I feel deeply honoured to have been elected at the Loughborough BCA AGM to be the new President of the BCA: the first President of the Association in 1982 was Professor (later Lord) David C. Phillips, who took me on at LMB Oxford as a card carrying experimental nuclear physicist in 1987, with a view to transmuting me into a macromolecular crystallographer! However, I also find it a daunting prospect to succeed Paul Raithby. Beneath Paul’s unfailingly jovial demeanour there is efficiency and steely determination to do the best for the BCA and the profession of crystallography. Although Paul has made his name as a very creative small molecule crystallographer, he has a sympathetic understanding of other areas of crystallography. Since I started as a physicist and am now in a Biochemistry Department, I hope I can follow his example in this respect.