As I step down from the Exhibition Managers job and hand over to Ian Norman I must show my grateful appreciation and thanks to the Members of this Model Railway Club for the positive support that I have received in both years of my tenure of the position. My thanks and appreciation particularly for this year, having set the bar so high last year, it was an exceptional effort and the whole hearted support for the 2019 exhibition will probably be very difficult to surpass. To be able to put on a show where all bar two Members were present with the absences explained by a pre booked holiday and having moved to Liverpool which posed a bit of a hindrance! My comment that "its fine to be a ringmaster but without the cast you have no circus" is well known now: we a very fine cast and so we had a circus and what a circus we had!
I am normally reluctant to name individuals, especially when so many did so much, but I have been able to lean heavily on some colleagues for their support and assistance. In particular, I will thank John Russell my Assistant Exhibition Manager for being there when I needed him and for taking on tasks, often at short notice, which had to be done correctly, first time, with no room for error. My gratitude also goes to Frank Wright for all his work in getting the flyers, posters and programme so excellently produced. I know Geoff Tibble's photo was a great selection, (mine!) and that it visually leapt off the page but the design and production of all the printed matter was beyond what we have a right to expect. The Treasurers financial duties carried out expertly by Alan Chilestone were first rate, as always. I made it very clear when I took over at short notice for 2018 show that all financial aspects had to be kept clear of the administration of the show to avoid possible compromise: that said, it still had to be done as part of the team. Reliable and accurate as ever I needn't have worried. As many will be aware catering is a major financial contributor to our revenues and ultimate to our bottom line. Simon Fox and Dave Carter did a fine job substituting for the Treasurers good lady for 2019 and along with all of the fine team behind "black pinnies" supported the exhibition so excellently. By 15.00 there was little left in the catering area and even the resident mice complained: although that was the only complaint all day! Finally on the board of honour: Richard Llewellyn. I nearly had a fit when Richard suggested way back in December last year that work commitments might well preclude him waving his magic wand in the car park with his schedules and procedures. Fortunately fortune smiled on us again and we had the benefit of the magic wand in all respects - it even stayed dry! Paul Austin as usual not only ran his own trade stand but had the very fine commemorative exhibitors plaques mounted on wooden backing boards and did many sundry tasks as and when he could. These names are just a few of the 38 Members who went the extra mile in supporting the Club. If any Member feels that I have not thanked them personally, I apologise and it's my fault: that said I could go through the entire Membership individually extolling the virtues of each and every one of you so thank you one and all, you made a great show worthwhile and a large number of people, visitors, traders and exhibitors alike all went home with a warm feeling of having had a great day out at a great show.
Both during and after the exhibition we had many, many, very positive comments regarding the quality of layout selection which is always pleasing. Many of the layouts were recommended to me by Club Members who, after having seen them on their travels or indeed from knowing the owner of the exhibit, suggested them to me. Thank you to all the Members who gave me the ability to invite the showstoppers. Other notable comments and credits given were about the care and hospitality of the Members and the way that everyone got stuck in and helped. One esteemed trader who I will not name, came over to me after the show closed: thanked me personally and then said how wonderful it was being received and directed efficiently to his stand. He related that almost before he could stop the car the door was opened and he was the "hijacked" with his wares, taken to his stall - placed and then asked to move his car... which he did! He finished with the ultimate accolade: "the exhibition this year has probably the highest standards of layouts, mix of traders and atmosphere generated by the positive Members, which together with the number of visitors puts many larger shows to shame - and that includes the largest show in the country". That gentleman does upwards of 35 shows a year nationally.
Our charity choices this year (East Anglian Air Ambulance and Suffolk Accident Rescue Service), both reported generating good profits for their respective funds: it's always nice to give a little especially when we are so fortunate in what we are able to do and put into the current account.
For next year we have scheduled the date for Saturday 26th September at the same venue. Discussions have been opened with the venue on behalf of Ian regarding the costs which will go up further from this year. I have not been idle in that respect, however, and we were assessing an alternative venue but that has been refused by the school concerned as "not what they do”.
In respect of 2020 I have had already had the majority of the 2019 traders request space which reflects so well on what we delivered this year. Ian will be making assessments of whether he feels variance or change is required but I am sure many / most of the 2019 faces will be 2020 faces too. We are always seeking new traders and so long as they can vary what we already get or improve on the current delivery they will be considered carefully I am sure. Input is always welcome from Members who visit shows but please respond swiftly to ensure that they can attend.
I believe that this year's teamwork has set Ian an interesting conundrum for 2020. The one thing that I am sure of is that Ian will get the highest quality support from the Membership of this Club and that 2020 will be another barnstormer.
I rest my case, Ian it's all yours, enjoy
Bury St Edmunds MRC