This letter, which was posted to branch members with the programme cards in August 2005, is also available as a 108KB PDF file.
May I take this opportunity to welcome you to the 2005/2006 programme from the Oxfordshire Branch of the BCS, and my third year as chairman of the branch. I am sure that this year will be another successful year, following from our successes of last year where we had 8 well attended branch meetings including our annual trip to the science museum Large Objects Store at Wroughton. My thanks go to the branch committee members who have worked hard to put together the new programme of events, which we hope you will enjoy.
The past year has also been successful for the BCS as a whole. The recent initiatives on membership benefits have increased our numbers by more than 30%. The BCS website (www.bcs.org) has details of all the new benefits available to members at each of the grades. Membership in Oxfordshire has also increased to more than 1000! A recent mailing from head office stated that "The BCS IS its membership", and as chairman of your branch, I am proud to be your interface to the BCS. Please let us know what you think and what you would like us to deliver to you in the future. This year we will see more membership initiatives from the society nationally.
You will notice from our programme card that we are planning to continue our partnership with the Oxford University Computer Society (OUCS), following the success of the debate last November. To know more about that debate, and all our other events last year, summaries are available on our website so you can catch-up on any meetings you were not able to attend and, where they are available, download versions of speakers’ slides.
June 2005 saw the prize giving of our third biennial web design competition for Oxfordshire schools. The competition has always been very popular, and this time was no exception. With entries from 28 teams, of even higher quality this year, the judging was very difficult. Congratulations to St. Birinus School, Abingdon School and Rush Common Primary School who won the top prizes, and also to all the other schools that entered. Prizes included PlayStation 2s, Apple iPod shuffles and multi media PCs. Our thanks to the event sponsors: Fox FM, RM, Focus Multimedia, Cranfield University and altoHiway. St. Birinus School was awarded the cup, along with a consultancy contract from the BCS to review the new website which is due for launch later this year. For more details of the competition, and all the prize winners and their websites, see http://www.oxon.bcs.org/webcomp.htm.
Adrian Walmsley has continued to develop the branch website, and has seen the introduction of a wiki which gives all members an open discussion area. Visit the wiki site if you would like to know more about this facility. Full details at www.oxon.bcs.org.
The branch committee is still strong and very active, working for the benefit of the branch and its members. I would like to take this opportunity to again express my thanks to two committee members and ex-chairmen who have decided to step down: Ted Murphy, who retired after over 30 years on the committee, and Neill Lawson-Smith. I would also like to welcome Stef Coetzee who joined the committee at the AGM. Details of all the committee members are available on the branch website.
We hope you enjoy our programme of events this year, and we would like to see some new faces along to the meetings. We are running this branch for your benefit, so we welcome any feedback you can give us and any suggestion for other events or activities we could pursue. I am particularly interested in hearing from the branch members whom we do not see often at branch meetings. I’d be interested to know what we could do differently to attract more of our members, and to give you more value for your membership. If there is anything at all, please use the contact form on the website, or e-mail me directly at oxon.chair(at)bcs.org.uk.
Eur Ing Robert G M Ward. CEng MBCS CITP MSc BSc (Hons)
BCS Oxfordshire Branch – Chairman