2008 Presidents Letter by Steve Hall

I have now completed my first year as president of the association. I think last year was a success, the attendance at our annual dinner has increased each year and from the feedback I get, it is very much enjoyed by those who come.

This year the church service was better attended due in no small way to the pub lunch which followed (incidentally this was the suggestion of Jaz, a council member, a Sikh, who also came to the service).

Our attendance at the regular meeting remains static. We try to organise an interesting program of talks for these meetings, and I think we have succeeded in doing the same for the coming season. At the time of writing, there are one or two blanks to be filled and I hope these will be scheduled before we start again in September. The other events such as the golf dinner and the summer solstice walk were also well attended.

At the last A.G.M there were comments made that we do not do enough to make new members welcome. My own experience is that most of our regular members are very gregarious people but surely we all equally share the responsibility for welcoming new members. On a typical meeting, I personally look after the guest speaker, and this involves the usual problems of making the damn projector work, so if I appear to be insular, it isn’t my intention. We always announce that we will go to a local pub after the meeting and I would ask members, if they can, to invite new members to join us. If you are a new member, make yourself known to me, I will be pleased to introduce you to other members so that you can share the social side as well as the lecture. If you are a more established member and recognise a new member, please go and speak to him and make him feel welcome. People who know each other tend to talk to each other in groups, and from the outside they can appear to be a ‘clique’ but I assure you this is not the case. I think I know most of the longer serving members fairly well and I am sure they will automatically include anyone who goes up and chats to them.

For the last couple of years, I have invited comments on the web site about how we run the association, what is the opinion of the quality of our programme, should we have a dinner dance where we invite our partners, do we want to respond to the BBC invitation to enter a team for a new University Challenge style program. I am sorry to say that the total replies I have had to all of these has been 2, and these were from two of my personal friends (at my insistence).

I am very much indebted to the council for the support they have given me in my year, for which I heartily thank them.

I look forward to the coming season and hope that we have found talks which will suit our older members as well as the younger generation of engineers on the cutting edge of technology.

Steve Hall