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  • The RMS Titanic left Southampton 100 years ago yesterday, April 10th 1912, on her fateful journey across the Atlantic. And many people are fascinated with the history of this fine vessel.

    One of them is Stan Fraser, who lives near me.

    Stan is obsessed with the Titanic. Well everything maritime. He loves the sea, and he loves boats too. Lots of boats. Big boats and small boats.

    His house has a submarine in the garden, and a lifeboat, and a small wooden fishing boat, and the 18 foot high steel wheelhouse from a decommissioned Banff trawler, and a model of Noah's Ark, and much more, such as buoys, fenders, cleats, anchors. He even has portholes in his house doors. And a painting of a killer whale, life size, painted on his basement wall. And inside there are other models, of boats of all sorts, plastic, wood, metal.

    But he also has a model of the Titanic. It's big. Very big.

    It's a grand model. But I would say that. I have a degree of bias............

    My first ‘proper’ job on leaving school at 16 was an apprenticeship in the Glasgow shipyards, welding and gas burning frigates for HM’s navy in Yarrow Shipbuilders. The old drink-hardened platers and welders I rubbed shoulders with, peering at me through their weld-speckled glasses, would talk with pride about their vessels. These were hard hard men, but there was a softness in their voices when they spoke about their work, a great passion for their creations. The great hulking beauties slowly being formed in the yard exerted a powerful influence. It was ‘only steel’ but it was beautiful steel, shaped by their hands.

    It would be easy to dismiss Stan’s creation with a laugh, but if you look closer you’ll find there’s a deep well of respect and passion for the labours of the working men who created the original Titanic. In many ways this is Stan’s tribute to them, made with his own hands.

    But don’t take my word for it, listen to Stan’s voice, as he talks about the reasons why he made it, and why he thinks it’s important. You can hear Stan here: http://vimeo.com/3982108
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