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Former RAF serviceman converts Thorpe St Andrew lawnmower into a London bus

PUBLISHED: 08:42 03 February 2012

All aboard, Derek Jakeway of Norwich who has built a miniature London bus that will take four passengers.
Photo by Simon Finlay

All aboard, Derek Jakeway of Norwich who has built a miniature London bus that will take four passengers. Photo by Simon Finlay

Archant Norfolk Copyright

What started life as a lawnmower became a quirky working model of a London bus - thanks to the creative genius of Derek Jakeway.

And now the transport enthusiast is hoping to find someone to give his model masterpiece a new home.

Mr Jakeway, from Harvey Lane, Thorpe St Andrew, said he has always had a passion for London transport and loves problem-solving, which is why he set himself the challenge of making the bus.

He said: “I really enjoyed making the bus. What interests me is solving problems and designing structures, and buses and trains have always been a life-long interest of mine. We have been in Norfolk for nearly 40 years but it is the London transport I am most interested in because I was brought up in Woodford Green.”

Mr Jakeway, a former RAF man who used to work in corporate training at County Hall before he retired, started his model in 2007.

He said it took about four years to transform the former ride-on lawnmower into a model bus, and said his son Duncan helped him with the electrics. In total, the model bus cost about a couple of thousand pounds to make.

The finished result is a brilliant recreation of the iconic London transport and it seats four children or small adults plus the driver.

Mr Jakeway has paid great attention to detail, with even a rolling sign on the front of the bus which tells people whether it is travelling along the number 20 route to Epping or is not in service.

It has working headlamps and interior lighting, and Mr Jakeway has even created a mechanism so the driver can open the back doors for passengers while sitting in the driver’s seat.

The body of the bus, which is made mostly from wood, proudly displays the London bus sign and it includes a reference to Loughton Garage because Mr Jakeway said where he grew up many of the buses used in the area came from the Loughton Garage.

While the converted lawnmower is not licensed to be driven on the roads, Mr Jakeway has created a special number plate – LH 23 GCD – which refers to him being born in London on July 23, 1934.

Mr Jakeway is married to Julie and they have four children and three grandchildren. He said he had had a lot of fun making the bus and his family had enjoyed the bus too, but he now needs to find it a new owner.

“As we are planning to move soon we do not think we will have room to take it with us, so we are looking for a new home for the bus,” he added.

“I hope somebody will have a lot of fun with it. It would be good for somebody with a large garden.”

It is the second bus Mr Jakeway has created – he previously converted a Mini into a London bus which he sold to a man from Derbyshire.

Anybody interested in buying the model bus should call Mr Jakeway on 01603 437411 or email derek.jakeway@gmail.com

Have you just finished making an ingenious model? Call reporter Emma Knights on 01603 772428 or email emma.knights@archant.co.uk

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