Model Mersey ferry boat makes maiden voyage

On a hot and sunny Sunday morning at New Brighton Model Boating Lake, Clint Nicholls proudly launched his replica scale model of the Overchurch ferry boat that he had spent 9 months making.

The sea trials went well and the Overchurch majestically made its maiden voyage from one side of the lake to the other. And then, clearly enjoying himself, with the remote control in his hands, Clint guided the boat around the lake for a few laps. And then a few more, just for good luck! splashed on the sunscreen and spoke to Clint about his model making hobby on the morning of the launch, Sunday 18 July. “I started doing modelling when I was 10 years old because my brother used to do it. He built aircraft and I was forever watching them crash and get smashed when he flew them!”, he explained.

“So I thought, if I’m going to take up modelling as a hobby, I’m going to do boats because there’s less chance of anything bad happening to them!” he said.

This is Clint’s eighth model Mersey Ferry boat that he has built, after the paddle-powered Birkenhead from 1893, the Rose from 1900, the luggage boat Perch Rock from 1929, the Royal Daffodil and Bidston from 1934, the fish ‘n chip boat, the Royal Iris from 1950, and the Snowdrop, originally the Woodchurch from 1959, and refitted and renamed in 2003.

So, where does he keep them all? “Oh, they’re all over the house!”, he said, “There’s too many to fit on top of the telly!”

A member of Hoylake Model Boat Club provided Clint with the plans for him to be able to build the Overchurch, but in some cases, he has to work just from photographs and create his own drawings.

On his latest model, the Overchurch, he said, “The Overchurch was built at Cammell Laird in 1962 and the renamed it in 2000 after doing some work on it.” It takes a long time to make the models, Clint said. “It’s taken just on nine months, about 900 hours at roughly 100 hours a month – it’s a labour of love!”


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