RAWDON Model Boat Club recently opened its doors to members of the public and invited them to visit our club and private lake to have a go at sailing model boats and yachts.

This was the first of two such events planned for 2023. But first I must report that, sadly, we lost a well respected and valued club member shortly before the open day. He had been poorly for a long time but it still came as a shock to hear that he had lost his battle. However, we felt he would have wanted us to go on with the show. He was a keen model boat builder and dedicated member of Rawdon MBC. He served as Chairman for many years. Only a few days before he passed away he was posting photos of his boats on our Facebook page. Our sincere condolences go out to his family. We remember David King.

The open day started bright and breezy, with members arriving to set up marquees, safety barriers, arrange tables and chairs and get ready for an enjoyable day playing host to our visitors, and showing off our boats. Our Chairman had given a lot of his time to pressure wash the dockside paving and do other maintenance work.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: A visitor enjoys the activity on the tarn A visitor enjoys the activity on the tarn (Image: Mike Critchlow)

Many of our committee and other members worked hard to prepare for the open day. Our kitchen volunteers were busy getting ready to provide drinks and hot food. They had no idea what was in store for them! None of us had any idea how many visitors would arrive. All three kitchen volunteers were worn out by the end of the day. They'd already spent two days baking cakes and preparing food. They deserve a medal.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: A live steam powered pleasure boat from 1900A live steam powered pleasure boat from 1900 (Image: Mike Critchlow)

The first visitors were guided into the club enclosure where their eyes lit up when they saw our beautiful lake under a brilliant blue sky. The swans and ducks added to the peaceful ambience of our location. There has been a model boat club on Larkfield Tarn since the 1930s. The tarn was built in the 1820s to provide water for a textile mill but is now owned by Rawdon MBC. By 10.30am visitors were arriving by the dozen. I’ve never seen the dockside so busy! Everyone was thrilled to see our boats on display. Little did they realise what other treats awaited them in the boat shed where 'A' Class yachts and other 'big' boats were stored.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Model boats stored in the boathouse Model boats stored in the boathouse (Image: Mike Critchlow)

Lots of 'neighbours' from Rawdon turned up, many had never heard about us before. We also had visitors from Hull, Ripon, Harrogate, Knaresborough, Manchester, Doncaster, Huddersfield and Malton, as well as Leeds and Bradford. I estimate well over 100 visitors, of all ages.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Some of the model boats owned by club membersSome of the model boats owned by club members (Image: Mike Critchlow)

These are some of the comments that show what a success the day was: “It was brilliant. Well done. Thank you to the tug boat owner who let our three-year-old 'have a go’. He thought it was great!”

“Many thanks for a great open day! What a wonderful, well organised event!”

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: A magnificent fully working model submarine A magnificent fully working model submarine (Image: Mike Critchlow)

Our Boats For Sale marquee was manned by a willing club member who sold several boats on behalf of retired members. He did a brilliant job, despite the wind blowing away his marquee.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: An A Class boat setting off An A Class boat setting off (Image: Mike Critchlow)

We had a long but enjoyable day. I’m sure we all went home knowing we'd made a lot of new friends. A big thank you to all our visitors and to members who made them welcome and turned the day into a resounding success. Now we're about to start planning our next open day in August. Watch this space!

* Rawdon Model Boat club is off Larkfield Road, Rawdon. Email rmbcmembership@gmail.com

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