Sorry for long reply...
Yeah. I plan to go RTW in 2012, so this is a good opportunity to maybe get some funding for the middle part. And I would have sought out those freethinking groups along to way regardless.
I've become very interested in and very active as a secular humanist. In fact, as an undergraduate and post graduate of military history I'd love to combine this training with my new passion into PhD study. I've been thinking of researching atheism in the armed forces... So this is a chance to see if this topic has any interest outside of my own head. It's the whole 'no atheism in foxholes' diatribe.
The way I see it is that given the history of the Russian Federation the study of atheism could be fertile ground for research. In other words the Marxist system of the Old Soviet Union raised its leaders to demagogic status, like Lenin and Stalin, who outlawed religion, with the exception of one, some may argue: communism - it being quite pseudo-religious.
Combine this with the fact that whilst Russian Orthodoxy remained and is the dominant religion, at about 70%, albeit probably 95% of these are not observant, in addition to the 16% of non-believers and 4% self declared atheists; religious and superstitious beliefs are making a strong revival. Consequently, I ask myself what is the position of religion in government now? Especially given the spread of democracy and wealth in Russia.
Anyway, I digress. Yeah, an East Anglian meet might be cool - just need someone to organise it. I've been to two of the Ripley HU meets in 2010 & 2011 and they were both excellent - well worth the money despite what some may say. Not been to any UKGSer ones yet. I'd like to go to the Autumn HU meet but I think I'll give it a miss this... Got to watch the pennies for the 2012 adventure! So the Churchill grant would be an awesome contribution to this kitty.