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Meccano Show 2013

Report by Chris Warrell

Our 35th Annual Meccano Show on 12th October was another resounding success! Once again we packed the three halls in the United Reformed Church with models, so that there was hardly a spare square inch of space left available.

The excitable crowd at our Meccano Show
The excitable crowd at our Meccano Show

Some 600 visitors streamed through the doors; up by 100 on last year's total. The promotion of the show started at Easter with flyers being handed out at the various events that we support so that, by the time of the Show, all 5,000 of them had been handed out.

Ivor Ellard's Hornby Harbour
Ivor Ellard's Hornby Harbour

Some 35 members and visiting exhibitors showed off their models to an excitable crowd. Models of note were a large harbour and pier, complete with boats and a railway, from Ivor Ellard; a waltzer fairground ride by visitor Nigel Lynn; an Armstrong-Saurer truck from Alan Wenbourne and, from James Plicio, the Megatron ride. At the other end of the scale was a collection of mini trucks neatly displayed on a vertical Meccano and wooden stand from Stuart Jones.

Nigel Lynn's Waltzer ride
Nigel Lynn's Waltzer ride

Brian Leach's pinball machine was a hit with the kids

Brian Leach's pinball machine
was a hit with the kids

One model attracting a lot of attention was Brian Leach's pinball machine. This was a reduced version of the arcade machine, standing on its own Meccano legs and worked just like the real thing, although you had provide your own sound effects!

New members (signed up on the day, along with two others) Viv Endecott and her eight year old nephew, Jack, brought a model depicting the recent recovery of the Dornier from the depths of the English Channel. The aeroplane was, appropriately, made from old rusty Meccano!

Following on from last year's MeccanOlympics we decided to run the SELMEC Rope Races this year. The two events were a vertical climbing race in the morning with a horizontal one in the afternoon. The former proved too much of a challenge for many members, there being only two entries: a clockwork one from Alan Wenbourne and an electric one from Les Chatfield. Les's was the winner, racing up and down the six foot length of rope (in reality thin cotton string from WH Smith) several times.

The horizontal race attracted eight entries. Models were to drag themselves along a 15 foot length of string (laid along the floor), with the wheels just supporting the weight, but not providing any traction. Somehow four heats were run because of confusion as to who had entered models and one person was missed out, so the winner of the first heat also took part in the last one. It still gave us three finalists, the first, second and third places going to Brian Elvidge, Alan Wenbourne and Les Chatfield respectively. Other contestants in the race were Viv and Jack Endecott, John Gay, Brian Leach and Chris Warrell.

It's Alan versus Les in the vertical rope race

It's Alan versus Les in the vertical rope race

Both races attracted large crowds into the small room where they were being held. There were no medals awarded this time, but the two overall winners received a small prize later in the afternoon.

Things didn't let up all day with a large number of the public still present at the end of the show; the two Cathy's — Warrell and Claydon — were kept busy serving food for the entire duration.

With the number of models, and the public that we attract, I don't think that we could go back to hiring just the Sherard Hall, or the hall and one room — we need all the space we can get. I was able to borrow some extra tables from St Luke's (where we used to meet). Thanks to Ralph for transporting them (and me!) to the Show.

Thanks are due to everyone who helped out in advance and during the day. Some members were on more than one rota. I can't name you all, but I think that every member who attended helped out in some way. I'll just add my thanks to the two Cathy's and those members who provided food. Thanks, of course, to Peter Clay, who organised the rotas and counted the money at the end of the day. Without everyone's help the event wouldn't take place.


» This article appeared in the January 2014 issue of SELMEC News.

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