Above: Proud winner: Bob Allen (left) accepts the first Member of the Year award from club chairman Alan Ford. Other roles that Mr Allen – a retired BS panel judge – holds at Bristol BS include show secretary and biosecurity officer

BRISTOL BUDGERIGAR SOCIETY’S long-serving and innovative show manager has received the club’s first-ever accolade of Member of the Year.

Bob Allen, 71, from Little Stoke, was presented with the 2017 award at the club’s AGM on February 12. This new trophy is to be awarded annually to a deserving member, and by popular vote Mr Allen was the outstanding choice as the first recipient.

A secret paper vote for the title took place at the club’s November meeting.

Publicity officer Tom Lewis described the award as “recognition of a member who has offered unselfish service to Bristol BS and its members”.

He added: “Bob is a hard-working and valued committee member, who on top of masterminding one of the country’s top open shows, does most of the organising and paperwork for the club’s five members’ budgerigar competitions each year.”

In addition, members have praised Mr Allen for the numerous exhibition-related tasks he is involved with outside of the club.

In 2014, he helped organise the attendance of 80 exhibition and pet birds to Annika Kahrs’s A Concert for the Birds in the 13th-century Lord Mayor’s Chapel in Bristol. The cages were strategically placed around the chapel and joined a pianist during the three-day concert for the first Bristol Art Weekender (see News, May 21, 2014).

The following year, four of Mr Allen’s budgerigars appeared in the opening credits of BBC One’s Pets – Wild at Heart. This two-part documentary revealed the secrets of pets’ behaviour in ways never before seen, including why budgies talk (see News, January 28, 2015).

Mr Lewis added: “But the biggest benefit resulting from Bob’s enthusiasm is the generated interest in budgerigars that his talks to uncommitted social groups, such as Little Stoke Ladies Club, might create.”

Mr Allen told Cage & Aviary Birds that he will continue to promote the first club he ever joined: “Bristol BS is increasing both its number of members and the range of interests.

“We have more younger members and members for whom keeping budgies is for pleasure, with no exhibition or competition element involved.

“This is an aspect that can be overlooked when the majority of any club are exhibitors. I am sure we are a better club because of this range of interests.”

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