‘Titanic launched in Burnley’: VIDEO

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A FORMER engineer has marked the 100th anniversary of the Titanic tragedy by launching a scale model of the ship.

Maurice Hessey, of Dorset Street, spent four years piecing together thousands of tiny parts to create the 4ft replica of the iconic ocean liner.

Maurice Hessey with his model of the RMS Titanic in Thompson Park

Maurice Hessey with his model of the RMS Titanic in Thompson Park

The dedicated model maker finally sailed the stunning vessel in Burnley’s Thompson Park a century after the Titanic sank during its maiden voyage on April 15th, 1912.

A small crowd gathered at the park’s boating lake to see Maurice’s model take to the water for the first time and honour the infamous tragedy which claimed the lives of 1,517 people.

Maurice, who spent hundreds of man hours on the project, said it was a proud moment to see his Titanic model finally afloat.

He said: “I have always been interested in the story of Titanic. I made plastic models of the Titanic years and years ago.

“I have made models all my life and it seemed the apt thing for this year. You have only got to watch TV for half an hour and the Titanic is everywhere. I am happy because it is the first time it has been in the water. It floats well, but it is just a bit top heavy. It started of as a kit for a static model but I modified a lot of it and made it into a working model. It took about four years to make on and off.”

Maurice studied the original plans of the 900ft vessel to get every single detail correct from the four working funnels down to the ship’s complex rigging.

It was originally just a static model, but Maurice made it seaworthy – waterproofing the wooden hull and installing a working motor on board. He even installed passengers on board including Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet’s characters from James Cameron’s 1997 Hollywood blockbuster film “Titanic”.

Following its maiden voyage, Maurice’s model is be installed at the Titanic in Lancashire Museum in Colne.

The museum’s curator Nigel Hampson said: “It is a gorgeous model and Maurice has done a cracking job on it – it is so finely done.”