A GROUP of friends with no more than rugby and banter in common, have marked their 20th anniversary of their somewhat unconventional group.

Apathy International was founded on April 1,1994. It was the result of a chance meeting between four rugby enthusiasts who had retired that day.

There and then they agreed to meet every Thursday at 3pm.

The original members were Roy Box, Joe Navas, Arthur Young and Mark Thom – the latter two being the only remaining founders.

Mark Thom, 79, from Caerleon, said: “The basic idea was no committees, no agendas, no structures of any kind – just apathy.”

The name was a spoof of Amnesty International, but of recent years the ‘international’ word has had some relevance with associate members in America and Canada.

The vast majority of the members are ex-rugby players from Newport Saracens, but many have joined to take part in the banter and singing that goes on every Thursday. Attendances can vary from 12 to 24, “depending on the weather”, Mr Thom said.

As per the “constitution” of the organisation, nothing special was planned for the 20th anniversary – there were no balloons or sandwiches to be seen.

“We don’t prepare anything. That’s the whole purpose. We come as we want to,” said Mr Thom.

The average age is 74, with the oldest member being 85.