The History of the Farnborough Branch of IPMS
Many IPMS members went to the Reading meetings from the Farnborough area and decided to create their own branch, with Dick Ward being the driving force behind it. The first reference to the possibility of a Farnborough Branch (initially muted to be called IPMS North Hampshire) is in a note asking interested parties to contact Dick Ward at his then address at Fleming Close, Farnborough (off Ship Lane) in the May/June 1975 copy of the IPMS Magazine.
This was successful, and the first officers were:
Paul Leaman Chairman
Phil Bultitude Hon. Secretary
The branch appears to have started in July 1975, and in the May/June 1976 issue of the IPMS Magazine there is a report on activities, including the fact that we were running a monthly competition, and had already started exhibiting - with models complimenting an exhibition of Terry Harrison’s paintings (he did some of the box art for Frog in the mid/late 70’s) held at Farnborough Library. Early members included Terry Harrison, Mike McEvoy and Jim Woods. Mike Silk, Dicks collaborator in the production of Modeldecals was a frequent visitor and Alan W Hall attended on occasions as well. Jim Woods lived in Farnborough and was another of the early members. That we had people who were in the 'trade' or active in IPMS elsewhere attending the meetings was no doubt due to Dicks 'networking' and it paid dividends as the branch never suffered from a lack of attendance.
Initially meetings were held at the Farnborough Community Centre (near the old Police Station); this venue later changed to the Railway Enthusiast’s Club, on its present site, although the interior layout was a little different – the bar, much smaller in those days, being in the corner where photos are now taken. 'Modelfest' our own model show was born whilst we were still at the Community Centre. It started out as an open invitation to anyone who was attending the bi-annual SBAC show to drop in to the branch meeting that we arranged to take place during the public days. I think that the term 'Modelfest' was originally coined by Mike McEvoy, although with Dick Ward, and possibly Jim Woods input. The now annual show still continues, and it a popular attraction every September. At some point in the either late 80’s we moved our venue to The Old Ford (by North Camp station), because of building work at the Railway Enthusiasts Club. We met in their back room, and would wander through to the bar to collect drinks and then wander back again.
After about five years we were invited back to the Railway Enthusiasts Club, newly renovated with an enlarged bar and we have been there ever since. Although Phil Bultitude had produced an early newsletter, it was after we moved back to the Railway Enthusiasts Club that the branch started its own magazine – Sidewinder – edited by Andy Sheppard (January 1983) with the then Hon. Secretary Ian Rentoul and later by Julian Edwards with the final special issue in April 1991.
In 1988 to celebrate IPMS’s Silver Jubilee the club donated a trophy to the National contest for the best model of an aircraft in bare metal finish, this award has been supported by us for the full 25 years. We have had, to our knowledge, two National Champions, 1981 Julian Edwards and 1994 Les Burningham.
Les's National Champion model: HMS Diana
Members have won hundreds of class’s and awards over our nearly 38 years of continuous existence. We won the Best Branch Display in 1988 for our Black ‘n’ White display the idea of which came from Andy Sheppard. In 2003 we were recognised for our support of the Nationals/Scale Modelworld with a citation from the IPMS committee.
Stew Hargrave winner of Class 95 - Best Branch Model winner 2013 and El Presadente (Paul Regan)
The club continues to support the IPMS committee by helping with Scale Modelworld by providing stewards and man power for the breakdown of the show. We attend many local shows, support RAF Odiham Families days and have our own model show every September still of course called ‘Modelfest’. From the money raised we make a donation to the Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice in Farnham.