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Cathryn Edwards: an appreciation

Updated on: 19 Jun 2020   First published on 19 Jun 2020

Author:  Dr Alastair McKinlay 

Most BSG Presidents get two Annual Meetings on which to leave their mark. Sadly in Cathryn’s case, COVID-19 has deprived her of an opportunity to experience first hand, the gratitude of her colleagues and friends in the BSG. The retiming of our Annual Meeting to 2021 was essential, but has meant that there has been no public forum in which to thank her. So here is a brief appreciation of her term of office.

Cathryn is only the second woman to been appointed President of the Society. Any glass ceiling that might have been present, has been broken once and for all. Many other women will now follow her lead and the Society will benefit greatly as a consequence. I think this will be her greatest legacy.

Not everyone approved. An older member was heard to remark, “What is that woman doing?” I would simply have replied, “Taking us into the 21st-century.”

Cathryn’s knowledge of the BSG, its history, precedent and eccentricities, is encyclopaedic. Her vision about where it should go has been clear. Behind the scenes, she has improved the machinery that runs the BSG beyond recognition, whether it be the financial controls, the charitable governance, or the technical infrastructure that supports its work. I remember her exasperation that a Google search for “BSG” used to bring up “Battle Star Galactica”. She said it would change. I suppose the search engines never really stood a chance.

Cathryn’s energy and enthusiasm are legendary. Her skill in guiding the Society through some stormy times has been impressive. She is a consummate committee chair.

She has never compromised on quality. As for her drive, nothing is ever finished quite fast enough. There is another side, however. She is very kind, encourages others, and is delighted when they succeed. On a personal note, our almost daily conversations have been a delight and not always medical. Between the crises, politics, and frustrations of running a membership society, we have also talked about poetry and music. I will miss those phone calls greatly.

Just before Christmas, having completed the Society’s business of Trustees, Executive and Council, we paused to take stock.  Everything appeared to be planned and on track.  Like everyone else, we had not foreseen the impact that the arrival of an obscure animal virus could have. Under Cathryn’s leadership, the Society has risen to the challenge of COVID and has successfully weathered the storm.

Cathryn’s love of horse riding is well known. I suspect that she has only two speeds; canter and gallop. Gallop is always preferred. Even thoroughbreds need to pause occasionally, however, so we wish her some well-earned rest and a happy retirement.

A big thank you, therefore, on behalf of the BSG, for all that she has achieved and for two years of exemplary service as our President.

Alastair McKinlay


Further Reading

New President, Same Values