Reasons to join your local MRC

Sarah Palmer went to visit Spalding Model Railway Club to see what benefits joining a club brings to modellers.

As I enter the club room a detail sander is buzzing away while a couple of members are chatting as they work on a baseboard. I’m instantly offered a cup of tea. I’m here at the Spalding Model Railway Club for one of its club days to see why it’s a good idea to join your local modelling club.

David Ray is in charge of the club’s sales and on the right is Graham Blumire, club secretary.

I’m introduced to Graham Blumire, who has been at the club for three years and is now the club secretary. I ask him about the sort of people who have joined the club in the last few months.

“Most newcomers tend to be people who have worked all their lives and are coming up to retirement with a little bit of cash to spend, but you do get a mixture and certainly as far as the juniors are concerned we’ve got quite a few young ones. We do have open days and our November exhibition tends to bring new people in, there’s also word of mouth.

He continues: “If you start a hobby you can do it by yourself, but it’s like all things, when you start a job you won’t know anything about it, but in 10 years you’ll be an expert. It’s the same thing here. You learn from other people. There’s always conversations going on and there’s always someone who can help.

The Gosberton layout is set in the 1950s.

“Whereas if you’re struggling at home you can sometimes make expensive mistakes. When you read the pamphlets about DCC for example, it’s all about two wires and that’s it. There are plenty of people into DCC and digital and if someone has a problem with electrics or a wiring problem then someone can advise them, but if you’re stuck at home you can’t always get the answer you want and the internet doesn’t always have the answer.

“Electrics is a whole new world if you’re not into it, but at a club there’s always someone who can show you how to do it, even something as comparatively simple as soldering can still be quite dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing.”

The Gosberton OO-gauge layout is one of three main layouts that the club runs.

The membership of £50 a year for adults would seem like a small price to pay to have such a wealth of knowledge, and cups of tea, on tap.

The club currently has no female members, but Graham is at pains to point out that it’s not because the club doesn’t encourage females. “We’ve simply never had anyone approach us. The opportunity is there, but for some reason no one takes us up on it. A lot of wives and partners do help with their husbands’ layouts, particularly on the scenery.

“My wife loves doing the scenery, our chairman’s wife does N gauge, but isn’t a member. So there is an interest there but for some reason we’ve not got any female members. We’d welcome them with open arms, it’s not a male-oriented club by any means, far from it.”

For the full article, see October’s edition of Modelling – available now!

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