25 March 2008

Introducing our British patrons

One of our patrons is a scientific descendent of Robert Fitzroy: Lord Julian Hunt CB, MA, PhD, FIMA, FRS. Lord Hunt is a former chief executive of the Meteorological Office and currently a Professor of climate modelling in the Department of Space & Climate Physics at University College London since 1999. As one who struggled with GCSE maths, I am told that mathematics doesn't come much harder than fluid dynamics (Lord Hunt's speciality while a Cambridge Professor). He is also deeply involved in government efforts to combat climate change and we look forward to inviting him aboard. His full CV is here.

Our sailing patron is a sailing legend: he makes me want to go down to my boat one quiet dawn, open the seacocks and let her sink because he had done it all. Sir Robin Knox-Johnston CBE was the first person to sail non-stop round the world single handed. He did in Suhaili, a 32 foot 14 tonne ketch which, although it made it it round the world and weathered some horrendous storms would make many modern sailors, used to their comforts think 'you did it in that?' His circumnavigation took 310 days and at the end he was seen by a psychiatrist who pronounced him 'distressingly normal'. If you haven't read his account 'A world of my own' (no Amazon link: support your local bookshop) find a copy pronto: it is a terrific read. Last year, he reprised his circumnavigation in the Velux 5 Oceans Race.

Helping us with political doors in Wales and Westminster is Lord Richard Livsey of Talgarth CBE, DL. As Richard Livsey he worked in agricultural management, first with ICI and later managing large farms in Scotland. He was instrumental in founding the Welsh Agricultural College and lectured there until elected MP for Brecon and Radnorshire in 1985. Outside politics his interests are numerous: he is a Trustee of the Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales and Chairman of Brecon Jazz Festival. He is a Vice-President of Hay-on-Wye Literary Festival, a member of Talgarth Male Voice Choir, President of Talgarth Cricket Club, is a keen fly-fisherman, cyclist, cricketer, and Welsh Rugby supporter.

To come: our American Friends of the Beagle.

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