Stamp of approval: A tribute to Arthur Dyball from the South Shropshire Philatelic Society

ARTHUR DYBALL
A brief tribute from the South Shropshire Philatelic Society:
A Monday afternoon in Little Stretton Village Hall.  An imposing row of display stands facing a row of stamp-collectors a.k.a. philatelists. The chairman, Arthur Dyball, greets them, and, with a slightly wicked smile, introduces the proceedings. ‘The task I set you was the Letter Q !  How many have brought something to show us?’  Most members sheepishly raise their hands, and one by one over the next hour come forward to display their efforts – one display board , nine sheets of stamps – Queens, Quebec, Qatar, Quaint & Quirky, etc.,etc. Finally, Arthur himself comes on, and whether it’s Queensland, Quito or Quatt, his display will be of high quality.  However abstruse the subject, he seems able always to come up with fine material, immaculately presented.
Philately is an elusive subject, embracing postal history, basic country-by-country stamp collecting, thematics ( birds, aircraft, trains, flowers, etc), and specialisms, some academic and arcane, from water-marks to perforations, printings, forgeries, etc.  Arthur, although he had his own special interests, such as issues from early German States, seemed to be thoroughly conversant with virtually every aspect of the hobby.  Speakers could expect from him comments or additional information on their displays, always offered in a gentle, kindly, good-humoured way.  His geographical, political, and historical knowledge was prodigious.
Arthur was best-known as a distinguished and highly respected member of staff at Bedstone College, contributing generously over many years to many aspects of the life of that community. After retirement he continued to enjoy offering his services,
Less apparent perhaps was his status in Shropshire and the West Midlands as a philatelist. He frequently exhibited at local societies, as well as running the South Shropshire group where he was in effect Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer!
One difficulty in paying due tribute to Arthur arises from his own personality.  He was a very private, self-contained man, who did not like fuss, and rarely opened up in general conversation, sometimes seeming quite abrupt.  Yet he was in fact a most kindly and generous man – with all the qualities of an English gentleman. I, and I guess many other Society members were grateful for the encouragement he gave to our rather amateurish displays!
The Philatelic world has lost a vigorous champion, and a man of outstanding knowledge and expertise, and, above all, enthusiasm.