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CONSTRUCTION students and staff at Havering College's Rainham Campus Construction Centre have handed over the float they have built for the Mayor of Havering to take to London's New Year's Day Parade.

Carpentry & Joinery and Painting & Decorating students and staff have displayed the highest level of craftsmanship by constructing a vintage steam train and carriage, made almost entirely out of wood.

The team have paid exquisite attention to detail, even down to the engine's whistle and a smoke box door which can be opened.

The Mayor of Havering, Cllr Linda Trew hopes their passion for the project will have real pulling power as she is competing with other London boroughs to win cash for her official charities when the floats are judged.

Float handover 01 web

Speaking as the float was officially handed over at the Rainham Campus Construction Centre on Wednesday, December 17th, Cllr Trew said: "Words fail me. The float is absolutely amazing. The work by the students and staff is so impressive. Nobody has put so much effort in to it before and so hopefully we will win. The float is a brilliant way to promote the Rainham Construction Centre which is a really great asset for the borough."

The next stage will see the train, passenger carriage and a Crossrail ad carriage hoisted on to the back of a flatbed trailer in readiness for the New Year's Day Parade which will start on Piccadilly at the junction with Berkeley Street, and finish in Parliament Square.

The theme for this year's parade is London on the Move. Hundreds of thousands of spectators are expected to line the route with millions more watching it live on television and on the internet.
Havering College construction students Ben Leask, 17, from Harold Hill and Jake Steadman, 16, from Harold Hill, have been selected to be on board the float. They will be accompanied by Carpentry & Joinery lecturer Colin Hughes and curriculum manager for Painting & Decorating, Duane Randall, and will be dressed as Crossrail workers or in period costume.

Jake, who is a train enthusiast, said: "Working on the float has been a fantastic experience and I am really excited that I will be taking part in the parade on New Year's Day."

The construction of the float has moved at high speed with the design, build and completion achieved within a tight six week time frame.

Carpentry & Joinery lecturer Colin Hughes said: "There was not a lot of time and so initially the idea was just to have two billboards and paint the train on the sides. I didn't think that would look good and so I decided to build a 3D train. I did a week of research, found a train I thought we could do and compressed it down so that it is 15 feet long but still looks in scale.

"We have used various carpentry techniques and some unusual techniques such as building foam. It does look like a real train and that has been achieved by attention to detail with such things as the rivets, whistle and dome.

"The project has been inspirational for our Carpentry & Joinery and Painting & Decorating students. They have seen techniques used that they would not ordinarily have seen. It has given them a different view of their crafts. The students have named the train, Rainham Star."

Wednesday's official handover was also attended by sponsors and contributors to the project who include Lycamobile, Crossrail and Brewers decorators merchants.
Post parade, the float will be returned to the Rainham Campus Construction Centre where further work will be undertaken to prepare the steam train and carriage for longer term legacy use in the borough.

•The New Year's Day Parade starts at 12midday. See for details of the best spectator spots. If you can't make it to London, the event is also televised on Information TV (Sky Platform 212) or streamed live via the website at

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