A Costly Subject

Wednesday 15th February 2017: A Costly Subject

On Wednesday 5 October 2016 the guest speaker was Mr Jo Keys, a PSNI Officer, whose topic was “Cybercrime and Scams”.  On that day it had been his intention to show a video on the subject but was so overwhelmed with questions following his talk that there was no time for the video.   However he left the DVD with the club to be viewed at a later date.    Entitled “A Costly Subject” the film about Scams and Elder Financial abuse, nicely filled a gap in the February programme.   In the film actors from a drama group in Derry present different scenes in which an elderly person is defrauded by tricksters.  The “Silver Life Insurance Scam” depicts a pensioner taking a cold call about a marvellous investment opportunity and all she has to do is give the caller details of her bank account.   In the scenario entitled “The Credit Card Scam” another lady is conned into believing that she is speaking on the phone to the police about irregular use of her credit card, but to investigate further they need details of her bank account.  In the third a lady is told that she has won a large sum of money and it will be lodged in her bank account as soon as she provides the necessary information.  The video prompted stories of how many members had been targeted and served to reinforce the dangers of imparting bank details over the phone.

Marie McClenaghan: “AWARE”

Wednesday 8 February 2017:  Marie McClenaghan: “AWARE”

Paul and Marie
Paul Gallagher, Probus President 2016, presenting Mrs Marie McClenaghan with a cheque for charity.

Mrs McClenaghan was welcomed by Paul Gallagher who had invited her along to receive a donation from the club for “Aware“.   It is a custom in the Club that the proceeds of the raffle held at the Christmas Luncheon is donated to a local charity of the President’s choosing.   The raffle raised £315.00 and Paul who was President in 2016 chose “Aware” which supports individuals and families struggling to cope with mental health issues.   The Omagh “Aware” group is one of 23 support groups in Northern Ireland, each requiring some £7,000 per year to stay active in the community.  The money for the Omagh group is raised locally and used to fund weekly meetings which are open to all.    The issue affecting most of those who attend is depression.   Suicide has a traumatic impact on families as they struggle to come to terms with the loss of a loved one.    One of the goals of “Aware” is the removal of the stigma which for too long has cloaked issues of mental health.   Open meetings provide a safe place in which individuals and families can talk openly about their concerns.  In the discussion which followed members of the Probus Club shared their own experience of supporting those close to them through difficult times.    The session, while serious and sombre, had its lighter moments, laughter always being the best medicine.

Emma Sloan: NI Blood Transfusion Service

Wednesday 1 February 2017: Emma Sloan: NI Blood Transfusion Service

Emma John
Emma Sloan, NI Blood Transfusion Service with Probus President, John McCandless

Emma’s talk to Probus was full of interesting facts about blood donation in Northern Ireland, one of which is that Omagh has more blood donors than any other town in the Province.  In the immediate aftermath of the Omagh Bomb hundreds of local people contacted the NI Blood Transfusion Service to offer blood.    Since then blood donation sessions in Omagh have been particularly well supported as have sessions in nearby towns and villages, including Fintona, Dromore, Plumbridge and Greencastle.    Throughout the Province only 6% of the eligible population gives blood and some 8000 new donors are needed each year to maintain stocks.  Last year 26.000 people in Northern Ireland needed a blood transfusion, requiring a steady supply 1500 units per week.   In her capacity as Marketing Manager for the Service Emma was keen to dispel any anxieties people might have about giving blood.  New donors are carefully screened to make sure they are fit to give blood and thereafter monitored session by session.  A number of those in her audience had given blood for many years and testified to how easy it was and how important  it was.   Among other facts to emerge from her talk were that most of the blood donors in the Omagh area fall into the 17 – 25 age group and that 44% of the population of Northern Ireland are in the blood group “O” positive, a trait apparently inherited from Viking ancestors.