On Wednesday 8th November, Retford Ladies Probus Club held their meeting at Ye Olde Bell Hotel Barnby Moor. Although an annual occasion, this year was rather more special as they were celebrating 25 years since the club’s inauguration.
The tables were appropriately adorned with lovely white flowers in a silver setting, courtesy of Pauline Merrills and Carol Portas who always come up trumps with their floristry. The book containing memories was also on display together with the old chain of office.
After a very enjoyable three course lunch members were introduced to Paul Whittaker OBE whose topic was entitled ‘More Music for your Ears’. This sounds quite ordinary until you realise that he is profoundly deaf! Born in Huddersfield in 1964, he pursued a career as a musician and became both an organist and pianist. He has a music degree from Wadham College Oxford in spite of being turned down by 12 universities who perceived his deafness as an obstacle.
In 1988 he founded ‘Music and the Deaf’ – a charity to help deaf people enjoy music – and ran it for 27 years. Later he did signing for many prominent theatre performances. Paul is very humorous in his approach with quips like “Can you hear me at the back ‘cos I can’t hear you at the front!”. He taught members of the Club how to sign and sing Bob Marley’s ‘Three Little Birds’ and ‘Doh Ray Me’. His signed version of ‘Love Changes Everything’ is very moving as was his last song which was all about showing kindness to each other and boy, do we need plenty of that in these troubled times!
A special mention goes to Dawn Cragg who gave an excellent vote of thanks. Her words were measured, allowing Paul’s Interpreter to sign and she referred to Paul’s ‘Deafability’ not disability.
The Club’s next meeting sees them back at Westfield Community Centre, Ordsall on Wednesday 13th December for ‘Festive Fun’ with entertainment by Everton Community Choir. Join them at 10.00am for a 10.30am start. All are welcome.