Tim makes a splash with bottled boats
A MODEL citizen is using his hobby to raise funds for charity and potentially save lives.
Kind-hearted Tim Hunt, of Pexhill Road, Macclesfield, has been making miniature lifeboats in glass bottles for the last 12 years.
And as well as asking for donations for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) while displaying the dainty duplicate rafts, he also plans to hand them to the charity later this year.
After they are given to the institution they will go on display at its headquarters in Poole, where they will help raise even more money for the RNLI – which provides a 24-hour lifeboat search and rescue service around the UK and Ireland.
Tim, 76, said: “It is not easy making such small models and getting them into the glass bottles but all the hard work has certainly been worth it.
“In general they take about nine months to make: I spend about three hours for three nights a week building them.
“Over the last 12 years I have made six in total, which I am going to be handing over to the charity sometime in the summer this year.
“It is great to think that my work will be on display at the headquarters.
“They will be going into the lobby, where the institution has lots of other models on display – people usually make a donation while visiting.
“Everyone has been very supportive when I have shown them in Macclesfield, and over 12 years, between the models and collecting boxes for the charity that I also co-ordinate, I have raised about £2,000.”
Retired garment industry worker Tim, who lives with his wife of 49 years, Christine, says he has had a connection with the sea since serving in the Navy during his national service in 1956.
But he says he is now set to retire from making lifeboats and instead begin to build tanks that were used in the Second World War to raise funds for Help for Heroes.
Tim added: “The lifeboats themselves are made from all sorts – wood, cardboard, different types of paper and cocktail sticks – and are incredibly fiddly to put together.
“I also use the same bottle for each piece as well, which is a Jack Daniels half litre whiskey bottle. I use that as it has flat edges and so you don’t have to make a cradle like you would for a round bottle.
“There isn’t one part of the process which is easier than any other as each part can throw up its own pitfalls.
“I just never try and do something if I have a spare 20 minutes as something can end up taking two hours.
“It takes a lot of patience to put one together, I don’t think anyone could do it. But I have loved to make models since I was a little boy, and to think that I can help raise funds for worthy causes at the same time makes it even more worthwhile.”
●● Tim Hunt with his lifeboats in bottles