Report of joint meeting with the Sudan Study Group,
Morley Hayes Hotel, nr Derby, March 18-22

A most enjoyable and productive weekend meeting was shared with our Sudan-collecting colleagues in charming and amenable surroundings, with remarkable material on display and excellent presentations by members of both societies. ESC members present were: John Davis (President), Jon Aitchison (Chairman), Mike Murphy (Secretary), Sami Sadek (Treasurer), Neil Hitchens (Webmaster/Deputy Chairman), Brian Sedgley (Committee), Ted Fraser-Smith, Laurence Kimpton, Mahmoud Ramadan (Egypt), Richard Wheatley. Guests: Rosemary Davis, Sarah Sedgley, Yvonne Wheatley.

The formula of standing displays ranged around the walls of the exhibiting area proved a winner, with two or three collections being shown silently at the same time as a main display went ahead in front of the audience. John Davis (Fuad 5m and postal stationery), Jon Aitchison, Laurence Kimpton (air mails), Ted Fraser-Smith (new issues), Brian Sedgley (territorial POs), Sami Sadek (TPOs), Richard Wheatley (Simon Arzt) and Mike Murphy (Rural Post and Palaces post) all took advantage of the opportunities offered.

At the same time we were regaled with outstanding material from the Sudan side, with Richard Stock, Jacke Philips, Andy Neal, Paul Grigg, Gwynne Harries and Julie Anderson in particular displaying the close interrelation between the two nations before and around the turn of the century. Postal services crossed both countries with remarkable efficiency, even under wartime contingencies, and we were surprised by the strength and depth of the postal co-operation

On the sidelines there was more informal discussion about a potential linking of the two societies, both of which are feeling the pinch of declining and ageing membership. There was agreement at the end, however, that links should remain no more than close while the effect of SSG’s new Facebook page is studied.

Among those attending were several who were members of both societies, including Mahmoud Ramadan, who travelled from Egypt specifically for the meeting. He was understandably eager to display his early covers among the entries for the prestigious Norton Collier Prize – and was voted an overwhelming winner for a stupendous display. Happily he gave us permission to reproduce the exhibit in full in the QC.