|After so much planning and work the Ryedale Aquarist
Society 20th Anniversary Day finally fell upon us.
On the morning of Sunday 13th March the sun shone beautifully.
At 8.50a.m. Henry arrived to help ship raffle and food items
etc. to the Pickering Centre of Askham Bryan College. Upon arrival
we found Ann preparing her kitchen and that, as promised, Kevin
Webb and Martin 'Petland' had made an early start from York
in order to help us out and boy would we be, as ever, grateful
as we four gentleman found ourselves with all the table lifting
and chair moving to do.
An hour on and both the Ryedale Championship and auction room
were prepared. The first guest to arrive would be Dr. David
Ford who brought along a lovely little display featuring a history
of the first 30 years of Aquarian products. As you will see
from the presentation photograph Dr. Ford would have a thoroughly
enjoyable day in our company. 40 guests made the journey to
join us. Longest distance travellers were Dick Mills and Bob
Esson who had travelled from the London area to represent the
F.B.A.S. Council and the 5 members of the Cowan family who travelled
down from Dumfries.
So the programme of events began. First up was the auction.
9 people brought along their 'lots'. The starting time became
a little delayed but once our 'old friend', and Y.A.A.S. Chairman,
Steve Jones got going things ran very smoothly. As you will
see from the photo. Steve had good running help in the form
of Henry and Martin 'Petland'. As always our other 'old friends'
Geoff and Jane Bell were keen to help and soon had the bookwork
I only had time to see the first item sold, and grab a quick
picture, so rely on Ivor Hilton who tells me that this was very
much an accessories day. Martin enjoyed helping Henry and tells
me that he found a number of bargains to take home for use in
his own tanks.
Beforehand we had made sure that the heating was working in
the main hall but would receive a few complaints later on that
the hall was cold. Henry told me not to worry as much of this
was caused by people moving in and out while leaving the main
At the same time as the auction was running Kevin began judging
the Ryedale Championship. The idea was to run a single class
with 'one fish per guest'. This had caused some confusion during
the build-up to the event but all went well on the day and resulted
in a class featuring 16 of the top show fish in Yorkshire going
into battle for the Championship crown.
Unfortunately the Show Steward failed to make an appearance
so I, while trying to do my designated jobs, stepped in and
thoroughly enjoyed assisting Kevin. When the result was announced
Roy Blackburn could not actually believe he had won.
Here are the first four placed people:-
Ryedale Champion - Mr. Roy Blackburn - 'Rasbora' hengeli (Castleford
Runner-up - Mr. Brian Chrich - Giraffe catfish (Sutton A.S).
3rd - Miss Jordan Pygott - Frogmouth catfish (Sutton A.S.).
4th - Mr. Bob Mansfield - Humpbacked Limia (Independent).
With the judging over it was time to break for buffet lunch.
Ann, Sue (coffee and tea), Joan Douglas, Marian Hildred, Trish
Jones and Martin 'Scarborough' had worked wonders with the food
provided by Ryedale members and guests to produce what Dr. Ford
told me, 3 times, was 'The best spread of food I have seen in
over 30 years of touring aquatic events'. Our guests certainly
'tucked in' and no one went away hungry. Meanwhile Henry moved
the tables away from the showing area setting-up chairs for
the lectures etc.
Prize giving would now follow with Dr. Ford doing the main
First up were the 12 runners-up in the Ryedale Championship
who all received a 200g tub of Aquarian Tropical Flake and a
small Nutra-Fin Max courtesy of the York Branch of Maidenhead
Now Roy finally believed he had won the Championship receiving
a large Rena filter from Dr. Ford and a large airpump and Tetra
crisp courtesy of Tetra U.K. Ltd. Busy helping with the prize
awards I gave my camera over to Arthur (Kenworthy) who takes
excellent photos and, as you will see, Arthur did an excellent
Next the runner-up and 3rd and 4th placed people all received
large buckets of Aquarian Tropical Flake and airpumps courtesy
Now there was a nice surprise for the Ryedale members as Dick
and Bob presented us with a special trophy from the F.B.A.S.
to mark the first 20 years. In the absence of our Chairman I
accepted this trophy and called over the Ryedale members in
attendance for a group photograph. With the presentations over
it was time for the lectures.
As I do various pieces of work for 'Tropical World' magazine
the pre-event teasing had been 'David has invited his boss'.
Although Simon and I have spent many hours over the last few
years talking on the telephone and communicating through e-mail
it was not actually until the evening before our event that
we met face-to-face for the first time and the Ryedale members
were thrilled that Simon had given-up time from a hectic working
and family schedule to travel from Plymouth, along with wife
Debbie, to join us for the day.
What I didn't realise was that Simon (Wolstencroft) was not
used to public speaking but this did not show as Simon did an
excellent job with 'My life as Editor of Tropical World Magazine'
in which the fate of going from hobbyist to aquatic journalist
was revealed. One thing we certainly learned was never go to
Germany in the company of a certain aquatic photographer.
As a memento of Simon and Debbie's visit to Ryedale (hopefully
we will see you both again) we presented Debbie with a painting
of the Smiddy Hill area of Pickering put together by a well
known local artist.
With a small break Cliff Hildred helped me give each visiting
family 'free gifts' of Aquarian and Tetra products.
For the second lecture another 'old friend' David Armitage
put together an excellent travelogue of visits to the natural
habitats of African and Asian aquarium fish. Having been granted
the luxury of listening to Simon's talk various tasks required
my attention so I would see very little of David's presentation
but timed things nicely so that I was able to see the 'new stuff'
in the form of slides of a recent visit to Madagascar. During
his travels over the island David, who made the point very strongly,
found that 90% of all the fish viewed were introduced species
and, very sadly, most of the local people and guides he spoke
with had little idea of what was an endemic and what was an
introduced fish specie.
As we always do when David speaks to us we made a donation
to the South African Sandelia conservation fund.
Now all that was left to do was draw the raffle. Mark Lyons,
Martin 'Petland' and the youngsters among our visitors did a
good job putting the raffle sheets together. Our thanks to Rolf
C. Hagen Ltd. for the help with raffle prizes.
Well all too soon it was time to say farewell to our guests
and start the packing-away process. Thankfully we had several
'willing hands' to help us move tables and chairs and it is
times like these when we realise just how small in number we
are and how grateful we actually are to 'friends' from fellow
Y.A.A.S. groups, Mark Lyons and Martin 'Petland' who always
help us out.
Apart from the odd 'grumble' everything went really well and
we sent our guests' home happy.
When the original Ryedale Aquarist Club, as it was in 1985,
Committee made the promise that if we reached 20 years we would
have a special event I don't think that they ever really believed
we would get this far but after doing so Ann and myself, as
the only original members left, and Henry (with us for the past
15 years) were determined to hold this promise and we did so
in style. Sadly, even though we had much local press and radio
publicity, not one ex-member actually came along and this does
not reflect on us but on the fact that the vast majority of
our members over the past 20 years have been aquarists' moving
into the area for work (as was the case with the original Chairman,
Secretary and Treasurer) and then moving on again once the job
Our THANKS go to Aquarian, Tetra U.K., Tropical World Magazine,
Maidenhead Aquatics and Petland at New Earswick for their generous
sponsorship and to all our guests for their company and for
bringing along their auction 'lots', top show fish and food
Finally a huge THANK YOU to all who helped on the day, to our
kitchen staff, to Steve, to Geoff and Jane, to Kevin, to Simon,
to David A.., to Dr. Ford, Martin 'Petland, Mark Lyons and the