Last Thursday we held our Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) Essex Branch Annual General Meeting as required by our Branch Constitution. The AGM is always a short affair and this one was no different. As usual we held the AGM prior to one of our evening lectures and on this occasion it was an excellent talk by Dr Richard Mawer of WSP Cantor Seinuk on The Shard currently under construction at London Bridge Station (but thats another blog).
The main part of the AGM was my report – as branch Chairman – of the previous session. I’d done a written report and if you are so inclined you can read a copy on our page of the ICE website here.
By far the most enjoyable part of the meeting however was to present one our committee members with an ICE East of England ‘Award of Merit’ certificate to recognise his outstanding service to the branch. The committee member in question is Chelmsford resident and civil engineer Paul Chaplin and he stood down as Honorary Secretary of the branch at the AGM having been in that role for many years.
Paul spent many years working for Anglian Water and some 15-20 years ago he turned to lecturing in – I believe – fluid mechanics. He spent many years lecturing at Anglia Ruskin University in its various guises at both Cambridge and Chelmsford campuses. He was also very active in the affairs of the ICE. Paul has since retired but continues to act as a reviewer for those seeking ICE membership.
Over the years I have attended a fair number of evening meetings in Essex and remember seeing Paul at these however it is only in recent years since I have became active myself in the activities of the Essex Branch that I have come to know Paul well.
I joined the branch committee in 2006 and at this time it had 5 active members but was being held together by the then Chairman John Lemay and Hon Sec Paul. I remember committee meetings held in Paul’s back garden in Chelmsford with just John, Paul and myself with Paul’s wife Jan serving home made sandwiches. Things have move on somewhat since then but Paul has been there throughout managing the affairs of the committee and sorting room bookings and refreshments at ARU for our meetings.
Early this year Paul’s wife Jan was taken ill and now needs considerable care from Paul and others. She is making good progress but this has meant that Paul’s priorities have had to change somewhat hence the decision to stand down as Hon. Sec.
Paul’s commitment to the ICE and the branch has helped keep the committee going for the benefit of members in Essex for the past 30 years and for that I – and the Institution – are extremely grateful. I was very pleased to be able to present Paul with a certificate and will be equally pleased to present him with a further memento shortly.
The role of branch Honorary Secretary has been taken up by Danny Jennings of Essex County Council – for which we are very grateful. A full list of current committee members can be found on our Essex Branch webpage here.