For the benefit of those who may not be aware, the “Small & Delightful Group” (S&D Group) is a small band of modellers who generally hail from the area around Shepton Mallet and Glastonbury in Somerset, and for 25 years between 1992 and 2017 organised and ran the great and much missed Narrow Gauge Southwest in Shepton Mallet annually in February. Whilst NGSW has been retired for similar reasons that other large specialist shows have fallen by the wayside – ageing group of organisers, health issues, growing uncertainty regarding access to the venue etc, the group members continue to enjoy and participate in the hobby, and for some years they have also put together a biennial gathering in the village of Compton Dundon, so that they can enjoy meeting up and showing their own layouts, as well as invited ones, plus of course creating an access for visitors to the famously superb cakes and refreshments provided by the Glastonbury Lions Ladies!
Very poignant as it turned out, because two very well known figures in the narrow gauge model railway hobby, Howard Martin and Rod Allcock both attended and, although it wasn’t known then, this was to be the last time that I met either of them, as they both sadly passed away in early 2023. Both Howard and Rod are much missed by the great number of people who knew them.
LATE NEWS: 16 July 2023 edit: I have just learned that Barrie Baker, a close friend of Howard’s, has announced that it is hoped to put on a special show at Compton Dundon in February 2024 as a fitting “Bye Howard” event and he hopes that a large number of modellers will be able to take part. Within 24 hours of seeing this announcement in NGRM-Online, I read that there were already 24 layout owners committed to come to what will be a superb day out and a fitting memorial. Watch out for further announcements online and hopefully in the model railway press and I certainly have it in my own diary as a fixture not to be missed!
Barrie Baker (left) and the late Howard Martin with Howard's famous (or infamous!) NG Southwest exhibition manager's 10 inches to the foot ruler