2017 AGM Agenda

Reading Astronomical Society 46th Annual General Meeting, 17th June 2017

  1. Chairman’s welcome
  2. Apologies for Absence
  3. Minutes of the last AGM, and Matters Arising
  4. Treasurer’s report
  5. Librarian’s Report
  6. Friday Club (AstroBasics) Section Report
  7. Chairman’s Report
  8. President’s Prize
  9. Election of Officers
  10. Nominations for the committee.
      Assistant Secretary
      AstroBasics section co-ordinator
      Technical Consultant
      Equipment Officer
      Ordinary Members     x2
  • Proposal for new committee role of Membership Secretary
  • Proposal for the Society to allocate funds to purchase items for the Christmas Raffle
  1. AOB

Minutes of the 45th Annual General Meeting of the Reading Astronomical Society, held at St. Peter’s Church Hall, Earley, Reading at 1900h,  Saturday 18th June 2016.

Thirty four members of the Society were present, of whom 8 were serving officers of the Society.

Chairperson’s welcome

The Chairman, John Talbot thanked members for attending.  Some copies of the 2015 AGM and Agenda had been circulated prior to the meeting and had been emailed to members.

Apologies for Absence

Chis Menmuir (Sec).

Present: – John Talbot (Chairman), Anne Chadwick (Vice Chairman), Val Coney (Treasurer), Gerry Bond (Basics), Alun Halsey (Technical Officer), Kenelm England (Librarian), Malcolm Brown (Asst Sec), Peter Tickner (Technical Officer)

Minutes of the last AGM, and Matters Arising

Other than incorrect spellings of Tim Haymes, Martin Burger’s and Tracey Talbot’s names, the Minutes of the 44th AGM were accepted as a true record.  There were no further comments regarding the 2015 AGM Minutes which were accepted as a true record.

Treasurer’s report

The Treasurer reported that we had had another good year with 115/116 paid up members and provided copies of the 2015/2016 accounts which are currently being audited.  Income was reported at £3586.92 against expenditure of £2769.81 as of 1 June 2016, giving an excess of income over expenditure of £817.11, much of which was due to Gift Aid claimed for previous 2 years.  There has been a big rise in speaker’s expenses.  Some equipment for Outreach events at local schools has been replaced and updated.  Committee members now have RAS embroidered fleeces so that they can be identified by visitors to the Society meetings.  We are looking at acquiring samples of meteorite.  Society reserve funds are currently £7256.02.

There are no proposals to change the current membership fees.

The Society made a donation of £100 to ESOP (European Symposium of Occultation Projects).  Tim Haymes explained that ESOP is where amateurs can get involved to produce useful scientific data, eg the shape and size of asteroids, discovery of double stars and asteroid satellites.  It also involves observers globally (ISOP), especially in USA and Australia.  Watch this space!!

Librarian’s Report

The Librarian reported that The Library has been available at all main meetings.  Many members have browsed the books during the coffee breaks and borrowed books for further reading.  The Librarian would like to thanks those members who have helped setting up the Library, especially when he has arrived late.  This session has seen an increased use of borrowing books, as the membership has increased.  The Library has also grown with some new books and donations from Members.  There has also been a number of astronomy magazines donated, which have been available for others to take.  Finally, the Librarian is always interested in any new titles or topics for books or DVDs, as there are some funds available.

The Librarian reported that some monies spent during this session had yet to be reclaimed next year.

John Talbot reported that Cambridge University Press can get 50% discount on behalf of RAS.

Astro Basics Report

Gerry Bond reported that every Astronomical Society has a beginner’s club which was useful for everyone.  Our Basics Friday Club meetings were successful, with most meetings having an attendance in the range of 40 people.

Meetings are held on the 4th Friday of the month, with 9 meetings in the year and are open to all as part of the Society’s Outreach programme.  Most meetings are held in the main hall but sometimes due to booking arrangements, we have had to hold the meetings in the upstairs room, which is not wheelchair accessible. About half of the attendees are new to the society.

Some observing sessions have been organised for RAS members at Farley Hill Cricket Club from where we can conduct reasonably successful dark sky observations, weather permitting on Fridays and possibly Saturdays near to New Moon.  We now have access to the FCC Pavilion to continue Friday Club during the summer months.  Let Gerry or Alun know if other nights are desired, since FCC will need to know when we will be using the site.  GB has a private website with details.

GB reported Dr Antonio Portas, Head of Outreach  at UoR has now moved to Newcastle, so our connections with UoR are now back at square one. British Science Week will come up next March when we will do our best to support the event.

Equipment Report

Alun Halsey reported that he looks after and maintains the Society’s equipment.  Photos of the equipment have been posted on the Yahoo group.  The list of Society equipment is:-

Meade reflector telescope 114mm                            – on loan

Dobsonian reflector telescope 10in                            – on loan

Revalation 20 x 80 binoculars with tripod                    -available

Reflector telescope 130mm                                       – available

Vixen reflector telescope 150mm                              – focuser needs repair

Coronado 40mm PST solar scope                             -on loan

Stellacam astro video camera                                    -available


Alun co-ordinates most of the observing sessions held at our local dark sky site.  We plan a session to observe the Perseid Meteor shower on night of 12/13 August, weather permitting.  AH requested that if any one wished to go there at any other time to let him know so that the site owners can be advised.

Gerry Bond advised that he has a Meade 8inch telescope on an EQ3 equatorial mount available for private loan – contact GB.Chairman’s Report

With 116 members, the highest number I can remember, I think it’s fair to say we have had a very successful season! Astronomy remains hugely popular with news outlets and the public, Tim Peake, the discoveries at Pluto and other stories are almost a daily headline and I think we are benefiting from this interest.

We have provided a programme of main speakers that has been entertaining, interesting and educational and I would like to thank all of the speakers that have given their time to visit and talk to Reading AS. Our speakers often comment on the large size and excellent engagement of our audiences.

The committee are working hard on completing the 2016-17 programme so if you have a favourite speaker or subject you would like to see in a future meeting let one of the committee know and we’ll do our best to arrange that.

I’d like to thank everyone who has given a 2nd half presentation; for putting time and effort into preparing material and standing in front of us to give talks, show images and share their knowledge. It’s always good to see new faces in the 2nd half and I would encourage everyone to give it a go.

I’d like to thank everyone who has given up their time and entrusted their equipment to our public events throughout the past year. This ensures they are successful and is good promotion for the society. Many of our new members come from these events so they are important to keep the society thriving.

I would like to thank all members of the committee for their hard work throughout the year. Without these dedicated volunteers giving up their time there would be no society so we are all indebted to them. You’ve probably stumbled across our quarterly meetings which we hold before the main meeting. Much of our business is conducted via electronic means as well.

We are very fortunate in being able to offer two meetings a month thanks to the Friday Club team. Audiences can be as big as the main meetings. We continue to have a relationship with Farley Hill Cricket Club to give us a dark site for observing sessions and summer meetings for the first time this year.

We have had many requests to support local schools, scout groups etc. with science outreach and I’d like to thank everyone who has been involved in organising and manning these.

I would also like to thank all those members who ensure the meetings run smoothly. Putting out the chairs, preparing and serving refreshments etc. All these important jobs are often hidden behind the scenes.

The interest in the Facebook group has grown a lot this past year and the conversation and sharing of information is hugely beneficial to all members. We continue to tweet interesting events and observations. Our website announces our meetings and events.


President’s Prize

The President’s Prize will be awarded annually, at the discretion of the Executive Committee,  to a member (or members) who have, in the opinion of the Executive Committee, made a significant contribution to the Society  either:-

  1. by their observational astronomy, or
  1. by the completion of a suitable project, or
  2. by furthering the objectives of the Charity.

This year we decided unanimously to award the prize to one of the unsung heroes of the society. A member who has for many years quietly worked in the background to ensure our meetings run smoothly. Every month he misses the end of the talks and sacrifices his opportunity to mingle at the break to ensure that our speakers are refreshed and that you get a cup of tea or coffee and biscuits in the break. In fact I don’t remember a meeting when he hasn’t been here! This is our opportunity to say thank you and to show our appreciation to Martin Kipps for his dedicated service to ensure we have the thriving, friendly and well organised society we all enjoy.

Election of Officers

The nominations for the committee for the next session are as follows:

ChairmanChairman    John Talbot

Vice-Chairman                        Anne Chadwick

Treasurer                    Tracy Talbot

Secretary                    Chris Menmuir

Assistant Secretary     Malcolm Brown

AstroBasics Section    Gerry Bond

Librarian                      Kenelm England

Equipment                   Alun Halsey

Technical                    Peter Tickner

Ordinary Members     Eddie Thorpe and John Paraskeva

Philip proposed that the new committee should be accepted en bloc, seconded by Tim Haymes.  A unanimous vote was in favour of the new committee.


None raised.

There being no further business, the meeting was closed at 1945

Assistant Secretary, Malcolm Brown

Signed:             John Talbot, Chairman;                                               Chris Menmuir,  Secretary