Theydon Bois Village Hall
Coppice Row, (the B172) Theydon Bois, CM16 7ER
This year’s Convention found the Club again spreading its wings and venturing to a new venue in a continuing quest to find a bigger and yet still easily accessed meeting place for our major annual events. Theydon Bois is an attractive ‘village’ on the boundaries of west Essex and northeast London, bordering Epping Forest. A very small and sparsely populated parish until about 100 years ago, primarily associated with highwaymen preying on those travelling the road through the forest, it has now expanded as part of the commuter belt and has the benefit, to both the commuters and our Club, of being on the London Underground network. Theydon Bois village hall was constructed as a millennium project, so it is a relatively modern structure. It is spacious, bright and well appointed, with an outside seating area and ample parking, all set in a pleasantly semi-rural background.
Despite plenty of pre-planning, one can never be entirely sure how an event will pan out until it has actually happened so it was with a little trepidation that the Hall doors were thrown open at the start of the day. However, very quickly the usual hustle and bustle developed as members and dealers from all over the country, and overseas, arrived to enjoy a day centred on their favourite topic: shells (as demonstrated by Peter Dance’s much admired shirt). There were even queues at some of the dealer tables which I’m sure they were very happy to see even if it did mean they were rushed off their feet. The catering arrangements were similar to those in Napier Hall and again superbly marshalled by Selina Wilkins, so the familiar chat over a cup of tea and sandwich was soon to be seen in evidence. Indeed the weather meant that members could take advantage of the comfortable outside seating and patio area.
Once everyone had seen off their lunchtime hunger pangs, the quick (and I mean quick!) AGM was followed by the Club Auction. Unlike the October auction, which consists entirely of lots donated for Club funds, this auction is of lots sold on behalf of members and contained a wide variety of material. Organised and run on the day by our now established and very capable Auction Manager John Fisher, bidding was at times very competitive and a grand total of £900.10 was paid for the lots sold, including £400 for one large and impressive lot of Olividae. The commission on the sales raised £174.90 for Club funds, so this was an excellent outcome all round.
I would like to offer my usual thanks to all those who helped before, during and after the day, but in particular to Andy Wakefield, a longstanding Club member, who not only suggested the Hall as a potential venue in the first place but was also particularly helpful in facilitating and publicising the event locally, even creating a very attractive poster featuring a lovely picture of a specimen of Chicoreus regius which Andy had collected off Panama the previous year. Andy even went so far as to offer the actual specimen, and a copy of the poster, to be auctioned for Club funds.
All in all it was felt the day and the new venue were a success which should be continued. Members and visitors were kind enough to express their thoughts to myself and others during the day and further opinion was canvassed during the AGM. It is now the intention to hold the Club’s Shows and the April Conventions at Theydon Bois for the foreseeable future, unless an even better venue is found.
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