FOUR women have become the first to join the Prestwich and Whitefield Probus club since it was founded more than 30 years ago.

Traditionally a male only organisation, the club branch had recently voted to change its constitution and invite women to join for the first time.

Christine Tomkins, a retired NHS manager from Radcliffe, became the first to sign up and said she felt it was great that the club is now welcoming women.

She added: “The welcome I have got has been tremendous, it was quite exciting, and it didn’t feel difficult or awkward. I loved the whole thing.

“It seems quite a progressive club and they have brilliant speakers discussing all kinds of things that I was not previously aware of.”

Glenda Parker, a retired headteacher of Radcliffe High School and former magistrate from Whitefield, has also joined as a way for her and husband Peter to participate in a club together.

She said: "Everybody has been extremely welcoming and it's rather nice to get to meet people, particularly within your local community, and sometimes that can be necessary for elderly people and those living on their own.

"Hopefully we will be able to encourage more ladies to join."

Prestwich and Whitefield Probus Club was founded in 1985 and is one of a number of branches around the country which aim to bring together retired professional and business people to pursue their interests.

It meets on alternate Thursdays at the Whitefield Conservative Club in Elm Street and each meeting hosts a guest speaker.

Jack Haggarty, president elect at the club, said: "The world is changing at the moment and a lot of clubs have been men only. We are breaking down barriers and it's a big thing for us."

For more information on the club call 0161 766 2677