Marge Hughes Award speeches

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For some years, we have text of speeches for the Marge Hughes Award.

2007

Speech given by Ju Landéesse


The Marge Hughes Award recognises exceptional contributions to our community through dedication and care, by being welcoming and promoting the spirit of the community in which we thrive. The award was named after Marge Hughes, and to give you an idea of who she was, I’d like to read a statement provided by Dave Luckett:

Of course it shouldn't come as a surprise to me that there are prominent and active fans around today who don't remember Marge Hughes, otherwise known as Mumfan. It was, as far as fannish history is concerned, long long ago now. She died, God, I suppose eighteen years ago now, when nearly everyone who's out con-running these days was still in short pants, or not even alive. But it is a surprise, all the same. Mumfan was a one-off, a nonesuch, and I thought, (not examining the thought at all, or I'd have known it was ridiculous) that she'd never be forgotten.

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.

Previous winners of this heartfelt award include Simon Oxwell, Emma Hawkes, Davina Watson, Ruth and Rachel Turner, Dale Verdi, Tom Edge and Luigi Cantoni all who embody the spirit in which this award is given.

This is one way in which the WA Science Fiction Foundation supports the community and the amazing energy that people give in order to organise events like Swancon for over thirty years. It is recognition for the difficult, unseen and largely uncelebrated work they have accomplished. It’s the kind of work that nobody usually sees, but WA fandom couldn’t run without it.

2007’s winner of this award is someone who has long upheld the values this award represents. They have given tirelessly over many years, often behind the scenes making sure things run smoothly. That such effort is not easy to pinpoint is a testament to their skill, and the difference it makes to the whole.

No one has been as dedicated and enthusiastic towards welcoming people into Swancon as this year’s winner. Many people will remember being impulsively invited along to lunch or dinner or room parties during the convention. They’re known for getting people talking to one another, sharing experiences, sharing support and mischief alike. You could say that they’re a good choice if you want to learn how to make the most out of your convention experience.

This person has the kind of sparkle that people tend to notice instantly. One person who remembers our winner’s first Swancon, said they’d never seen anyone “throw themselves headfirst into the sci-fi fan community” the way they did, that it was a “non-stop, headlong rush of enthusiasm from the moment she walked through the door” and now, several years later “she’s still rushing through”.

Another remembers that some con goers were surprised when they’d made a fuss of her, they replied that the reason they’d made a fuss was that “she threw herself into our community whole heartedly. That there had been people going for years who had in all that time not gotten as involved, or spoken to as many new people as she did during her first con.”

Since then, aside from all the conversations, the invitations, the socialising and welcoming that she does – that’s just the kind of person she is, she’s also supported numerous conventions, from photocopying, printing, bag stuffing, registration to massive single handed efforts in fundraising.

I asked to give this speech tonight. Because I still hold dear, the heartfelt memory of being introduced to Swancon for the first time. I was welcomed into the thick of it, where it was wild with joy, more fun than I’d ever had and the most incredible sense of community. That I am here tonight is thanks to a very special person within our midst.

I would like to present the 2007 Marge Hughes award to Sarah Parker.

2008

Speech given by John Parker.


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.