Christmas 2016 Newsletter

Christmas 2016 Newsletter cover

Christmas 2016 Newsletter
Issue 161

Meccano Show 2016

The weather forecast was perfect for our 38th Meccano Show on 29th October — mild, overcast but with no mention of rain — not good enough to entice families to the coast, but not bad enough to keep them indoors! The one factor that might have affected our visitor numbers was that the event had to take place during half term week to fit in with the dance school. This is the same school that effectively forced us out of the URC a year ago! Numbers were down from the highs of the last two or three years, but we still had an impressive 378 through the door. The money taken on the door showed that, of those, 273 were adults and 105 were children.

We’d hoped to get more accurate figures this year by simplifying the ticket issuing: instead of different tickets for adults, paying children and non-paying children, the idea was to issue everyone with a ticket, adults and children alike. Speaking to a couple of my friends who’d attended in the afternoon, it turned out out that only one had been given a ticket, so total numbers might actually be slightly higher.

Models in Sherard Hall
Models in Sherard Hall

We certainly put on a very good show, with every table full of models. Visiting exhibitors this year included Colin Bull with his Laxey Wheel model and local man, Kim Bowers, with a radio telescope, along with regulars Ivor Perrett and David Tracey. Spotted amongst the visitors were Bryn Jones and, clutching his copy of the SELMEC bookazine, Eddie Oatley.

John Cowdery (right) talking to a visitor about his models
John Cowdery (right) talking to a visitor about his models

The Make It With Meccano/Meccano Creative Challenge area was very popular as always; thanks to Tim Surtell for managing that whole aspect of the show. Two tables were available for the Challenge and one for MIWM. It had been found last year that the Challenge was more popular, probably because the young builders had the freedom to build anything from the parts, rather than following a set of instructions.

The Make It With Meccano table
The Make It With Meccano table

There were quite a few entries, especially in the under 12 age group, and so choosing a winner was a difficult job, but three were chosen, one in each age group, by Adrian Ashford, Tim and me. The winners were Tristan Cloarec (under 12 category), Edward Armitage (12–17 category — sorry about the poor picture quality; Tim’s camera went wrong!), and Yung Soo (18+ category).

Tristan Cloarec
Tristan Cloarec
Edward Armitage
Edward Armitage
Yung Soo (left)
Yung Soo (left)

Ralph Laughton ably managed the raffle, using his tried and tested Hainault Hangout technique — if you’re not sure what this is, just turn up on 3rd December to find out!

Cathy Warrell and Cathy Claydon spent the entire day serving food and drink to the exhibitors and public alike. They had to cope with a kitchen where the electric hot water boiler wasn’t working and the gas oven was unreliable! That didn’t stop them selling a range of rolls, cakes and drinks for the full six hours we were open.

Cathy Warrell (rear, left) and Cathy Claydon (rear, right) take care of keeping us all well fed
Cathy Warrell (rear, left) and Cathy Claydon (rear, right) take care of keeping us all well fed

Thanks, of course, to everyone who helped on the day, especially Ralph for ferrying of models and spare tables in his van, Tim for a lot of the publicity as well as arranging the Eltham Centre display in September, and Peter Clay for looking after the rotas and finance.

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Saint Luke’s Church Open Day 2016

There could be no doubt from the banners and notices outside what the principal attraction was (at least from our point of view!) In fact this was a short craft fair, running from 10:30 am to 1:30 pm on 5th November 2016, which was part of the month-long Eltham Arts Winter Festival.

Brian Leach’s Wendy House kicks off our display along one side of the church
Brian Leach’s Wendy House kicks off our display along one side of the church

As well as a Meccano show there were various craft exhibits including lacemaking, paintings, papier-mâché model dinosaurs by local schoolchildren, as well as cakes made by Cathy Warrell and church tours (conducted by Chris Warrell). It was all in the church whose hall used to be our meeting place.

Deansfield Primary School’s papier-mâché dinosaurs — who needs Meccano?
Deansfield Primary School’s papier-mâché dinosaurs — who needs Meccano?

And so to what you all want to know. I didn’t know I was doing this write up so this is from memory, so please forgive me for any omissions or errors.

From right to left as if entering the church:

First was Brian Leach with his Wendy House. This was in the form of a three-storey town house with pitched roof, which used up nearly all Brian’s stock of plates and strips. The entire front could open and lock and there was an electric light inside. (Brian realised later in the day that one of the side panels was upside down, so the windows are too low!) I saw some children go in it.

Take a peek inside Brian Leach’s Wendy House
Take a peek inside Brian Leach’s Wendy House

Next was Tim Surtell with his Lightning Leap, enticing spectators to try their skill and donate to Foal Farm. He also had his Spanish Knight running, plus a representation of ‘1000’ using a worm and three 57-tooth gears, marking the milestone of the London Meccano Club channel reaching one thousand YouTube subscribers!

Then Peter Clay who had his Meccano lacegraph producing designs some taken by children. He also had a tractor with flywheel drive and trailer; army truck; 4-wheel steer car; butcher’s wagon and mini helicopter.

Next along, Adrian Ashford showed some attractive red/green models. His owl flapped its wings at the press of a button. Also with electric motor was a battery-powered windmill pump with moving vanes and pump. An attractive motor launch and a lorry, with № 1 clockwork motor, completed his display.

Left to right: Models from Chris Warrell, Adrian Ashford and Peter Clay
Left to right: Models from Chris Warrell, Adrian Ashford and Peter Clay

Finally, Chris Warrell had his pontoon crane running. He also had a fire tender, lunar probe, Meccano Magazine spacecraft and a realistic bike. Three Daleks in different colour schemes rounded off a varied and interesting display.

Chris tells me the show was considered a great success and another one is likely next year.

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