Loco models are labour of love for Darlington matchstick man George

HANDY CRAFT: George Day

HANDY CRAFT: George Day

First published in News The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Reporter (Darlington)

A 90-YEAR-OLD craftsman who spends hours making intricate matchstick models of some of his favourite steam engines has unveiled his latest creation.

George Day, from Darlington, took up his unusual hobby following a lifetime working on the railways.

Over the years he has created dozens of models of the steam locomotives he worked on and his latest is a Class Q6 Locomotive, a “workhorse” which plied the tracks of North East England for over 50 years.

Mr Day has already started work on his next project,  replica of Tornado, a main line steam locomotive built in Darlington.

"It is time consuming and painstaking work, but it is something I get a great deal of pleasure from and it keeps me active, which is just as important," he said.

“Sometimes I can spend a day making just one part of the model, such as the wheels, and because I am a perfectionist, if I am not happy with it then I throw it out and start all over again.”

He worked for the London North Eastern Railway (LNER) on leaving school in Crook, aged 16.

He was later transferred to work for British Rail at Bank Top Engine Shed in Darlington, where he worked for 25 years.

He began building replica locomotives from matchsticks when he and his wife Gwen moved to Tempest Anderson House - a sheltered housing scheme owned by Railway Housing Association.

One model can use up thousands of matchsticks.

“I don’t keep track of how many hours, days, weeks, months or years have gone into my model making, but I have no plans to stop just yet as I get so much enjoyment from it.”

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