Home Program Our Club Gallery Past Events Probus History

Paignton Probus Club


Probus is an association of retired and semi-retired men who, join together in autonomous clubs throughout the UK and the world.

The word PROBUS is an abbreviation of the words PRO fessional and BUS iness, which embraces any person who has had some measure of responsibility in the fields of commerce, industry, education etc.

The basic purpose of a Probus club is to provide regular gatherings of persons, who, in their retirement appreciate and value opportunities to meet others in similar circumstances and similar levels of interest.


The first non-sectarian Probus club specifically for active retirees was formed in 1966 by the Rotary Club of Caterham to allow retired professionals to continue to meet together for fellowship.

The previous year, the Rotary Club of Welwyn Garden City formed the "Campus Club" that had the same purpose. The two soon merged and flourished under the sponsorship of the Rotary Club of Bromsgrove, Birmingham, England.

The involvement of a Rotary sponsoring club with a Probus club varies. Rotary clubs typically approach retired or semi-retired candidates in their community and organize the formation of a club. Once established, the club becomes an autonomous organization and its members take over leadership. Potential Probus members are not required to be past members of Rotary. Fewer than 10% of Probus members are former Rotarians.

International growth

The Probus Information Centre has aided the formation of many clubs, not only in the UK (well over 1500 clubs), but internationally. In the mid 1970's Probus was discovered by an enthusiastic Australian Rotarian, so Probus was established there and, having Rotarian inspiration, was established on Rotary lines, the Probus Clubs being divided into the same districts as the Rotary Districts. Probus Club numbers in Australia have reached some 1250 and in New Zealand 270. All registered and acknowledged by the Probus Centre South Pacific Pty. A recent development is a voluntary contribution from clubs of the PCS Pacific, in which most clubs donate $1 per member has proven a success and will ensure the future of the PCS Pacific. Most other countries have followed the Australian example.

There are now Probus Clubs in the Netherlands (240), all Ireland (72), Belgium (60), South Africa (25), Canada (60), USA (16) Bermuda |(1), and recently Germany, Zimbabwe, Bulawayo, Trinidad and Portugal (2). So from the self propagating clubs in UK, the assistance of Rotary and the PIC in some part, Probus has done very well.

Where is Probus going? Well it's obviously here to stay. Due to the popularity of Probus, the Clubs have a social standing in towns on par (or nearly) with Rotary

As one Australian wrote 'It is the best thing that England ever exported'.