LAURA KEENS

Laura Welch writes: In May 2013, I was introduced to a new team member on Cage & Aviary Birds and after I had found out that we shared the same first name, we joked about the many ways it could cause havoc, not just for other staff members but also for readers. Five years on, Laura Keens and I still confuse readers who often have to CC us both into the same email to make sure it reaches the correct Laura.

Many times, we’ve been referred to as “new Laura” and “old Laura”; once someone called us “Ant and Dec”. But the one that’s stuck is (my favourite) “the two Lauras”. If you are a regular at the major bird shows up and down the country, it’s highly likely that you’ve spoken to Laura Keens, or you’ve caught a glimpse of her rushing past to take a particular photo and running from one end of the show hall to the other to catch up with a winning fancier. Maybe you’ve never met Laura in person but have exchanged regular emails, especially those club secretaries and publicity officers with Club News items.

The chances are, most of you will have dealt with Laura one way or another over the past five years and have built up a trusting friendship. I know she has put her heart into this magazine from Day One and through all the pressures of getting a weekly to press on time, she’s done it in her stride.

Working alongside Laura has been a dream; we’ve had endless fun and I can’t thank her enough for the support and dedication she has given to the team and to this paper. I speak on behalf of many readers when I say she will be truly missed. We wish her all the luck in her new venture.

Rob Innes adds: So Laura K is leaving. Oh, dear, I shall miss her so much. Outstanding colleagues don’t come along often. The lucky people at Thurrock Council, in Laura’s home county of Essex, will gain one when she starts in her new post as Communications Manager.

Fortunately, Club News will remain in good hands, since Laura Welch is to take charge for at least the short term, and nobody knows the clubs and societies better than she does. This means that everyone can keep using the usual contact details for Club News via our postal address, or by email at birds.general@kelsey.co.uk – you don’t need to change a thing.

I’ve no doubt that many readers will wish to pass on their good wishes to Laura Keens, and we will forward every message that you care to send to her. And we very much hope that she will agree to the occasional surprise reunion appearance with the team.

Laura: you’re an ace. Thank you for being an amazing colleague.