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It is now getting very close to the time that I shall be tidying my desk for the weekend for the last time. After forming the company in 1990, with Dickon as my partner and co-founder, the time has now arrived when I need to move on to pastures new.

There are so many things on my ‘to do’ list, I probably won’t have time to get through them even now! I started in the philatelic trade officially in 1977 in London (although I was buying and selling to feed my hobby in 1962 aged 7) so forty years isn’t a bad stint! No doubt I shan’t be able to give it up entirely so don’t be surprised to see me around from time to time.

Murray Payne is in good hands with Iain Murphy stepping up to become Managing Director; Iain has worked with us for ten years, so knows the company, its culture and routines intimately. He also has youth on his side which helps deal with the day to day demands of being part of a larger Corporation; based in London he will operate from both 399 and from Axbridge.

Dickon will remain very much as before, as Philatelic Director, ably supported by Nigel and Nina. Joining the team here in Axbridge is Mia Fisher, to whom we extend a very warm welcome. New to the team, Mia has been plunged into the deep end with a live auction in her first week, and coped admirably under this baptism of fire! The future looks bright as we strive to offer the same personal service and maintain those standards for which the name Murray Payne has become synonymous.

Finally I would just like to add a large personal thank you to all those customers who have had contact with us over the years (some from the very beginning – you know who you are!). Many have become friends and advisers over that time and I shall always cherish those memories especially from among my many trade colleagues around the world. The world of philately if nothing else, is full of wonderful characters!

Stuart Babbington