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Article from Evening Telegraph 23 February 1980 by Roger Wolens

Vic Bellamy whittling

Victor Bellamy is a whittler. That doesn’t mean he worries a lot; it is just that he enjoys carving wood in his spare time to make ornaments, toys and decorated walking sticks.

It is the sticks which keep him busiest. ”I’ve done hundreds of them,” said Victor. “Hundreds.” He has done so many that there is an unsubstantiated rumour he was responsible for the disappearance of all the trees at local landmark Hog’s Hole.

Intricately carved, decorated, painted, varnished sticks adorn the walls of his living room, where he does most of the work.

“I started whittling sticks when I was a school-kid,” said Victor, who reaches retirement age in June. “I’ve always enjoyed it, and it fits in well with my interest in wildlife land local history.”

His basic tool is nothing more pretentious than an ordinary penknife, though he also has a collection of Stanley knives, blades, and various cut-down hacksaw blades which he has adapted to suit his needs.

Victor, a builders’ labourer until he was taken ill in September, has made numerous toys for his granddaughter, as well as statues of birds, horses and other items which decorate the house at 43 Pioneer Avenue, Burton Latimer.

He has also made a gipsy caravan, which is correct in every detail – right down to the aluminium five-leaf springs. It is fully furnished, and he made a gipsy model to sit inside on one of the chairs.

“I give most of my stuff away,” he said. “When you think of all the time and effort that goes into them – there’s no way you could put a proper price on it. You’d end up getting about three-pence an hour.”

All the wood has to be seasoned, and this alone can take about 12 months.

It all calls for a lot of patience. “He’s certainly got more patience with that than he has with me,” said his wife, Dorothy. “I don’t say anything, as it keeps him quiet. But I do sometimes think we’ve got a front room full of walking sticks, and a back room full of sawdust.”

Victor always gives his sticks a definite theme; drawing, carving and colouring each in its own distinctive style – be it with detailed national motifs, animals or anything else.

Note: The Burton Latimer Heritage Museum archiive contains one of Vic Bellamy's carved sticks.

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