Driffield Probus Club

Event Reports

10th July 2024

The Chairman welcomed everyone to the meeting, with a special mention to Tony Harris and Peter Hyde.

GM said Mike Cass (Pocklington Gliding Club) had contacted him and was confident that the Gliding Evening would go ahead, but would phone if there were problems.
GM had received a letter from Flamborough Lifeboat thanking Probus for the generous donation, which was a result of a ‘visit’ by the lifeboat (out training) during the Yorkshire Belle trip; the money would be used solely for the lifeboats & the station. GM stated that, as the Club had made a ‘small!’ profit from this trip, the Committee had decided to make a donation to Flamborough Lifeboat.
GM had received an email from Phil Robson of The Wolds Railway, thanking the Club for the interest shown by Members on the recent visit, the generosity in the form of sales and donations from individual Members, and also the donation of £100, made by the Club.

Minutes of last meeting (26 June): accepted with no matters arising.

Formal Evening Dinner – Cost will be £20/person; it will take place on Thursday 17th October at 7.00pm for 7.30pm at Hotel 41. The menu will be in an information letter and menu choices will be needed beforehand, together with full payment; the dress code is smart dress – black tie/evening suits are optional. Tina Shelton stated that this was a ‘trial event’ to see how well it is received by Members; there will be 8 per table and a seating plan will be produced. There will be an After-dinner Speaker. The Rev. Robert Amos had to decline due to a prior engagement. Other suggestions were the previous High Sheriff of East Riding – Jackie Bowes, and also the present High Sheriff – Chris Henson.

With the Club increasing in numbers (currently 58 Members) keeping a track of numbers attending meetings is getting more difficult, so from August there will be an Attendance Register introduced: when paying the meeting fee at the Treasurer’s table, tick against your name on the sheet, thereby recording the number present at any meeting, to highlight anyone who hasn’t attended for a while and may need help (through our Wellbeing Policy), and also, in the very rare event of a fire, will act as a register to ensure everyone is out of the building.

Janet Thornton (Wellbeing Co-ordinator) spoke to remind everyone that “there is back-up if problems arise”; she hadn’t been at a meeting for a while and thought she should remind all ‘who she is’; so far she had not had a call from anyone in need, but this offer is always available for anyone in the Club to use.

Gerald Massey had several topics for discussion:-
From the list of prospective venues to visit in year 2024-2025, Members were asked to vote for their favourite 3 (there was a 90% ‘turnout’ for those contacted); the results were as follows:
North York Moors Railway
Laurel Vines vineyard at Aike
RAF Fylingdales (it must be noted that there is no possibility of this trip going ahead in the immediate future, due to global insecurities and unrest).
Robert Fuller Gallery (if free, Robert Fuller will chat to the group)
National Railway Museum
Burton Constable
Tour of Hull Old Town
Yorkshire Museum of Farming
There will be no Gliding or Archery next year as they didn’t get enough votes; a suggestion to go on the list for next  year is Cannon Hall Farm, nr. Barnsley.

The proposed order of trips from October is:
October - Formal Evening Dinner
December - Robert Fuller Gallery (Free of Charge)
February - National Railway Museum (Free of Charge)
April - North York Moors Railway
June - Burton Constable Hall (for our group, this venue has a separate room we can use for a meal.)
August - Laurel Vines Vineyard
More detailed information will be available later.

GM said that since the illustrated information letters with attached booking forms have been in use, bookings have been more popular and generally go well. However, there have been instances where a booking has been ‘by word of mouth’ or has come in late. As the Club numbers have grown, and to make administration easier, GM asks that cut-off dates for booking a trip must be observed.

GM then showed some photos of The Wolds Railway Trip, stating that the staff were very helpful, and also some photos of The Yorkshire Belle Trip.
GM asked that if any Members had suggestions for the subject of future meetings, as well as possible speakers, and also venues for future trips, please contact him at any time.
GM advised Members about one meeting for the next Probus year - Deirdre Crane’s daughter is a Police Dog Handler, and has agreed to give a talk and bring her dog along, as well as a couple of her work colleagues who will give a demo outside on the cricket ground (weather and operational commitments allowing).
(There was a suggestion for a trip on the River Don; GM will check this out!)

The Chairman asked for a vote of thanks for GM for all his work in organising speakers, trips, etc.


26th June 2024

Chairman’s welcome: There were 36 members attending the meeting.

Correspondence: Gerald Massey has received a letter of thanks from The Flamborough Lifeboat station after the Club made a donation of £100.00, after their accompanying The Yorkshire Belle during the recent Probus Club trip to Bempton Cliffs. The letter stated that our donation will be used strictly for the lifeboats and the lifeboat station.

Minutes of the last meeting (12 June): Accepted as accurate, with no matters arising.

New Members: the Chairman introduced Gillian Helliwell (former Mayor of Driffield) and Susan Hudson as prospective Members and they were welcomed as New Members. (Gareth Shelton mentioned that when he took over as Chairman, he had had a target of seeing the Club increase to 50 Members, but with word spreading and also frequent articles in the Press, interest had grown and his new target was 60 Members; today the Club reached 58!)

GS handed over to speaker Angela Beaumont, for her illustrated talk about her
‘Travels Around Patagonia’.

Angela began by mentioning that her boots were from Buenos Aires, her hat was from a nearby village, her jacket was from Chile, whilst her earrings came from Peru. She had also brought along a decorated tile made by a man from Patagonia, who ‘painted’ with his fingers.

She had travelled by plane, taking 14 hours to reach Santiago, but had experienced trouble with her blood sugar en route (she has Type 1 diabetes), missing signals that there was a problem; however, by the time she had reached Santiago, she had managed to resolve this problem.

Her next stop was Buenos Aires, then 3½ hours later reached her destination of El Calafate. She mentioned a large glacier she had seen, 240 ft. high and 3 miles wide. She said that the older and denser the glacier ice is, the deeper will be the blue colour displayed in the ice – it is not a result of reflection from the sky or sea!

Her daughter had made all the arrangements for their back-packing holiday – modern technology and ‘booking.com’ has made this much easier than in the past. They travelled in 2012, with the excursion taking 3 weeks. They had done a lot of hard training to be fit enough for all the trekking (on foot), and especially with her diabetes – her medical kit had taken up a lot of luggage weight.

There were large temperature differences between trekking in the mountains (very cold) and down on lower levels/towns (warm to hot & humid).

They found transportation to be surprisingly good, although buses were sometimes, good, whilst other times were sporadic.

She didn’t necessarily have a favourite food, as on budget, food was not extravagant, but they still managed to eat well.

Gerald Massey thanked Angela for her talk, saying that it brought back memories of his trip to The Galapagos Islands and Peru, but thought her ‘very brave’ for travelling with just her daughter. It was a fascinating talk, and well deserved the round of applause given by the Members.

GM reminded Members that this meeting was the closing date for booking on to the trip to The Wolds Railway, with supper at Stuarts beforehand, as well as booking for the Gliding evening at Pocklington.

The next meeting on 10th July will cover a number of different topics for the Members.

At the meeting on 24th July Sheila Cadman will present a talk entitled
Alfred Buchanan Cheetham’ – the story of a Hull fisherman, who went on the Antarctic expedition with Shackleton.


12th June 2024

Chairman’s welcome: The Chairman welcomed 27 members to the meeting, with 2 guests – Geoff Bowers & Brian Beeney (both currently members of Beverley Probus Club).

Sick members: Tony Harris – GM saw Tony recently, who is still slowly recovering.

Angela Beaumont is now feeling a lot better and will ‘definitely be there’ for the meeting on 26th June.

Yorkshire Belle trip – 98 people were on the boat for the trip to Bempton Cliffs & back (104 had paid but 6 were unable to attend; due to the profit made from the trip, GM was able to offer refunds). Sal Cooke (who had previous given a talk to the Probus Club) had agreed to come on board to talk to those on board and point out the many different birds; she had also arranged for the Flamborough Lifeboat to come alongside (several times, in fact) whilst they were out training. At GM’s suggestion, the Committee had agreed to make a donation of £100 to Flamborough Lifeboat (especially as the Club had made a decent profit from ticket sales); all present at the meeting thought it was an ‘excellent idea’.

Minutes of the last meeting (22nd May): Agreed as an accurate record of the meeting. GS thanked Liz Smith who covered for Tina Shelton at the last meeting; also David Woolley who stood in as Chairman.

Matters arising: The only point made was Malcolm Winn thanking Gerald & Denise Massey for the Yorkshire Belle Trip, saying it was very well organised, and went off very well.

The meeting was passed to Harry Houldsworth, who  presented the third, and concluding part of his Driffield Town Trail.

Harry began with a brief outline of how his reworking of the older Driffield Town Trail (written in 1981 by David Neame and illustrated by Eugene Fisk) came about, incorporating as much as possible of the original test into his new edition, but also noting the many changes since 1981 – change of building use, demolition of certain buildings, new buildings erected, and extra relevant social history.

Autumn 2019 saw HH being asked by Ross Weekes (a retired Head of History at Driffield School) if he was interested in bringing the Town Trail up to date. In Spring 2020 Covid 19 struck, and so this project gave HH ‘something to do’ during Lockdown.

There have been 3 Police Stations in Driffield; the first a lock-up gaol behind the Red Lion (in stables) in Middle Street South; the Old Police Station (1843) in Eastgate North, which had two cells; replaced in 1896 by a new Driffield Police Station and adjacent Magistrate’s Court, in Wansford Road.

Prior to 1850, street layout showed no evidence of Town & Country Planning; they were built in a higgledy-piggeldy manner and with no drainage on roads.

The Spread Eagle Pub (c1830) on Exchange Street replaced the original house, c1810, which had been the home of Susanna Gore, the ‘Driffield Witch’; she was alleged to have sold her soul to the devil, but more likely she was a very astute business woman (unusual for a woman of that time) who was frequently consulted by business men and tradesmen, amongst many other locals.

The Town Hall on Exchange Street has a frontage dating from the 1930s, behind which the building was adapted from the former Corn Exchange; it is an unusual design and difficult to place architecturally.

The present Dee-Atkinson & Harrison offices in Exchange Street, formerly housed The Mechanics’ Institute, the library of which had a high reputation and led the way for developing an interest in science and technical education; prestigious lectures there were very popular.

Some buildings in Harper Street, off Eastgate South, are a good example of the typical terraced housing built for workers, and were rented out for less than a week’s wage of a typical tradesman.

The terraced houses of Marine Row, Eastgate South (1842) are a reminder of the mid-Victorian ‘wild west’ Driffield, when few ordinary people had rights.

Driffield in the late 19th century was dominated by mils, factories, foundries and warehouses, with one of the major employers being the Driffield and East Riding Pure Linseed Cake Company. It was here, in 1887, that the worst fire in Driffield happened – a 3-day fire, causing about £100k - £150k of damage.

Riverhead is an attractive area of the town, and its development, along with improvements to the River Hull and the making of a navigation to Driffield, allowed the town to grow in importance, by-passing that of Kilham (corn & other goods could be transported directly from Hull to Driffield, and vice versa).

The coming of the railway, from 1846, heralded the Railway Age, and really allowed Driffield to grow in importance.

The late Victorian and Edwardian periods (1880 – 1914) was not a good time for Driffield and the Wolds area, as agriculture was affected by cheap imports from the American Prairies, and later by refrigerated meat from Australia & New Zealand.

The Chairman thanked Harry for a very interesting talk, not just for the locals amongst the members, but also for those who had moved to the town from other parts of the country. He asked for those present to show their appreciation in the usual manner.

The next meeting on 26th June will see Angela Beaumont present her talk on her adventures travelling in Patagonia,
in Chile and Argentina.


22nd May 2023

Chairman’s welcome: David Woolley, standing in as Chairman for Gareth, who was in Wales attending a family funeral, welcomed 32 members to the meeting and thanked them for coming out in such bad weather.

Sick members: Gerald Massey said Tony Hyde is coping well with his ongoing cancer treatment.

GM said he had made contact with Angela Beaumont last week to confirm that she would be giving us a talk on Patagonia today. Unfortunately, she was unwell and doubted if she would be able to attend as agreed but hopes she is better by our next meeting on the 12th June.

The Secretary had received a letter from St Catherine’s Hospice Driffield Support Group telling us that they had received further donations and are close to raising the sum of £2,200.

GM announced that Driffield Methodist Church were holding an Open Gardens Day Trail on Saturday 8th June between 10 am and 4 pm and brochures were on sale for £5 each.

Minutes of the last meeting: These were  accepted with no matters arising.

AOB: GM mentioned the following events:
We have had an invitation from the Driffield Croquet Club for Probus members to take up the offer of 3 free ‘taster sessions’ between 2 and 4 pm on a Tuesday. The Croquet Club is on Manorfield Avenue and has 2 grassed areas for playing croquet. If you do decide to become a member you can go and have a game at any time. GM put a slide on the screen of himself and 4 other Probus members having a ‘taster session’. He said they had thoroughly enjoyed their afternoon and that he could highly recommend a game of croquet.

GM will shortly be putting out details to Probus members regarding travel arrangements for the cruise to Bempton Cliffs aboard the ‘Yorkshire Belle’ on the evening of Tuesday 4th June.

Everyone had thoroughly enjoyed ‘Probus got Talent’ at the last meeting. Eleven members had taken part and it was such a success that it will feature in next year’s programme.

GM said Denise had managed to purchase some coloured lanyards in ‘Probus blue’. Would any member who wants a lanyard please give their name badge to Denise and she will fix it onto the tape so that it sits properly and does not twist when being worn.

David then handed over to Gerald Massey to present his illustrated talk entitled “My Journey to Ontario, 1956 to 2017”.
His narrative was given alongside some wonderful slides taken by Denise.

Gerald began his talk by saying that birds had been his hobby since he was 6 years old. In 1970 he was invited to become a judge at the numerous bird shows held all around the United Kingdom anywhere from Cornwall to Scotland and across to Northern Ireland.

Initially Gerald had kept and bred a variety of birds but he eventually decided to just concentrate on breeding and judging zebra finches. This decision resulted in him becoming a national judge and he ultimately was invited to adjudicate at a total of 18 National Shows around the world. In 2017 Gerald and Denise flew out to Canada as he had been invited to judge a bird show in Toronto. For the duration of their visit they stayed with a couple who turned out to be the epitome of the perfect hosts escorting their guests around the city of Toronto and the wider Ontario countryside on a variety of sightseeing excursions.

On a trip to Humber Bay Park they saw a beaver swimming across the water to its lodge. We saw slides of tree trunks that had been gnawed by beavers and were told the amazing fact that the beavers gnaw the trunks in such a way that they always fall in the direction of the water. Gerald and Denise spent one day exploring Toronto on their own which included having lunch in the revolving restaurant of the CN Tower and enjoying superb aerial views of the city.

Knowing Gerald’s passion for birds and wildlife their Canadian hosts ensured that he saw as many species as possible that were indigenous to Ontario including: chickadees, blue jays, wild turkeys, woodpeckers, a humming bird, red-wing blackbirds, chipmunks, beavers and black squirrels. Denise even managed to capture a very rare photo of a pure white squirrel in amongst the vast local black population. They were fortunate enough to be in Ontario during the fall when the trees are a blaze of colour in all their seasonal splendour. They also witnessed how enthusiastically the Canadians celebrate Halloween with ghoulish displays and pumpkins everywhere!

A stay in Ontario wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Niagara Falls where they spent another memorable day being deafened by the noise of the water.

Gerald retired from the show circuit on his return from Canada. Over the years he had been awarded countless trophies for winning competitions with his show birds and his judging career had spanned an incredible 47 years from 1970 until 2017.

The Chairman thanked Gerald for such an interesting talk and slide show and the members showed their appreciation with a round of applause.

At the meeting on Wednesday 12th June, Harry Houldsworth has kindly agreed to present the 3rd and final part of his
'Driffield Town Trail' talk.


8th May 2024

The Chairman welcomed 25 members plus 1 prospective new member and 1 guest, Gary Fulcher to today’s meeting, which GS said would be a bit different.

Correspondence: regarding the offer of ‘Have a go at Croquet’ from Driffield Croquet Club, this will take place on 21st May, 2 – 4pm, and includes tuition; please wear FLAT shoes. The Croquet Club is located in Manorfield Road, next to the tennis courts. (Contact GM if you need more information.)

Matters arising from minutes of last meeting: The ‘Yorkshire Belle’ cruise – bookings for this were going well, with enough seats having been sold to make the trip viable and break even.

New members: Sarah & Peter Ryalls had decided to apply to join the Club. Guest Gary Fulcher was visiting for the first time, and had asked to submit an application to join. These requests were put to members with a good show of hands to accept the applications; GS therefore, welcomed three new members to the Probus Club.

AOB: there was nothing to discuss today.

As the business for the day had finished, GS then took over to ‘compere’ our very first ‘Probus has got Talent’, which had been a suggestion made by Harry Houldsworth, as something that his Club in Nottingham had tried, and a remark was made that the Driffield Probus Club members were “all old enough to have got a lot of experience between them!”

The list of performers was, as follows:_
Malcolm Craggs – a stand-up comedian act.
Peter Grant & Ray Jones – a singing duo, performing 3 songs: ‘You Make Me Feel So Young’, ‘Come Fly With Me’ and ‘Bring Me Sunshine’.
Harry Houldsworth – reading ‘The Recumbant Posture’ a Marriott Edgar monologue, made famous by Stanley Holloway.
Tina Shelton – reading ‘Matilda, Who Told Lies and was Burned to Death’, a poem written by Hilaire Belloc.
Richard Hornsey – reading ’Albert & the Lion’, another Marriott Edgar monologue, plus ‘Brahn Boots’,a poem by R. P. Weston & Bert Lee.
Mike Roberts – reciting ‘The Wedding Day’ which he wrote, plus another poem about ‘Seniors’.
Liz Smith – read a short story from a friend about a lady booking a hotel room in Switzerland, and needing ‘ a conveniently located WC!’
Gerald Massey ‘The Memory Man’ – a comedy mind-reading act.
John Eldret – reading a couple of poems written by a friend entitled ‘Cademan’s Lament (about using the toilets in Whitby) and ‘Embracing the Golden Years’.
Denise Massey – playing (solo for the first time!) a few well-known tunes.
Gareth Shelton – reading ‘Do Not go Gently into that Dark Night!’ by Dylan Thomas.

This seemed to be enjoyed by everyone, as each performer got a well-deserved round of applause. GS thanked everyone who performed for their endeavours. He also thanked Harry Houldsworth for his suggestion to do this and stated that ‘all those who performed did so very well, and as it seemed to be enjoyed by everyone, we will do this again next year!”

At our next meeting on Wednesday 22nd May. Gerald Massey will present his illustrated talk
‘My Journey to Ontario, 1956 to 2017

The ‘Yorkshire Belle’ cruise takes place on Tuesday 4th June
Don’t forget to get your ticket/s – final bookings can be made today, tickets are now going quickly!; family and friends are very welcome to join our party.

On 12thJune, Angela Beaumont will present a talk about her adventures
‘Travelling Around Patagonia


24th April 2024

Chairman’s welcome: Gareth Shelton welcomed 33 members and 4 guests – Sarah & Peter Ryalls, Anne Sanderson and Shirley Jones, as well as speaker Steve Southcoat to the meeting.

Sick members: Tony Harris (recently had another operation but ins in reasonably good spirits).

Gerald Massey has received a message from Mike Cass (Pocklington Gliding Club) advising that the individual cost for gliding is now £26.00, there is still no catering available for the gliding evening, but again, we can use their facilities for a buffet; details will be sent out soon for the Probus Gliding evening, and please note that the date has had to be changed from August to July, on advice from Pocklington Gliding Club.

A visit to Saint Catherine’s Hospice – this went very well and was enjoyed by all who attended; the meal in the Bistro was very nice with the quality of the food really good (as well as preparing all food for the patients, staff and visitors, they are also open to the public); there is also a Hospice shop on site, and they are happy to do collections for larger donations.
The Yorkshire Belle cruise to Bempton Cliffs – bookings for this are now open with quite a number already having been made; there are only 100 seat available to members and their families & friends.

Denise’s sponsored haircut – she thanked everyone who supported her by donating money, taking sponsor forms and collecting their money, attending the quiz night, and paying to cut ‘a bunch of hair’; she especially thanked Marjorie Battams for getting her hair ready and then styling it afterwards; so far this has raised £1976.00; the closing date for donations will be Friday 26 April, to allow for an article to be sent for inclusion in the local paper

Minutes of the last meeting, 10 April: were accepted. There were no matters arising.

New members: Guests Sarah & Peter Ryalls were intending to join soon.

Janet Thornton gave members an update on the Wellbeing Support Group – so far 16 forms have been returned, offering help in all the categories where support may be needed; there have been no requests for help so far; Janet is quite happy to be contacted at any time “if you require help”.
Email hacking – two Probus members have recently been hacked; take great care with messages you think are suspicious (if it concerns another member, contact them by phone just to check); try to make your email password as difficult or obscure as possible  you can make a note of it. KEEP IT SECURE!
‘Probus has got Talent’ at the next meeting – so far GM has the names of 7 volunteers with 6 acts; preferably, more are needed, and anything can be ‘performed’!

GS then handed the meeting over to Steve Southcoat to talk to us about his
‘17th Century Surgeon’

SteveSteve began with a warning “Do Not Try These Things At Home!” – some techniques he had tried & could be somewhat dangerous; some of the remedies/medicines he had also tried, but with extreme care!

Women of the households, in past centuries, would look after any medical needs, using medicinal herbs, and carrying out minor surgery, i.e. injuries to fingers/toes, which were very common. For example, a squashed finger/toe, needed a ‘small’ amputation at the knuckle, then the flesh pinched together and sewn up.

Star charts were frequently used to determine significant points of a person’s life; so a person’s star sign would reflect a weakness in the body (summer babies were thought to be ‘stronger’ than the ‘weaker’ winter-born babies).
A person’s urine sample would be used to give an indication of the possible problem by examining the colour of the liquid (the ‘Four Humours’ were also a determining factor of the time).

Blood samples were also used; William Harvey, in 1620, put forward a theory that blood circulated around the body (a controversial theory that was published in Germany but not in this country), but at this time, it was thought to be wrong, and not at all possible because of the general thoughts on blood.

Dock leaves were used as a natural antihistamine; egg white could help with the healing of a wound, as it would be a sterile medium and the protein in the albumen would aid the healing process; maggots were also used to help keep wounds clean (they are still used to this day, and Sue Hyde mentioned that she had seen them used during her nursing days); laudanum (poppy juice) could be used as an anaesthetic, by dampening a sponge with the liquid. There were large operation carried out, e.g amputations, battlefield treatments, but there were also more minor procedures, like eye surgery (cataracts), dentistry. Aspirin, poppy juice, soporific sponge were all used as pain killers/anaesthetics, but their use would depend on whether/how much patients could afford to pay.

It was a particularly interesting talk, with ‘demonstrations’, giving an insight into medical procedures that could be carried out in the 17th Century, and at times was really quite surprising; everyone seemed to have enjoyed his talk, and showed their appreciation for Steve in the usual manner.

Our next meeting will be on Wednesday 8th May and will see whether ‘Probus has got Talent’
with a number of members entertaining the Club in various ways!

Don’t forget to book your seat on The Yorkshire Belle for our cruise evening on Tuesday 4th June.


10th April 2024

Chairman’s welcome: The Chairman announced that the Club now had a total of 53 members. He welcomed the 28 members attending today including 2 guests - Joyce Fletcher and Ross Weekes.

Sick members: Tony Harris and Ron Thompson. Mike Battams said he had called in on Ron, who is doing well with his recovery; he also didn’t think it would be too long before we saw Ron back at the Probus meetings.

Correspondence: None received.

Minutes of the last meeting: These were accepted and there were no matters arising

AOB: GS mentioned the following events:
On April 30th we have been invited to join the St Catherine’s Driffield Support Group for ‘Tea, Scones and Natter’ at Highfield House. Tickets are available at £10 a head and if you are interested in attending this function you will need to speak to Gerald when he returns from his holiday. On his return Gerald will be organising the final arrangements for any members who put their names forward to visit St Catherine’s Hospice on April 17th.

Forms have been sent out for the evening cruise to Bempton Cliffs. Family and friends are more than welcome to join us on the trip if you know of anyone else who would be interested. It is a give-away price at just £12 per head!

Denise is having her hair cut at a Quiz Night Charity Fundraising Event to be held at the Cricket Club on the evening of Thursday 18th April. You can enter as a team of up to 4 people. Gerald has booked 8 tables for Probus members so please contact him if you would like to take part. There will also be an auction and a raffle on the night.

GS then handed the meeting over to Harry Houldsworth to present his new illustrated talk entitled
Driffield and Health’.

Harry said his talk would give the members an insight into the health issues affecting Driffield and the rural area from the 18th century through to the 1930s and how the role of local government evolved during this period. The advent of the Industrial Revolution (mid 1700s) saw large numbers of the rural population abandon villages and move to towns.

Amenities – fresh water, waste disposal, social care, policing, and housing – were unable to cope leaving the people living in very close proximity, resulting in unhealthy and unsanitary conditions. Planning was not in place to deal with demand on resources; government was remote and indifferent to the sufferings of the poor.

The Poor Law Act of 1834 specifies how the destitute in each town should be looked after; Driffield constructed a new workhouse, replacing the original built in 1742.
1840s – Edwin Chadwick (civil servant employed by the Poor Law Commission) assigned by Parliament to undertake an investigation into sanitation; his report identified a link between poor living standards and the spread of disease. (Harry said how revolutionary this idea was, when compared to today’s knowledge.)

With the Public Health Act, 1848, local authorities had the power to improve sanitation by collecting rubbish, building sewers, providing a clean water supply. Despite a public meeting, no action was taken to improve inadequate conditions in Driffield.

1862 sees a report mention “the parlous state of health in Driffield”, with the existence of a “bad smell” thought to be the cause of disease. Another public meeting resulted in further lack of action by authorities to make improvements.

A Board of Health created in March 1874 finally saw Driffield authorities accept they had to address inadequacies of local amenities; 1879 – 1884 saw the construction of a drainage scheme, a piping system and a pumping station (on Spellowgate), finally providing the town with a fresh water supply.

GS asked if there were any questions for Harry; with reference to this topic, Mike Battams spoke of his grandmother and her son being sent to the Driffield Workhouse in the 1920s.

GS thanked Harry for his very informative talk, with members showing their appreciation in the usual manner.

At the next Probus Club meeting, on Wednesday 24 April,
Steve Southcoat will give a talk (in character) entitled ‘The 17th Century Surgeon


27th March 2024

The Chairman welcomed 31 members and our guest speaker, Richard Mole.

Gerald Massey had now received the contact details for Techy Tea. (Please contact GM for now if you wish to seek IT help from them; full contact details will be sent out to members in due course).
The Saint Catherine’s Hospice Driffield Support Group had contacted GM, advertising their ‘Tea, Scones & Natter’ afternoon at Highfield House on April 30 , 2.00 – 4.00pm. GM will arrange to get tickets for those interested.
Proposed visit to Saint Catherine’s Hospice by the Probus Club has been arranged for April 17th, leaving the Cricket Club at 10.00am. The Hospice now has a newly-opened Bistro, and the group will have lunch there.
The Club had received an offer to ‘try out croquet’ from the Driffield Croquet Club. GM asked for a show of hands from those interested, and will contact the Croquet Club to make arrangements.

Matters arising from the minutes of the last meeting:
The only point to mention was a mistake in typing of John Eldret’s name.

Wellbeing forms – GS reminded members to return their forms to co-ordinator Janet Thornton, noting any help they may be able to offer other members if the need arose. JT will get everything organised, so should anyone have a problem, at any time, or just needs some assistance, please do contact JT with your problem!
GM announced that the proposed Club visit to RAF Fylingdales, on 4th June, would not now go ahead, as no visits were being allowed at this time due to the level of the National security alert as a result of global unrest. He was, however, able to offer an alternative visit, and been able to hire ‘The Yorkshire Belle’ on the Club’s behalf for an evening cruise from Bridlington to Bempton Cliffs. The capacity of the ship has been limited to 100 for this cruise, and members are encouraged to invite guests, or pass information onto anyone the think may be interested. Details and booking forms will be sent out shortly.

The meeting was then handed over to guest speaker, Richard Mole, for his illustrated talk about the development and funding for the
Driffield Methodist Church – entitled ‘Demolition to Re-build’.

Richard stated that the original intention had just been to ‘re-order’ the church, i.e. gut the old building, and re-order the inside, whilst keeping the outer structure; this was to have taken approximately 10 years. However, the actual project took about 12 years to complete! To re-order the original building could have cost almost as much as the eventual new build, because of the condition of certain elements; this was part of the reason for the rebuilding, plus a complete re-imagining meant that a more sustainable and accessible building would be the result. There were a number of separate projects within the whole rebuild programme, enabling the applications for grants from various organisations. The new building is now used by multiple local clubs and groups, as well as for worship and Church events; the building is probably in use every day of every month! There is a Church Coffee Morning every Saturday, 10.30 – 11.00am and all are welcome to go along, and if interested have a look around (many Probus Club members are Methodists, and are usually there).

The Chairman thanked Richard Mole for his very interesting talk; there were handouts available, giving some more information of what had been necessary from ‘plans to completion’ of the very complex project.

The next meeting will be on Wednesday 10th April; Harry Houldsworth will give an illustrated talk entitled ‘Driffield and Health’

The following talk, on Wednesday 25th April, will be a talk given by Steve Southcoat entitled ‘A 17th Century Surgeon’


13th March 2024

This meeting started with a presentation from Dominic Platt of Techy Tea CIC. He had always been enthusiastic about, and interested in anything related to IT. He had worked in professional IT services at Nat West, helping to set up online banking for people. He has frequently helped family members with IT issues. Over time this morphed into Techy Tea, and they now operate free drop-in sessions in Nafferton Village Hall on Tuesday mornings. It is a private company, with a community-focussed interest, and can help with any number of technology-related problems, whether on phones, tablets, PC, sending emails, WhatsApp, storing digital photos, and so on. (You can even book home visits if you cannot get out.) Its particular focus is on helping older people get to grips with IT.
Dominic is at Nafferton Village Hall every Tuesday from 10.30am–12.30pm. Just drop in, or visit their website for more information:- www.techytea.co.uk; they also have a Facebook page. If you need to contact Dominic for any IT help, mention that you are a Probus Club member.

Chairman’s welcome
There were 35 members at the meeting (including Digby Lovel), with 2 guests – Dominic Platt & a colleague from Techy Tea.

Sick members
Ron Thompson, Tony Harris, Malcolm Winn. Gerald Massey welcomed Peter Hyde back today.

Matters arising from minutes of last meeting
GM mentioned that he thought Gina Wright had given a nice talk and was well-received by the Club.

New members
Digby Lovel had previously given a talk to the Club about ‘Men in Sheds’, and was now applying to join the Club. Accepted with a large majority show of hands.

GS gave out information about a memorial service for late member, Jan Holman, being arranged by husband, David; this would take place on Friday 22nd March, in Nafferton Methodist Chapel at 2.00pm; it would be a celebration of her life, and it was asked that no black be worn. DH thanked GS & TS for the help and support they had given to him.>/p>

The Chairman asked that members should wear their name badges at meetings, please.

Member John Cook has resigned from Driffield Probus Club, stating that there is now more interest in Beverley about Probus, and he wants to concentrate on promoting the organisation there (where he lives).

GS gave an update on the Wellbeing Policy to members, and read out Janet Thornton’s (Co-ordinator) revised information sheet; she will be sending out an email about the policy shortly. Another volunteer is needed to work with Janet, and be her understudy when she is away. If you think you would like to help, please contact Janet. Peter Hyde said he thought this was “a jolly good idea”; David Holman said he “would be lost without Probus”. GM gave an outline as to the idea for forming a ‘wellbeing’ policy, due to the deaths in the last couple of years of two former members, both living alone and being lonely; it has taken about a year to put together and get to this point. He also emphasised that (at least) one other person is needed to assist Janet at certain times.

Members details list
A copy of this was made available to members at the meeting. TS expressed that the information is ONLY TO BE USED WITHIN THE CLUB, and should not, under any circumstances, be given out to anyone not a member of the Club. This is an exercise that has been done, periodically, since the formation of the Club, to allow members to contact any other member, should they have the need It is in accordance with the Club’s Data Protection Policy, and separate DP Procedure document, and members are given the opportunity to sign an exemption clause, when the documents are updated, and redistributed. (Any new members who have not had a copy of both the DP Policy and separate, Procedure document, please contact Tina Shelton at the next meeting, or by email. Also, should you not want your details made available to other members, please also let TS know.)

GM informed the members of a charity fund-raising event that he and Denise are involved with, and that she is having her long hair cut short for charity!. Denise explained her own personal reason for this, having been diagnosed with cancer 25 years ago. The event consists of a charity quiz evening, and a sponsored hair cutting session (whereby Denise hopes to raise £1,000), with all funds raised going to Saint Catherine’s Hospice, whilst Denise’s hair will be donated to make a wig for a cancer sufferer. It takes place at Driffield Recreation & Cricket Club, on Thursday 18th April from 7.00pm; it is open to the general public, but IS NOT a Probus event.

‘Meet the Members’
John Eldridge gave a short talk about himself: he had always lived in the locality, after being born in a railway carriage, called ‘The Bungalow’ which was his family home, in Aldborough. At 16 years old he became an apprentice engineer, ending up in the design office of a company called Priestmans, as a design draughtsman. He went to work at Sellafield, in the UK Atomic Energy Industry, living there with Elaine, his wife. (Unfortunately the meeting had to be brought to a close, as time was running out – no doubt, John will be able to finish his story at a future meeting!)

Our next meeting will be on Wednesday 27th March, when we will have an illustrated talk by Richard Mole on ‘Demolition to re-build’ which tells the story of the development and funding for the Driffield Methodist Church.

Please note that this will be the last date for booking on to the visit to East Kirkby Airfield and the Aviation Heritage Museum, in Lincolnshire.


28th February 2024

Chairman’s welcome: there were 33 members attending the meeting, with 1 guest (speaker Gina Wright) and 3 prospective new members.
GS spoke of the sad news about member Jan Holman. She had been one of the first ladies to join once the Club changed its Constitution; her death was sudden and unexpected, but David, Jan’s husband, was coping well at the moment. Whilst Jan did not want a funeral, David intended to organise a memorial service for her, and details will be sent out in due course.

Sick members: Tony Harris hopes to be able to join us again, soon. (Gerald Massey welcomed back Malcolm Winn, after his recent illness.)

GM had received a letter from St. Catherine’s Hospice, on behalf of the Driffield Support Group, thanking the Club for the donation of £420; they stated that all money raised/donated goes towards patient care.
On April 18, Driffield Support Group will hold a fund-raising Quiz Night at the Cricket Club. At the same time, there will be a ‘Sponsored Hair Cut’, when Denise Massey will be donating her hair to charity. Details for this will sent out shortly.
St. Catherine’s Hospice will be contacting GM shortly to arrange a visit for members - details will be available soon.

Matters arising from minutes from last meeting (14th February):
Matters relating to St. Catherine’s Hospice, as above.

New members: there were 3 applications to join the Club, received from Deirdre Crane, Sue Dixon and Digby Lovell; all present in favour of accepting DC and SD as new members. Digby Lovell will be considered when he is able to attend.

AOB: the draw took place for the 2 extra tickets to the ‘Mayor’s Afternoon Tea’ taking place on Saturday 16th March at the Bell Hotel; the lucky winners picked to accompany Chairman Gareth Shelton, and wife (& member) Tina, were Anne Firth and Ray Jones.

The meeting was then handed over to the speaker, Gina Wright for her presentation on being ‘The Coastal Celebrant’

She stated that she worked mainly along the coast of the East Riding, from Bridlington up to Scarborough. As an Independent Celebrant, she was not related to any religion, nor was she a ‘humanist’.She was able to conduct & celebrate various types of ceremonies and celebrations.

She gave some background to the ‘celebrant’ movement, stating that it began in 1977 in Australia, by a man named Lionel Murphy. It was a very diverse population there, with 60% having no one or no organisation to represent them. In 1990, Lisa D’Arcy formed the first group of celebrants in Britain, where 37% of the population, at the time, had no religious affiliation.

The most common ceremonies are ‘Celebration of Life’ and Weddings (she stated that in 2022 the ‘wedding industry’ was worth £14.7 billion in the UK!), with others being: Baby/Child Naming; Vow Renewal; Civil Partnerships; Commitment; Hand Fasting; Family Unity; Divorce; ‘Flies the Nest’; Burials; Funerals; Memorials; Scattering of Ashes; Remembrance; Dedications; Pet Funerals.

It was an interesting talk, and quite enlightening at times, particularly the average cost of wedding today, and how ‘themed weddings’ are very popular; also how ‘themed’ funerals/celebration of life ceremonies are gaining in popularity! Chairman, GS thanked Gina for her presentation and asked members to show their appreciation with a round of applause.

Our next meeting is on Wednesday 13th March. There will be a short presentation by Dom of Techy Tea (based in Nafferton), Concerning ‘all things Technical & IT related’ and specifically aimed at older people. Also included will be a short talk from selected members, introducing themselves to the Club.

On Wednesday 3rd April, the Probus Club will visit East Kirkby Airfield, and will include a guided tour around the Aviation Heritage Centre, and lunch in the NAAFI. Details are now available, and booking is required by 27th March.


14th February, 2024

This meeting was different to our usual format, as we had the Special ‘Mishka’ Presentations. Chairman Gareth Shelton welcomed the presentation guests, after which Gerald Massey gave a brief explanation of how the draw came about - £372 was raised through the draw to find Mishka’s birthday, which was won by Sylvia Tearle, who had picked 12th December (her daughter’s birthday) and was presented with Mishka by Driffield Mayor, Cllr. Gill Helliwell. The grand total was increased with a few further donations, and a cheque for £419 was presented to Gill Ullyot and Lynn Morris from St. Catherine’s Hospice – Driffield Support Group, by past Chairman John Sharman (who thought there was a ‘bit of a Russian theme’ with Mishka and his talk about Living  in Space & Helen Sharman). After the presentation, the Mayor and the two representatives of the St. Catherine’s Support Group had to leave due to other commitments, and the Probus Club meeting commenced.

The Chairman welcomed three remaining guests (Sylvia and John Tearle, and Deirdre Crane).

Matters arising from the Minutes of the last meeting (24th January):
A mention that the talk from our previous speaker – Chris Cade- had been very good and was well received. Gerald Massey stated that he had already booked Chris for another of his talks in which he portrays a ‘Wolds Wagoner’ – a (local) soldier from World War 1.

AOB: GS told members that he had finally been able to make a booking for the Probus Club Formal Anniversary Dinner; this will talk place in the evening of Thursday 17th October at Hotel 41 Middle Street North, Driffield. The cost of the meal is £25.00 pp for a 3-course meal, including tea/coffee afterwards, and also the hire of the room. (Further details will follow, in due course.)

The meeting was then handed over to John Sharman, who was to present his (much anticipated) talk on
‘Living in Space’.

He started by informing us that his talk was not just going to be about his daughter, Helen, although she had been the first Briton to go into space, albeit as a cosmonaut in the Russian Space programme. He continued by telling us how Helen became involved with the Russian Space Programme, and also that he had visited Russia on two occasions: once to ‘Star City’, a massive launch site, which the Russians hired from Kazakhstan; the second site was one which John had never been able to find on a map!

John told us about the many problems of living in space:- the dangers of space junk; living with weightlessness and the vigorous training the cosmonauts had to go through; all fluids have to be contained; that air has to be artificially circulated ; the very low temperatures; how the limited amount of water has to be continually recycled; the radiation from the Sun (10x that experienced on Earth). He explained some of the differences between NASA space flights and those of Russia. Helen was launched aboard Soyuz TM 12 on 18th May 1991, returning on 26th May 1991. John said that after landing and recovery of the space craft, the first Russian lady in space, Valentina Tesreshkova, had been there to present Helen with a bouquet of flowers. He also mentioned that following their selection to train in Russia, Helen and Major Tim Mace (the other Briton selected) had been presented to Margaret Thatcher, Prime Minister at that time.

This was a very interesting and informative talk which John gave, and made that bit more personal as Helen Sharman is his daughter. After some questions for John, Chairman Gareth, thanked him for his talk, and asked all present to show their appreciation with a round of applause.

Our next meeting will take place on Weds. 28 February, with a talk from Gina Wright, on her varied work as
‘The Coastal Celebrant’.


24th January 2024

Chairman, Gareth Shelton welcomed 31 members plus 2 guests – Shirley Jones and speaker Chris Cade, to the meeting. He asked for phones to be muted, and volunteers for washing up (Liz Smith & Denise Dunnington). There were birthday cards for: Pat Midgley, Janet Thornton, John Ford, Elaine Eldret, Charles Stephenson and Jan Holman. GS thanked all those who stood in for Committee members absent from the last meeting.

None had been received.

Minutes of previous meeting (10th Jan.)
GM gave an update on the draw for Mishka’s birthday – 12th December chosen by Sylvia Tearle, who has been invited to the presentation at the next meeting. GM had also had two other donated items – a George Kettle and a Falcon de Luxe jigsaw puzzle – and after advertising these to members, had received offers of £20 and £10 respectively. Therefore, the total raised for St. Catherine’s Hospice stands at £402.00.

Other matters arising
GM mentioned that Archery forms had been sent out.

New members
There were two new members today – David & June Dunk, plus Richard Hornsey (from the previous meeting) received an official welcome from all members. The proposer was Ray Jones, with David Woolley and Denise Massey being seconders; there was a good show of hands from all present accepting the applications, and so David & June Dunk were welcomed, also, as new members. GM noted that two years previously there had been only 10 male members in the Driffield Probus Club. However, since the decision was made to open up membership to all, the numbers had grown substantially, and today the Club had reached 51 members!

AOB: nothing except an amendment to the winners of Malcolm Craggs’ quiz last meeting – they were Hazel Grant, John Ford & Richard Hornsey.

The Chairman then handed over the meeting to speaker, Chris Cade to present his talk about
‘George Hudson: Railway King’, which was given in character.

It was a very interesting and informative talk, made even more so as it was ‘George Hudson’ himself telling us about his life:-

He was born in East Yorkshire in 1800, and came from very humble beginnings; made his way to York after scandal found him disowned by his family, where he found employment in a draper’s shop; he married the boss’s daughter, became a partner in the business and gradually made his way ‘up the ladder’ moving in increasing higher circles; he was introduced to George Stephenson, with whom he had a long-standing business relationship, and was influential in bringing very many train routes into York; he became a Member of Parliament, and his increasing wealth meant he was able to buy many substantial properties including the Londesborough Estate, as well as property in London; unfortunately, he over-stretched his finances, and fled to France upon bankruptcy; he returned some years later, although he was then arrested and jailed, but was eventually released through unknown contacts and lived the rest of his life in London until his death in 1871.

Chris received a well-deserved round of applause at the end, with a vote of thanks given by Gareth Shelton, Chairman, who said that he had heard of George Hudson through his work in engineering, and found this talk to be really interesting, giving form to the character he had often heard about!

The next meeting of the Probus Club will take place on Wednesday 14th February when the Mayor, Cllr. Gill Helliwell, will present Mishka the Bear to the winner of the ‘Guess Mishka’s Birthday’ draw, as well as the presentation of the cheque for money raised to  St. Catherine’s Hospice.

At the same meeting, Past Chairman John Sharmen will present his talk on the exploits of his daughter, Helen Sharman, who was the first British astronaut.

On Wednesday 7th February Probus members will meet at 5pm for a fish and chip supper at Stuart’s in Driffield, followed by a second visit to The Black Ridge Archery Range in Skerne Road, Driffield.


10th January 2024

Chairman’s welcome: David Woolley, standing in for Gareth Shelton, welcomed 23 members.

Barbara Hall thanked Gerald for the trip to Hull City Hall and for the Christmas party;
Liz Smith had sent a letter thanking all members for the kind messages of condolence, and for attending the service at the Crematorium.

Minutes of the last meeting (November 22nd): these were taken as being OK, with no matters arising.

New members: Richard Hornsey was welcomed by those present as a new member.

Mishka Draw: this fund-raising event by the Club has raised £372.00 for St. Catherine’s Hospice. The winning date drawn for Mishka’s birthday was 12th December.
(It is proposed that the cheque will be handed to a member of the St. Catherine’s Driffield Support Group at the meeting on Wednesday 14th February, when it is also hoped that the Mayor, Gill Helliwell will present Mishka to the winner of the date drawn; the photographer from the Wolds Weekly will also be booked to take a photo.)

The meeting was then handed over to Malcolm Craggs for him to present his Annual World-famous Quiz
This was won by Hazel, John (?) and Richard Hornsey.

After the quiz, there was time for a number of short discussions on the following  topics:
The Post Office; the Covid Inquiry; Curry’s Warranty deal; The Junior Doctors’ strike; Absent School days.

At the next Probus meeting on Wednesday 24th January, Chris Cade will give his presentation on ‘George Hudson, the Railway King’.

Previous reports from 2020-2023 are archived and available on request.