A hero of the Slavo-British Legion
Volume 47, Number 4, April 2009
All change for the OMRS in 2009 The annual Convention of the Orders and Medals Research Society has, for th last 31 years, been a highlight of the medal enthusiasts’ year. Apparently, however, this year things wil l be slightly different! Back in the late 1970s, Convention was launched with the aim of allowing members to meet, dealers to sell and the Society to benefit from the income generated, but recently a declining level of members attending convention , a reduction in the number of dealers and a spiraling level of costs has resulted in the event becoming a cost to the society as opposed to an income generator. It has therefore decided that something had to change. As a not-for-profit organisation, but fortunately with a reserve of funds, the OMRS Executive was able to look at three options: either to continue as present thereby allowing Convention to die on the vine, to cease running altogether, or to invest and radically change. Fortunately for the society and the hobby, the latter option has been decided upon! The most obvious change was the venue, especially with the financial troubles the New Connaught Rooms are now facing. A change was perhaps long overdue, but the survey conducted for the Society’s Diamond Jubilee clearly indicated that London as a location should continue and this is supported by the demographics of the membership, the dealers and the strong support received from overseas members. In all, six major venues were identified, with cost, facilities available and location being taken into consideration, with BMA House in Tavistock Square, London WC2 quickly becoming the preferred venue . However, to simply continue with a “medal fair” no matter how good, was not deemed to be sufficient. To cater for the widest number of members’ needs the society felt it necessary to offer a “comprehensive medallic programme”. Peter Helmore, the General Secretary of the Society, explained to us that the real dilemma was how to present this in a manner which did not conflict with the medal fair. It was felt that both could not be conducted simultaneously and a two day event would be required. As Pete reminded us, the Society is all about Research, it’s a key objective as set out in the constitution. It was decided therefore that the first day of Convent ion should carry a very big emphasis on this aspect and approaches were made to the principal archives and museum who expressed a keen interest in supporting an event which allowed them to share with members their research potential. A similar approach to two of the main website databases or genealogical research also received a positive response and both the Royal Mint and the National Army Museum have agreed to provide speakers. With the long established Members’ Exhibits taking place on the same day (in three classes Open, Single Medal and research Project) a full and attractive Research based programme could now be offered on the Saturday with the medal bourse taking place on the Sunday. Al l of this of course comes at cost. Peter explained how the Society’s policy of greater financial control over recent years now means that member s can benefit from a major subsidy for Convention —for 2009 this figure has been set at a substantial sum. Therefore entry this yea will be £15 per member for the two days. Along with the BMA security requirement s, this is the main reason why the event will now be restricted to members only. Peter emphasized that he and the Executive felt that it would be very wrong for non-members to benefit from the use of Society funds and so the message now is very firmly that if you re not already an OMRS member and wish to attend Convention you should join now! Those who don’t simply won’t be able to attend Convention . Anyone wishing to join the Society can do so online t www.omrs org.uk or write for an application form to OMRS, PO B x 48, Snettisham, Kings Lyn PE31 7TA. Family members wishing to accompany attendees to Convention may join the Society in advance for a reduced fee of £3. Medal News hopes to be there, we’ve traditionally launched our MEDAL YEARBOOK at the event and are intrigued to see how the changes implemented this year will be received; we wish the OMRS every success of course. Other dealer s who have not yet been contacted direct and wish to attend should email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone: 01926 312176 (evenings). The OMR Convention 2009 will take place over he weekend 19/20 September at BMA House, Tavistock Square WC2.
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