Having complete a B.Ed degree in 1980, I eventually began teaching in 1982, and taught in the same primary school for 32 years. I really loved teaching, but the stresses of the job were beginning to take their toll and I took early retirement in 2014. I subsequently took a part-time job driving a minibus for the local Community Bus Service, transporting aged and infirm clients around the borough. At the same time, I also volunteered as a driver with the local Foodbank.
In 2017, I became a volunteer steward at the Porthcawl town museum. The onset of Covid-19 in early 2020 and the subsequent suspension of all of these part-time posts gave me more time to concentrate on modelling, a hobby I first took up in 1963 after ‘helping’ my dad to build an Airfix Lancaster. In those early days, most of my models ended up with more glue than plastic, and paint was an unknown commodity! Most of these early builds eventually served as excellent targets for my air rifle!
For Christmas 1969, my parents bought me a copy of ‘How to go Plastic Modelling’ by Chris Ellis, which was real game-changer. I saved up and bought all the tools he recommended, and started buying Humbrol paints. I still have some of those tins I bought back in 1969-70, and they are still useable! I read and re-read the book from cover to cover, and started following the advice he imparted. I also started collecting Airfix Magazine around the same time, although, regrettably, I was later forced to sell my magazine collection.
I have very fond memories of regularly cycling into town in the late 1960’s and early 70’s to spend my latest pocket money in Woolworths, where there was always a good selection of kits on offer. I also have fond memories of regularly attending the RAF St. Athan ‘Battle of Britain’ Day shows, which were an annual event from the early 60’s right through to the 1990’s.
I met my second wife, a Canadian, via the Internet. She moved to the UK in 1998, and the following year, we both attended Scale Model World for the first time. She has always actively supported and encouraged my hobby (perhaps to keep me out of mischief!), and we have attended every SMW since then. In 2015, she helped me to install full-length shelving in our attic for my ‘stash’ which currently stands at over 1000 kits! I know, I’m never going to build them all, so I plan to start selling them on eBay at some point. In 2019 she helped me to build a custom-built shed/workshop, fully insulated and clad with uPVC, where I spend quite a bit of my spare time. It looks like chaos, but there’s a place for everything and, believe it or not, everything is in its place!
Besides aircraft, which have always been my real passion, I also build the occasional tank and have even been known to build a ship model just to change things up a little. I have a real interest in special schemes such as aerobatic and anniversary markings, and have a very large collection of aftermarket decals. Although I’ve been building models for almost 60 years, I am most definitely not up to the standard of some of the fantastic builds which often grace the pages of our newsletter and our Facebook site. I build purely for enjoyment, and to me, if it looks right it IS right. As I have repeatedly stated, I am NOT a rivet counter.
In late 2020, when Brian put out a call for someone familiar with Microsoft Publisher to take over as editor of the newsletter, I put my name forward. I have worked with all the various iterations of Publisher since 1995, and I didn’t want the newsletter to be discontinued, so I welcomed the opportunity to put my knowledge to good use for the benefit of our Group’s membership.
I still live in the small village on top of a hill near Bridgend in South Wales where I grew up, which is a good vantage point for observing aircraft on approach to both RAF St Athan and Cardiff International Airport. Besides modelling, I am a keen computer wargamer, and I enjoy reading and travelling.
I do not consider myself to be a specialist on any particular aviation subject, but I have a very large reference library. If I am able to help anyone in any way, then I’m happy to do so. Just send me an email from the Contact Us page.