Web Sponsors

Our web-sponsoring programme is beginning to take off. We now have Pathé Cinemas and The McKay interviews. Please go to the web sponsors page or directly to one of their sites from the drop-down menu. Every time you visit their site you are rewarding them for their investment in the BRA. The same is also true of our main sponsor at the bottom of each page!

If you know any small, or even not-so-small, companies that are interested in selling to expats try to get them interested. If they become sponsors you will get a year’s free membership.

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Her Majesty the Queen surpasses Queen Victoria’s record

Your Council sent this letter to the Queen on Monday on your behalf congratulating her on becoming the longest-serving monarch in British history on this day, September 9, 2015. We are honoured to have received this reply from Her Majesty
You can see a selection of pictures taken during each year of her reign on the  BBC website just by clicking here!
Buckingham Palace has calculated that Queen Victoria reigned for 23,226 days, 16 hours and 23 minutes, taking into account 63 years, 15 leap days, additional months and days and the precise timings of her accession and death. By those calculations, Queen Elizabeth II overtakes Victoria with 63 years plus 16 leap days, additional months and days and the exact time of the death of her father, King George VI.
She came to the throne when she was older than Victoria, who was only 18. The historian, Dr Kate Williams, said “It shows that our female monarchs last the longest. The Queen’s longevity is a great source of her strength and popularity. She has lived through World War Two and throughout the 20th century.”
Queen Victoria ascended the throne upon the death of her uncle, William IV, on 20 June 1837, less than a month after her 18th birthday. Her husband, Prince Albert, died when he was just 42 and Victoria remained in mourning for the rest of her life. She died on 22 January 1901, aged 81, and was succeeded by her eldest son, who ruled as King Edward VII.
Her Majesty, on the other hand, became Queen Elizabeth II on 6 February 6 1952 when her father died. The Queen, who was only 25 at the time, received information of his passing and her accession whilst in Kenya on a royal tour. The news was broken to her by her husband, Prince Philip, who continues to support Her Majesty even today. He holds the record for the longest serving British consort.
One would think that an event as significant as making history for being the longest reigning British monarch would be a cause for celebration but according to a Buckingham Palace spokesman, this milestone will be just another day for Her Majesty. At 89, she is also the longest living British monarch and the second longest-serving head of state alive today after King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand who came to the throne in 1946.

Michael Type



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British Citizenship for children born in Switzerland

The page relating to this in our Information Portal has just been updated to provide a direct link to the legislation. A new version of this legislation is in the pipeline which will permit application for British citizenship for children born here of British parents also born here. The requirement for the parent to have spent 3 years in the UK before the child was born remains but the application will be able to be made as long as the child is a minor, rather than before the child’s first birthday as is the case at present.

Caveat: This statement has not been verified by the Embassy

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Shakespeare Live

Some time ago we informed you that various Pathé cinemas were showing live performances from the English National Theatre. Their offering now also includes opera from the Metropolitan, New York and ballet form Moscow’s Bolshoi.

In a new venture they will be proposing the Royal Shakespeare Company, at first only in Basle (Pathé Küchlin)  and Geneva (Pathé Balexert). In this test phase these two cinemas will show:

The Merchant of Venice – July 22nd , 20:00
Othello – August 26th , 20:00
Henry V – October 21st , 20:00

Here you can download their Flyer (for Basle)§

This represents a considerable improvement in their repertoire, and I would encourage you all to go to one or more performances and, if possible, provide a critical appraisal of the presentation and performance for the BRA website!

You can get more information about their offerings near you at their website (only in German and French).


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WRS – The McKay interviews

Some BRA members personally came to listen to Peter Kellner when he visited the BSCC Geneva recently.  His analysis of the recent UK General Election and the state of British politics was praised by many.   He covers many of those same points in “The McKay Interview” which is broadcasting now on World Radio Switzerland.

You can listen to it here

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The Chairman’s Blog


I am happy to be able to report that we had a successful AGM in Bern on 16 May (see report) in an attractive setting and at an attractive price. This was made possible by the generosity of our main sponsor, Peritus, whose contribution paid for the room and for the aperitif.

Moreover, there have been some notable happenings since that meeting!

First the good news – your Council has been able to co-opt Michael Bruce onto Council and Michael has agreed to take on the position of Regional Chairman Romandie West. We are grateful to Michael and wish him well in the exercise of this function. Michael thus joins the Councillors co-opted during the past year (Deborah Gorsatt, Robert Dean, Graham Robertson and John Spicer) who have since been formally elected at the AGM.

We are increasingly using e-mail to remind members of events at both the National and Regional level. E-Mail reminders have been a significant factor in getting last-minute registrations for events. Less good is the fact that a number of you will have received unauthorized and unsolicited e-mails recently. The latest of these contained erroneous information about the QBP in Romandie West. Official reminder e-mails for events should only come from our Secretary or from your own Regional Chairman (in exceptional cases from the Regional Chairman’s deputy). E-mails from other sources should be ignored.

This Spring has turned out to be quite eventful! It began with terrible weather which disrupted even the Swiss Railways, and, incidentally, put our Secretary out of action for a couple of days when her house was flooded. Then came the adorable new Princess Charlotte to delight the heart of Royalists (which, I think, BRA members mainly are!) and finally came the unexpected victory of David Cameron and his Tories in the UK Elections. Whether you support that party or not, I think we should all be grateful that a decisive majority has been achieved and that the UK will no longer be governed by a coalition.

The result of the election means that a referendum on continuing UK membership of the EU will now take place in 2017. If you left the UK less than 15 years ago, you can now register to vote from Switzerland by electronic means. Details are on our website.

The Winter Weekend in which a number of members participated failed to take place this year and this event has now been definitely dropped, with the result that there are now just three National events per year, the AGM, the Winter Lunch and the Golf Challenge.

A negative point for the Winter Lunch at the Olympic Museum was that since we were only using half the room, we were unable to use their sound system, and we received several complaints that some speakers were not clearly heard. We hope we have remedied that situation by purchasing our own system, which we used at the AGM. It is not yet perfect but it was relatively inexpensive and should pay its way in future. It will also be available for Regional events provided that we can solve the logistics of getting it from one place to another without incurring unreasonable expense!

Your Council also decided to spend some of your money supporting a really Swiss undertaking – namely Solar Impulse. We spent CHF 200 sponsoring one of the 10’728 Solar cells (no. 4024) on this revolutionary airplane which any day now will undertake its biggest challenge yet – crossing the Pacific. Our cell on their website bears the BRA logo and we cannot do other than wish the pilots a successful crossing from Nagasaki once the weather situation becomes favourable!

Recently we realized that our printed documentation (thanks to the ever-attentive Jo Brown!) was out-of-date, especially considering the changes in membership requirements. There is now a new Membership Application form, and we have also developed a Sponsorship Application Form which we hope members will distribute to any small firms who might be interested in advertising on our website. Finally, we have developed a Poster – this is rather special as it has a blank centrepiece which will enable our Regional Chairmen and their aides, to insert a flyer with details of the next local event. We would like you to help find local businesses, preferably ones that have potential members amongst their clientele, to put these posters in their window as a permanent feature – contact your Regional Chairman with details.

We have continued to subsidize events. In fact most Regional events are self-supporting and do not require subsidies, but we no longer expect them to make a profit! The result of our attempt to give you better value for your subscription money has been to reduce our reserves from CHF 39’202 to CHF 31’486. This sum remains significantly in excess of our requisite reserves which we currently estimate at less than CHF 12’000!

Nigel Coombs


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Avenches Tattoo, 5 September

We still have a few tickets left (value CHF 70 discounted for members). You can see details on our web page for the event and the tickets are available from our secretary.

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Are you registered with a UK constituency? EU referendum

We have recently been advised by the Embassy that the procedure for British Residents overseas to vote in General Elections has been modified.
According to the latest information these rules will be applied for the referendum on U.K. membership of the EU.
Register now (if you qualify!) to ensure that you can vote then!!
To register as an overseas elector you must have been registered to vote in the UK in the last 15 years. You will also need to know your National Insurance number and date of birth. If you don’t have a National Insurance number you can still register, but you may have to supply more information to show who you are.

To be eligible to vote, British citizens living overseas must have been registered to vote in a UK constituency within the last fifteen years. For the first time in a UK General Election, those eligible can register online at https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote. Those registering to vote no longer need to have their signature attested by Consular staff, provided they have a National Insurance Number (NI). Where an NI number cannot be provided or the personal identifiers fail verification, and where the Electoral Registration Officer cannot verify that person’s identity using local data, the applicant must provide an attestation to establish their identity. The deadline for registering online to vote is midnight on Monday 20 April 2015. Those who wish to register for a postal vote will need to register some time before this deadline. The earlier the better. The good news is that it does not take long!

You can also link to the Cabinet Office video with the Minister Sam Gyimah: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WbXxd-W4VjU

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Two Consular Prevention Campaigns

The Consular Winter Campaign is directed at British winter tourists spending their holidays in the Swiss mountains. David Moran, British Ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein explains that “with our Top Tips to Stay Safe on the Slopes” we hope to make as many people as possible aware of specific dangers linked to winter sports so that their trip remains fun and trouble free. You can read more in this pdf.

The British Embassy in Berne is working together with Geneva Airport and the transport police of SBB, the Swiss Federal Railways to help British travellers keep their passports and belongings safe when travelling in Switzerland. More details are to be found in this pdf.

150216 picture sbb campaign

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Solar Impulse Round-the-World Flight

The Solar Impulse team has just announced the details of the Rounde-World flight of Solar Impulse 2 starting 1 March 2015. You can see all the details of this great Swiss adventure on their Website.

Your BRA Council has decided to finance one of the solar cells to support their crowdfunding effort. If you are interested in supporting this venture, go to their crowdfunding page.

There is a Press Conference in Abu Dhabi by Betrand Piccard and André Borschberg of the route to be taken by  Solar Impulse 2 leaving from Abu Dhabi. In the run-up to the conference there is a brief account of the transport of the Solar Plane from Payerne to Abu Dhabi!

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