Dave’s hard work is a model for success

David Todd with his matchstick model of Erskine Church. Pic: FPA
David Todd with his matchstick model of Erskine Church. Pic: FPA

A scale model of Burntisland’s Erskine Church is taking pride of place in the full-sized building.

And the miniature version, complete with pews, lectern, organ and even tiny members of the congregation, has been attracting a lot of attention around the town.

It is the painstaking work of Burntisland resident Dave Todd, a retired police sergeant, who has lived in the town’s Ramsay Crescent for the past 38 years.

Dave, an 87-year-old grandfather spent seven months of delicate work building the creation, the fourth church he has made using around 22,500 matchsticks.

And he has now gifted his masterpiece to the church where it will be on display for everyone to see. It will also form part of this year’s Burntisland Heritage Exhibition over the summer months.

Dave, a widower with two daughters who live locally, has been making models from a very young age.

“I started off with Mecanno sets when I was about four and haven’t stopped since,” he said.

“I think it is the joy of creating something from nothing, and everything is made to a scale of a quarter inch to one foot or 1/48. I go out and carefully measure everything and take lots of photographs before I start.

“There are always mistakes, but I just bin them and start again. It’s a real labour of love.”

Dave decided he wanted to make a model of Erskine Church as it is a building he passes every day and it dominates the Burntisland skyline.

“The church frontage and entrance is quite an imposing feature and I tried to replicate this incroporating the main tower and octagonal bell tower.

“To achieve this it was necessary to raise the floor up from the base to get the height for the front steps and doorway. This made it more difficult as the outer walls were higher than the inside walls.

“The arches and balconies were a bit of a challenge and it is important that it not only has to be right, but also look right.”

The model took Dave around 900 hours of work over seven months. He used around 22.500 matches, over 2½ litres of glue and around 150 wood screws of various sizes. Each of the matchsticks were cut, fitted and glued in place indidually.

Dave has already made models of Burntisland Parish Church, Pathhead Parish Church in Kirkcaldy where he has been a member for 25 years and Trinity Church in Hawick, where he lived for some time when he worked with Lothian and Borders police.

“I am not someone to sit still or watch a lot of television, so this has always been my hobby,” he explained.

“I also make model railways and boats.”