A motor engineer is well on track to building an amazing miniature village in his garage – thanks to a model railway set he bought from South Bucks Hospice.
Clive Dell, who owns Dell Motor Services in Aylesbury, won the train set in an auction held by the hospice’s reuse shop at Aston Clinton. The hospice runs the shop in partnership with Buckinghamshire Council and FCC Environment.
He paid a substantial undisclosed fee for the set which includes about 15 trains, 60 carriages and coaches, houses, pubs and a colliery.
The money will go to helping to care for patients with life-limiting conditions.
The train set was donated to the shop by a man who Mr Dell believes carefully carried it into the shop in three large loads. He says he estimates it dates from the 1970s.
Mr Dell, 59, who describes himself as an ‘eccentric with a good sense of humour’, is now using the set as part of the model village he is constructing in the garage of his home in Kingsey near Thame and Princes Risborough.
He said: “I have been buying model items for three or four years and am in the very early stages of drawing up plans to create the village – I am so glad I bought the train set from the hospice because a lot of it has been hand-made. Whoever made it must have spent hours creating it.
“I looked at it and thought I need to buy that.”
He plans for his village to include a church, wedding cars, a graveyard, gravestones, a vicar at a funeral, as well as the trains and coal mine, outbuildings, woodlands and mountains.
Mr Dell, who got married last week in an Only Fools and Horses-themed wedding, already has a ten-foot model of a ‘Gruffalo’, a famous character from a children’s book, outside his home. But the new village will be for his own enjoyment on private display in his garage.
He was delighted that his hobby has helped South Bucks Hospice. “I am quite a charitable person and think it was a really nice idea to buy something which goes back into helping people who are not as fortunate as others,” he said.
Jackie Ward, Chief Executive Officer for South Bucks Hospice based at Kingswood Park in High Wycombe, said: “It’s wonderful that so much money can be made, and so much enjoyment can be had, through our charity re-use shops. I would urge other members of the public to both donate and buy unwanted items. Who knows, your discarded items could turn out to be somebody else’s priceless gem – and could raise a lot of money to help our patients.”
For more details about South Bucks Hospice, go to www.sbh.org.uk