Honiton: retired journalist launches boat at trout farm

RETIRED journalist Colin Hayball realised a dream when he launched a model boat that took him three years to painstakingly recreate.

RETIRED journalist Colin Hayball realised a dream when he launched a model boat that took him three years to painstakingly recreate.

The boat was launched at Tracey Mill Trout Farm, in Honiton, last Saturday morning to rounds of applause and complimentary remarks.

Colin, 71, of Honiton, was thrown a challenge to rebuild the model of World War II anti-submarine frigate HMS Hedingham Castle by his brother.

Robin spotted the hull of the boat thrown out with rubbish while on his rounds as a postman in Tiverton.

With the permission of the owner, whose marriage had broken down, he offered the five feet long, glass fibre structure to Colin - saying: "You used to like making model boats."

Colin said: "Yes, 50 years ago!

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"As soon as I saw the hull, I realised it was something special and, intrigued by its origins, I surfed the Internet in a bid to find the maker."

Colin contacted the Surface Warships Association and managed to source photographs of HMS Hedingham Castle. His version was a 48 to one scale model.

The model makers' association then supplied him with a list of specialists who make items for model boats; items that Colin could not possibly make himself.

"Nevertheless, building Hedingham Castle turned out to be a daunting exercise," he said.

"I haven't got the nimbleness or vision anymore. I've done my best to get it as close as possible to the real thing.

"During my research, I managed to track down someone who had served on the frigate. He helped me out on a number of things."

Soldering proved a real problem, with so many small parts involved. Luckily, Colin's friend, Bill Read, was able to lend him a specialist clamp.

"I had to remove eight pounds of lead sheeting that was used as ballast," said Colin. "The whole thing is super-glued together. I had a few anxious moments when I thought I'd stuck my forefinger to my thumb permanently.

"The ship is radio controlled. The electric motor is run by a six volt battery that weighs five pounds."

Now Colin has completed his labour of love, what next?

"Where do I sail it?" he asked. "Hopefully, Clive and Angie Gammon, of Tracey Mill Trout Farm, will indulge me and let me scare their trout from time to time."

n Tracey Mill is home to a 17th century corn mill.

It is one of Honiton's hidden treasures and supplies trout and trout pate to consumers at farmers' markets.

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