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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

June people and society news 

An update for June on what our society has been up to...


The final leg of an emotional journey

By Charles Cowling

Two weeks on, I can look back objectively on the London Marathon. I had done no training in April (apart from running the Boston Marathon!) as I was terrified of aggravating injuries. 

My salute to the memories of two friends demanded that I attempt to finish the London Marathon, which tragically claimed Matt’s life last year – running for the charity that meant so much to him and to his father Martin, the Brathay Trust, which does amazing work with disadvantaged kids.

The London Marathon is special, especially for those of us who have spent a large part of our lives in this city. For one day we get to be the centre of attention, turning this seat of power and commerce into a festival of running. The London Marathon is where fundraising comes to the fore. I was surrounded by runners supporting a myriad of different charities. The spirit of human endeavour was so real you felt you could touch it.

There was a cornucopia of costumes on show – from animal outfits to Marvel characters, doctors, nurses, firefighters, soldiers, boats and buildings, all gathered to raise money for charities. Some costumes had their downsides: it is depressing being overtaken by someone dressed in a full rhino outfit, as happened to me after about nine miles.

Spectators stood eight to 10 deep, shouting their encouragement. The numerous celebrity runners also fired up the crowds. I passed Chris Evans at around 15 miles as he was exhorting the crowds to cheer us on, but they didn’t need much encouragement. The noise levels barely dipped below deafening – at Canary Wharf, it felt more like a rock concert than a running event.

The London Marathon course is iconic. From Greenwich Park, it takes you past famous landmark after famous landmark. The Cutty Sark is rounded early on; then there is the spectacle of Tower Bridge as you head towards some of the City’s famous buildings. The final few miles along the Embankment and past the Houses of Parliament before heading up to Buckingham Palace and down to the Mall must be one of the best finishes of any marathon. You could sense every runner was inspired to put in one last ounce of effort as we rounded that final corner by the Palace. 

For me, the most poignant moment was the point, with 3.7 miles to go, at which Matt collapsed and died in 2018. I wanted to stop and mark his memory, but feared that I might not be able to start again. So I put my head down and dedicated those last 3.7 miles to Matt’s (and Martin’s) memory. 

Marathon number three for Matt and Martin was completed in four hours and 22 minutes. Thank you for your support – it means a huge amount to raise precious funds for Brathay in Matt and Martin’s memory. You can still donate at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/charles-cowling1

Teaching action

By Sean Laird

Action Tutoring is a charity that helps pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds achieve a meaningful level of academic attainment, getting volunteer tutors to help them with maths and English.

I wanted give something back to society while using my maths skills. Action Tutoring caught my eye as it provided training and was only looking for one hour a week, allowing me to fit it in with work and family commitments. A variety of primary and secondary schools are participating, mostly in central London. You are asked to commit to your choice of school and session for an eight-week period, tutoring two or three pupils. This lets you find out your pupils’ strengths and weaknesses and help them improve.

Failing GCSE maths closes doors to work and further education. The pupils selected for tutoring are those on the borderline, where targeted help can make the difference. It is enjoyable to help them understand difficult topics, and you realise what a good understanding of maths you gain from working as an actuary. The best part is seeing pupils go from being bored to enjoying getting questions right. 

A wide variety of different people work as tutors: from students to investment bankers. Actuaries are perfectly placed to be effective. If you’re interested in helping disadvantaged pupils, visit the Action Tutoring website at actiontutoring.org.uk

Game night

By Kishan Patel

SIAS threw its inaugural board game night at Draughts Waterloo on 30 April.  Around 40 people attended and took advantage of the extensive games library available, as well as the nibbles and tipples provided. 

No one was caught playing old familiars such as Monopoly or Snakes and Ladders; instead, more sophisticated games were tackled, including Codenames, Avalon and Articulate! 

One table even had the Game of Thrones board game, which may have gone on until the early hours!

Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the event, having the opportunity to catch up with old friends and meet new ones. SIAS may run the event again next year, so stay tuned!  Look out for our other social events at sias.org.uk/events


It is with great regret that we announce the death of the following members. We offer our condolences to their families and colleagues.

  • Mrs Susan Lang based in the UK, who gained fellowship in 1991, died aged 56
  • Miss Patricia Merriman based in the UK, who gained fellowship in 1951, died aged 91
  • Mr Thomas Gordon based in the UK, who gained fellowship in 1961, died aged 83
  • Mr David Hunt based in the UK, who qualified as an Associate in 1972 and then went on to gain Fellowship in 1991, died aged 71


Marathon success

Jerry Revans, senior actuary at ReAssure, is pleased to report that he completed the London Marathon 2019 in four hours 57 minutes. Jerry was running for Age UK and there is still time to support him by donating at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/jerryrevans

For more information about Age UK, please visit www.ageuk.org.uk

A 40th Anniversary

By Lyndon Jones

The Worshipful Company of Actuaries was formed in 1979 and, on 17 July, we will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the first installation dinner. We are having our banquet at Stationers’ Hall, where that first dinner took place. Stationers’ Hall is one of the famous Halls of the City, built in 1673 and situated between the Old Bailey and St Paul’s.

The drinks reception will start at 6.45pm with dinner at 7.30pm. The menu will have a ‘nod’ to the food that was served in 1979! 

Before dinner, at 6.15pm, we will be installing Fiona Morrison as our 41st Master. The ceremony will take place in the church of St Martin within Ludgate – right in front of Stationers’ Hall, but accessed from Ludgate Hill. We’d be grateful if you would be at your seats by 6pm. Please note that the ceremony will not have a religious content.

Fiona is well known to us all, having been a Liveryman since 1998. She spent most of her career at LCP, but is now a business coach. She was president of the IFoA in 2015-16.

Fiona is a keen sportswoman, but her participation has moved from rowing on water to ski touring. So far Fiona has climbed six of the 4,000m peaks in the Alps on her skis – only another 54 left to climb!  She was the team leader of our Inter-Livery skiing team for seven years.

Our principal guest will be Alderman Sir David Wootton. He is a lawyer by profession, having been a partner at Allen & Overy, and was the 684th Lord Mayor in 2011-12. He is Alderman for the Ward of Langbourn and a member of around 10 livery companies – and a past Master of most of them! David is a trustee of a board that Fiona chairs. 

Call for your news… 

We would be delighted to hear from you if you have any newsworthy items for these pages. Please contact Yvonne Wan at:social@theactuary.com