In The Spotlight
Tony Walker’s Philatelic Resumé
I followed the fairly standard early years of collecting, having been introduced to philately by an uncle at the age of about 6, only to lose interest in my teens and university years. However on leaving University in 1967 and earning a proper salary for the first time, it rekindled my enthusiasm which coincided with the introduction of the new Machin definitives, which remain one of my main collecting interests.
I think I may have joined Newcastle Philatelic Society briefly in 1965-1967 whilst a student at the University, but if not, certainly in 1969-70 when I returned to the Northeast to work. Apart from an occasional truancy due to the pressures of work, I have remained active in the Northeast ever since, being Newcastle President and Packet Secretary, and NEPA President. I have given many displays and endeavour to support the local competitions, my first success being the NEPA JDTodd trophy in 1976.
One way to get one’s collection written up is to enter competitions, and my first Stampex success was a silver in 1982, together with the NPM medal, which I won on four occasions. I also see competing, particularly at national and international level, as a means of convincing the philatelic heirachy, steeped in the line engraved, of the importance of modern collecting (Machins), something of a crusade of mine. A Gold Medal with Felicitations at the FIP international in Amsterdam in 2002 for pre-decimal Machins, and a Gold in the International Class at Stampex this year (2003), have been my best achievements from six international events, and apparently Gold is an unprecedented award for such a modern subject.
Although a fellow of the “Royal” for many years, my most active role currently is on the Council of the Great Britain Philatelic Society (GBPS), where I was Membership Secretary for a number of years and for which I presently edit the bi-monthly Newsletter. This probably caught the eye of Royal Mail, who invited me to join the Stamp Advisory Committee (SAC), which commissions new stamp subjects and designs, meeting in London every six weeks. I am one of only two philatelists on the SAC, which is fascinating work.
I thoroughly enjoy all aspects of the hobby, and at last have some time (not enough) to research and write up my collection of British Naval Postal History of WWI.
I have organised a number of events, including the largest ever recorded attendance at a GBPS meeting, achieved here in Newcastle some years ago, and a weekend meeting at York for over 80 people, greatly enhanced by superb summer weather back in 2000.
It was flattering to be asked to contribute to an exhibition of GB stamps put on recently in the Netherlands, and by the Philatelic Trust to produce a permanent frame of “Collecting QEII” to encourage new people to the hobby. We have recently hosted the 85th Philatelic Congress of Great Britain here on Tyneside, and as Vice Chairman I also edited the Congress Handbook.
Subject to unforeseen circumstances, I intend to continue with an active participation in philately at all levels for many years to come. I find the people and the places it brings me into contact with are ample reward from doing what I enjoy doing!
Tony Walker, November 2003