Collectors descend on city for stamp enthusiasts’ event

From left Gerald Marriner and Paul Gaywood
From left Gerald Marriner and Paul Gaywood
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WHEN it comes to stamp collecting they’ve got it licked.

About 130 dedicated followers of the art – called philately – shared their passions at the 93rd Philatelic Congress of Great Britain in Southsea.

Philately involves more than just stamp collecting, as experts explained at the four-day event, held at The Queen’s Hotel in Clarence Parade.

It includes postal history and related issues.

Lesley Marley, from Havant, has been collecting stamps for about 30 years.

Her collection is called A Tale of Whales.

It scooped her the top award in a competition at the annual congress event.

Speaking of her win, Mrs Marley said: ‘I wanted to start collecting and it went from there.’

Every year the most distinguished philatelists receive the highest honour in possible – an opportunity to sign the Roll of Distinguished Philatelists.

King George V was first to sign the treasured scroll in 1921. It now contains 360 signatures.

And yesterday a ceremony was held at Portsmouth Guildhall to mark three new signatories – Koichi Sato from Japan, Ray Todd from Australia and Gavin Fryer from the UK.

Only a handful of people are selected to be added to the roll every year.

Chris King has the grand title of Keeper of the Roll of Distinguished Philatelists.

He said: ‘I didn’t come out until 2000 as a stamp collector!

‘It’s a little bit embarrassing. I didn’t think people would be interested, but actually they are.

‘It’s the most sociable of hobbies.’

Describing his passion for philately, Gerald Marriner, chairman of the Philatelic Congress Committee of Great Britain, said: ‘I enjoy the history – the social history, the postal history – you can find out the whole history of a family.’