Model T replica to take cen­tre stage

The Oban Times - - Lochaber Times -

A BRONZE replica of the Ford Model T car that was driven to the top of Ben Ne­vis in 1911 will be un­veiled in Fort Wil­liam next year.

The group be­hind the project has re­ceived £35,000 EU LEADER fund­ing to com­plete the project. The sculp­ture will be un­veiled in Cameron Square on Satur­day May 19, 2018, to co­in­cide with a rally of Model T cars from all over the UK which is sched­uled to come through Fort Wil­liam that week­end.

The replica cel­e­brates the jour­ney of Henry Alexander, the son of Scot­land’s first Ford dealer, who drove a Model T to the sum­mit of Ben Ne­vis in 1911.

The sculp­ture will take pride of place in Cameron Square be­tween the High Street and the West Highland Mu­seum, and will fea­ture Alexander at the wheel. Chris Robin­son, chair­man of the Ben Ne­vis Bronze Ford Com­mit­tee, said: ‘The Model T will be a sig­nif­i­cant pro­mo­tion of the town. It will sit in the High Street and no-one will be able to pass it by with­out won­der­ing what it’s all about.It will get a bit of a buzz about the place.’

The to­tal cost of the project is es­ti­mated to be £89,000.

Many Lochaber peo­ple and busi­nesses have con­trib­uted to the project and con­sid­er­able sums have been do­nated by Model T en­thu­si­asts. Tyre tracks on the pave­ment in the square will lead into the West Highland Mu­seum en­cour­ag­ing vis­i­tors to find out more about the fa­mous as­cent.

Film footage of the climb in 1911 was dis­cov­ered in 2015 and will be on show at the mu­seum.

To mark the cen­te­nary of Alexander’s quest in 2011, 77 vol­un­teers car­ried a dis­man­tled replica of a Model T Ford to the sum­mit of Ben Ne­vis where it was re­assem­bled and then taken apart again be­fore com­ing back down. Some of th­ese parts will be used as the moulds for the bronze replica.

Mr Robin­son said the struc­ture will be­come part of a bronze trail through Fort Wil­liam, start­ing at ‘Sair Feet’ in the West End, to the alu­minum worker in In­ver­lochy, fin­ish­ing at the Com­mando Memo­rial in Spean Bridge, adding: ‘There has been talk of hav­ing a bronze trail, with po­ten­tial for many more through­out Fort Wil­liam.’

Highland Coun­cil Lochaber leader Andrew Bax­ter said: ‘Con­grat­u­la­tions to the team be­hind this bold project. It will be a fan­tas­tic cen­tre­piece to the town.’

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