September 2013

Fifty members turned out on a lovely sunny September afternoon in anticipation of a Thematic presentation, by Lesley Marley, entitled ‘A Whale’s Tale’. Lesley (on the right) is pictured above with our Chairman.

They were not to be disappointed as this was not just any thematic presentation, but Lesley’s complete eight frame (128 page) exhibit, which had recently been awarded an International Large Gold Medal; the first British Thematic exhibit to attain this award in international competition.

To aid the understanding of the exhibit and help guide her audience through the intricacies of the pages Lesley had put together an attractive, entertaining and informative PowerPoint presentation (the first time she had attempted this type of presentation). This proved to be extremely successful, and certainly helped the audience not only appreciate the storyline but also some of the magnificent philatelic material on display.

The slides guided us through the ‘Whale’s Tale’ in an ordered and constructed fashion starting with an exploration of the world of whales, whose families collectively are known as cetaceans. The largest mammal that has ever lived on our planet, the Blue Whale - Balaenoptera Musculus, was depicted using a piece of full colour stage art work – signed by the artist A.H. Barrett. This was just the beginning of a feast of philatelic material that consisted of further artwork, essays, die-proofs, early 19th century ship & whalers’ letters, special cancellations, philatelic studies, and much much more. Both the material and explanatory write-up were first class and of course in accord with the rules and regulations of the Thematic Philately Class.

The Whale’s influence in man’s past and how he transformed them into the world’s most ignominious shopping list was sensitively portrayed, as was their capture and slaughter. The first part of the display finished on a positive note however with the knowledge that at last man is now trying to protect these fascinating creatures.

For the second part of the afternoon, Lesley displayed further items from her extensive collection, including many stunning original postcards, again beautifully written up and presented in exhibition format. There were also several philatelic items on display depicting how the whale has been immortalised in cartoon, fiction & film.

On behalf of the society, the Chairman gave the vote of thanks for an altogether enthralling afternoon and presented Leslie with the obligatory 'alibi' card (although well received, it was not strictly necessary as Lesley's husband accompanied her to the meeting.