It's been a strange start to the Probus presidency for Steve Atkin.
After serving as the vice president of the combined Bowral Probus Club last year, he became president in 2020.
But his leadership role was short lived after the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown forced the club to stop.
It was then decided to suspend the club for the remainder of the year.
Steve is unsure whether he will take up the role again next year once the club is able to operate once more.
Moving down from Sydney a couple of years ago, Steve thought joining Probus would be a good way to get involved in the community.
"It seemed like a way to meet people, make friends and see if we can do something interesting."
He was first introduced to Probus on the South Coast when he was a guest speaker at one of chapters there.
"I saw the benefit of Probus from that."
While it may be some time before the club is able to meet again, Steve said he tried to stay in touch with the members.
'It [can be a ] very lonely time. People want to get together and get to know each other."
Before COVID forced the club into suspension, Steve said they had enjoyed several activities as well as regular monthly meetings.
Since its recent inception, members have enjoyed a trip to Tulip Top Gardens as well as a couple of Christmas in July lunches.
They had monthly meetings where a club member would introduce themselves at the start and also have a guest speaker.
"Once we're back together, I'll be giving a talk on mental health. It's an issue that's fairly significant at the moment. And it's a good thing to try and help people," Steve said.
Members would also meet once a month for morning tea, which has been able to continue on a smaller scale since the pandemic.
"Our primary focus is to get it [the club] up and running again. The activities to me are really important."
Previous activities such as wine tasting nights were so important Steve said, because they helped create and foster friendships.
"It was something we did as a group. We got to share that with people, get to know them and make friends.
"As people age, one of the hardest things is having friends. When you move to an area it can be very lonely. At Probus people can come together and develop friendships which are so important for mental health."
Before Probus, Steve led a very varied and interesting life.
He was with CSIRO for 25 years before become a pastor.
And his commitment to helping people has continued through Probus.
"We can help people in retirement have a full and happy life."
Bowral Probus Club will not be able to accept new members this year but anyone with interest in the club can contact Geoff Prenter at email@example.com.
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