Top job for carver

ONE of the country's top wood carvers, who lives in Ipswich, has been recruited to work on a £1 million project to restore an eighty-year-old boat. Tom Staddon, 34, helped restore Windsor Castle after it's fire in 1994 and is now helping to restore the American-built motorboat, Ginger Dot.

ONE of the country's top wood carvers, who lives in Ipswich, has been recruited to work on a £1 million project to restore an eighty-year-old boat.

Tom Staddon, 34, helped restore Windsor Castle after it's fire in 1994 and is now helping to restore the American-built motorboat, Ginger Dot.

Using old photographs and faint outlines, Mr Staddon is re-carving an original classical design into the boat, at Whisstocks Boatyard in Woodbridge.

Mr Staddon, born and brought up in Ufford, has been working on the design for three days.


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He said: "The design has been sanded down and painted over ever since the 1920s, so it is a question of following the faint lines and using old photographs of the boat."

"This is the first time I have ever done a boat but it is always interesting to do different things."

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The 87-foot-long boat was rescued in 1995 by Angus and Susan Clark, of Diss, after it had been moored for several years on the River Deben at Melton, near Woodbridge.

After purchasing the boat, they set about restoring it to its former glory and have a team of four working on it. They plan to re-launch the boat sometime in September.

Charles Lindbergh, pioneer of the Atlantic flight, made the boat famous in 1932 when he used it to search for his kidnapped child. Built in 1922, Ginger Dot was one of the first pleasure boats to be diesel-powered.

Mr Staddon, who works from his Congreve Road home, in Ipswich, has been part of royal restoration projects in Clarence House and St James' Place. He received royal approval for his role in the restoration of Windsor Castle, between 1994 and 1996.

He said: "At the end of the two years we went for a dinner party that was attended by the royal family. We met the Queen, Prince Charles and Princess Anne."

"Princess Anne spoke to me and remarked how nice it all looked."

Susan Clark, who is managing the restoration project, said: "I knew of Tom locally and was very pleased to get him. So far the restoration project is going well and we have been dogged by good luck!"

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