- Support by New Members: Despite the show being moved to its new location and with a few of established breeders not showing this year following Covid and a massive cost of living increase, the consensus being that the show was a resounding success. Relative new breeders to the hobby came to join us on the day with some excellent bred fish (that compensated for the missing more established members entries) and were rewarded with place cards on the first attempt at exhibiting in a national Open Show. New members (and there were a lot of them present on the day), now make up the bulk of the AMGK membership. Indeed, two new members have joined us only this week, and we look forward to seeing them at our meetings and shows in the future. It is hoped that some of these folk will soon take up the cudgels to steer the Society into whatever direction is felt appropriate to meet the needs of the changing demographic of future membership in the coming years.
- Volunteers: A big thank you to all those folk that made the effort to donate their own time to setting up the show the day before the show and to those that stayed behind to dismantle the show and pack everything away on time (5.00pm). It goes without saying that we owe a great deal to all those that volunteered their time and skills to ensure the smooth running of the show throughout the day, including the show secretary, all the judges, catering folk, both the night before and throughout the day’s proceedings, auctioneers and those that donated raffle prizes and purchased the raffle tickets. Well done!
- Judging: We had hoped that by now the numbers of Nationwide approved Judges would have brought the numbers back up to pre pandemic levels. Five AMGK members volunteered three years ago to train as judges, following a call from the previous Chairman of Nationwide (Pat Davies), but alas due to changing circumstances only three remain on course. With two subsequent deaths and two resignations from the Nationwide fraternity of Goldfish Societies we ended up with only four qualified judges on the day, with three in training. (We used to welcome 12 minimum!). As witnessed, it made for a very long day for all judges, exhibitors and visitors with judging only finishing with seconds to go before the presentation of awards had to begin. Two areas of concern for the future are outlined below: –
1) Very little time for everyone to view the fish at their leisure enabling the normal discussions and between exhibitors and visitors to be curtailed (which is normally at the heart of such gatherings).
2) Judges were unable to spend appropriate time discussing the pointed results with exhibitors for those that wanted to. Such discussions are normally very helpful as we breeders can always miss faults in our entries and someone else’s opinion of one’s fish can only be a good thing as we all strive for perfection in our chosen variety standards. Without sight of the judging sheets an exhibitor could become disappointed having received a lower place card than perhaps they were expecting when there could only be a couple of points between the first and fourth placings. There will always be some disappointment in the larger and stronger classes on the day. Discussions with the relevant Judge should be an opportunity to give encouragement and guidance of the finer points to look for in the future.
Let’s see if these issues can be rectified for next time, to give a better experience for all exhibitors and visitors.
- Obtaining / selling good quality stock: Whilst we cannot guarantee that all Nationwide Standard fish varieties are present within the excellent auction facility that is a common feature of all Open Shows, great effort is always given to provide top quality fish for established breeders and those new to the hobby to bid for their desired fish. Some varieties are now becoming extremely rare (only one breeder known to have bred Broadtail Moors and three top breeders of Bristol Shubunkins not breeding this year, and with no Oranda spawnings recorded, for example). Members are encouraged to ask their society committee to help in the search for their chosen favourites – they may be available at someone’s establishment without necessarily being brought to a show. The formal auction has to comply with local Council’s Trading Standards and animal welfare concerns etc., one reason the AMGK insists all sellers and bidders are a member of a Goldfish Society thus implying a certain degree of animal welfare knowledge, husbandry and the like. It has always been possible for any member to contact breeders before a show to pre-book and purchase fish before the day. Travel and postage costs being what they are our show location is a natural meeting point to deliver and collect fish outside the Hall confines. As a courtesy to the society and to all those members that spend time and effort in setting up the auction facility
For many years, breeders have carried this out without fuss, particularly in close by pub car park, and on many occasions in our previous venue’s linear and tight car park. The Wyken Centre car park is quite open to view by outsiders and to protect the Society from Trading Standards Inspectorate, please be mindful that the uninitiated might interpret legitimate proceedings as ‘Trading without a licence’. This has never. and continues not to be, the case. Many of our breeders, from time to time, have too many surplus fish towards the end of the breeding year, that would swamp an auction to the detriment of a specific variety and, indeed to the other fish within the auction. For byers prepared to purchase such fish in bulk it has proven advantageous over the years to meet up and conduct this activity outside the Show Hall. This cuts down on travel and postage, which is a great advantage these days of rising costs. After all, the moving of fish within the fish keeping fraternity is encouraged to both enrich established blood lines and for more fish keepers to share responsibility of maintaining fish quality and responsibility to Nationwide Standards within the established hobby. It was good to see that most breeders having pr-sold their surplus fish to other members, also put some of their fish into the auction to sell on the day to give other members a chance to bid for some excellent stock.
- The Future: It would be wonderful if our show last June was not to be our last Open Show and that next year’s celebration of the Golden Anniversary of the AMGK could be celebrated with a revitalised bumper show. To achieve this ambition, we cannot just sit back and think that someone else’s time and effort will make it all happen – it won’t. More of us need to pull our weight and volunteer for all the various jobs that centre around the time of the show and for the intervening months throughout the year. We are all hobbyists first and foremost and those who have served and continue to serve in various capacities within the committee, do so for the good of the Society. About ten members volunteered their time to put the show up ready for visitors the day before. At the last Nationwide Open Show (October 2022) we had nineteen. Numbers make a huge difference; without sufficient numbers, the Shows and the Society will fold. Remember our next meeting on Sunday 20th August 1.00pm and our AGM is in October, so be prepared to volunteer!
Good luck to all those who will be attending the Nationwide Society shows in the weeks ahead including the BAS Show in Bristol, NGPS Open Show in Manchester, and Nationwide Show in Coventry. Enjoy the company of like-minded fish keepers and breeders at all the events and your preparations for the new season in 2024, our fiftieth Anniversary.
Former Chairman/Vice President AMGK