ROGER ELLIS (1945-2024)

   It has been my privilege to count Roger Ellis as a true mate for nigh on 60 years. From being founder members of the Grimsby and District M.R.S. we soon formed a bond that has remained strong over all the intervening years; I am proud to say that there was never a cross word between us as Roger was such an easy-going and loyal person. Our friendship blossomed via railway modelling, obviously, but also through a shared fondness for The Goon Show, Monty Python, and Real Ale….we became virtually word-perfect on the two shows, yet, surprisingly, never conquered the last, despite years of trying.

  In our efforts to improve our modelling standards, we began our ‘wagon safaris’, seeking out the ever dwindling number of examples from the pre-nationalisation era. We found some real gems, took hundreds of photos, and noted down countless details and measurements. Roger, being bang on 6’ tall proved an ideal measuring stick at times. This led us on to scratch building wagons, which spurned a series of articles in the now defunct Model Railway Constructor; I hope its demise wasn’t our fault.

  We also toured many a model railway exhibition in the north, and started exhibiting. Thus Roger discovered The York Show. From the late 1960s, with just the odd year missed, Roger has been an ever present, either as an exhibitor with The Grimsby MRS, The Butcombe Junction Group….’notorious’ apparently…, a guest operator for The North Gwent lads, or as an individual. If he wasn’t with a layout he would volunteer as a Steward, or help with Catering, and it was in this final role that he met his wife-to-be, Fiona….. a happy bond that was, sadly, cut short when Fiona died young of cancer.

   Roger lived for the York Show, and viewed it as the high point of his year; it is no surprise that it is dubbed “The Friendly Show”. He embraced it, contributed much, and the powers that be tolerated, or even encouraged, his playfulness and banter. For many a year, Roger created “The York Cake”, the merest sniff of which could render you tipsy. Countless exhibitors have sampled this culinary delight, a fine example of Roger’s acumen in the kitchen.

  With Roger’s passing, I suspect that The York Show will never be quite the same again, but he will be remembered by many, for all the right reasons.

   Ian Nuttall, fellow railway modeller, Monty Python Fan, Goon Show aficionado, and real Ale buff.