44ft Motor Lifeboats
The Barham Model Club built this splendid half size model of the Great Yarmouth and Gorleston 44ft Waveney lifeboat the "Barham". The idea to build the model came about after discussions between the lifeboat crews into what they could do to enter the 1986 Great Yarmouth carnival. The Barham Model Club was then formed which consisted of 24 members from the inshore and offshore lifeboat crews. A full set of plans were acquired from the RNLI headquarters at Poole and work began on the model in April 1986 in a domestic garage. It wasn't long though before they had out grown this accommodation and had to move to a local warehouse which was kindly loaned by G.C.S. Wire Rope Services.
Events were arranged during the spring and summer of 1986 to raise the £3,000 needed for the building of the model, which was insured for £12,000 after the work was completed. In all the model took eight months to complete with work continuing right up to the launch, which to place in the car park of the Rumbold Arms, Southtown, Yarmouth which was also the venue for many of the fund raising events. The Mayor of Yarmouth, Mrs Brenda Mills, performed the launching ceremony, praising the lifeboatmen's efforts as a "marvellous achievement". Looking at the incredible detail put into the model it is not surprising to learn that the model took several hundred hours to complete.

My thanks go to Frank Gates and John Best for their kind help with this article and photos.

The model was also loaned out to organisations across the country to raise funds for the RNLI. The last know destination was when the model was taken on a tour of Ireland but it has not been heard of since, so if anyone knows what became of the model I would be very pleased if you could e-mail me.

The photo shows the model at the St Patrick's Day Parade in Donegal in 2002.

Photo courtesy of the Donegal Times.
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