Antiques Roadshow glass specialist hosting St Leonards talk in aid of Rye Harbour Discovery Centre

Andy McConnell. Photo by Steve O'Neill SUS-190617-124601001
Andy McConnell. Photo by Steve O'Neill SUS-190617-124601001

Antiques Roadshow’s glass specialist is to give a talk about his extraordinary life as part of a fundraiser for the Rye Harbour Nature Reserve Discovery Centre.

Andy McConnell lives at Winchelsea Beach and is a regular visitor to the Rye Harbour Nature Reserve.

In July, he is giving a talk in St Leonards about his life to raise funds for the Sussex Wildlife Trust project.

Speaking to the trust’s communications officer Emma Chaplin about how he got into glassware, Andy said: “I moved to Rye in 1976 after working as a rock journalist in Hollywood, California, and was phoned out of the blue by the manager of Jefferson Starship. He invited me on tour. When we were in Hamburg, I met an antique shop owner, who asked me to source glassware for him. We worked together for 25 years until 2000. It was brilliant.

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“After he retired, I started writing articles and books about glass. Then, in 2006, I joined the Antiques Roadshow team, and I’ve been its glass specialist ever since. My style is looser than the other specialists.

“I don’t dress like an Edwardian undertaker, for instance, and don’t claim to know everything. I run a junk shop, not Sotheby’s.”

Andy, who owns Glass Etc in Rye, said it was a ‘pleasure and an honour’ to fundraise for the Sussex Wildlife Trust, adding: “I generally support humanitarian and environmental causes, the latter because we’re making such a mess of our precious world. We are losing species and it’s unforgiveable that we’ve not done more. We’ve seen an escalation in accumulation, without governments caring about the impact of it.”

He continued: “I lived in Rye Harbour for years and could literally see it out the window. What Sussex Wildlife Trust has created over the years to support rare species habitats, is magnificent. I’ve always loved wildlife and the countryside. I was brought up yards from Epping Forest, and spent a childhood charging around the woodland getting covered in mud.”

An Evening with Andy McConnell will be held on Friday, July 12 from 7pm to 10pm at the Masonic Hall, East Ascent, St Leonards. Guests are invited to bring their own glassware for Andy to appraise after the talk.

Tickets are £10 and available from www.eventbrite.com/e/andy-mcconnell-tickets-60270646125.