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Local modeller’s legacy on show at field hospital

AMODELof the SSUganda, built by a Melksham man, has gone on display at the Army Reserves’ 243 Field Hospital in Keynsham.

The model, created by the late Bernard Seymour, was donated to the military hospital by his widow Frances, who has lived in Melksham since 1972.

Frances said, “I’m very proud that the ship has gone on display – Bernard spent over a year making it and he was adamant that it would go to a good home.

“It’s too big for me to display in the house so I was over the moon when the reserves said they would like it.”

Bernard made the model after his daughter Sally went on a cruise on the SS Uganda with George Ward School, before it was used as a hospital ship in the Falklands War. During the war it treated 730 patients from both the British and Argentinian forces, and was involved in repatriating Argentinian prisoners of war.

A captain from the field hospital in Keynsham wrote Frances a letter of thanks, which read: “Thank you very much for the donation of the superb model, handmade by your late husband Bernard, it is a very kind gift.

“The model will be displayed in a glass case with a brass plaque on which Bernard Seymour’s name will be recorded.”

Frances has stayed in touch with personnel at the hospital and was recently given a personal tour to see the model on display.

“It was amazing to see the reserves’ base –  a lot of people don’t understand how much they actually do,” she said.

“Bernard would be pleased with where the model is now; he was passionate about the military and modelling was his life. He had modelled his whole life and used to make so many of trains, boats and planes, which he would sell at shows.

“When the reserves captain came to collect the ship he couldn’t believe how many models were in Bernard’s workshop.”

Frances was married to Bernard, an instrument mechanic, for 50 years after they met in the RAF until Bernard died in 2013 aged 82.

243 (The Wessex) Field Hospital is part of the Army Reserve Medical Services, which is prepared to provide vital medical support to the UK’s Armed Forces deployed anywhere in the world.