Stella & Rose’s Books were delighted to attend the 21st annual meeting of Biggles & Co - a group of enthusiasts who meet to celebrate the life and works of Captain W.E. Johns.
The event, held this year on Saturday 17th April 2010 at Lodden Hall, Twyford, is a wonderful opportunity for those who enjoy these books to get together and chat about Biggles, Gimlet, Worrals and all their chums… There is also a large number of quality books and artwork to browse and buy - a great chance to fill gaps in even the most comprehensive collection!
After arriving around 9am there was an hour to set up our stall and display all those Biggles books which we had carefully transported from our two shops. All went smoothly and, after a final check to ensure that Biggles was sufficiently presentable to meet his adoring public, the doors opened and the real business of the day started - meeting old & new friends, and exchanging views on our favourite literary hero.
John Lester spoke enthusiastically about the Space Series; Dirk Edel, from The Netherlands, explained how a number of illustrations from the Dutch editions had been saved from almost certain destruction and made available to a wider audience; Peter Hall spoke about ‘Biggles Fails to Return’, and showed us some photographs of locations in the book; Richard Whittle offered us “A Lifetime’s Obsession”, describing the history of his book collection; Shirley Dave played us two episodes from the BBC Children’s Hour serialisations; Shirley Jacobs asked us to rack our brains for places which Biggles had visited,and then compared these to website hits; Frances Mary Weaver gave her insights into the personalities of Algy and Bertie; Ross Williams lead an interesting discussion about the future of bookshops in light of the increasing use of the internet.
We rounded off the day with a quiz and a raffle which included a number of items donated by exhibitors at the event. I think all agreed that it had been a memorable day, and we are looking forward to next year’s meeting ( to be 9th April 2011). And there’s the W.E. Johns Appreciation Society meeting in October…
Well done to Joy Tilley for all her hard work organising these events.
Details of the W.E. Johns Appreciation Society can be found on the society website at wejas.org.uk