Age no barrier to Howard’s hobbies
Age is no barrier, just ask Howard Downham.
Between building model boats, fixing his classic 265 Charger, jamming on his Fender electric guitar and walking laps around the town, there is nothing hindering Mr Downham from doing anything he sets his eyes on at the age of 81.
‘‘You have to keep using your brain and moving your body, it’s true what they say if you don’t use ‘em, you lose ‘em,’’ he said.
Mr Downham can do pretty much anything that involves using his hands.
A carpenter by trade, Mr Downham can also strip down a car and build it back up, his 1973 Charger, which he has owned for close to 30 years still looks new, except for the engine bay. ‘‘ A piston has punched right through, so I’ve taken the motor out so I can fix it.’’
Building model boats is also a passion. He has recreated many historically important boats including the Mayflower, H.M.S Surprise and the H.M.S Bounty, just to name a few.
When asked if he had built a model version of the Titanic, Mr Downham was appalled.
‘‘The best thing about that boat is that it sunk, it was just sad that it had to take human life with it . . . I didn’t like the shape.’’
The attention to detail
is amazing, as Mr Downham put it: ‘‘I don’t do things in halves.’’
Originally from Auckland, Mr Downham has only lived in Tokoroa for six years.
‘‘ I moved to Tirau then to Putaruru and now here, I love it, the next time I move will be to Burt Hill in a wooden overcoat.’’
His other passions include movies and music from the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s. ‘‘ The music back then had meaning, you know it talked about issues, not like today’s music – it’s all yelling and murdering, I don’t understand how people could listen to it.’’
Mr Downham’s philosophy on life is: ‘‘you’re only as old as you feel, I don’t feel anything over 60.’’
SURPRISE: Howard Downham shows off his HMS Surprise, which took him 600 hours to recreate.