrontations.


The members returned home pleasantly exhausted but grateful for having experienced what the day was about – a memorial day. The picture shows Ted F. Barbara, Gill, Ted H and Alison standing by the memorial for the children evacuees.

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