Cheltenham war veteran's model boats to give disabled charity cash boost
WAR veteran Frank Turner's huge handmade model boats look set to ship cash to the disabled.
Daphne Sherbourne has donated six model boats made by her brother, who died 18 months ago aged 86, to the Butterfly Garden in Cheltenham.
The charity, which runs a garden where disabled people can learn and socialise, hopes to make around £3,000 by auctioning the ships in December.
It took Cheltenham-born Frank, who is a Second World War veteran, 10 years to make the boats, which include a five foot long model of the Sovereign of the Seas.
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Daphne, 72, who lives in Up Hatherley, said: "Frank was partially deaf so he didn't have many friends, so when his wife died a few years ago he was a bit lonely and decided to make the boats as a hobby.
"After he died, the boats came to me. I didn't know what to do with them, because they're big, but I knew I wanted them to go somewhere they'd be appreciated.
"My grandson had done some work at the Butterfly Garden a few years ago, and my neighbour volunteers there, so I knew what good cause it is, so I decided to use the boats to help them."
Daphne has kept one of the boats, which is a model of a motor torpedo ship Frank served on while in the Royal Navy during the war.
Frank grew up with Daphne and their family in Leckhampton until he joined the navy aged 18, and after the war he worked as a coal miner in Wales and built his own home in Australia, among various other adventures. At the time of his death, Frank was living in Cornwall.
Daphne said: "Frank was a lovely man and was always good with his hands.
"During his later years he was less mobile, so I think he'd like that we've given the boats to a charity for people who are disabled but still want to do some work."
Chris Evans, chairman of the Butterfly Garden trustees, said he was grateful for the unusual donation.
He said: "I'm honoured that we have been chosen to receive the boats, because they are works of art. We will make sure they go to a home where they are appreciated, and hopefully raise a lot of money along the way."
For more information on the charity, go to thebutterflygarden.org.