AN INNERLEITHEN woman has made history after being named as the president of a local club.

Joan Rose, 80, has taken up the top post at the Innerleithen, Walkerburn and Traquair Probus Club.

The group, which previously had only allowed men to become members, changed its rules in 2019 which allowed women to join.

“When I came to live in Innerleithen I used to read the reports of meetings in the Peeblesshire News and they always sounded so interesting but I knew at that point women couldn’t join the club,” she said. “It was difficult for most of the first two years because of the lockdowns and so our meetings were on Zoom.

“Once we were able to get back together again it’s been really good.”

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Joan takes over as president from Donald MacLeod, who was a surgeon, once president of the Scottish Rugby Union and Scottish Rugby team doctor.

In her role, which she officially starts with the club’s new season in October, Joan will be responsible for welcoming guests who speak at the club and leading meetings.

On her appointment, she said she feels “a bit bewildered”.

She added: “I’m 80 and it feels slightly surreal to be doing this at an age I thought I would never reach.”

On Christmas Day in 2014 Joan suffered a stroke.

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During this time Joan sold her home in Edinburgh and moved to Peeblesshire. She lived at Peebles Care Home for 18 months before she left to live independently, having regained her mobility after her stroke.

She said: “I was misdiagnosed as having vascular dementia and so it appeared in 2015 that there was no future for me.

“Once my brain actually cleared and my mental capacity came back then I learnt to walk again, I sold my flat in Edinburgh I found somewhere to live in the Borders then I left the care home.

“Although I use a walker, I walk more than when I used to drive and Innerleithen is a lovely place to walk.”

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Joan has been a member of the club since October 2019 and she shared with the Peeblesshire News which talks she has enjoyed the most in the last two-and-a-half years.

She said: “One [talk] we had in the session just finished, we had an introduction to and reading of the poems of a Scottish poet, Will H. Ogilvie, who I’d never heard of.

“And that was absolutely spellbinding. We also had in this past year a talk on saving Scotland’s red squirrels, which was very interesting.

“And in the session starting in October we’ve got a talk on the Lockerbie bombing and the aftermath of that.”

The Probus Club has 37 members including Joan – who is the only woman.

Although the club is now on break until its season resumes on October 4, Joan and her fellow members are keen to welcome new faces to the club.

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The club is open to retired men and women and they have talks on a variety of topics.

Members who have specialist knowledge on topics are also invited to give talks, as well as external visitors.

“Where people have expertise in a particular area or experience, having talks from members of the club.

“I was involved with the Children’s Hearings System for 25 years, initially as a panel member then as a trainer for 20 years. And last year was the 50th anniversary of the system so I gave a talk on that.”

If you are interested in joining the Probus Club, contact the club secretary at: