Ordinary Meeting and Exhibition Meeting, 2004 June 26

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Ordinary Meeting and Exhibition Meeting, 2004 June 26

held at The Cavendish Laboratory, Madingley Road, Cambridge

Tom Boles, President

Ron Johnson, Nick Hewitt and Nick James, Secretaries

The President opened the seventh meeting of the 114th session, and invited Dr Nick Hewitt to read the minutes of the previous meeting. These were approved by members. There having been no meeting of Council since the previous meeting, the President reported that there were no new members or papers to announce. However, any newcomers were invited to introduce themselves to him after the meeting. Mr Boles reported that the next meeting would be the Out of London Meeting, held this year in Douglas, on the Isle of Man, on September 10-12. It was requested that any members planning to attend should let the Association know within the next few days whether they required accommodation.

Mr Boles then explained that it was his most pleasant duty to present the Association's awards. This year, two awards were to be made: the Steavenson Award and the Merlin Medal and Gift. He was delighted to award the former to John Toone, an active member of the Variable Star Section for over twenty years, having submitted in excess of 100,000 observations since his first in 1975. He had served this Section in recent years in the arduous capacity of Chart Secretary, and was particularly noted as one of the rare breed of early morning observers. He had also made the observation of active galactic nuclei his speciality. There was prolonged applause. In accepting the award, Mr Toone wished to thank his parents first of all – who, though never into astronomy themselves, had bought him his first refractor. In addition, he had always seen Colin Henshaw as a mentor in his early years. Mr Toone also thanked all of the Section Directors and the VSS officers. These knowledgeable people had helped him a great deal over the years. Finally, he thanked the Association itself, whose combination of 19th-century standards and 21st-century observing techniques he felt made it the active institution it was.

Following further applause, the President announced that the Merlin Medal and Gift was to be awarded to Mr Neil Bone. This name would surely be familiar to all as a tireless promoter of the cause of amateur astronomy. As well as travelling widely to give talks, he was also the author of a great number of books, and wrote the regular Sky Notes column for the Association's Journal. Mr Bone had served the BAA as Director of the Meteor Section for twelve years to date, and had published a great many papers in that capacity. After lengthy applause, Mr Bone expressed his great honour at receiving this award. Casting back to his childhood he remembered the individuals who had inspired him into astronomy and sustained his enthusiasm in the early years, expressing his thanks to Howard Miles for replying to his letters, Ian Ridpath, Melvyn Taylor, Robin Scagell and Michael Gainsford, though there were many others. From these individuals, he had learnt the importance of replying to queries and providing encouragement to newcomers, and as Section Director he endeavoured to be as welcoming as they had been. Finally, Mr Bone expressed his gratitude to David Gavine and to his wife and family.

When the applause died down, Mr Boles introduced the first speaker, Mr David Graham, Director of the Saturn Section, and invited him to deliver the first talk of the afternoon.






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