2010 International Model Lifeboat Rally

DAVE WOOLEY reports from Stockport

This was held on 20th June at Etherow Country Park, Stockport. Having attended the rally for many years at Southport, I was saddened that the event had to cancelled in 2009, but whilst it was not practicable at Southport in 2010, it was considered that an alternative venue and organisation could continue with this prestigious event and retain as much as possible of the original concept.

Thus, the event was resurrected by Etherow MBC and moved to the superb surroundings of Etherow Country Park. Up to 2008 the event was in two parts; Saturday was traditionally a general scale model day and Sunday was reserved for lifeboats. The format was changed for 2010 with just the Sunday for the rally. Previously there were OTW (On the Water) and Static competitions, but in 2010 there was only the static element for competition awards. So, now the rally is in many ways a new event, at a new venue and under new management.

The venue

Etherow Country Park is in Compsall, an area on the fringes of Stockport, Cheshire and it can boast not just one lake, but two. The larger of the two lakes is also used by the local dinghy sailing club. The second, reserved for model boating activities, has a jetty for launching models with purpose built tables for the preparation of models. Close to the two lakes is a clubhouse where both the model boat club and the dinghy sailing club share the facilities which are excellent and very comfortable. Other facilities including parking and a café, all within easy reach. The approach to the lakes is via a wide path and grassed area, which was used on this occasion for the display of models.

The event

Reflecting the re-emergence of the event, it was given a face lift and the prefix ‘International’ added. There were some familiar faces from the previous Southport events and many new faces entering the event for the first time. In attendance and providing help and information was the Lifeboat Enthusiasts Society. Also, Ronald Paddison had his 1:8 scale model of the Trent class RNLB George and Mary Webb showing all the interior detail and displayed separately was an exact model of the engines. Ron was kept busy most of the day giving a running commentary on the engineering features of his truly amazing model.
The rally seemed to generate its own momentum as the progressed and there was much general public interest that was good for our hobby as a whole. On the day, the larger of the lakes was used to demonstrate the capabilities of many of the models present. Amongst these was a superb model of the Dunbar lifeboat, the 47ft cabin motor lifeboat Joseph Soar. Built by J S White of Cowes in 1963 at a cost £40500, she had I believe, the distinction of being the last Watson class to be built.
Arthur Barlow brought along his scratch built Mersey class RNLB Andy Pearce. This is a particularly fine model, both on and off the water. Driven by two Graupner 900BB high torque motors with two packs of 6v NiMH batteries, it came up onto the plane and performed supremely with a little bit of help from its fully working trim tabs, a feature fitted to the full size craft and replicated on this model to good effect.

One of the smaller models was the rubber inflatable shallow water boat RNLB Y-139, modelled by Bryan Johnson. Perhaps these smaller craft haven’t the appeal of the bigger boats, but none the less, this was an excellent example of this type of small RNLI rescue craft.

Competition entries

Etherow MBC followed the tradition started by Des Newton some 30 years previously by enlisting the support of the local authority and the services of a local dignitary to present the prizes, namely the Mayor of Stockport.

First place in Kit Class was achieved by Dave Moss with his fine model of the Severn class RNLB Katie Hannon. Unfortunately the original full size vessel was wrecked whilst on service in 2008.
The Semi-Scratch Class award went to Ray Scrivens with his superbly finished 33ft Brede class RNLB Philip Vaux. For those keen to source a hull for the Brede class, Kingston Mouldings list a 1:12th hull which can be found on their website: www.kingstonmouldings.com

In recent years there has been a trend away from modellers presenting scratch built models for competition judging and today was no exception. However, some still build everything from scratch and there were entries that were not just outstanding for their level of craftsmanship, but also originality. Les Jones from Holyhead rose to the occasion with his exceptional 1:12 scale rowing and sailing RNLB Princess of Wales together with its Robinson Napton carriage. For those that have not had the chance to see this model then I can only apologise if the pictures do not do this model justice. The work on the model is exceptional and the detail lavished on the carriage is remarkable. She was stationed at Holyhead from 1864 to 1875 and saved 128 lives. Les recently gained a Silver medal with his model at the Harrogate International Model Engineering Show in the Spring of 2010.


My apologies for not mentioning all the models on display or that were active on the water as space does not allow it. From a personal viewpoint, I would like to congratulate not only Chris Gutteridge for all his efforts in resurrecting the event but Etherow MBC and all the modellers that attended on the day, as well as the support of the general public. It’s not always possible to relocate an iconic event of this type, but these guys made it work in 2010.