OMRS Convention 2018

Events at the first-ever Orders & Medals Research Society Convention to be held in Nottingham proved hugely popular with attendees with those on the Friday afternoon and evening attracting record numbers.

The visit to the Queen’s Royal Lancers and Nottinghamshire Yeomanry Museum at Thoresby Park, near Newark – organised by Wayne Ratcliffe – was oversubscribed and needed a bigger bus to take the 42 members and guests who signed up for it. This was immediately followed by a packed Welcome Reception at the Convention Hotel, the Crowne Plaza. The reception was attended by 110 people, up from 85 in 2017, and the highest number since it became part of the OMRS Convention weekend.

The new venue, the Nottingham Conference Centre, a superb recently refurbished building in the heart of the city, was universally well received. The elegant glass roof provided a light and spacious area for exhibitors on Saturday and the OMRS Medal Fair on Sunday. The talks by Major John Monn on Norwegian awards, Air Commodore Graham Pitchfork on the evolution of the Royal Air Force and Paul Evans on military archives, were well received and greatly aided by superb technical facilities. The arrangements for refreshments also went down well with the university-level pricing proving particularly popular.

Although overall attendance was down from the Stratford-upon-Avon 2017 record of over 400 to just over 330, there was a big turnover of members registering. A quarter of those who came to Nottingham did not go to Stratford the previous year, including new attendees from New Zealand, Australia, Hong Kong and Canada. One of the principal aims of moving Convention out of London and around the country was to encourage new people to come to the weekend and this is clearly happening. It is hoped that some of the newcomers will become regulars. Attendance in Nottingham was higher than in the final year in London.

The standard of exhibitions was once again extremely high with six exhibitors being awarded gold medals. The Best in Show trophy went to Howard Williamson for ‘The Annotated DCM Roll 1914-1920’, while the Best First-Time Exhibitor cup was jointly awarded to Terry Buckingham (‘One of the Worsley Boys’) and Danny Rees (‘A Hill in Korea’). Danny also secured the much-coveted Members’ Choice Award, voted for by those attending Convention on Saturday.

On Sunday there were 24 trade stands at the OMRS Medal Fair, a drop of five on 2017, but there was a distinct buzz in the room and dealers reported trading as being fair to very good.