Astrophilatelist - LAUWERS, Georges 

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8.3.1936 - 15.5.2000
B.F.V. COSMOS - 1971 Founder of the club, Secretary 1971-1982 and President 1982-2000.
ROYAL BELGIAN FEDERATION - Provincial and National Commissary for astrophilately, Provincial and National Jury member Astrophilately.
Since 1996 - FIP jury member for Astrophilately.
1988 - 1994 Bureau Member of the FIP Section for Astrophilately.
F.I.S.A. - Board Member 1982 -2000 and sub-editor Astro part since 1993.
He married to Jacqueline 'Jackie' Bekaert and they have one son, Mark.
Georges's first interest in space and philately started way back in 1958 when he and his family visited regularly the World Expo in Brussels. He was fascinated seeing the Sputnik exhibited in the Russian pavilion, stared at it each time they visited the Expo and always bought the same stamp, Tsiolkovsky with overprint 'Sputnik 4-X-1957' for five Belgian francs.
Already in May 1966, he participated with a small exhibit at Brussels, when astronaut John H. Glenn visited European countries. Next to his exhibit, another space collection of Willy Van Noten (14.4.1921-5.6.1982) was shown.
A few weeks later they met each other and decided to found a club.
On 19 December 1971, they held their first meeting in Ghent, 13 persons attended.
Willy Van Noten was nominated President and Georges Lauwers Secretary. His wife Jackie was also present but had no specific title, she worked behind the screen.
In 1976 Georges was elected Vice-President and Jackie Bekaert Secretary.
On June 5th 1982 President Willy Van Noten passed away and Georges became President.
In April 1987 a function 'Youth Commissary' was added with Dr. Stefan Bruylants, who succeeded Georges as President when he passed away in 2000.
Meanwhile, beginning 1972 a modest bulletin -10 pages- was edited and the idea to organize small-scale exhibitions amongst the members.
The first dates from 10-11 March 1973, the well-known 'COSMOSPHIL' exhibitions.
Some of them (1974/1977/1981/1984/1991) were with international participation and under the auspices of F.I.S.A.
Already end of the seventies, he and Les Winick/USA, elaborated some rules and guidelines for astrophilately and fought to have astrophilately recognized by the Belgian national federation and later within F.I.P.
As a member of the FIP Section for Astrophilately, he further developed the special regulations and guidelines, which were accepted by F.I.P.
To enlarge his knowledge he visited several times the U.S.A., Russia, France and attended worldwide Exhibitions, Congresses, Conferences and Seminars.
In November 1978, the Belgian federation requested jury members and in the beginning of the eighties he became provincial and national jury member for astrophilately.
At ESPAMER 1996/Sevilla he was for the first time international jury member and at PORTUGAL 1998/Lisboan for the second time.
For decades he strived for recognition of astrophilately and succeeded thanks to his never ending efforts, and determination.
He built up four astro-exhibits: Russia, USA, Europe and France.
AWARDS - His well-known main collection 'From Astronomy to Space Station' was awarded, ranging from diploma to Large Vermeil in India/1989, a Gold Medal at the F.I.P. International Exhibition BRUPHILA 2000/Brussels.
At PHILANIPPON 2001/Tokyo he was again awarded a Gold Medal.
In 1984 he received the Gold F.I.S.A. Pin and in 1999 the Gold F.I.S.A. Medal.
Georges was awarded by the Belgian national federation a Provincial Medal for philatelic merit in 1991.
In 2001 the Space Unit/USA bestowed posthumously the 'Les Winick Award' for outstanding service to astrophilately.
At the annual convention of the American Air Mail Society, St.Louis/Miss, March 2002, he was granted the 'George W. Angers Award' posthumously for outstanding international leadership in the promotion of astrophilately 1958-2000, as well as supporting aerophilately and good will, among all levels of philately.
He was a dedicated researcher, exhibitor, judge and counsellor to everyone interested in astrophilately.

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