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Report by Chris Warrell
Our 29th Annual Exhibition was another successful show, with enough members to easily fill all the available tables. John Gay volunteered to occupy an area in the foyer, and even supplied his own table, and guests Eddie Oatley and Ivor Ellard helped swell the numbers.
We had plenty of visitors in the morning, but by mid afternoon we were in direct competition with an England match in the Euro 2008 qualifying rounds which seemed to completely empty the hall, so the total figure was about 60 adults, 40 OAPs/unaccompanied children and 15 accompanied children (well, we handed out only 15 tickets. I'm sure we had more than 15 children in the hall so it's possible that some tickets were not handed out).
The refreshments did well again, helped by Cathy and Rose Warrell volunteering to serve all day for the second year running, with help from some of the members on a rota basis. Various goodies were brought by Frank Paine, who was in charge of organising the refreshments, with other members supplying other items of food. Rolls proved very popular because they very quickly ran out.
A general view of the exhibition
The raffle did well again. I think we sold over 100 strips of tickets at £1.00 each again. There were more prizes than last year thanks to various members who supplied Meccano sets and jigsaws etc. Dave Taylor provided a large set in lieu of paying a fee for trading. A lot of the winners had left the hall by the time we drew the tickets so I ended up with around a dozen prizes to dispose of.
Thanks to all the members who turned up with models, and to those who also took a turn with collecting money on the door, helping with the refreshments and selling raffle tickets. Thanks also to Andrew Couzens and Brian Elvidge to tying up posters in the morning before we opened.
No local papers showed, but we did get a photographer from Time Out turn up. This came about through an email I received only a couple of days before the exhibition; they were about to write an article about odd and unusual clubs in London and, obviously, we fitted the bill! (I think Tim Surtell sent them details of the exhibition and maybe that’s how the got on to us). About ten days later the article appeared with the heading "The Crazy Gang". We were top of the list! The article started off like this:
"In London, whether you're into Meccano or mice, you'll find folk with similar interests. Peter Watts is your guide to the capital's weirdest clubs."
It included this photo and details of the club, the information being taken directly from our website. Other societies featured in the article included the London Didgeridoo Club, North London Society of Model Engineers, Norbury & South London Transport Club and the London Seduction Society. At least it got our name out there – and they didn't make fun of us, well, not too much! You can read the article on the Time Out website.
Since the exhibition I received three membership applications, one from Allen Berman (of the North East London Meccano Club); another from someone who saw the Time Out article and bought the membership for a friend, Mark Harris, as a gift; and later an application arrived from Michael Allen. We look forward to seeing them at the next meeting.
» This article appeared in the January 2008 issue of SELMEC News.