Tim Birse

I have lived all my life in south-east London, apart from fifteen months when my parents tried a failed emigration to Canada.  I remember very little of this as we returned before I started primary school in New Eltham.  I won a scholarship to Dulwich College where I spent an enjoyable seven years and then went on to Jesus College, Oxford to read mathematics.  I am still connected with and support both these places of learning, and I am a regular attendee at Old Members events.

My father suggested I look at a career as an actuary, and after some gap year and vacation work experience, I decided that this was the route for me.  Completing the examinations, which were then done by distance learning after work, took a while but I eventually qualified.  I spent my working career at two mutual life insurance companies eventually becoming Chief Actuary at Reliance Mutual Insurance Society.  Throughout my career I maintained an interest in professional education and in 2009 I stepped back to half time work in order to generate time to chair the UK actuarial profession’s Board of Examiners and subsequently the Education Board.  I am currently a non-executive director of a small friendly society.

Lesley and I met in 1987 when we were both attending evensong at St Martin’s Chelsfield.  We married the following year and Stuart came along in 1990 and Katie in 1992.  We continued worshipping at St Martin’s for a few years but moved to All Saints which had a more structured Sunday School provision that we felt the children would benefit from.  This was run by Marilyn Stevens, but very shortly Lesley was asked to help and then take over!

In 2002 the vicar, Alan Mustoe, asked if I would think about taking over as church Treasurer.  I said I would think about it.  While I was thinking, the incumbent treasurer, Margaret Steel, sadly died, so I was thrown into the job with no hand-over.  Nevertheless, as you would expect, everyone at All Saints was very helpful, and I soon found my feet.  With twenty years coming up, I am still enjoying the job.

My other main lifetime involvement has been with the Scouts.  I joined as a cub at the age of eight (there were no Beaver Scouts then), encouraged by my father, who had been a King’s Scout along with his twin brother.  I loved it and have never left.  I have been a scout and a leader in Eltham, at Dulwich, and for the last twenty years at 2nd Orpington.  My greatest enjoyment has been organising overseas experiences for young people – we have been to eastern Europe when it was solidly behind the Iron Curtain and subsequently, to Norway, Portugal, South America and Canada.  Perhaps my highlight was leading a trip for forty scouts and leaders to Tanzania in 2014.

Although my body is beginning to creak, I hope to continue supporting all my interests for a long time to come.