1988 – ORBIT – 2001
Tony Bird  Looks Back
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The various stamp magazines had articles on Space every now and again, and so I suppose, like many others, I fell back on my own list of Dealers, who could supply me with not only New Issues, but also help me track back through the years, to build up my collection [when I could afford it, which was why I ventured out into other fields like Books and Postcards]. ORBIT, was then added to that list, with its ever widening range of articles, submitted by members, forever opening up, for me, areas of the collecting that I had never even heard of before.
It was a WONDERFUL time learning about subjects like Rocket Mail, or the vast range of space ‘Covers’ that were available. [OK, I admit that I had had a sheltered life as a collector. I was interested in everything associated with Manned Spaceflight, and I was an expert in none of them! But in those early days it didn’t really seem to matter.] I well remember the first letter Andy Swanston sent in on Autographs.
I had thought that my collection of personalised astronaut autographed photos was pretty good, until Andy started to share parts of his collection with us in ORBIT. Wow! I’d never thought of trying to get Ham’s autograph and yet there it was. It’s been quite nostalgic looking back through those early issues of ORBIT, but for me, one issue still stands out from all the others. ORBIT 21, where we had the honour of introducing members to our New Patron, Hero of the Soviet Union, Cosmonaut Georgi Grechko.
I said at the time “I count it a privilege that on 1st April 1994 I had the opportunity, together with fellow A.S.S.S member George Spiteri, to be granted an interview with Cosmonaut Georgi Grechko during a visit he made to Jodrell Bank. During that interview he kindly agreed to become Patron of our Society, and I presented him with back issues of ‘ORBIT’ along with a copy of Harvey Duncan’s “ASTRONOMY & SPACEFLIGHT INDEX”
I then went on to say “I’m not ashamed to say that George and I were like two little boys at the end of our meeting with Mr. Grechko, emerging with autographed pictures in our hands, photographs in our cameras and heads full of vivid memories that will nor soon go away. Isn’t that what hobbies and interests are all about?
Each time we look at a stamp, or see the autograph on a cover, they trigger memories. Or why else is it that we spend hours either preparing our albums, or going through admiring the finished articles?”
The article finished with these words: “To me that is one of the reasons that the Astro Space Stamp Society was formed back in 1987, and I can still remember the enjoyment of spending time with our Founder in those early days as things got off the ground and then the thrill of corresponding with others who share my interest in Space, and my hobby of collecting.
“Much has changed since those days, not least the wonderful way in which ORBIT has developed into the Award winning Journal that it is today. Sitting in Robin’s lounge all those years ago we never dreamed that his seed of an idea would, over the years, grow to the position where the Society would have Representatives in 7 countries, let alone a ‘Features Editor’, a ‘Website Editor’ and a ‘Public Relations Officer’. But grow it has, and I’m thankful for that as we look ahead to the next 50 Issues.
– Thank you Robin for starting things off all those years ago.
– Thank you Peter, Harvey and Brian for all those hours you’ve given the Society ‘since it began’!
– Thank you Jeff, and all your other colleagues serving the A.S.S.S today, for taking up the baton and bringing us to this point in the history of the Society, and as you lead us on.
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