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NW Group in Wigan - 30 Sept and 1 Oct 2017

Whilst many L&B fans were enjoying the rain and mud (and Lyn, of course) in Devon, the North West Group were warm and dry in a sports hall in Wigan, with an L&B display and sales stand and a model layout – Bob Barnard’s small Chelfham diorama.

The calm before the storm - the stall is laid out (Photo: Sue)

The show is a large and popular one, occupying two large sports halls. Saturday was extremely busy until just before 3pm, when a football match started in the stadium across the road. NW Group stalwarts Peter Ainley and Stuart Robertson ran the L&B stand and did much of the talking about the railway, whilst local 009 Society member Rob McKelvey very kindly provided Bob with invaluable support with operating the Chelfham diorama for the visitors. Chelfham was shown from the east side, and ran in L&B period all day.

Rob and Bob before the visitors arrive (Photo: Peter)

Sunday was steadier in terms of crowds most of the day. Bob and Sue Barnard and NW Group member Ron Dumbell did the talking about the L&B and selling people L&B merchandise, whilst Bob was assisted with the Chelfham layout (now turned round to be seen from the west side, and changed from L&B era to SR era in the afternoon) by 009 Society volunteer Tony Ennis.

Ron (L) prepares to pounce on a visitor, Bob (centre) is lost in operating the layout, while Tony struggles to couple a train (R)

We seemed to be a popular attraction on both days, most people being aware of the launch of Lyn into service. Bob and Sue had returned from the 762 Club event in Devon on Friday morning, and were able to tell visitors first-hand about the naming of Lyn, and travelling on the first train behind the new engine.

The two new books “Modelling the L&B” and “Lyn Returns” both sold extremely well throughout the weekend. An abiding memory is of a queue forming shortly after 10am on Sunday, each person in turn handing over a £20 note for a copy of each of the new books. We sold out of the Lyn book by Sunday afternoon, and almost sold out of the (larger) stock of Modelling books as well. For some reason, there was an unusually high demand for copies of recent issues of the L&B Magazine. Overall, we took an unprecedented amount – three times our previous best sales at a show!

Exe waits to depart from Chelfham with an Up train (Photo: Peter)

Thanks are due to L&B members Peter, Stuart, Sue and Ron for working so hard, and also special thanks to the Oldham Group of the 009 Society who found volunteers to help run the layout (apparently willingly!). Rob and Tony both, on being offered a choice of L&B or 009 Society name badges, chose L&B ones! Thanks guys.

In the old photos everything was in sepia... (Photo: Peter)

Since the Wigan show, the NW Group have been offered the opportunity to have an L&B Stand at the Narrow Gauge Railway Modelling Show, Rainhill Village Hall, Weaver Avenue, Rainhill, Merseyside, L35 4LU on Saturday 25 November 2017 from 10am to 5pm.

Bob Barnard

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