Tony Ireland

We have just received the very sad news that Tony Ireland has passed away. He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer just four months ago. Tony was well cared for at home throughout his illness, with the help of Sue Ryder.

Tony was a founding member of the Society and contributed a great deal. He will be very sorely missed.

No funeral details are available as yet, but under the current circumstances we would not be able to be represented. Anyone wishing to send donations should do so to Sue Ryder for the support they gave him and Hilary throughout.

This is a particularly sad time, having lost two of our long-standing members in such a short period. Eddie Carpenter passed away only very recently. Jackie, his widow, has informed us that the funeral will take place next Tuesday, 26th October, at 11.30 am. Although we will not be able to attend due to Covid restrictions, she asks that we keep him in our thoughts at that time.


Neil Havard (Coordinator)


The following article by Tony was published in Mercury Volume 34 Issue 3, Sept / Oct 2016


The photo above was taken by me at a reunion of founding members of the CAS gathered at John Fletchers home in Tuffley on July 3rd 2016. The gathering was the idea of Trevor Talbot, second from the right who approached John Fletcher (kneeling) and the rest, as they say, is history. John is to be congratulated in organising this happy event, though whether he has yet eaten or drunk all the food and wine we brought is another matter ! The weather was kind to us so that we could explore John’s, always neat, garden and admire his birds in their deluxe aviary, plus of course The Tortoise. But it was indoors as we all renewed acquaintances from many many years ago that the greatest pleasure was obtained. Yes we had changed a bit, put on weight a bit, even grown beards but the original spirit of comradeship, humour and pleasure in remembering old times made for a very enjoyable couple of hours.

In the photo you can see a who’s who of the CAS as follows (left to right) and the dates they joined..

Graham Messenger   1988

Fred Watkins* Founder Member 1982 (Fred is Member No 1 as he was the first to pay his Subs !!)

Derek Maskell 1990

John Fletcher * 1984

John Rock 1988

Dick Warden* 1982 and creator of the CAS first mooted in 1981.

Andy Packer 1984

Bernard Abrams 1982

Trevor Talbot 1986

Tony Ireland * 1982

*Life Members

For the record in our first year to 31 March 1983 we had 15 members and a money surplus of £18. (We now have a surplus at the last count of over £4000. Not many Societies can boast that ! )

Subsequently our membership grew as follows: 

31 March 1984 18,

1985 20,

1986 31,

1987 28,

1988 40,

1989 41, and

1990 39.

As the wine flowed we reminisced on weekends at the BAA annual binge at Winchester with its ghastly dinosaur stews, John’s huge pork pies, late night drinking sessions, our appearance on BBC Radio 4 at the time of Halley’s Comet, our TV appearance with Heather Couper when Mount Tuffley was opened, meetings held in private houses even taking doors off hinges to accommodate everyone, romantic encounters which led to marriage of members (!), etc etc.

Looking back from today’s gatherings and with a membership well exceeding 120 it is hard to balance this with those far away days. But if it hadn’t been a chance meeting between myself and Dick Warden back in 1981 when he relieved me of over 200 copies of SKY AND TELESCOPE then his idea of forming a Society would not have borne fruition. And we can all congratulate ourselves in realising that the first planet the Society viewed through Dick’s C8 was MERCURY !!!!!