The BB Society was formed in 1999 with the primary aim of keeping alive the rich heritage of BB’s sporting, children’s, countryside and nature writings and illustrations, and to alert a growing generation to the threats facing the English countryside and to its flora and fauna.
The membership meets twice a year. The AGM and Spring Meeting is held at Rugby School where BB was assistant art master for 17 years, and the Summer Meeting at a location with a particular connection to BB’s life and work.
At each of these events there is a key speaker and the opportunity for members to buy and sell books by BB. There is usually an auction of an item associated with BB to raise funds. The full range of Society Merchandise is also available. These gatherings are great opportunities for members to share their mutual passion for BB with likeminded people.
At the 2012 AGM, held at Sudborough where BB lived from 1964 until his death in 1990, the key speaker was Christopher Coles - a BB Society Committee Member - who gave an illustrated talk on BB's life in Sudborough entitled 'BB -The Round House Years', named after his village home. The fascinating illustrations from this presentation can be viewed on the above 'Quick Link', or by clicking here.
In addition to these two annual events, as part of the Society’s ‘Fostering Fellowship’ programme, there are a series of events organised each year which provide opportunities for members to meet at special gatherings of more individual interest. These have included fishing expeditions, butterfly exploration, walks through ‘BB Country’ as featured in his books and visits to some of BB’s favourite haunts. This is an ongoing initiative and will include many other items in the future.
To keep members in touch, the Society publishes a regular newsletter, ‘News Lines’, three times a year as well as the annual ‘Sky Gypsy’ journal. This takes its name from BB’s story of the wild goose named ‘Manka’, the sky gipsy. It features articles written by ‘BB experts’ and also welcomes articles from Society members who wish to share any musings or personal anecdotes of the great man. It plays an important role in uniting the membership at home and abroad.
The Society also sponsors ‘The BB Creative Arts Award’ which is an annual competition amongst Northamptonshire schools aimed at encouraging a wider interest in BB’s work amongst younger people. The scheme is proving an excellent means of ‘taking BB into schools’ and getting across his message of the need for caring for wildlife and the countryside.
The membership of 325 is now wide ranging with overseas members in Australia, South Africa, Ireland, USA, Canada and the Netherlands.
To join the Society, click here to download a Membership Application Form.