BWISC Bulletin September 1995

Steve Papworth was a character - one of a kind. I well remember when we first met in early 1970 when the B.P.E. was expanding and needed a full time controller / minder. This exhibition was the brain child of Robson Lowe and the first year was only for “Philatelic Publications” but it very quickly expanded and the need for a ‘Steve’ became very obvious. He came for the interview and over a pint in a Thames side tavern it immediately struck me that he was the ideal man for the job. His army training was just what was needed.

A pile of records and files was his metier. In fact he never seemed happier than when he was in the middle of paper and of course, the training for Safari rallys in Kenya helped. An organised approach was his motto.

During the exhibition at Wembley and the last one at the Nova Hotel Hammersmith, Steve put every ounce of effort into the task. I shall always remember the erectors and frame staff being directed as if he was planning a “D-day” invasion of the hall. Not everyone was happy with his matter of fact approach, but it put the show on the road. Even so, with all the activities that he had to arrange, he made sure that he had a little time to spare for a supper and concert which he arranged for one or two of his special friends. As I remember the concert was one featuring Shirley Bassey who was then appearing at Wembley.

I know that he quickly took over B.W.I.S.C work for the library and membership records. Typical of Steve he made sure it all went smoothly - working as was his normal routine, cheroot in hand, late into the night.

On several occasions I phoned Steve to ask how work was going for the B.P.E. Once, late one Spring, I found out that the starter had not been pressed by the top brass! So Steve and I quickly made plans and booked the hall and arranged for the “booths” and frames to be available. As was normal with Steve, the paperwork would start rolling. He just got on with making things go.

It was the last B.P.E. at Hammersmith that really showed his abilities, for the whole exhibition was a Mini International - in fact so well organised was this show I can however say it was better than many overseas Internationals. But the effort had its reaction on Steve, he quite exhausted himself and it took some time for him to recover.

Those of us who were his friends and fellow spirits will miss him - we had great times and I can remember one occasion, a very cold snowy few days in Suffolk when a group of us were working on a catalogue. It was so cold that ice covered the windows on the inside, Steve wrapped himself in all the blankets and carpets he could find - and - believe it or not, he plugged an electric fire into a 5 amp socket. It was on all night, and nothing caught fire. But typical of Steve’s luck, he did things and got away with it - actions speak louder than words.

Our thanks to Major Papworth - we shall all remember him and miss his conversation and company.

Allan Leverton