Photo: Illustrative image for the 'A NEW MODEL OF THE MEECHING' page
Photo: Illustrative image for the 'A NEW MODEL OF THE MEECHING' page
Photo: Illustrative image for the 'A NEW MODEL OF THE MEECHING' page
Photo: Illustrative image for the 'A NEW MODEL OF THE MEECHING' page
Photo: Illustrative image for the 'A NEW MODEL OF THE MEECHING' page

All photos: Andy Gilbert

A most generous gift

By Andy Gilbert & Lorely Summers

As some of you may know, I've become the official historian for our much loved former harbour tug Meeching as my late father Captain Frank Gilbert was her skipper for many years. I've published several web pages about the tug here on Our Newhaven and have produced a photographic life history book about her, which you'll find at Newhaven Museum. I keep it updated, so even if you've seen it already, pop in for another look! I'm also a model tug enthusiast, usually sailing my tugs at Eastbourne's Princes Park when the weather's good.

Our Newhaven was contacted a few days ago by Mr Michael Summers, who was looking for a suitable home for a scratch built radio-controlled model of the Meeching built by his late father-in-law, Mr Fred Davies. He wanted it to go to someone connected with the tug, so I offered to keep it 'in the family', as it were, as well as keeping it sailing. The model was kindly brought down to me on the 22nd February, just three days before the tug's 56th birthday. The model depicts Meeching in the late 1990s, towards the end of her time here at Newhaven, but thankfully before the rather ugly bow and stern fenders were fitted, for working with the Hoverspeed Seacat fast ferries.

It's very clear that the model was built with a lot of skill and care, as the attention to detail is superb, from the brass engine room telegraphs, ship's wheel and even the lighting control panel in the wheelhouse, to the anchor windlass at the bow and the salvage pump connections at the rear of the superstructure. The access panels to the running and steering gear are so well disguised, it took me a while to figure out where they were!

Mrs Lorely Summers wrote the following, which explains why the model is so well constructed!

"Dad always thought if a job was worth doing etc. Building such things gave him great pleasure and he always hoped his boat would end up in Newhaven.

My Dad's name was Frederick Davies, but he liked to be called Fred. He built the Meeching whilst living in Cliff Close, Seaford. His original occupation was as a precision optical instrument maker including microscopes, binoculars etc. Model engineering was his passion and as well as building boats, he made live steam model locomotives, built impulse pendulum clocks and models of traditional country carts."

Update: The model has now had its old radio control equipment replaced with the latest 2.4GHz digital system, and its motors and steering gear have been overhauled. A few cosmetic touches have been made, such as the addition of the builder's plaque at the front of the superstructure next to the ship's bell and the model now flies the Red Ensign. The model had its first sailing at Eastbourne on the 22nd March and, as well as sailing it there, I hope to bring it along to some of the outdoor events that the Our Newhaven team will be attending, like the Fish Festival and Lifeboat Fete.

My grateful thanks go to Mr and Mrs Summers for the very generous gift of the model.

This page was added by Andy Gilbert on 23/02/2016.
Comments about this page

Hi Andy, you sure are a fortunate bloke, I've always want to get a model of the Meeching in RC but didn't know how to go about it. Hope you have many happy years sailing her.

By Don Waller
On 19/10/2016

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