Pam Ash, from the British Science Association’s Hampshire and Isle of Wight Branch has won the prestigious Sir Walter Bodmer Award for Volunteering.

The British Science Association’s Sir Walter Bodmer Award is presented annually, to volunteers who have shown outstanding contribution to volunteering with the British Science Association and for actively encouraging others to volunteer their time.

The award is named in honour of geneticist, Sir Walter Bodmer, former President of the BSA, who in the late 1980s and early 1990s was instrumental in raising awareness of the importance of programmes to promote the public understanding of science.

Pam has received this award in recognition of her outstanding dedication to science communication, and her work as an integral member of the Branch, since its inception five years ago.

Pam, and her husband John, founded the Isle of Wight Café Scientifique five years ago. ‘Café Scientifique’ is an event which explores the latest ideas in science and technology, typically taking place in cafes and bars.

The Café received an overwhelming amount of interest, and quickly outgrew its original meeting place, now receiving attendees from all over the island. The Café is well known in the local area, receiving new members at every session, and is now publicised on an official Island news website, which records the talks for those unable to attend.

The Award will be presented by Sir Walter Bodmer, at the Volunteers’ Reception at the 2015 British Science Festival, held in Bradford in September this year.

A regular attendee of the British Science Festival since 1994, Pam said:

“I am delighted to be collecting the Award at the Festival, as this event has really helped inspire me to bring science to my local community. I feel honoured and thrilled to be receiving the Award.

“I really enjoy organising the programme for the Café; thinking up a programme for the year, finding speakers and hearing their talks.

“We now have over 300 members and are an established part of the Island’s cultural scene.”

Pam originally trained in the creative arts, and previously worked as a drama teacher at a secondary school. She also ran youth drama and adult experimental drama groups in Malta, where she lived in the late 1960s with her husband. Pam first became interested in science through listening to radio programmes, and went on to complete an Open University science course. In 1994, she discovered the British Science Festival, and has been a regular attendee ever since.

Imran Khan, Chief Executive of the British Science Association, said:

“Pam is extremely worthy of the Sir Walter Bodmer Award, and we would like to thank her for her dedication as a volunteer for our Hampshire and Isle of Wight Branch, and co-founder of the Isle of Wight Café Scientifique.

“Pam’s work is a brilliant example of how our network of volunteers around the country helps us to develop links with local communities and reach a wide range of audiences. Volunteers help us to reach people and communities in ways that we would otherwise be unable to.”

The British Science Association have announced the winner of the award as part of a celebration of Volunteers' Week, which will  also see 'Volunteer Spotlight', a series of blogs being showcased throughout the week highlighting the important contributions volunteers make to the BSA. 

Find out about how you can get involved with volunteering at the British Science Association. 

The Isle of Wight Café Scientifique organises talks each month, which take place in Shanklin. The next event ‘The significant experiments of Robert Hooke’ will be held on 8 June