End of the line for rail ex­hibitor Ken

Macclesfield Express - - FRONT PAGE - STU­ART GREER

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.”

Do­minic Sal­ter

Ken Ball with one of his lay­outs and some of the build­ings in de­tail

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