This January saw us host the fourth DEFine Modellers Day at the Risley Village Hall.
A lot of planning goes into these events so it is a blessing if everything goes to plan and there are no last minute emergencies. This year we had our fair share! With just over a week to go to the event, and everything planned out, we got our first call-off. Unfortunately the layout owner had been unwell and could no longer attend which was a shame, but health comes first. Thankfully we managed to get Bevis Heap to step in and bring along “Manston Brewery”. Fast forward to a few days to go and another person who had planned to do a demo had to pull out due to illness which was unfortunate but again, health comes first. As Phil Eames had told me he was having a year off from doing any demos he was the first contact I made as I know he would be free. So there it was that 11 days into his “year off” he was back behind a table doing a track demo for the event. Thanks Phil.
The day started eventful. As I was struggling into my trousers at about 6.30am my phone pinged. It was a text from Guy from the “Oldshaw” crew to say that they were on their way north but had broken down on the M40. Thankfully they managed to get the car repaired and back on the road but were not going to make opening time.
When we arrived at the hall to set it up we faced the challenge of moving a piano that had been left out from a previous event and also relocating a large Christmas tree and assorted props that adorned the main hall. The hall still had all its Christmas decorations up which was a bit surreal too.
Our first visitors arrived just before 10am so we opened the doors to let them in. Everything was set up by this time except for the 12ft “Oldshaw” shaped gap at the end of the hall. As usual Sylvia and the team in the refreshments area had been frantically making up filled rolls and boiling the urns in anticipation of a busy day. A steady crowd so0n filled the hall, chatting on demos, drinking tea and coffee or watching the excellent layouts we had lined up. Popular once again was our central community area where visitors could relax, and help themselves to a large number of magazine back numbers.
This year we trialed having a members sales area which proved popular and a good number of books, stock and accessories found new homes.
At around 11am we were happy to see the “Oldshaw” crew in the shape of Tom and Guy arrive safely with the layout, Mike had made it up by train so he missed out on the drama. I have never seen an exhibition layout get set up so fast as it was all hands to the pumps and in no time stock was moving.
As the day went one it was obvious from the feedback that our visitors were pleased with the way the event had gone. Some were there from around 10am until closing time at 4pm, which says something for the small more intimate modellers events.
As with previous years when the 4pm closing time came we still had a number of visitors in the hall, and we had to tidy up and sweep around them as they continued their conversations. With all the layouts and demos packed back into their owners vehicles it was time to close the doors on DEFine Modellers Day 2020.
We may not be the biggest event on the model railway calendar, or get huge numbers through the doors, but feel we get the right people attending. Watching people share ideas whether it be sitting chatting, working on demos, or talking to layout owners is very rewarding for us. At one point a few laptops appeared and discussions on projects and designs were holding people’s attention. We have already agreed to hold our fifth event next year (2021) so look out for details being posted here and on the popular forums.
What follows are a number of un-captioned pictures from the day. If you weren’t there hopefully it will give you a flavour of what the event looks like, if you were there you may even see yourself (I must try and get a picture of me at the event next year).