Antiques expert Andy keeps audience enthralled with tales from his travels

Sussex Wildlife Trust raised £1,200 for the Rye Harbour Discovery Centre Appeal from a hilarious and anecdote-packed ‘Evening with Andy McConnell’ held at the Masonic Hall in St Leonards on Friday.

More than 100 people came to listen to Andy regale them with fascinating stories of his life, including many years with Antiques Roadshow. The event coincided with the week that the BBC had been filming the show at Battle Abbey, so fans could attend both. After his talk, Andy assessed glass items brought along by members of the audience. The event was sponsored by Battle auctioneers Burstow and Hewett.

Andy gave his time free of charge in support of the Discovery Centre Appeal. The Rye Harbour Discovery Centre is a joint project between Sussex Wildlife Trust and the Friends of Rye Harbour Nature Reserve.

Andy McConnell (c) Nazarin Montag
From rock music journalist to antique glass expert, Andy McConnell has had a varied and fascinating career.

Andy said: “It was brilliant to see so many people come along for a really good, fun evening. I’ve loved Rye Harbour Nature Reserve for the 42 years I’ve lived nearby, and it’s a pleasure to support the Discovery Centre Appeal. I’m looking forward to visiting when it’s up and running.”

The audience heard not just about Andy’s exploits as the glass expert on Antiques Roadshow but about his days in local newspaper journalism and as a reporter with the music paper Sounds in the 1970s when he was based in the US.

Anyone interested in learning more about the Discovery Centre can request a monthly newsletter to keep them posted about build news, sightings of some of the outstanding wildlife at the reserve, and ways to donate to the Appeal. ryeharbourdiscoverycentre.org.uk

The Friends of Rye Harbour Nature Reserve is a charity whose 2,000 members support the Nature Reserve’s work through subscriptions and volunteering. Since 1973, it has part-funded the cost of staff, land purchase, large scale habitat creation, tools, vehicles and visitor facilities such as birdwatching hides and information centres. It provides events for its members throughout the year.

Photographs by Nazarin Montag

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