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Model railways on national TV

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MODEL railway fans in Bognor Regis received national fame for their annual exhibition.

Comedian Bob Mortimer mentioned the event on a spoof weather forecast he made on BBC’s The One Show last Friday (January 10).

Exhbition organiser Richard Rundle said: “The team behind the programme must have picked up on the press release about the exhibition which I sent to the local BBC.

“They showed a photo of one of our layouts while it was being mentioned as well, which was rather nice.

“That’s got to be the first time the exhibition has received publicity like that.”

The turnout for the two-day event at Felpham Community College reached 1,300.

This was an increase of about 30 per cent on last year.

Visitors came from Northampton, Croydon and Reading.

They were able to admire 16 displays and 16 trade stalls.

Among the displays was a revamped demonstration model railway for the British Transport Police.

It is used by their officers to highlight the dangers of level crossings.

The layout had started to look tatty and the police turned to the club, based at the Aldingbourne Community Sports Centre, for help.

Club members have made it as good as new.

Chairman Adrian Taylor said: “With so many crossings in the Bognor and Chichester areas, we were keen to help the transport police in any way we could.

“We felt it was especially important to help them get the ‘staying safe around our railway network’ message across to everyone.”

Another first time exhibitor was Mike Tucker, 72, of Reigate. He showed his models of decay such as a cottage made from materials like Weetabix.

He also makes use of garden soil and coffee stirrers.

“People are normally complementary about the models,” he said. “They’ve normally not seen anything like this.”

His unusual method of model-making arose 17 years ago from the need to occupy his mother’s artistic talents as she became old.

Visitors to the show could vote for the best layout. Arun District Council chairman Terence Chapman presented the Ron Maxted Trophy to Paul Hopkins for his Redford Junction display.

Other layouts included Alton, Rodney Bridge Sylvester Road and Greenfields in a range of gauges.

 

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