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 2020–21 are:

James Hannan

James Hannan

Chairman

Science teacher by day, astronomer by night, Jamie allegedly leads a BeeGee's tribute band in his spare time. He also has the honour of being the Chairman of the society. We say honour...

Clare Lauwerys

Clare Lauwerys

Secretary

Clare's shoe collection continues to grow for reasons unknown to science. Our ace organiser keeps the committee in line and is learning a bit about astronomy too. We recently discovered her fiendish side when she set quizzes for us.

Andy Styles

Andy Styles

Treasurer & Speaker Manager

Andy not only rustles up speakers for our monthly public lectures but has recently taken on the role of treasurer. Clearly a man of many talents but saying no isn't one of them.

Matthew Barrett

Matthew Barrett

Outreach Officer

If you have a school, brownie, cub, guide, scout group, etc wanting to book an astronomy event, then Matthew is your man.

Brian Matthews

Brian Matthews

Observatory 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 Matthews

Cheryl Matthews

Young Astronomers Club Director

Cheryl is charge of our new 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.

Andy Downman

Andy Downman

Equipment Director

Will shop for astronomy related goods. King of the barbecues too. (Mrs D plays a key role here).

James Excell

James Excell

Committee Member

James lists tomato ketchup and cola (no brand names mentioned) as important ingredient in all meals and snacks. Recently promoted to the role of John's chauffeur, he has now reduced the average age of the committee by a considerable amount.

Lee Butler

Lee Butler

Committee Member

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.

Paul Blakesley

Paul Blakesley

Committee Member

Paul is a long-time member of the Society. Many of you will have met him at one of outreach activities. As well as astronomy he lists racing cars, James Bond and Prince as interests. And scaring adults at Halloween, but that’s another story.

Martin Bracken

Martin Bracken

Committee Member

Coming Soon

Una Alexander

Una Alexander

Committee Member

Coming Soon

Val Sayer

Val Sayer

Patron

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"

Smudge

Smudge

Astro-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.

Yippee

Yippee

Astro-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, Abberton and anywhere they are needed

 

Ian Lauwerys

Ian Lauwerys

Outreach Crew

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.

John Excell

John Excell

Outreach 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.

Simon Gilfrin

Simon Gilfrin

Outreach 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.

Chris Holmes

Chris Holmes

Outreach 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 Jenner

Leo Jenner

Outreach 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.

Rachel Eaton

Rachel Eaton

Outreach Crew

In a department of scientists, Rachel has managed to earn herself the title of "geek". That's quite an achievement!

Dee Parker

Dee Parker

Outreach 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.

Mark Walker

Mark Walker

Outreach Crew

In the not so distant past, Mark coordinated the unenviable task of replacing our observatory roof. We now call him Mr Hardhat - affectionately of course.

Terry Regan

Terry Regan

Outreach 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.

And last, but definitely not least, the editor of Pulsar.

Peter Willet

Peter Willet

Editor

Recently press-ganged - sorry let's try again. Peter recently volunteered to be the new editor of Pulsar and as we speak he is keenly awaiting for articles to flood in.

 


Our  Honorary Presidents

We are delight that two esteemed scientists are our honorary presidents.

 

Andrew Ritchie Green BSc (Hons) FRAS

Andrew Ritchie Green BSc (Hons) FRAS

Honorary President

Andy Green is a long-time friend to the Society and is well-known across the globe giving lectures, sharing his passion for astronomy.

As well as being the Director & Senior Lecturer for Stardome Planetarium, he is also a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, Director of Anglo-Australian Astronomy Education Partnership, regularly giving tours in Iceland on the Aurora Borealis, while also a good friend of Apollo astronaut Charles Duke!

  • Director & Senior Lecturer - StarDome Astronomy & Astronautics
  • Fellow - Royal Astronomical Society
  • Honorary President North Essex Astronomical Society
  • Consultant Aurora and Eclipse Astronomer & Travel Guide
  • Cunard Line "Insights" Lecturer
  • Director - AAAEP Astro Education - Australia
  • Freelance Space Journalist & Broadcaster
StarDome

Dr Suzie Imber

Dr Suzie Imber

Honorary 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.