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Thames Valley Group Basingstoke Exhibition

For the weekend of 8th & 9th of March members of the L&B Thames Valley Group took our display stand and sales table to the Basingstoke Model Railway Exhibition. Other than London, this is regarded as the biggest and best model railway exhibition in the South of England with more than 2000 visitors during the weekend.

We certainly had plenty of visitors to our stand - they all showed great interest in the L&B. Many had already been to our railway and wanted to hear the latest news about the extension. Others knew of the railway and 'want to go there one day'. Those who had no prior knowledge listened intently and were intrigued by our obsession with a narrow-gauge railway 150 miles from home! Many of them said they would certainly look in at Woody Bay when next in North Devon.

Apart from a slight lull Sunday lunchtime those manning the stand were kept busy talking the whole weekend, which was good.

The main purpose of our presence at such events is to publicise the L&B and to encourage people to join us as members as well as support us financially. Selling souvenirs of the L&B must be regarded as a bonus. It was therefore all the more pleasing to find the value of our sales for 2014 was 75% higher than for the same exhibition in 2013.

Thanks to John Crockford and Stuart Wise for their help on Saturday and to Chris King-Smith and Robin Horne for their help on Sunday.

TVG group stand before the first visitors arrived Saturday morning

1. Our stand before the first visitors arrived Saturday morning

A younger visitor feeding coins into our new 'FUN WHILE YOU GIVE' donation box!

2. One of the younger visitors to our stand intently feeding coins into our new 'FUN WHILE YOU GIVE' donation box! It should be noted the little boy's father was perfectly happy for his son's photo to appear on the L & B website. Indeed the father was standing right behind his son and supplying him with additional coins as needed!

The "'donation box with a difference" was made by one of the group members using odds and ends from his shed, garage, loft and kitchen. Although it cost nothing to make he said it did take a lot of (sometimes frustrating but mostly enjoyable) time!

Mike Pearce

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