THE Probus Club of Andover met recently to round off another enjoyable year of lunches and talks.

On this occasion Graham Horn spoke about ‘The Isle of Wight — England in Miniature’. Most readers of the Advertiser will have visited the largest and second most populous island in England (the most populous for England being Portsea Island), the home of poets Swinburne and Tennyson and the much-loved summer home of Queen Victoria at Osborne House in East Cowes, designed by Prince Albert.

Inhabited for 6,000 years the Isle was owned by a Norman family until 1293 and was earlier a kingdom in its own right. One of its major historical sites, Carisbrooke Castle, was built shortly after the Norman invasion and the isle was fortified by Henry VIII and later by Victoria, playing a major role in the defence of the vital ports of Portsmouth and Southampton through the ages. King Charles I was imprisoned in the castle before his trial and execution.

Today the Isle is a busy agricultural centre and tourist destination with more sunshine and less rain than the rest of the UK, and is famed for its rock festival, its wildlife and its dramatic coastline.

The club’s finale for the year was its annual traditional Christmas lunch when members, together with partners, ate and drank, reflecting as they did so on a successful year when membership numbers grew, some excellent speakers were welcomed, outings were enjoyed and, most importantly, members relished each other’s company.

The first meeting of the new year will take place on 29 January. New members will be very welcome. See Andover Probus web site.