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Billy waltzes along the Lancaster Canal on his ‘Amazing Space’
A former Level 2 Carpentry and Joinery student Billy Walden, has recently experienced a taste of stardom when he appeared on Channel 4’s prime time Sunday evening show, George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces, to showcase his transformation of a dilapidated narrow boat to an amazing unique holiday home for his family.
Billy amazed George with his interior design talent and also his carpentry skill, professing that “In all my years I don’t think I’ve ever been so impressed by such a talented and humble craftsman”, and that the barge had been “sprinkled with Billy dust”. It wasn’t just George who was blown away by Billy’s flair from such a young carpenter, positive comments flooded across social media including a job offer. Billy certainly has an amazing career ahead of him, if he can create something so wonderful at such an early age, who knows what challenges he will choose to conquer next.
Billy’s who was home educated by his mother Jayne during his early teenage years, is encouraged whole heartedly by his family. The original craft was bought for £5,000, and Billy worked on the narrow boat over the summer taking eight weeks and a mere budget of less that £3,000, to complete the transformation, to a three bedroom holiday craft fit for his mum, little sister Matilda and himself. As a lasting tribute to his family Billy named his floating master piece ‘Matilda Jayne’.
Billy came to LMC in 2014 to study Carpentry, English and maths. He thrived in the College environment and enjoyed success in several Carpentry competitions including the Skill Build Awards and the Institute of Carpenters Competition, where he impressed the judges immensely with his hand made pieces. He has now been accepted into the Institute of Carpenters (LIOC) at the grade of Licentiate in recognition of his achievements at College. The Institute also recognised the high regard for Billy expressed by the College lecturers and his referees.
Billy says, “For any other Home educators or for teenagers who are struggling at school for whatever reason, I found that when I attended College I was treated with respect, able to get on with my work without judgement and had extremely positive support. I would highly recommend the College and thoroughly enjoyed my time there. I’m very thankful for the encouragement from the tutors at LMC, the opportunities offered and recommending me for entry into the competitions.”
Billy’s interest in carpentry began as a young child, and before his 16th birthday he was the youngest child to complete a full conversion of a horse box into a luxury camper van unaided including a full engine refit. Billy also says, “I am particularly interested in reclaiming materials and seeing them transformed and rejuvenated into something new, so the progression to the canal boat seemed to be the next obvious project after the camper van.”
Billy’s mum has also written a book to complete the adventure of ‘Matilda Jayne - Our Great Canal Boat Journey’, which is available from the family’s antique stall at GB Antiques, The Assembly Rooms, Lancaster Museum and Inspire Gifts and Gallery all in Lancaster, Silk Mill Café, Galgate, The Canal Turn, Carnforth or on Amazon.
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