An Ellesmere social club, which brings older people together, has elected its first woman president.

Dr Josephine Jutson takes over from former mayor Paul Goulbourne to lead the town’s thriving Probus Club for the next 12 months, with Jeremy Stretton as vice-president.

Probus is an international organisation for retired and semi-retired people with a business or professional background.

The Ellesmere club was founded in 1989 with 16 members. But until three years ago, there were no women, even though the club had made efforts to change its all-male image.

Now, there are eight women among an overall membership of 63, and Mrs Jutson is hoping more will sign up.

“As the first woman to become president, I hope it will encourage more women to join and help give momentum in the direction of greater involvement in the club where I am certain they will be warmly welcomed by the present members,” she said.

This was echoed by retiring president Mr Goulbourne, who is also the club’s secretary. “We’re delighted to see Jo taking the chain of office,” he said.”It’s a significant landmark in the club’s history and I hope it paves the way for more lady members to come along and take an active part in our activities.  “The club is enjoying record membership, but we’d still like to see new faces.”

Born in North Somerset, Dr Jutson moved to Gloucestershire with her husband in 1964 and then to Gobowen in 1991.  She has lived in St Martins for 10 years.  Her career has included a research post in the School of Chemistry at Bristol University, research chemistry within the electricity supply industry, including Berkeley Nuclear Laboratories, and research chemistry in the cable industry.

With ages ranging from the sixties to the mid-90s the Probus  club’s membership covers a wide variety of interests and occupations from all walks of life.  They include former teachers, engineers, accountants and police officers together with civil servants and ex-service personnel, a retired clergyman and others who’ve worked in industry, agriculture and the media.

Meetings are held at the Comrades’ Club on the first and third Thursday of the month throughout the winter and the first Thursday during the summer. Breakfasts are available from 9 a.m and coffee is served at 10 before the formal meeting begins at 10.30, with guest speakers invited to give presentations on a variety of topics.  The annual subscription is £20.

The club also has an annual outing in June, an autumn lunch and a pre-Christmas get-together for members and partners.

For more information , please see the Ellesmere Probus Club Facebook page.

Retiring Probus Club president Paul Goulbourne hands over the chain of office to Dr Jo Jutson.

Ellesmere Probus Club’s first lady president with other officials and committee members.

Picture credit: David Atkinson.