Hugh's News

A light-hearted look at the goings on at The Downs 60+ Club

September 2017


Hi everyone

When Bob Derbyshire suggested this title for a 60+ Club newsletter, I thought it would be rather vain of me to even consider it. However I have come to think that it sets the tone for what I will be attempting to do, in that I want to inform the members about what is going on from my very personal point of view, and to invite you to do the same. Your views, corrections, suggestions, stories, thoughts, observations and insights will be valued and I hope these will soon become a major part of this publication. So I invite any of you (if you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken twisted by knaves) to email me on with any contributions, which may be published, or commented upon.

The website already gives some detail about the various 60+ activities, and has flattering photographs showing many of you taking part. I note that the Tuesday morning ladies (keep fit group) are accurately depicted sitting drinking coffee, although less accurately, none of them appear to be talking…

This is a new venture so there will be mistakes – please be patient! Thanks - Hugh


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The Kitchen

We have a lovely new kitchen, with laminated worktops made of real oak. I’m sure you will agree that these, after initially suffering from immediate staining, now look very smart thanks to the sanding and “top oil” treatment completed by Norman Ashton (you can see Norman’s photo among those of the committee just inside the door, his is the one that appears to have been taken shortly after his arrest…). This treatment will protect the surfaces effectively as long as spillages are mopped up quickly, and in many years time can be again sanded and oiled to bring them back to pristine condition as the need arises.

The lighting in the kitchen has been specially designed to give 5 lux at the working plane, without shadows. I am sure some of you will know what that means, Roger Bullock does, and I have faith!

The Art Studio

The upstairs Art Studio was refurbished about 18 months ago, but the replacement of the door and lintel has been the subject of an on-going 3 years discussion between the 60+ Club and the council. Apparently the council are responsible for the lintel (don’t ask!) and we are going to split the cost of the door 50/50 with them in order to get the job done. This work should happen soon… hopefully…maybe…. Incidentally this room appears to be used only three times a week at present – it is a fantastic facility, and if any member wanted to start a new group the only condition would be the ability of all the members to climb the stairs outside. Perhaps a 60+ rock-climbing group?


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BENCHES One of our number (thanks Pam from Thursday’s exercise and dance) identified a need for a bench outside the front door, where people could sit awaiting lifts. There was also a need for an additional bench at the back where members could take their coffee and chat outside. Now two benches should cost about £600, but our thrifty committee successfully invited Paradise Park to invest in the wellbeing of our members, and were allowed to buy both for under £300! Result! Roger assembled them, Norman installed them, but of course, the one at the back was in the shade and should have been in the sun (or vice-versa), you can please some of the people…. Anyway Bob Derbyshire sprinted (poetic licence) back to Paradise Park and acquired a third bench, not for £300, but for £132, which has now been installed in the sun/shade. All three have been paid for with no extra cost to the club thanks to Pam's contribution of £300 and a bequest of £200 from a former member, Pamela Polden. Happy sitting!





SPREADING THE WORD - On the 5th September Bob Derbyshire attended a meeting of PROBUS (a Luncheon and Social Club in Seaford for retired or semi-retired professional and business men) having been invited to give a talk about the 60+ Club. The talk about our club from the beginning to the present day was well received and was a good opportunity to enhance our profile in the community.




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COMMITTEE MEETING (To get something done a committee should consist of no more than three people, two of whom are absent….)


I thought, what better way to find out what’s going on than to attend a committee meeting? So I asked, and was welcomed. First of all may I say that everyone there had more enjoyable things that they could have been doing, so my admiration goes to the committee, of whom each member gives up their leisure time so that we can enjoy the 60+ club. I have little time for those people who always know how “they” should be doing things, but are not prepared to stand up to the plate and take a leading role. O.K. Rant over!

The minutes of the meeting are always available so it would be pointless for me to try to report exactly what happened. There was discussion. There was some disagreement. There was laughter. Decisions were made as quickly as possible, (which was longer than hoped). Subjects included the treasurer’s report (healthy!), the use to be made of donations (does Roger have a thing about lighting?), fees (up to £55 per annum – still a bargain!), Liz standing down from the committee (any volunteers?), fire drills (only one a year now), the Art Room door and lintel (still progressing slowly…), table screws loose, kitchen work tops (muttering heard about whether they are fit for purpose, obviously an on-going bone of contention), the new mugs (weightwatchers are very satisfied, hurray!), Christmas lunches (look out for a notice), carols and mince pies (Sat 9th Dec), a loose tap in the ladies (fixed), Wi-fi (a small working party to be formed), and the A.G.M. (3.11.17 at 2pm).

From what I saw and heard you have a good committee. Be grateful!


The Stone Age If you thought the Stone Age was ancient history think again! What we have to look forward to are gall stones, kidney stones, bladder stones…..



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The Snooker Group


The two ¾ size snooker tables are well used throughout the week. I usually attend on a Tuesday morning when there will be up to 12 players of very varying degrees of ability. Ivan Simpson, who is the group leader, is exceptionally skilled (a 60 odd break today!), while others of us have difficulty potting two balls in succession. Anyone who turns up is welcome, and we make up pairings as people arrive. If you are at all interested (expert or beginner, male or female, old or older…) please come along and give it a try. We even get coffee made for us by the fair Erica on Tuesdays!

Every year we organise knock-out handicap competitions for both singles and doubles. This year Ian Jones is the singles champion (pictured holding his imaginary trophy).

Ian beat Barry Baker in the final, and Norman Ashton and Tom Riley were victors in the doubles, where Geoff Love and Bob Derbyshire were runners up. Sadly the snooker and table tennis shields on the walls, which have recorded the winners since 1972, have not been updated for the last few years, but there is talk of an “honours board” being provided. It’s a nice idea - watch this space.

We had some very hot days in the summer, and it was quite oppressive in the snooker room (open windows cause flapping blinds, which distract the better players). An electric fan has been installed on the wall, but this has not been a total success and it is thought that a ceiling fan would improve matters. Barry’s D.I.Y. skills have proved useful though, in manufacturing a gizmo for artfully re-routing the chalk holder cord away from the fan.



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FEATURE FOCUS ON A FOGEY (it might be you next!)

Now that we are all officially fogeys, our past lives may seem to be memories from a completely different existence, but we all now have decades of history. I thought you might like to know just a little more about the people who use and run our 60+ club so where better to start than with our illustrious chairperson.

Mr Robert Joseph Derbyshire (Chair)

Born in Liverpool during the reign of George VI, food rationing continued until Bob was about 8, and the evidence appears to show that Bob has since helped to celebrate the end of that era. Joanna Lumley was also born in the same year – is it a moot question to ask who has best retained their youthful good looks?

Although a longstanding Everton supporter, Bob is one of the minority of Liverpudlians who also support the other team on occasion. He retains a lifelong interest in sport, and played soccer himself to a high standard until the age of 35. A man who likes to fill the unforgiving minute with 60 seconds worth of distance run, other hobbies include photography, IT, travel and cookery.

Bob’s 34 years in banking took him and his wife Jan (who also uses the 60+ club for Art sessions) to live in towns and cities all around England (Liverpool, Newcastle, Cambridge, Hindhead, Aylesbury, Bristol) and in 1998 he decided to set up on his own as a Performance Consultant. With companies like Aviva and HSBC using his services it is fairly obvious that he must have been something special (as he still is of course!). I think we are very lucky that Bob has seen fit to act previously as both treasurer and chair of our club (at the same time), and now as chair, a post which he takes very seriously and which takes up a great deal of his time.

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Wednesday Lunches

Where might you get a convivial two-course lunch with coffee for just £6? At the 60+ club of course! When just a single coffee in a Costa Coffee shop costs over £2 surely this has to be a bargain! Chrissie and Jen have been providing the lunches for nine months or so, and about 20 people sign up for them each week. Diners’ favourites include chicken casseroles, quiches, cottage pies, pork chops and gammon with pineapple. A satisfaction survey was sent round asking for comments and suggestions, and where possible these have been acted upon. Bernie Knight, a regular participant said ”I think they do a wonderful job, I have no complaints at all”. (You even get to listen to Michele’s delightful French accent as she helps to serve out the food!)

I would be glad to publish what other diners think of the Wednesday lunches.


?????   THE PUZZLE   ?????

I think it is probably the law that every publication has to have a puzzle, and so I have complied and compiled. However the puzzle in each edition of this newsletter will have an answer, but, unusually, you must work out what the question might be before answering it! There are three clues scattered about in the newsletter, and I would very much like to find out which of the 60+ groups are the brightest, so please get your heads together and email me the answer from your group. I will keep a note of which groups are first with the correct answer, and give them due recognition in the December edition. The only clue I can give here is that this time it is is a very short answer.

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Last year’s very successful trip to a Garden Centre is to be repeated, but places are very limited (11 seats only). This year Pia has arranged to visit Dobbies Garden Centre in Ashford on Monday December 11th. The cost of the trip is just £2 and will start at 9.30 from the Downs 60+ Club. Sign up on the notice board in the main hall of the club if you want to be among the favoured few!



This has previously been a very popular event. Tables are rented out to people who wish to sell their wares, there is a cake stall, and refreshments are available. If you would like to rent a table for the occasion please get in touch with Cindy Newbatt. The event will take place on Saturday 28th October, from 10 to 12.30 in the 60+ Club.



The Website Version of this Newsletter

It is intended that Hugh’s News should be produced every three months, and as well as a number of paper copies supplied to group leaders for reading at the club, it will be available on the website (as you are reading now!). This website version will hopefully be the longer version in the future – swelled by your emails and letters. This month’s extra features were to include details of Kath Bolton’s early experiences as a belly dancer in Kuala Lumpur, and Ivan Simpson’s insights on his recent successful struggle to become an Olympic pole-vaulter, but time management has sadlyprecluded their entry. Perhaps I should admit at this point something that may have become obvious - I have absolutely no previous experience of producing a publication. I have tried not to look to good, nor talk too wise, but I hope you enjoyed it anyway!



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