By Tristan Harris Monday 17 September 2012 Updated: 17/09 15:13
A LICKEY Hills resident has been given the chance to learn the traditional skills of woodworking and wheelwrighting, thanks to Worcestershire's County Museum.
Mark Clements, 51, was chosen for the volunteer apprentice position after entering a competition ran by Worcestershire County Council earlier in the year and he has now been working under the expertise of veteran wheelwright Ced Lewis two days a week for the last three months.
Mark had no previous woodworking experience, but was keen to learn from Ced who is 83 and has been volunteering at the museum for more than 20 years.
Among the projects undertaken by former engineer, Ced, have been the restoration of the gypsy caravan Esmerelda, a two thirds scale model of a gypsy caravan and the carving of a wooden horse's head for an agricultural display.
Mark, who has already successfully made two wheels from scratch which he is using on a hand cart he is crafting, said: "I'm a practical person, I've always been keen on DIY and I appreciate fine woodwork so I thought I'd give it a go.
"I never expected to get the job though - I absolutely love it, Ced is an inspiration and I'm learning new skills all the time.
"I also love being here at the castle, it's a smashing place, very peaceful, the staff are all very friendly and it's nice to be able to chat to the visitors about what we are doing."
Ced added Mark was a natural and, to have progressed in three months to make wheels by himself was very impressive.
"You show him something once and he's away, it's brilliant.
"There's still plenty more for him to learn though, I've been doing this for 20 years and I'm still learning.
"There are very few working wheelwrights in the country now and it's very important to me that my skills are passed on," he said.
The Museum is now on the lookout for more volunteers - this time to help run special weekend events and to supervise art and craft activities for children during school holidays.
For more, call Rachel Robinson on 01299 250416 or visit: www.museumsworcestershire.org.uk
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