A GROUP of crafters in Clackmannanshire hope to create a replica of the Sopwith Camel to coincide with the centenary of the RAF.

One hundred years on from when the plane was manufactured in an aerodrome in the county, plans are under way to design a model that could be used for displays.

Members of the Wee County Crafters are pulling together for the project, with chairman John Russell busy compiling working drawings to get everyone started.

Comprising wood and canvas, it will be done on an impressive scale – with wings spanning nine feet – and the aim is to have it finished in time for the anniversary of the formation of the air force in April 2018.

John said: “What we did two years ago with the Alva Games was we made a gypsy caravan and took it along as the centrepiece of our display – and we also sold it to raise funds for the club.

“It was fairly successful and what we felt we could do this year was a similar type of project which gave the guys in here something to be involved in.

“The aeroplane project tied in quite nicely with a bit of accidental research I did.

“I was looking at old Alva pictures and Alloa pictures and discovered that at one time there was an aerodrome at the Black Devon at Forth Bank where the sewage farm is.

“In 1917, they were actually manufacturing planes, one a French plane called the Cordon and one a British plane called the Sopwith Camel, which the RAF used.

“They made a hundred in Alloa in 1917; I chose the plane because of its simplicity in construction.”

After having a chat with members about the initial idea, the centenary of the RAF came to light.

John said: “We thought that the two things tied together and that if we did it for the Games, we could probably use it for other things as well.

“But we hope that at the end of it, if it was well enough made, the Speirs Centre or somewhere like that might take it as a display that would hang from the foyer ceiling.

“Now we realise we couldn’t make a full-size one but we thought we could make one a third of the size because the wing span of the plane is 28 feet. So if we make it a third it means the wings of the model would be nine feet wide, which is just about manageable in here and large enough to be quite a nice presentation piece.”

A registered charity, the Wee County Crafters meet on Mondays from 9.30am-12.30pm, Tuesdays 9.30am-12.30pm, Wednesdays 9.30am-12.30pm and7-9.30pm and Fridays 9.30am-12.30pm at its base on Cobden Street in Alva.

Members can learn skills, receive help with their individual projects, enjoy camaraderie and benefit from a huge range of equipment.

New people, male and female, are welcome to join and the first two weeks are free to enable them to try it out.

The group is also in the process of turning an area above its workshop into a gallery.

For more, please contact info@weecountycrafters.co.uk