Man completes HMS Victory replica after 50 years

Michael Byard with his HMS Victory model Image copyright @ArchaeoAnni
Image caption Michael Byard says he is "absolutely chuffed" by the response to his handiwork

A man is putting the finishing touches to a model of HMS Victory he started working on about half a century ago.

Michael Byard, 80, from Oxfordshire, began creating the replica of Horatio Nelson's flagship while working for a shipping company in Australia.

His daughter posted images of the model on Twitter, where it got 14,000 likes.

The First Sea Lord, Admiral Tony Radakin, said it was an "absolutely amazing achievement, demonstrating dedication, persistence and skill".

Mr Byard, from Long Wittenham, said: "I'm over the moon. I didn't realise that something I've been enjoying doing would have such resonance all over the world."

He returned to the UK in 1973, and the model, at that stage built up to the gun-deck level, was transported by sea in a wooden box.

Mr Byard said: "It was put in storage until I took it out of its case and I hung it up in the garage for a while.

"Well that 'while' lasted 41 years until six years ago my daughter said to me on New Year's Day, 'Dad, when are you going to finish that model? It's been hanging up since I can remember.'

"So I decided then and there to finish it."

Image copyright PA Media
Image caption The original HMS Victory is in dry dock in Portsmouth

Since then Mr Byard has worked on the model, which is 4ft 11in (1.25m) long, 14in (35cm) wide and 26in (66cm) tall, from April to September each year.

He said he was "absolutely chuffed" by the response to his handiwork.

The original HMS Victory, which took part in the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, is now at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.

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