London Branch of the University of Bristol Alumni, Annual Report 2019-2020

A message from Julian Metcalfe (BSc 1978), Chair of the London Branch of the University of Bristol Alumni

“The London Branch is rearing to go as soon as circumstances permit, not least because we have some catching up to do! We certainly hope to revive old favourites – like the London Guided Walk which sold out within 12 hours last time round. Or a pub meet which also proved very popular (the possibility of free beer for early birds may have contributed to the event’s success)!

And, though we are all totally exasperated at the mere mention of the word COVID 19, the reality is that this pandemic will, whether we like it or not, prompt deep seated, and far reaching, societal change. As our Annual Lecturer this year, I would like to invite a speaker who can offer some very profound insights into the long term consequences of our current predicament – not so much the science, though the scientific effort, in which the University of Bristol has been at the forefront, has been phenomenal – but rather the effects on socio-economic aspects. If anyone knows of an inspirational speaker who can address this agenda, please let me know, via DARO. The only eligibility criterion is that they have to have a connection with the University.

As always, we, as the Committee running the London Branch, welcome new talent. So please let me know if you would like to join us. Membership is open to all alumni and is entirely free. Once we can get back to meeting in person, refreshments will, as always, be served!

Keep safe, and best wishes for 2021

Chair’s Annual Report 2019-2020

Since the Annual General Meeting in 2018, I am pleased to report that the University of Bristol London Alumni Branch arranged the following activities:

  • 29 October 2019: AGM and Annual Lecture. The Lecture was delivered by Sir Paul Nurse, FRS, University Chancellor, Director, Francis Crick Institute, and Nobel Laureate (2001). His Lecture attracted an audience of over 200. Sir Paul spoke passionately about the challenges facing science in the modern era, and joked that he was originally denied entry to medical school on account of his inability to speak French! Jon Phillips, newly appointed Chair of the Alumni Association, also addressed the meeting. Tribute was also paid to David Snoxell, on his retirement from the Committee after 14 years of service.
  • 9 December 2019: the Branch’s 7th Annual Carol Service took place. 130 alumni and guests attended. Again, we were allowed to use the church facilities for the after – Service Reception which helps us to keep costs down but creates more work for the Committee.
  • Members of the Committee also attended a number of career events organised by the University to talk about their own work experiences and to encourage recent graduates to become involved in London Branch activities.

All planned events in 2020 had to be cancelled owing to the COVID -19 pandemic. The Committee continued to meet, remotely, on a regular basis, to monitor developments, but reluctantly concluded that no events could be held: this included our Annual Lecture and the Christmas Carol Service. On 21 September, the Committee also agreed that it would not be possible to convene an AGM (even by remote platforms), or hold elections, given the Branch Constitution’s quorum requirements.

The 2021 AGM will thus cover 2 years.

As I indicated in my last annual report, the Committee spent some time this year reviewing the Branch’s Constitution. Many of the proposed changes are cosmetic: eg to bring nomenclature up to date. The most significant changes are as follows:

  • All alumni members, not jus those in London, are entitled to participate in all Branch activities; current University students are also welcome to participate in Branch activities.
  • The annual Financial Year dates will change from April to March to August to July: this will make the accounts presented to the AGM (usually held in October) more up to date;
  • All Committee members shall be bound by the University’s Code of Conduct for the University’s volunteer community.

A resolution to approve changes to the Branch Constitution will be tabled at the 2021 AGM.

I should like to take this opportunity to thank the Development and Relations Office of the University for the support that they have given to the London Branch during the past year. I should also like to thank my colleagues on the Branch Committee for their contributions during the year. Ironically, we had a higher turnout of the Committee when we met via video link, rather than in person!

As always, we welcome new members to the Committee. Please email the Branch Secretary at if you would like to become involved. Every alumni member can join.

Julian Metcalfe
London Branch of the University of Bristol Alumni Association
31 December 2020

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