Magic of the funfair - in miniature ...

David Todd with his latest matchstick models
David Todd with his latest matchstick models

As the Links Market rolled into Kirkcaldy this week, a Burntisland man was finishing off models of two common sights on the fairground in days gone by - both made of matchsticks.

David Todd this week added the finishing touches to a showman’s living van, which now sits in his home alongside the showman’s traction engine he created last winter.

The 83-year-old explained: “I was brought up opposite the field in Dunfermline where the shows all came.

“In my time it was the traction engines that came with the van behind.

“It’s always been in my mind and I decided to have a go at building them.

“I built the traction engine last winter and I used about 8000 matches for it.

“This winter I built the living van. I took about five months doing it, but I spent a lot more hours on the van than I would normally do.

“I like to get all the little details exactly right.”

Modelling in all forms, including matchsticks, model railways and boats, has been something that David has been interested in for many years.

He continued: “I’ve been doing modelling for more than 75 years, I like using my hands to build things.

“If you’re using your hands, you’re using your brain.

“I just love doing models and creating something out of nothing.

“I made the traction engine and the van from photographs and I had help from John Cooper at Kingdom Amusements in Burntisland to get the inside layout of the van just right.”

The showman’s vehicles are not the first models that David has created out of matchsticks, he’s already constructed a number of churches including two locally - Pathhead and Burntisland Parish Churches.

Using matchsticks for his creations is a challenge that David enjoys, particularly to occupy his time over the winter months.

And developments in craft materials have made it slightly easier.

He said: “Now you can buy matches without the heads which is a lot easier.

“You used to have to hunt in the gutters for used matches.”

And what’s the next model for David to create?

He said: “Last time I said I wasn’t going to build anything else, but I failed with that.

“I’m not sure what I’ll do next, but I do have a model railway that’s needing some attention.”

In 2011, David completed a scale model of Kirkcaldy’s Pathhead Parish Church using matchsticks and capturing every detail from the stained glass windows to the furniture, the organ and the items on the communion table.

He gifted the finished article to the church and the model is still on display in the entrance.