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Pupils get hands on with boat building

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By Rod Edgar
Annan and Eskdale
Pupils get hands on with boat building

A BOAT building project in Annan has gained more backing — allowing a small team of school pupils to come on board.

Annan Harbour Action Group are behind the scheme to craft a second St Ayles Skiff for coastal racing competition, joining the existing ‘Pride of Annan’.
Six pupils from Annan Academy pupils are now set to join the project, and 15-year-old Callum McKinlay said: “Our head teacher Mr Brown came into class one day to say there was an opportunity to build a boat.”
While noting it will count towards his National 5 woodwork studies, he added: “I just thought it was a good opportunity and a new experience.”
And with the six pupils set to learn new skills, fellow pupil Connor Stuart said: “That’s one of the main reasons I’m doing it.”
Rector Jim Brown has praised the initiative, which follows a safety boat training course for young people last year.
He said: “Then there was talk about starting a sustainable project to give groups of young people from the Academy not just to learn woodworking but also skills in the workplace and learning how to engage with master craftsmen and people who are already highly skilled in that area.”
Work on the second boat began in October at the harbour group’s base at Silverlaw Industrial Estate, undertaken by a small group including Malcolm Willacy working with larch from Hoddom and Kinmount Estate.
Welcoming the young additions, Mr Willacy said: “I’m glad there’s somebody coming along behind.”
Safety and fire equipment were needed at the Silverlaw base before the pupils were allowed to participate.
And this has been made possible by an award of £568 from the Magnox Socio-Economic Scheme.
Chapelcross head of safety and quality David Smith presented the equipment on Monday, and said: “Chapelcross are delighted to assist in providing the funding for fire and safety equipment which will ensure a safe working environment for the volunteers, young and old, involved in the community project to construct a second coastal rowing boat.”
The finished boat will feature alongside Pride of Annan in a two-day coastal rowing regatta on the Solway on July 22 and 23.


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