The familiar “Youth Zone”, sponsored by the Philatelic Traders’ Society, returned to Stampex, manned by volunteers from the Stamp Active Network.
Stamp Active had laid on a display of sports stamps and related activities, with youngsters winning points for the popular free children’s auction on Saturday or exchanging points for prizes. The “Lucky Dip”, “Guess the Number of Stamps in the Jar” and “Spin A Prize” games added to the fun. All young visitors received £20 in vouchers to spend at the show, financed by Stamp Active as a result of their fund-raising efforts and dealer patrons. Many dealers were also generous in giving big discounts to the kids on what they had chosen or free items, which were greatly appreciated. This was all very well-received and resulted in some exciting youngsters around the Show. The Show Zone also included a PostCrossing session in the auditorium on Saturday.
The team were pleased to entertain a Year 3 School Group from St. John’s Primary School, Highbury, who listened to a presentation about the history of stamps. They then completed a range of activities including “Design a Stamp”, a “Quiz”, “Guess the Number of Stamps in the Sack” and created their own Greetings Card with “Stamp Art”. Overall, it was a busy session and the youngsters had to be persuaded to leave, such was their enthusiasm. Some returned on Saturday to take part in the activities and auction, showing that they had enjoyed their first visit.
The auction was run again by Keith Burton of the Association of British Philatelic Societies (ABPS) who challenged the young collectors to choose from 30 lots to bid for their favourites. It was held in the Spink Auditorium, which provided a very professional atmosphere for the event. There was fierce competition for some of the more popular items. The kids roared their appreciation at the end for the generous donations from dealers and friends that made up the lots. At the end of the auction, there was a prize draw for a Penny Black, donated by Robin Cassell of Mulready Philatelics, which was won by Xanthe Page, aged 11, from St. Helens.
The best overall entry in the British Youth Stamp Championships came from Dominic Beattie of Aylesbury, aged 17, for a 16 page entry on “Die Ziffernserie”.
Commenting on the event, Chair of Stamp Active, Susan Henderson, said “Stampex exceeded our expectations, particularly as there was a rail strike on our big day. Feedback from the children and their parents was excellent and made all our effort worthwhile. There was lots of fun. The youngsters enjoyed spending their £20 vouchers and we believe some of the dealers were very generous on what they gave to them. Lots of happy young collectors!”
Photo: 1d Black winner Xanthe Page with Robin Cassell.