Followers of Rupert Bear - 25th Annual Meeting - 2008
Followers of Rupert Bear - 25th Annual Meeting
The 25th Annual Meeting of the Followers of Rupert held on August 23rd was the highlight of 2008 for the hundreds of Rupert Bear fans who gathered in Warwick to celebrate this special event. A host of Nutwood characters welcomed everyone as they stepped through the door into a wonderland of everything Ruperty.
Before the programme started there was an opportunity to browse the many stalls selling anything you could think of connected with Rupert - books, toys, ephemera, clothing, figurines, you name it - it was there!
And this year we were delighted to have the new Rupert artist Stuart Trotter with us to sign his first Rupert annual.
As usual, members of the British Origami society were present, giving origami demonstrations and holding workshops to give everyone the opportunity to magically turn paper into colourful shapes, patterns and objects - just like those featured in the Rupert annuals.
For the first time there was a full programme of fun events especially for the Junior Rupert followers. These included face painting, balloon modelling and a Magic Show featuring a Chinese Conjuror. These pictures show young Oliver Mitchell-Shaw being transformed into a cheetah!
Other youngsters were turned into butterflies, flowers and clowns while others were content browse the stalls in the hope that a Mum or Dad would treat them to a Ruperty item to treasure.
After the Followers AGM and a very tasty lunch we enjoyed a number of talks. John Hunt, talented creator of the delightful Rupert figurines which were on sale, briefly discussed the challenges of modelling Rupert. It is very difficult to take a 2-dimensional character that varies a little from story to story and translate it into a 3-dimensional figure that everyone recognises. John demonstrated the problem by showing many silhouettes of Rupert, all drawn by Bestall, but all slightly different.
We then listened to Ian Munroe from Steiff. The Steiff Limited Edition white Rupert Bear had proved to be an overwhelming success in 2007 and Ian showed us a number of beautiful new limited editions including Edward Trunk, Bill Badger and a brown Rupert Bear. Steiff are now also producing a range for children which includes Rupert, Bill, Algy and Edward. These are soft plush toys, machine washable and much less expensive than the limited editions.
Other talks included an update on the "Classic Rupert" by Jan Nixon of Entertainment Rights, Rupert's new owners, and a presentation by Anna Bowles of Egmont Books, Rupert's publishers.
The play, as always the highlight of the day, was "Rupert and the Silver Chalice" presented by The Stagecoach Theatre Arts and starring all of Rupert's chums as well as a magnificent pink Dragon!
Once again Stella & Rose's Books were delighted to sponsor the Junior Followers Painting Competition which this year was judged by Stuart Trotter. The entries were excellent and choosing the best was immensely difficult.
Stella Books presented cash prizes and a certificate to the overall winners in each of the three age groups: Thomas Main (Group 1 ages 4-6), Nathan Egan (Group 2 ages 7-9) and Megan Tarbuck (Group 3 ages 10-14).
Other prize winners were:
Anthony Bravo and Evie Burgess (Group1). Ian Munro of Steiff Bears presented Anthony with a small bear and Evie won a Rupert game.
Emillie Storey and Nathan Bravo (Group 2). Nicholas Ladbroke of The Classic Rupert Bear Shop presented Emillie with a lovely print of a Rupert annual endpaper and Nathan was awarded a Rupert CD and Cassette.
James Main and Jack Tarbuck (Group 3). James was awarded a scroll of Rupert Stories donated by Follower Committee member Michael Ward and Jack won a Rupert Press-Out Model book.
Isobel Hughes (Group 3) and Bethany Bennett (Group 2) were each awarded a signed annual donated by the competition organizers Val and Eddie Tarbuck.
The day ended with a superb dinner and entertaining talks by long-term Followers. We would like to give s pecial thanks to Tony Griffin and the other Followers who worked so hard to organise such a memorable day.
Left: Cliff of Stella Books about to tuck into dinner
If you would like to join us next year and are not already a Follower Of Rupert see our links page for membership details.
We look forward to seeing you at the next annual meeting!
(Published 1st Jul 2008)