Above: Paul Paintain (left) receives the Allen Silver award from ZFS president Dennis Webster at the 2019 club show. Left: a man of many talents, Mr Paintain is a respected judge


ZEBRA FINCH SOCIETY (ZFS) treasurer and popular judge Paul Paintain is the latest person to be honoured with the Allen Silver Award, an inscribed silver salver, which annually recognises a member who has made a major contribution to the society.

The presentation was made at the society’s club show in September at Bugbrooke, Northamptonshire, an event that, with Peter Cannan, Mr Paintain has organised since 2017. He also supports other shows and in 2013 he and Mr Cannan clocked up almost 3,000 miles doing just that.

Both were nominated and although Mr Paintain was not surprised to be considered, he said: “But I was surprised and delighted that my fellow committee members thought I was worthy of the award.”

His family moved from London to Hemel Hempstead when he was 18 months old and it was here, in 1970, that he first took an interest in zebra finches after seeing them at a friend’s aviary. After persuading his parents to convert an old brick shed, Mr Paintain acquired his first pairs, joining the ZFS the following year and, by 1973 he and his father were showing together at local events.

When he moved to Devon with his first wife he stopped keeping birds but came back into the hobby in 2005, showing zebra finches in partnership with his second wife, Jacky. They bought some chestnut-flanked whites from local champion Allen Bennett, plus some fawns as a second string.

ZFS publicity officer, Dennis Webster, commented: “After visiting the local South Western & Southern Counties ZFC, Paul joined, and became its chairman in 2011, a post he still holds. He also volunteered to join the ZFS committee that year and by 2012 was its patronage secretary, a role he held for five years before taking on his current job of treasurer. He has also passed on his love of birdkeeping to his grandchildren, Thomas and Abigail!”

The award, which began in 1980, is named after Allen Silver, an aviculturist and ornithologist who was the first president of the society and remained so for 17 years. He died 50 years ago.

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