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St. Luke's Fellowship Meeting, April 2012

Report by Chris Warrell

About a year ago I offered to run a Meccano night at a church group in Eltham called the St Luke's Fellowship. They meet on a Friday night (in the church hall where SELMEC used to meet) between Easter and October and they either book a speaker to give a talk, or run their own "in house" activities such as Whist drives etc.

I happily forgot about this until early 2012 when they asked if they could pencil me in their diary. The date was set for Friday 27th April — between the Magic of Meccano Show at Kew Bridge Steam Museum and the Holy Trinity Meccano Club meeting.

The Fellowship gets down to some serious modelling
The Fellowship gets down to some serious modelling

The idea of the talk was that I was going to get them to build a model from an instruction leaflet. If you remember, James May did this with some school children who attempted to build a crane from a 1950s no. 4 outfit with fairly disastrous results. In my version the age profile was somewhat different, with a large proportion being of pensionable age. Would the OAPs fare better than the kids?

The start of building

The start of building

The model I chose was the Travelling Crane from the 1938 no. 2 set. It had a separate base, representing a quay with rails on the edge, so I thought that, with the group being divided into teams of three or four, each building their own model, one person could start on the base and another on the superstructure. I had built the model in about 50 minutes so thought that the hour and a quarter allowed would be enough. It wasn't!

I was pleased that Brian Leach offered to come along and both of us were able to give assistance to the groups as required: One group needed more help than others, because they had only two active participants, and Brian did quite a bit of the building for them.

Of the five groups, two virtually completed the model with just a little help, one completed theirs with a lot of help from Brian and the other two managed only the base of the model and one or two sections that couldn't be bolted to the rest. Two or three teams tried to add the wheels before the legs had been bolted to anything else, with the result that everything kept falling apart!

Now, you just hold the wheels there while I build the rest...

"Now, you just hold the wheels
there while I build the rest…"

Brian and I had both brought models and various magazines and manuals to show (before they got down to the construction). I'd also brought some sets from various eras. The setting up of all this took a chunk out of the two hours available. There was only a short time to demonstrate the models.

I think that most of the Fellowship enjoyed the experience. They all seemed very absorbed in the building: They normally break for tea at around 9:05pm but it was more like 25 past before anyone realised what time it was! Many of them stopped only briefly for tea before getting back to the modelling.

At the conclusion Rosemary Keogh (one of their committee members) said that she was now going to dig out a new Meccano set that she bought a couple of Christmases ago. Let's hope she does and that she, and other Fellowship members, might be encouraged to come along to our Meccano Show in October.

The top three models complete - just!
The top three models complete — just!

» This article appeared in the June 2012 issue of SELMEC News.

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