The Society’s committee are members who have volunteered to organise the activities of the Society and generally make it function as the organisation it is today. Although we take on formal titles out of tradition, it’s a fairly informal committee. If you’re at one of our events and want to know more about the Society, please come and speak to one of us.
The committee members for 2023–24 are:
Ian loves astro-photography due to his uncanny ability to sit around in front of the telly for hours whilst his telescope is outside in the cold. Formally our 'head of special projects' (which we think is code for 'finding the nearest pub), he's most recent triumph was building a portable meteor detector using, amongst other things, a tape measure.
Part of the social media team.
Our ace organiser keeps the committee in line and has learnt some astronomy too! We discovered her fiendish side during lockdown when she set quizzes for us.
She was elected Vice-President for the FAS in 2022.
Lead for the social media team.
What Kate doesn't know about balance sheets isn't worth knowing and her background in the world of Scouting means she'll be prepared for anything we throw at her. When not crunching numbers or in a tent, she can be found on a motorbike.
Brian MatthewsObservatory Director
Brian is something of a genius when it comes to both woodwork and welding. As long as he doesn't get the welding tools and the woodwork ones mixed up, everything will be fine.
Cheryl MatthewsYoung Astronomers Club Director
Cheryl is charge of our young astronomers clubs, or YAC master as we like to call her. She's also our queen of baking and provides cakes for the Thursday night club meetings.
Peter WilletOutreach Officer & Pulsar Editor
Peter is clearly a man who can't say no! He was first persuaded to volunteer to edit Pulsar and is now also our Outreach Officer. If you have a school, brownie, cub, guide, scout group, etc wanting to book an astronomy event, then Peter will be happy to organise this.
Martin BrackenTalks Co-Ordinator
Martin is a keen member of our imaging group and always willing to give guidance to those who needed it. We always look forward to seeing what Zoom background he has chosen.
Martin is a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society
Una AlexanderCommittee Member
We met Una before she joined NEAS when she was house hunting and wanted dark sky advice. Since she joined she has become an active member, although we aren't sure why keep her baking prowess a secret for so long.
Rob DavisCommittee Member
Rob is another keen member of our imaging group and a collaboration with Martin was Picture of the Month in "Astronomy Now."
He too has a background in Scouting and taught Martin how to use a camping stove, although we're not sure Martin was the best pupil.
A keen motorcyclist who has yet to bend to popular demand refuses to try and jump the dome.
Glynn LarnderCommittee Member
Glynn is an enthusiastic amateur who says he wishes he had started this hobby 20 years ago. He likes Saturn and Jupiter and is getting into the photography side of things. Teams up with Brendan at Public events: Brendan on the scope and Glynn with the chatter.
Brendan O'BrienCommittee Member
A keen member of the club, Brendan loves astrophotography and is busy building a setup to rival the Hubble Space Telescope in his back garden. At public events you will find Brendan proudly showing the public the planets and why he loves astronomy.
Val is our generous patron who kindly gives us access to the site where our observatory is. She is at the observatory every week and is always accompanied by astro-dogs and honorary members "Smudge" and "Yippee"
SmudgeAstro-Dog (non voting)
Smudge gets very excited on Thursdays as he knows it's our club night and he will get to see us. Favourite activities including pretending he's never been fed and chasing a light around the floor.
YippeeAstro-Dog (non voting)
Yippee's background is a mystery and when he first arrived on the scene he was a powerhouse of excitement and energy. He's now much calmer but just like Smudge he too will pretend he's never been fed.
There is also a dedicated group of volunteers who regularly give up their time for outreach work at Notley and anywhere they are needed
Simon GilfrinOutreach Crew
Simon has demonstrated great artistic skill and has his own mug at the Observatory - touch it at your peril. His grand designs for a laser glove have yet to come to fruition, but we're sure it won't be long. Favourite thing to talk about: The Garnet Star. Do ask him about it, but please make sure we're not around first.
Matthew BarrettOutreach Crew
For many years Matthew ran our outreach programme until his career demanded more of his time. He is also the Variable Star Section Director for Society for Popular Astronomy.
John ExcellOutreach Crew
An keen support of all outreach activities, John always brings two telescopes to outreach events. Rumours that he's overcompensating for something, are hotly denied. Proudest moment: Successfully identifying Cassiopeia without Simon's help.
Chris HolmesOutreach Crew
When Chris joined NEAS he quickly discovered that if he asks how he can help, we will find him a job! And that's not put him off (yet).
Leo JennerOutreach Crew
Pictured here with a Geiger Counter (yes really) Leo goes by the nickname of Astro Ninja for reasons that are too complicated to explain here. He spent two years in CERN trying to create a black hole; rumours that he's trying to get the YAC to do this are hotly disputed.
James ExcellOutreach Crew
James lists tomato ketchup and cola (no brand names mentioned) as important ingredient in all meals and snacks.
Dee ParkerOutreach Crew
Dee uses the stories behind the constellations making her descriptions of the night sky almost poetic. Also discoverer of space worms - slightly less poetic.
Rachel EatonOutreach Crew
In a department of scientists, Rachel has managed to earn herself the title of "geek". That's quite an achievement!
Terry ReganOutreach Crew
Terry is a model man. And by that we mean he makes models. He is the Chief Spacecraft Model Builder for the Institute of Interstellar Studies.
Lee ButlerOutreach Crew
Lee's profile photo arrived with the title "Honestly, this is about the best I can do." We're not entirely sure if that refers to the moustache, the T-shirt or the obvious Photoshop. Often found out in secluded parts of the countryside where he assures us he's up to nothing more sinister than astrophotography.
Our Honorary President
Dr Suzie ImberHonorary President
You may recognise Dr Suzie Imber as the winner of the 2017 BBC series "Astronauts: Do You Have What It Takes?"
Since then, Dr Imber has been on various media outlets and we sincerely hope that she will be the first NEAS member to make it into space!
Dr Imber's day job is a lecturer in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, at the University of Leicester, where her main area of research is the magnetosphere of Mercury; including being the co-investigator on the MIXS instrument on board ESA's BepiColombo.