End of the line for rail exhibitor Ken
AMODEL railway fan who has been exhibiting for 60 years has reached the end of the line.
Ken Ball, 87, made the move to modelling after developing a childhood passion for drawing and painting.
Since then he has created more than 600 models which have been exhibited all over the country.
Now six decades after founding Macclesfield Model Railway Group, Ken has decided its next annual exhibition, in March 2018, will be his last.
Ken, of Springfield Road, said: “Everything comes to an end. I have had some great times exhibiting at some of the biggest events of their kind, but it’s getting a bit much for me now.
“These next few will be my last due to my mobility but I am still planning to make models, including several old buildings in Macclesfield – gone but not forgotten.”
Modelling has changed massively since Ken first started.
He said: “I was drawing a lot and decided to go 3D. There was a shop on Chestergate called Whitings, and he sold model railway sets. I started working there on a Saturday and would create these scenes with buildings and landscapes for the front window. I built up a friendship with some others who were regulars in the shop and we decided to set up a group.”
Ken and his pals rented a house where they would meet to show off their modelling efforts. They then started showing them publicly, including a replica of Butley Town which won several awards.
While many of the model buildings and sce- nic dioramas Ken creates are fictional, he also has a passion for recreating long-demolished Macclesfield buildings using old photos.
Ken’s work has appeared in magazines and he wrote a book to share his skills and techniques.
Ken, a retired purchasing manager who has been married to wife Margaret for 63 years, said the hobby has changed a lot.
Ken said: “In the early days models were made from balsa wood, card and printed paper. These days plastic sheets are used and welded together with solvent. So there is no more waiting for glue to set.
“Today everything a modeller needs is online and can be downloaded in seconds. I had to design the models myself, without drawings.”
Ken Ball with one of his layouts and some of the buildings in detail