Monday, 30 November 2015


SATRO, the Guildford based education charity, is delighted to announce the appointment of Howard Railton as the new Chairman of Trustees

Dr Beccy Bowden CEO of SATRO has announced that Howard Railton has been appointed as the new SATRO Chairman of Trustees. In addition, Dr Bowden is delighted that the outgoing Chairman, James Dubois, will join Jon Tickle and Dr Matt Perkins of e2v as Patrons of SATRO.

Dr Beccy Bowden commented, ‘I am delighted that Howard has agreed to take on the role of SATRO Chairman as we enter our fourth decade of inspiring young people about their future careers.  I know that our cause is one he feels passionately about. I am also very pleased that James will remain an active supporter by joining our Patrons and taking the lead on our fundraising activities. The last few years have seen the need for inspirational programmes for young people grow and grow – whilst the funding climate has been tough for all small charities. Without the hard work, dedication and active support of our Trustees and Patrons we would not be able to continue to grow and develop and we are indebted to them for everything they do for us’.

In June 2014, Howard Railton retired as Director of Projects for Air Products’ Global Engineering Organisation, Europe. Whilst there he was providing Organisational Management, Safety and Leadership consultancy and worked with various organisations to promote a greater interest in education and jobs in science and engineering in the UK.  Howard graduated from Bristol University with an Honours Degree in Mechanical Engineering and he is a Chartered Engineer and a Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.  He is a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Scientific Instrument Makers who are devoted to promoting science and engineering in the City of London.

Mr Railton, Chairman of Trustees added “It is a great honour to be asked to take on this role.  James has done a fantastic job and I hope that I can continue the momentum he has created.  Enabling young people from all backgrounds to achieve their very best potential is a wonderful part of SATRO’s role.  Inspiring them with a passion for science, technology, engineering and mathematics is key to meeting a critical and worsening national skills shortage in those areas.”

Our new Patron, James Dubois initially worked with Beccy for three years as her Coach/Mentor during which time he helped her to shape the Board of Trustees to be fit to compete in a new world of Charity competitiveness. Beccy suggested that James might like to tackle the role of Chairman, which is a role he undertook with relish for three years. During that time, he oversaw SATRO’s biggest challenge - the survival of SATRO which had just lost all its central State funding (almost half total income).

Due to the generosity of various funders and the careful financial skills of the Trustee Board the financial deficit has steadily reduced. The published results for the year ended March 2015 showed a surplus which was a major achievement.

Over the period of James’ tenure, he has met many students who have had the benefit of being awakened and inspired by our staff and volunteers which confirm the vital work SATRO does.  James thanks all the staff and the Trustees for their many and varied contributions he believes that if we can give something back to the community then that is only as it should be.

James hopes to concentrate as a SATRO Patron on the role of liaising with major donors to keep them informed and in-touch, continuing to donate generously of their time and money whilst also spreading the word to their wider networks of additional potential financial supporters.

James is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants, and qualified in 1968 with top insolvency firm, Cork Gully.  In 2012, 40 years in public practice, he retired as Managing Partner of Body Dubois, a firm of Chartered Accountants specialising in different aspects of wealth creation, working mainly with owner-operated companies, professional partnerships and divisions of multi-nationals providing high levels of service on a personal basis.  He continues to work with the Firm as a Consultant.  He continues to serve as a Director or Consultant to various Companies and also some Pension Trustee Boards. Until 2011 he ran a Footdown Coaching/Mentoring Group for Chief Executives and Business Owners assisting them to improve their business and personal performance, involving Group mentoring issues as well as one-to-one personal coaching.  James has served as Chairman of Trustees since 2013 until 2015.  

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Dorothy Hodgkin by SATRO guest blogger John Faulkner

Many people will have been prescribed antibiotics to cure a nasty infection or even to save their lives. Behind the development of modern medicines like these is Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin who remains the only British woman to win a Nobel Prize in science. She won the 1964 chemistry prize outright for her techniques to find the atomic structure of biochemicals. Among her discoveries were the molecular structures of Penicillin (1945), Vitamin B12 (1955) and Insulin (1969). Knowing biochemical structure allows chemists to understand how drugs work. Microscopes cannot magnify to atomic level so the technique that she used was X-Ray Crystallography.

If you shine a laser through a fine lattice onto a screen, instead of a blurred shadow, a sharp diffraction pattern can be formed. It is possible to find out the shape of the lattice by using advanced mathematics along with the diffraction pattern measurements and the laser frequency. More energetic X-Ray's beamed through solids can create a diffraction pattern in a similar way. By focussing X-Rays through a crystal's lattice of atoms to get a diffraction pattern the molecular structure can be calculated. This was virtually impossible for the molecules that build living organisms but Dorothy Hodgkin was able to grow, mount the crystals and reveal their 3D atomic structure. With the relatively primitive equipment of the time, finding each structure took many years of science and engineering effort.

She was a mother with three children and worked as a scientist well into her eighties. Besides her Nobel Prize, Awards and Fellowships in 1965 she received the Order of Merit, given personally by the Queen and limited to only 24 living British Commonwealth citizens. Transforming the lives of the sick Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin was the first woman to be conferred this honour since Florence Nightingale.

- John Faulkner

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Guest blogger Charlotte Grobien OBE of Give it Away on 'Giving to charities'

Give it Away was formed with the sole purpose of trying to make profits from the property market in order to support a variety of Charities. Since its beginning in 2006, I have built 8 new houses and supported over 12 different Charities.  Building houses is not traditionally a work place where you find an abundance of women but I often think that with a feminine approach to the detail of how a house needs to be finished (and on time) in order to make a good sale, it is an area well suited to us!

In terms of choosing which Charities could benefit from these donations I took a similarly detailed approach.  By researching those who supported children with multiple physical and mental challenges in homes where finance was strained together with finding concerns who mentored young people out of difficulty to face a better future, I formed the basis for Give it Away. Donations are made to “projects” and because I choose the smaller Charities working locally I am able to see exactly how these monies make a difference to many families.

I am a firm believer in trying to create career opportunities for young people and to develop skills and interests they may not know they had so that they are less likely to face a crisis in their formative years.  SATRO do this at a time when there is considerable need for young people to focus on technology and innovation giving them practical experience in a range of related subjects they may never have considered exploring . If this happens to include more young girls taking an interest in non-traditional career roles so much the better – I have not found it a problem!

If I could exhort more people in their middle years to use their valuable experience and resources to “earn” money or offer “time” to help young people find a better future, I will have achieved something!

- Charlotte Grobien, OBE