Crowborough man restores antique model for widow

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The model yacht was given to Peter Currie in the 1950s, when he was a boy in the sea cadets by an officer who said it was then over 100 years old.

Peter stripped it down several years ago and his wife Pennie made new sails as the old ones had rotted. Sadly, it has remained in pieces ever since.

After Peter died last year, Pennie wanted nothing more than to see it restored back to its former glory, as her late husband had loved it and had always meant to repair it.

Mark Waller with Pennie Currie and the restored model yacht

Pennie heard that Chailey Repair Café were operating a “drop off” service, as they were unable to run their usual monthly face-to-face Repair Café at Chailey Village Hall because of coronavirus.

Mark Waller, who is also a member of Crowborough Model Boat Club, took-up the challenge:

The volunteers at the Café come from all over. I offered my services a couple of years ago, as I have always enjoyed making and repairing things. We get an incredible range of things to repair, from garden tools, and toys and electronics, to ornaments and curiosities of every kind.

Now Mark has retired from teaching (he was a science teacher at Crowborough Beacon for many years and then Deputy Headteacher at Mascalls in Paddock Wood) he has time to indulge his hobbies.

He makes radio controlled model planes & boats and other electronic gadgets and eccentric inventions. Check out his YouTube Channel: www.youtube.com/user/MarkWaller99 for examples.

Pennie’s boat was in a pretty dilapidated state when it arrived, but she had made some new sails for it. The previous ones were like cobwebs. She also had a box of assorted fittings. The hull needed smoothing and repainting. All the fittings needed to be removed and cleaned.

I laid new deck planking, using alternative planks of mahogany and walnut, instead of the white painted deck, and I was grateful to a Crowborough friend with a 3D printer, who made a ships wheel for me. The other parts (the longboat and davits, the anchor chain, the belaying pins and the brass pulleys), I sourced or made myself. Obviously the rigging had to be redone from scratch.

The Crowborough Model Boat Club operates on the Centenary Boating Lake at Goldsmiths Rec. Normally in the summer, the Club run light-hearted competitions on the water. In the winter months they meet in the Community Centre to exchange experiences.

Last year, the Model Boating Lake was refurbished by the Town Council with a new concrete base. It is an excellent facility for both Boat Club members, and Crowborough residents generally, to use.

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