by Jo Sullivan, New Centre Project Assistant
On Saturday 13th June, Jennifer Flippance (BPMA’s London 2010 Project Officer) and myself attended Swinpex, a philatelic show hosted by the Swindon Philatelic Society. Although there primarily to promote the joint aims of the BPMA‘s New Centre Project and the 2010 Festival of Stamps and not to sell (or buy) anything we were given an exceptionally warm welcome by all those involved. In fact, we received star billing in the programme, our presence described as “a great coup for Swindon philately!”
Swinpex is one of the largest and best attended philatelic shows in the country and gets around 400 to 500 visitors on the day. This year organisers reported over 500 people attended and, if the crowds in the main hall were anything to go by, we could well believe it.
The BPMA’s stand was right by the front door and we had a steady stream of people coming over to talk to us throughout the day, lured in no doubt by the promise of free 2010 postcards and free newsletters (free gifts at stamp shows it would appear is manna from heaven). Here we have to give thanks to the BPMA’s continued communication and PR effort as everyone we spoke to not only knew about the proposed move to Swindon but were enthusiastic and supportive. In fact, the only complaint people had was that we can’t be open sooner.
It is not just philatelic societies that can’t wait for us to arrive in Swindon as I also spoke to local history and family history group members and a teacher who was interested in the BPMA’s wealth of Key Stage educational resources. Those looking forward to next year’s Festival of Stamps were able to see facsimiles of some of the King George V stamp artwork and essays that will be on display as part of the Empire Mail exhibition at Guildhall Art Gallery.
I found out that Swinpex 2010 is being held at one of the BPMA’s neighbours on the Churchward Village site, Steam. Society members were looking forward to having a new venue for Swinpex and being able to see the BPMA’s new home for themselves (although I perhaps should mention to the organisers they will need to provide 500 hard hats and high vis jackets if they want the tour inside the building). Whilst some were excited that the proximity of the McArthur Glenn Designer Outlet meant they could combine two of their favourite hobbies: shopping and philately!