The 2007 BSCC Shell Show

The start of the day, our second visit to Theydon Bois Village Hall, was something of a shock initially as we discovered that the venue was in use in the evenings by the local amateur dramatics group, hence the usual food serving hatch was being used for their bar and the stage had been turned into a very comfortable sitting room.

Undeterred, the usual band of helpers and dealers set to work like termites, lugging about tables, chairs, boxes and the like until very quickly the two halls were transformed into the familiar shell-filled grottos. These were soon further enhanced as the inviting scent of bacon rolls and coffee drifted from the kitchen thanks to the ever appreciated efforts of Selina and her happy helpers.

The day was very well attended by a steady stream of members, friends and those curious to learn more of the world of shells, none of whom were disappointed I am sure. By lunchtime it was time for the auction, but sadly some lots went unsold this year, a trend I am sure will not continue. I speak from happy experience when I say the auction is an opportunity to bag some genuine bargains.

Following this, the judging of the Show exhibits commenced, with Julian Joseph, Gavin Malcolm and Graham Saunders doing the honours. Again, the new scoring system provoked considerable thought and discussion amongst the judging panel, who made an excellent job of a difficult task. I thank them on behalf of the whole Club for their time and effort. The results were The results were as follows:

One Species
(no first prize awarded)
Brian Hammond
Kevin Brown
One Genus/Family
Andy Wakefield: Cryptospira
Dick Plester: Spondylus
David Rolfe: Pectinidae
Tom Walker: Papillifera papillaris
Sharon Crichton: Marine Gastropods
Five Ugliest Shells
John Llewellyn-Jones
Selina Wilkins
Kevin Brown
Ken Wye: The fake shell that never was
John Llewellyn-Jones: Shell jewellery
Junior: 11 & under
Christopher Wilkins

Many of the categories were very closely contested and the judges were impressed by all of the exhibits. Equally, the exhibitors almost unanimously express the satisfaction gained not just from showing their shells at the Show, but the process of putting a display together and how it makes you see your collection in a slightly different light. It can also be a journey of discovery in itself. In other words – I encourage you all to consider entering. The prizes are nice to have, but like many things it’s the taking part which is the main enjoyment. But, speaking of the prizes, which were presented this year by new club president Ken Wye…

The Conchologists of America Award (best overall score) was won by Andy Wakefield for his spectacular exhibit of the genus Cryptospira, which had wonderful specimens, amazing graphics and lots of interesting content. It oozed quality.

The Peter Oliver Cup (best educational exhibit and decided by Members ballot – thanks to all who took the trouble to vote) was awarded to Sharon Crichton for her British Gastropods exhibit.

The Scotia Shield (best promotes interest in British conchology) was also won by Sharon Crichton, a remarkable achievement given that her exhibit did not actually win its individual class!

The John Fisher Trophy (best junior exhibit) was scooped by previous winner Christopher Wilkins. It is no discredit to Christopher’s excellent exhibit but again, sadly, the junior classes were poorly supported. I would urge all parents to encourage their youngsters to have a go. Do members think it would be an idea to have a theme for the junior classes each year? Junior members, please let me know if you have any ideas yourselves.

Finally, the coveted Walter Karo Award for Shell of the Show was awarded to the Spondylus regius cumingi Sowerby, 1847 of former club president Dick Plester, a fitting consolation for part of a wonderful exhibit of Spondylus which would have won many a ‘one genus/family’ category, but this year came up against Andy’s Cryptospira.

As usual, but as ever heartfelt and sincere, I’d like to offer my thanks to all who helped with the running of the event both in the lead up to the day and during it. So many people help in so many different ways, but each of them form an important part of what is one of the highlights of the year for the Club. Well done to you all!

Simon Taylor, Show Secretary.

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