Congress Medal

Barry Burns and Bernard Mabbett

For the first time in its history the ABPS Congress Medal in 2021 has been awarded jointly to two collectors who worked as a team.  Barry Burns and Bernard Mabbett visited St Helena on two occasions to preserve the philatelic records and stamps of the island.

The pair visited the island to do research but after three weeks had found very little new information on the stamps or workings of the St Helena Post Office.  Then they were shown a cellar containing two rooms packed with boxes and folders of paperwork.  The postmistress said she would like it archived but did not have the staff or budget to undertake the work.  Barry and Bernard agreed they would return to do the work themselves.

The task became urgent when they heard that the St Helena Government wished to empty the cellar and dump everything.  In 2013 Barry and Bernard and two fellow philatelists returned to St Helena and spent five weeks sorting the paperwork and ledgers and putting them into 100 plus archive boxes.  These had to be frozen to kill the white ants which had already destroyed some of the paperwork.  The size of the task and the limited time available meant that only rudimentary sorting could be accomplished so the friends intend to return to complete the work.

Before they left Barry and Bernard were asked if they were prepared to return to write up the Government stamp collection consisting of Ascension, St Helena and Tristan da Cunha stamps. So, in 2019 they returned to the island.  The collection had been kept in very poor conditions on old non-acid-free card but by the end of four and a half weeks 996 album pages had been written up and mounted.  This was only achieved by working long hours seven days a week.  Now there is a permanent philatelic display in the museum which is changed on a regular basis.  The whole collection is being scanned and downloaded onto a CD.

Had they not undertaken the work the archives would have been destroyed and the stamps deteriorated beyond rescue.  The archives and stamps are now available for study by future generations.

In addition both Barry and Bernard have held several offices in the West African Study Circle and Middlesbrough & District Philatelic Society

Barry Burns and Bernard Mabbett (left) outside Jamestown Cellar

Acknowledgement to The Sentinel (Newspaper), South Atlantic Services Ltd. (SAMS)

Congress Medal History

The Congress Medal was inaugurated in 1959 at the 50th Anniversary Philatelic Congress of Great Britain held at Torquay. The first recipient was Wilfred Haworth, a well known philatelist at that time. This prestigious medal, together with a lapel pin, is presented to just one person each year at the annual ABPS Philatelic Congress of Great Britain in recognition of dedication and voluntary service to British philately at national level.

Among the recipients were Mr and Mrs Harry Green in 1962 and 1963, the first husband and wife to win the medal. The 1966 award was to Fred Myers, whose daughters Jean Wood and Susan Moore also attended Congress regularly; when Jean herself was awarded the medal in 2007, that made them the only father and daughter to be presented with the award. Mrs Kay Goodman, a keen worker with youth philately, and who has a lecture at Congress named after her, won the Congress Medal in 1976.

The senior holder of the Medal is Richard West MBE who was awarded the medal in 1995. Other holders are:- Pat Rothnie MBE, Susan Oliver, Brian Asquith, Margaret Morris, Brian Sole, Peter Chantry, John Hammonds, Alan Griffiths, Kenneth Norris, Frank Soutar, John Davies, Phil Kenton, Yvonne Wheatley, Christopher Oliver, Bryan Jones , Jean Osborne, John Baron, Erene Grieve, Gerald Marriner and Nigel Gooch..

The Awards Committee has been chaired by Capt B Rogers-Tillstone, G W Dalton, R F W Sheraton, K F Chapman, L Gilbert-Lodge, B Leslie Barker, Neil Russell, David Beech, Alan Wood, Margaret Morris, Susan Oliver and at the present time Yvonne Wheatley.

The full list of Congress Medal winners is below: An asterisk signifies deceased

  • 2020 Nigel Gooch
  • 2019 Gerald Marriner
  • 2018 Erene Grieve
  • 2017 John Baron
  • 2016 Jean Osborne
  • 2015 Bryan Jones
  • 2014 Christopher Oliver
  • 2013 Yvonne Wheatley
  • 2012 Phil Kenton
  • 2011 John Davies
  • 2010 *Ian Crane
  • 2009 Frank Soutar
  • 2008 *Robert Johnson
  • 2007 *Jean Wood
  • 2006 Kenneth Norris
  • 2005 Alan Griffiths
  • 2004 John Hammonds
  • 2003 Peter Chantry
  • 2002 Brian Sole
  • 2001 Margaret Morris
  • 2000 Brian Asquith
  • 1999 Susan Oliver
  • 1998 *Thomas Rielly
  • 1997 *Allan P Berry
  • 1996 Pat Rothnie MBE
  • 1995 Richard West MBE
  • 1994 *Lesley Hampton
  • 1993 *Derrick Ray
  • 1992 *Cdr George R Gibson RN
  • 1991 *Richard C A Payne
  • 1990 *Neil M Russell
  • 1989 *Franceska Rapkin
  • 1988 *C Angus Parker
  • 1987 *Roy H Garland
  • 1986 *S Jack Andrews
  • 1985 *Herbert (A H R) Grimsey
  • 1984 *R Geraint Jones
  • 1983 *George O I Hollings
  • 1982 *Bernard Lucas
  • 1981 *Alfred J Branston
  • 1980 *Jack C Simmonds
  • 1979 *John C W Field
  • 1978 *Robert (Bob) C Emery
  • 1977 *James D Todd
  • 1976 *Kay Goodman
  • 1975 *Miroslaw Bojanowicz
  • 1974 *Marjorie M Humble
  • 1973 *Thomas H Wilcox
  • 1972 *Dr F P N Parsons
  • 1971 *V McFarlane
  • 1970 *R F W Sheraton
  • 1969 *E H Ford
  • 1968 *Kenneth Chapman
  • 1967 *Capt. B Rogers-Tillstone
  • 1966 *Fred Myers
  • 1965 *G W Groves
  • 1964 *F Walker
  • 1963 *Doris Green
  • 1962 *Harry Green
  • 1961 *John Steele Higgins
  • 1960 *Ernest F Hugen
  • 1959 *Wilfred Haworth
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