From the President..
Initially I was asked by the editor to provide a profile for the journal, but quite honestly I find such things a little pretentious and would rather spend column inches on philately. In deference to tradition I have included two short paragraphs, one personal and the other philatelic, after that I get down to the nitty-gritty sharing some thoughts with you instead and, editor permitting, will do so in each issue……..after all ….’Ye shall know them by their fruits’.
So, who am I? – came to Kent in the late 60’s and finished my growing up on a council estate, local grammar school, left school at 18 and started work as an office clerk. Worked in 39 countries, peacekeeping in 1 and fought in 2. FCMA, CGMA, FCMI, Chartered Institute of Journalists (affiliate), British Association of journalists, International Institute for Strategic Studies, Royal Institute for International Affairs, Royal Geographical Society, British Association for Slavic and East European Studies etc, etc………..multi track career Consultant Director NED Journo, Academic etc in short a good memory and a lot of drive driven by a good but financially challenged childhood.
Philatelicaly……rather more interesting, started collecting stamps aged 8 with a kiloware bag from the ‘Sally Army’ in Gillingham High Street followed with plenty of packets from woollies and blagged from relatives. Started to specialise in my late teens early twenties – no money so went for cheap stuff no one else was interested in. Many societies over many years holding a number of offices, Croatian, Germany & Colonies, Revenue, FPHS, Yugoslavia Study Group, Rossica, BSRP and of course joined ‘The Royal’ at 27. Articles published in 5 countries in 4 languages blah blah blah.
Now let’s get on with what I really want to say…..
It seems these days that whatever news medium one chooses it is impossible to escape the pedlars of doom and despondency, the politics of difference, division, sectarianism and hatred. Politicians make lucrative livelihoods from the smoke and mirrors of nationalism and the most convoluted logic – the SNP, for example shouts for independence from the UK……in order to surrender it to the EU…….Marine Le Pen wants to defend French values by restricting Liberte, doing away with Egalite and screw the Fraternite while the head of the IMF and most of our banks are being done for fraud.??
Nevertheless however much it seems that our world is in dire straits there comes a reminder that all is not lost, that things can change, and for the better if we have the courage to step outside the tramlines of narrow prejudice reach out to one another and work for the common good rather than narrow interest.
Today whilst driving through the beautiful spring countryside of Kent and Sussex I heard the news of the death of Martin McGuinness, a man at whose door could be laid many a foul deed including responsibility for the torture mutilation and murder of a friend of mine.
Yet this hardened terrorist was one of the architects of peace in Northern Ireland, a man who having finally realised that conflict led nowhere put aside the gun and worked for the betterment of all the people of his troubled land not just his partisan followers….as no lesser person than Ian Paisley Jnr said today……’it’s not how you begin your life that matters but how you end it.’
Over the years I have worked in many countries and it has never ceased to amaze me how much effort, time and money is expended in conflict be it boardroom, bar-room or battlefield, when one stops to think of what that same effort, time and money could achieve if spent building rather than destroying. We could do with a few more ‘Renaissance Men’ and a few less Huns methinks.
Sport, the arts and hobbies are all channels through which, putting aside politics, religion and dogma mankind can come together and celebrate at one and the same time what makes us all different and what makes us all the same.
Philately is one of those hobbies, an escape from the mundane, an outlet for creativity and study, for learning, enjoyment and the sharing of enthusiasms, the thrill of the chase. Whole displays can be built around a single blue stamp or a childhood hymn – you know who you are. It is at one and the same time an individual and a collective hobby, providing scope for infinite difference in collecting mores and habits and yet unifying us all as philatelists.
As many of you will know we have within KFPS a new executive and a new website, it only seems fitting therefore that we take this opportunity to refresh and renew the focus of the federation of which we are all a part. KFPS is an organisation of Kent philatelists, run by Kent philatelists for Kent philatelists – it serves ALL philatelists in Kent and ALL philatelists in Kent are welcome into its broad church wherever in the county they be and whatever they collect. Its role is to support the individual clubs of Kent, to promote philately within the county and to speak for Kent philatelists at a national level. The new website is a very public commitment to these principles, providing a web platform to promote every club in the county whatever its size of technological know-how. It does not seek to replace the sites of those clubs who run their own sites but will complement them, for those clubs who have never had web presence it offers a supported opportunity to join the county and worldwide online philatelic community.
As part and parcel of this development I would like to ask all the clubs of the county to let us have some illustrations of the material their members collect, stamps covers, miniature sheets, Tongan Tobbacco Tax, Donald Duck in Djubuti…. all that matters is that you like it, collect it and can let us a have a few lines as to why. All submissions will be anonymous but will be posted up with an accreditation to the club concerned, all clubs would like new members and the best way to get them is to ensure they know they will be welcome and that the clubs in Kent are comprised of enthusiastic fellow collectors. The thousands of daily online stamp purchases in Kent and the number of fairs Kent supports are a clear indicator that there are hundreds of collectors who have not yet experienced the joys of club membership and sharing their interest with like minded persons.
Pres………No names no pack drill……..who I am does not in fact matter……what I do does.