”My life with Stamps: A Reflection”

I am currently busy preparing for my GCSE exams over the next few months, so I was pleased to receive a request for this issue’s article. But alas, I was struggling for ideas, so I looked back through all my past articles to see if I could find some inspiration. As I flipped through my past 21 articles, written over the past 5 and a bit years, I was struck by how much philately had affected my life, and the incredible opportunities I have had, all stemming from Mrs Grieve’s first visit to my primary school all those years ago. Here are a few of the highlights.

All the way back in 2018, I visited the Stampex exhibition for the first time. I can remember how excited I was to be traveling to London on a Friday after school, followed by a train into the heart of the city. I haven’t been to Stampex for a few years now, but those experiences will always hold a special place in my memory. Meeting so many incredible, committed people, as well as exploring the vast world of Philately on display, were rewarding experiences. The Stamp Active team were always there to make you feel welcome, and to any young collector, I would strongly recommend a visit.

In November 2019, my Brother, my Mum and I were back in London, but this time for a very special visit at the Royal Philatelic Society London. We had been invited to the official opening of their new premises, and were amazed to discover the late Queen Elizabeth II was making a visit. Meeting her face to face was a nerve-racking, but incredible experience. I can still remember how kindly she spoke to me, asking about my passion for stamps.

There are so many more experiences which I don’t have space to mention, and I really am amazed by how much Philately has changed my life. Just recently, I was amazed to receive a place at an exclusive summer school in Oxford, and in my application, I spoke heavily about my quite unique hobby, and its relation to my interest in History. Stamp collecting is a window to so many opportunities, so I urge you to get involved!”

Toby Middlemist