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Our chairman Ian Wilkinson opened the meeting, and after telling us that our secretary Fraser Suffield was unable to be present, gave the apologies for absence, including Fraser, and told us that there were no birthdays during the ensuing month.
Our treasurer Forbes Grant gave us a satisfactory report, and our speaker was then introduced.
We were introduced to Dr Stuart Walton, who was to give a talk entitled My Search for a Childhood Collection.
This collection was copies of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Annual, which he had been given each year at Christmas, on his fifth birthday, and for about nine or 10 years thereafter.
He confessed to a lifelong fascination with the Wild West.
And when he discovered that these annuals that he had been given had been lost, he decided to set about replacing them.
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He succeeded in this with the help of eBay, at a cost of anything between £1.50 and £75 for each annual.
These books were published by Boardman, a London publisher, and our speaker was particularly fond of these due to the action art, the historical accuracy, the geographical and ethnographic detail, the fairness to the Native Americans and the humour.
Much of his delight in these books was due to the illustrations by Denis McLoughlin, many of which were derived from contemporary photographs.
Judging by the reaction of the audience during a troll through the cast of characters that were included in the annual, and in many other western publications, films and television shows, most members of Probus seemed to have shared the speaker’s fascination with the Wild West during their past, or current, childhood.
After an entertaining question and answer session, thanks were given by Tony Willis for very enjoyable talk, which produced a trove of memories for many of us.