From panto Dame to days of old - variety is spice of life at Bay Probus Club

David Hinchliffe. Photo: Neil HoldenDavid Hinchliffe. Photo: Neil Holden

Babbacombe and St Marychuch Probus Club decided not to let lockdowns and quarantines get them down. They still can’t meet at their usual venue of St Matthias Church in Wellswood, so they are having ‘virtual’ meetings thanks to ‘Zoom’.

Probus usually have a visiting speaker for meetings but for the past couple of weeks talks have been delivered in-house by computer.

One speaker was secretary Philip Kay who gave an entertaining talk about his years as a pantomime dame!

Chairman Eric Walkom spoke about old Torquay. Another week it was American colleague and incoming vice-chairman Dr Ron Franklin who spoke about the human nervous system.

Last week, club member David Hinchliffe explored some of the folk tales and mysteries of the spookiest parts of our region. Dartmoor has long been viewed as mysterious and dangerous and David spoke of the myths and legens of old Dartmoor.

Included in the talk was the story of the true-life character that Conan Doyle’s Richard Baskerville is based on. Incidentally, the story is far more intimidating than the fictional character.

Squire Richard Cabell, who died in 1677, was once described as a ‘monstrously evil man’. The villagers of Buckfastleigh built a tomb for the squire, with a huge heavy stone lid, just in case he decided to climb out!

David was told of mysterious happenings at Widecombe’s St Pancras Church in 1638.

If you would like to join the Zoom meetings, are a member of another Probus club, or become a member of the St Marychurch club, contact Philip Kay at

The club is hoping members will be back together in the autumn.