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Pic 1: The annual but essential lake clean by members of the New Brighton Model Boat Club.

Although the existing model boating pool on the promenade at New Brighton at the mouth of the River Mersey was constructed in 1932, organised model boating did not come about until 1981. Because there was no enthusiast group, the pond was neglected by the local authority for many years and as a result suffered from that neglect. The spark that generated interest was the need to improve the facilities for everyone, and as a result New Brighton Model Club (NBMC) was formed with an initial membership of 35 and the challenge of improving the facilities. Thanks to the focused leadership of its first chairman, the late Bill Haynes, NBMC was able to persuade the local authority to embark on a series of improvements, including repair to the decaying concrete structure, the installation of a new drain, a new rising main for fresh water and a general clean of the lake and its surrounds.

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Pic 2: Having a raised concrete surround, dedicated jetties and docks are very popular. These keep the models on the water, ready to sail and for the public to view.

Initially NBMC had a wider interest base including model r/c cars, which operated from a broad hard standing adjacent to the pool. Although the local authority had provided funds for regeneration of the pool, on-going maintenance was a problem. Once again the members decided that in the best interests of not just the enthusiasts, but for general public usage, the club would take on responsibility for cleaning the pool and in later years this extended to the repair of the concrete surround and base.

Change of club name

By 1991, the emphasis was firmly towards model boats and this was reflected in a name change to New Brighton Model Boat Club (NBMBC). With a rise in membership, NBMBC was one of the first of many clubs to become involved in the highly successful Model Boat Conventions run annually at the Boat Museum at Ellesmere Port. Like many clubs of that period, a thriving calendar of events was well supported. Perhaps reflecting the maritime links of many of the members and the location of the pond with superb views of the Mersey estuary and ships entering and leaving the river, NBMBC pioneered navigation sailing events. Also, members such as Ted Parr and Stan Amos, are but two of many that have built outstanding models over the years, with strong Mersey connections.

All clubs have their ups and downs, and one of the downs was in the wake of the first regeneration of the local area in the late 1980s, where the developers responsible for the improvements to the facilities made the blinkered decision to demolish the lake with no thought of a replacement, by using it as an impromptu tip for waste building materials. Once again the club met this challenge head on, and with the help of their then local MP, Linda Chalker, it was able to force the developers and local authority to back track and reinstate the pool. Certainly a victory for common sense and genuine local concerns. NBMBC has over the years and indeed to this present day, supported charities such as the RNLI and the Clare House Hospice for children. Members meets regularly on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday at the pool from March till October. A full program of sailing events is linked to a monthly meeting at a local social club and all are enthusiastically attended. For further details contact Bill Slater on tel; 01516 451737 for club details, or just pop along to the pool on the days mentioned above and you will receive a cordial and enthusiastic welcome.

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Pic 3: Reflecting the area and its strong maritime connection, IOM ferries have always been a popular subject amongst members. Pic 4: With a little help from our friends in the fire service, NBMBC is doing its bit for charity. Pic 5: A superb model of Vigilant by Stan Amos. Pic 6: Ted Parr, president of NBMBC, surveys the preparations under a cloudless sky for another regatta at New Brighton Pool.

The future

Presently there is a development program for the local area, which involves the construction of a new lake close to the present facility. Unfortunately the plan does require the demolition of the existing pool. To be fair, repair and maintenance of the existing site has become more of a problem recently and a new facility is much needed. Thankfully design and development of the new model boating lake has been undertaken with full consultation and input from members of the New Brighton Model Boat Club. With this in mind it is the desire of members to maintain the long tradition of sailing model boats at New Brighton, to support the local community and enjoy the hobby to the full.