I first became interested in astronomy at the age of 11 through reading a book in my school library by Patrick Moore. It was called something like “The Schoolboys’ Book of Astronomy”, but I have never seen it again. I followed the instructions therein on how to make a telescope with spectacle lenses and a cardboard tube (it never worked very well), and studied the Moon with my father’s binoculars. I later joined my local astronomical society, the Wessex AS, and later the British Astronomical Association. I belonged to that during Patrick Moore’s presidency, and got to know him. On his advice I studied physics rather than astronomy at university.
While I was living in a flat in London for 20 years, I had little opportunity for observational astronomy, and did not persue it, except occasionally using the facilities of the Hampstead Observatory belonging to Hampstead Scientific Society, and the University of London Observatory.
After moving to Edgware, Middlesex in 2002 I set up the Stag Lane Observatory and joined the West of London Astronomical Society (of which I am now publicity officer). Having been previously a visual observer, I have become a dedicated astro-imager with a strong interest in current technology available to the amateur, in particular in how this helps the city-dwelling amateur to continue contribute to astronomical knowledge. My images are frequently published in magazines and on other websites and shown on the BBC’sThe Sky at Night TV programme. I also continue to work to further popularise amateur astronomy.
In 2008 I was elected to the Council of the British Astronomical Association. My principal objective while on the Council is to work to modernise the Association and make it generally relevant and useful to amateur astronomers of all levels of knowledge and expertise, while maintaining the Association’s high reputation for scientific work.