Furness College engineering apprentices bring cutting edge to create historic memorial

The Norse heritage of south Cumbria has been celebrated thanks to the talented engineering apprentices at Furness College’s Channelside Campus.

The North Scale Residents’ Association, on Walney, asked for help to create a model longboat as part of a scheme to highlight the area’s historic links with Scandinavia, known as the North Scale Gateway Heritage and Improvement Project.

The village’s name comes from the Scandinavian word ‘Skali’, which means temporary summer dwellings.

Furness College curriculum lead for pipe, fabrication and welding Scott Wilson agreed to support the project and assigned first year BAE Systems apprentice steelworker Ryan May and caulker Thomas Dodd to carry out the work.

The pair used a plasma arc cutter to create the shape of the steel longboat, which has been designed by Barrow Sixth Form College art students.

Ryan said: “It was a good project to be involved with and it was challenging to cut the more intricate bits but we’re really pleased with the end result.”

The Viking longboat is on display at the entrance to North Scale village and the apprentices, now in their second year, are looking forward to showing off their handiwork to family and friends.

Thomas said: “I’m looking forward to bringing my daughter out here, and saying ‘daddy made that’.”

Scott Wilson added: “I’m really pleased with their work – it’s something that’s going to be there for years to come. The area was a wasteland before and now it’s a fantastic area for locals and visitors to enjoy.”

Neil Doherty, BAE Systems’ Senior Management Advisor Corporate Social Responsibility, said: “This project provided an excellent opportunity for our apprentices to showcase their skills, whilst creating something that can be enjoyed by our local residents for years to come.”

Des Barlow, of North Scale Residents’ Association, said: “After nearly two years of working on this project, funded mainly by the residents’ association, I am very pleased with the outcome.

“Everyone who has contributed to the project, either with grants or payment in kind, are thanked on a tree plaque at the site.

“Particular thanks go to Scott and the apprentices of Furness College, who created the Viking Longboat that has been installed on top of the sandstone monument, depicting the past heritage of the area from around the 9th century.”

He added: “The project has already created a lot of interest with locals and visitors alike and will be there for posterity.”
The project was also supported by: Barrow Borough Council; Poplar Garden and Landscaping Service; Graham Construction; Furness Lions; Brunel Engraving; Natural Signs; and the residents at 2 North Scale.

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