Friends of Imperial College is entirely responsible for its own finances and administration, including the organisation and presentation of its annual programme of events. We aim to keep the costs of our events as low as possible in order to encourage the widest of audiences.

Friends' Committee

Friends is managed by a committee consisting of members of the College, alumni and local residents:

Roderick Rhys Jones, Chair and Trustee

I graduated in Civil Engineering from Imperial College in 1964. Whilst at College I was Vice-President of the engineering faculty student's union and an editor of Phoenix, the arts magazine founded by HG Wells. After graduation I worked as a surveyor in Antarctica before travelling through South America, the United States and ending the trip by sailing the Pacific in a small ketch. Returning to London i worked as a journalist on business magazines before working in the engineering industry. In 1978 I founded a management consultancy in the construction and engineering industry with my wife Sandi working on projects all over the world.

I have been involved in alumni activities since graduation firstly editing and then publishing the Imperial Engineer and subsequently in building up Friends of Imperial College as an independent association concerned with promoting public understanding of the advances in science and technology and thereby supporting the mission of the College. In 2013 I was awarded the Imperial College Gold Medal for my contribution 'for substantially increasing Imperial's engagement with the public, alumni, supporters, and local people.

John Little, Deputy Chair and Trustee

I studied Physics at Imperial College, London graduating in 1973. I met my wife Karen at the college and we married in 1972. She graduated in Chemistry in 1974. Our daughter studied medicine there from 2003-09. I enjoyed the computing part of my course so much that I decided to pursue a career in the IT industry. After many years of writing computer programs for scientific and commercial management I progressed to IT Director before transferring to management consultancy where I became a senior partner managing large scale projects and advising major corporations globally.

On retiring I decided to join Friends and volunteered as a committee member. My main contribution has been the development of the Friends website which has improved services and reduced administration costs. We have a long list of required changes as we seek to improve the website. I am also nominated as Deputy Chairman, standing in for the Chairman when required and also as a Trustee of Friends as we seek charitable status.

William Blackburn, Honorary Treasurer and Trustee

Bill studied Mechanical Engineering at Imperial College while working for Rolls-Royce aero engines in Bristol. He specialised in combustion engineering, combining R&D activities alongside computer modelling. Bill has worked in a range of defence, manufacturing firms and financial institutions supporting technology-enabled business transformation. He now works for CGI, a Canadian-owned information technology company and is UK subject lead for programmes across the police and justice sector. Bill joined Friends of Imperial College in 2009 and recognised the importance of blending interesting events with the social aspects. The accessibility of Friends promotes the work of Imperial College into the wider community. The position of Treasurer became vacant in 2010 and Bill volunteered for this role. His goal has been to streamline processes and manage our finances so that we can invest in promoting our exciting programme of events and grow membership. Bill has enjoyed recording our talks and many of these are available to download from the website. Bill lives in Dorking, Surrey and enjoys walking, cycling and music, particularly live jazz.

Katri Yates, Membership Secretary

Rita Leek, External Events Co-ordinator

I have lived close to Imperial for many years now and joined the committee in 2006 after attending, and being very impressed by, Friends lectures at the College. My background is somewhat eclectic. I began my undergraduate life by taking an Arts degree, followed by a BSc in PPE at Birmingham University and then reading for the Bar. However, after completing my pupillage, I decided than the courtroom was not for me. Instead, I bought a restaurant in the City. This was a great challenge as I had absolutely no prior experience in catering. Nonetheless, I ran it very successfully for five years before selling and moving into property. This has been my field ever since, despite the sometimes dramatic ups and downs of the economy and the market. Originally I was very much a non-scientist, it was my worst subject at school. My interest in it has developed over the years and I will now readily share my enthusiasm for science with my friends (or anyone else who will listen!). Many of my own friends have now become members and staunch supporters of Friends. I hope I have also helped Friends not only to grow, but also to 'spread our wings' a little by organising trips further afield, such as Diamond Light, STFC, and the inaugural Friends visit to CERN in April 2013. These visits have proved hugely popular and I hope to help initiate some for our programme in 2014-15

Paresh Parmar, Event Promotion

Currently I am a senior tutor at Westminster Kingsway College responsible for the delivery of digital arts curriculum mainly within a further education sector. Although my teaching experience extends to the HE sector, developing multidisciplinary teaching and learning materials that promotes knowledge transfer between research and post graduate.

I am particularly interested in how new technology is embedded in everyday life along with its social, cultural and ethical implications. My other interests include colour communication, digital colour reproduction and design applied to both visual art and science, sensory responsive technologies, database and network art, intersection of technology and users, and phases of the technological development from mechanical, electronics to digital.

I decided to join Friends of Imperial College and volunteered since 2009 as a committee member mainly focusing on event promotions and outreach activities and efforts.

John Sanderson, Event Reception

After serving as an RAF radar technician with 617 Squadron, I read Physics at the Royal College of Science, then a branch of Imperial College. I then joined Elliott Automation designing and maintaining the first computer controlled air defence systems. And becoming responsible for computer aided design and automatic testing. After designing integrated circuits for Philips to upgrade the London telephone system I stood as an independent candidate for Parliament. (and lost my deposit)

With a family of two boys and girls I became a consultant to the M o D Navy on the use of microcomputers in training sub-mariners and designed early touch screen devices. Which were also used by patients of the Cheyne Centre for Spastic Children where my wife, Marion and I helped.

Our family moved to Borrowdale in the Lake District to run a hotel, intending to start an educational software company but were caught by a recession in 1991. Working with an avionics company at Stapleford, I designed GPS and autopilot interfaces for light aircraft and worked in Texas on specialist radio systems. When Marion died I spent more time with the Friends and the RCS Association were I eventually became president. Currently I am chairman of PSI, a group of scientists trying to explain the folly of anthropomorphic causes of climate change and the drift away from the scientific method in many areas. As a member of the committee I try to keep everyone smiling as I collect cash at the reception desk with Angie.

John Evans, Committee Member

I came from Manchester to Imperial in 1979 to do a Physics degree. Despite spending my adult life in the real world of risk and safety engineering, I always followed developments in my subject. I attended Brian May's long awaited Doctorate lecture in 2007 and I found that there was more of interest going on at Imperial than I had realised. I have now been coming back for lectures at IC for longer than I attended as a student! I was very happy that after attendance at the Friends lectures, I had to chance to provide input into the committee. I am exceptionally pleased that among those showing an interest in the subjects Rod, Angie and the team organise are my family and friends.

Alan Grant, Committee Member

Born in Dundee, I graduated in Physics at the University of St Andrews, followed by a PhD at Trinity College, Cambridge. I continued experimental work in solid state physics at the Cavendish Laboratory with a research fellowship at St John's College and subsequently as an IBM Research Fellow at the Thomas J Watson Research Center at Yorktown Heights, New York. I have spent most of my career in the Civil Service, first at the Royal Signals and Radar Establishment in Malvern, and then in Whitehall. Since leaving the Civil Service, I worked as an independent consultant on IT related projects. Now retired and living in Dulwich, my interests include cosmology, genetics, and golf. The Friends of Imperial College offer an excellent way to keep the remaining grey cells stimulated!

Stewart Katz, Committee Member

Born in Reading in 1946 Lived in Edgware, Brighton, Stanmore, Beverley Hills, Brighton, and finally West London. But still found time to qualify as a Chartered Accountant. Despite doing three science A- levels, I never went into science. But, I have always had an abiding passion for all the sciences, including sociology, psychology, astronomy, biology and nutrition. Self-taught, well-read and still keen to increase my knowledge.
Someone even wrote my tombstone epitaph: "From bookworm to earthworm"
I trust my financial background and my passion for science will be of use to the Friends Committee

Friends' Administrator

If you would like to speak to someone about your membership, or any other matters relating to Friends, please contact Friends Administrator:

Angie Watson (click to open a new email to Angie at

Friends of Imperial College
19 Donaldson Road

020 3239 7699

Other Information for Members