"Good evening everyone,
I have been asked to pesent our next award, the "Marge Hughes Award" or, as
many of us know it, the "Mumfan Award".
Marge Hughes was a huge influence on Swancon as we know it. I never got to
meet her myself, as she had passed away before I started attending
conventions. I did meet Warren, her son, and remember his very emotional
presentation of the early Mumfan Awards.
Before I go onto the award itself, I'm going to read some of what Dave
Luckett had to say about Marge:
She was Warren Hughes' mother, and even Warren isn't seen about much these
days, though he does usually turn up to Swancon when he's in town.
But that isn't her claim to fame. Nor is it scholarship, or geekiness, or
artistry, or brilliant wit, or being a great organiser. No, it was much more
than that. It was goodness. It was warmth, and gentleness, and a sense of
fun that never hurt, and acceptance, and laughter and wisdom that went far
beyond mere cleverness. If you needed a shoulder to cry on, you went to
Mumfan. If you needed someone to rejoice with, that was her. She never asked
you why. She always knew, because she always noticed.
She went away and died, one day. She never said, never gave a hint. But when
it happened, we all - every fan who knew her - felt a bleak loss of, I
suppose, dimension. It was more than the void a good person leaves in the
lives of those around her. Mumfan was what a lot of us aren't. There was a
stillness about her, a depth, a stable core, a bone-deep integrity that she
communicated to us. When she listened and accepted, she helped us explain
ourselves to ourselves, helped us learn be satisfied with what we are, and
to know it was right.
We felt, all of us then, that we couldn't just let that go. We had to
remember it at Swancon. We thought we'd do something in her memory for the
person who did the most, unrewarded and unnoticed, to make the con a success
- that is, a joy, a wonder, an affirmation of who we are, in our several and
shambolic ways. We are fans. We are family, and she was mother to us all.
Now I'd like to now give you an idea of why I see this as such a significant
award. People who win this award don't have to have been brilliant writers,
artist or performers, although some of you are. They have to have been open,
welcoming and made people, who otherwise may have not felt that way, feel
welcome to out big family. They have been the smiling conversation seekers,
the funny, thoughtful people who make the con that little bit nicer, just by
being there and being themselves.
These are people who make you feel welcome even when you barely know them.
They are the people who help you out to get the most from the con.
It's a very special award. Heck, I should know. My wife won it last year!
Pity I was in a panel against the awards ceremony.
The people who win this award should feel intense pride for winning this
award. I certainly know all the winners I have talked to have considered it
the highest honour. Sarah still gets teary at the thought of her award.
I tried to think of a way of keeping it a secret who is getting this award
to the very end,but I can't see any way of doing this so I'll just push on
through. Now tonight I have the very special honour of not one, but two
Mumfan awards. The recipients have been welcoming people to cons in their
special way for as long as I can remember. Always a cheerful greeting.
Always a "Won't you join us?". Yep I think some of you have probably already
guessed that the recipients tonight are Alicia Smith and Rob Masters."