Model helper for lifeboat charity

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MODEL boat builder Neil Howard-Pritchard is using his skills to support lifeboat charity the RNLI.

Former Fleetwood man Neil has constructed an impressive six-foot model of a Scottish lifeboat from fibreglass, white metal and resin.

Between last November and early March Neil toiled on his scale model of the Grace Paterson Ritchie, a Clyde class vessel which operated out of Lerwick from the late 1960s to the late 1970s.

It is currently on show at the Lighthouse Stationers on North Albert Street, where there are sponsor forms in support of Neil’s fund-raising endeavours.

Now Neil, 58, intends to test the mini vessel on the waters of Scotland’s Loch Ness on Saturday July 2. His aim is to cruise it the entire 23-mile length of the loch, using 13 motorcycle batteries to power the model boat.

Joining him on the day will be three pals, two from Stoke and one from Yorkshire, who are also building model boats which they will be sailing as well.

Neil, of Castle Avenue, Carleton, says the RNLI is particularly close to his heart for a good reason: his life was saved by a Fleetwood Lifeboat volunteer.

He recalled: “When I was about eight I playing near the lifeboat slipway and I fell down and got stuck under the water.

“I was drowning and would not have survived if one of the lifeboat lads hadn’t got to me and pulled me out. They do a fantastic job.”

Neil has built many model boats over the years and constructed his latest craft in the shed down at the bottom of his garden.