Thursday, 4 May 2017

RSC Belgium 2017 AGM report

The section's Annual General Meeting (AGM) took place on Friday 10 February 2017 at Les Amis Dinent Restaurant in Wezembeek-Oppem at 19h30 and was followed by the section's Annual Dinner from 20h00. The meeting opened at 19:30 with nine members present but a further ten members, who were unable to attend the AGM in person, had asked the Chairman to act as their proxy for the meeting if a vote was required thus achieving our quorum.

Following recording of apologies received, the minutes of our previous AGM of 15 January 2016 were approved with no corrections.  The section secretary, Becki Scott, then gave the Committee Report on the Section’s 2016 Activities. During the year the section organised seven public events, one Saturday social excursions, two schools events and the Chemistry Challenge. Total section membership stood at 133 – a net increase of one over the year.

Among highlights of the year, reported by Becki, were the CafĂ© Chimique on the changing public perceptions of chemistry, Andrew Hanson’s series of colourful demonstration lectures for schools and the public in March, a lively stand-up comedy science show by Dr Jack Heal, and a guided tour of Namur led by Sarah Strange. The Chemistry Challenge competition attracted good levels of participation with prizes given out at Jack Heal’s event in October. Feedback had been received from Cardiff University that Mr Rhodri Evans (the second recipient of the Norman Lloyd scholarship) had performed well in his first year. The 2016-2017 recipient had just been named as Jessica Powell. The report was unanimously approved.

Section Finances
Outgoing section treasurer Rita Woodward presented the 2016 financial report and accounts. On the 1st January 2016, the net assets of the RSC Belgium Section were €6350 approx. The Annual Grant from RSC UK for 2016 had been €6200, less than the requested amount. Expenditure for the year was significant, but less than the previous year. With careful management the deficit for the year was only €440 approx. The committee aims to keep our account balances at around €7000, due to Belgian regulations where the section officers are responsible for any deficit. A grant for 2017 activities of €7000 will be requested from HQ. The section wished to thank immediate past president Prof Dominic Tildesley who covered many of his own expenses during his visit to the section. The accounts had been audited by the auditor Ralph Palim. The meeting unanimously adopted the audited accounts and the Treasurer’s Report.

The Treasurer expressed her gratitude to Ralph Palim and announced that he had agreed to be appointed as auditor for the section accounts for 2017.

Chairman’s Remarks
Section chairman Tim Reynolds thanked the committee for their hard work and support during a rather difficult year. The section had hosted an interesting programme and survived financially despite a lower grant than requested. With the visit of immediate past president, Prof Dominic Tildesley, the section maintained its tradition of hosting the RSC presidents.

The chairman thanked the three committee members who were stepping down and acknowledged their many years of service on the committee: Brian Sutcliffe (4 years), Ian Carson (11 years), David Terrell (27 years). It is hoped that David can be co-opted on to the committee for the coming year. Thanks weer also given to Rita Woodward who is stepping down as Treasurer. The Chairman also extended a welcome to the newly elected committee members and the incoming Treasurer and looked forward to a varied and interesting programme for the coming year.

Committee elections
Following elections the RSC Belgium Executive Committee for 2017 has the following membership: 

Elected members
Mr. Tim Reynolds (Chair)
Ms. Julie Tuppeny (Treasurer)
Dr. Becki Scott (Secretary)
Prof. Bob Crichton
Mr. William Darnley
Mr. John Swift
Mrs. Rita Woodward

Co-opted members
Ms. Jane Downing
Dr. David Terrell

The co-opted members were confirmed at the first meeting of the executive committee on 7 March 2017.

Closing remarks
Bob Crichton noted that the new structure of taking the demo lectures to the respective schools appeared to work better than the previous structure whereby a single location was found for the demo lectures and the students were transported to the venue. It was agreed that this approach will be continued as far as possible.

Special thanks were made to Dr Ian Carson for the enormous amount of work he has done for the section during his years of service. He was especially thanked for his help in arranging the very successful travelling demo lectures to schools.

There being no other business, the meeting closed at 19h55 and was followed by the 2017 Annual Dinner of the RSC Belgium section.

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