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Kent Group Report: Whitstable Show

The Kent Group's sales and publicity stand, in the shape of half-scale wagon No. 1, featured at the East Kent Model Railway Society's annual Whitstable Model Railway Exhibition on 16th August. The venue was the United Reformed Church along Middle Wall, right in the heart of Whitstable's historic centre, where once boats were built for the local oyster and inshore fishing trade.

There were eight layouts on display, three fewer than planned due to illness amongst the EKMRS members (who are not getting any younger). However, there was a good number of traders, which for the local railway modellers are almost more important, since the local model shop closed two years ago. There was a brisk stream of visitors throughout the day and the event was a success both for the EKMRS and ourselves.

There are usually some interesting individuals at these events. This time, there were two gentlemen who are keen modellers of the L&B, who both bought a number items from the stand. One notable visitor was someone who had been on holiday in Parracombe in 1952, who experienced the flood which washed away Parracombe bank, losing his bike in the deluge. Another, younger, visitor whose family came from Exmoor and knew the area well gave a generous donation, despite my suggestion that he avail himself of the range of goods that we had on sale.  

However, possibly the most significant chat was held with someone who was a frequent visitor to Dunster in Somerset, chiefly to ride on the West Somerset Railway, who had even considered moving to Minehead to work on that line. Yet he was unaware that steam trains once again ran on the west side of Exmoor and that plans existed to rebuild the L&B.

Clearly there are still many more people out there who would be interested in our doings, if only they could be reached.

Mention must be made of one of the traders, Supercast of Ramsgate, who describe themselves as makers of 'supremely detailed Model Railway Figures'. Amongst their range they include Sherlock Holmes, Doctor Watson and Professor Moriarty. So anyone building a layout of the L&B in its very early years could add something of a surreal touch to their model!

Thanks for the invitation to this event are again extended to the event organiser, Paul Mellett, your reporter's next-door neighbour and the rest of the EKMRS members, and to Mary, Paul's wife, who with her team provided all the exhibitors with free lunch and drinks.

Anne Belsey 



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