A SCRATCH model of the iconic Titanic, created in painstaking detail by a former Lochgelly man with sight loss, will journey the world as part of a Falkirk-based touring exhibition.

Bernard Matthews, 73, overcame the challenges of living with eye condition glaucoma to build the fascinating model with the aid of strong magnifiers and lighting at Scottish War Blinded’s Linburn Centre in West Lothian.

A year in the making, the model of the famous vessel has now joined Titanic Honour and Glory Limited – with Director Sean Szmalc “honoured” to adopt the piece as part of his exhibition.

And Sean, plans for the model’s first stop to be the United States to be exhibited at one of the world’s largest Titanic attractions.

“When I started this project I didn’t realise this would take off on such a large scale,” said Bernard, who is originally from Lochgelly.

“I feel really privileged this is going to happen. It’s nice to know it’ll be a learning thing for the young ones too.”

Bernard was inspired to take on the project after Sean Szmalc, Director of Titanic Honour and Glory Limited, visited the Linburn Centre to give a talk on the legendary ship to the charity’s veterans.

Created to scale at 1:279 metres, the model is made from various materials, including, polystyrene, cotton, wire, clay, metallic sheets and around 1000 pins.

In memory of those who lost their lives in the sinking, on board the model also features tiny cut outs of passengers who were photographed on the Titanic herself before she set sail on her tragic voyage.

Throughout months of hard work in the Linburn Centre art room, assisted by Art Instructor David Grigor, Bernard was undeterred by his limited sight and consistently applied his knack for problem-solving.

Bernard said: “We had to get drawings of the ship at different angles and look at how to reduce it to a scale model from start to finish. Then I just focused on a bit at a time. It was a bit tricky.

“I had to use a big magnifier light to work on it. I was surprising myself. I can see, but not very well. I had to take my time, that’s probably why it took so long. I worked on it most days when I was at Linburn.

“I learned a lot about the history of the Titanic as well while I was working on it.”

Sean Szmalc runs Titanic Honour and Glory Limited with his wife, Sheila. The Titanic enthusiast brings the story of history’s most famous ship to life, working with schools, galleries and museums across the world.

And Sean says he can’t wait to show the model to the public and share Bernard’s story.

Sean explained: “I’m proud, privileged and honoured to have Bernard’s model as part of our exhibition.

“I have contacts at two of the world’s largest Titanic exhibitions – the Titanic Exhibition in Branson, Missouri, and the exhibition in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. We are hoping to have the model exhibited in the United States for the rest of the year.

“Items like Bernard’s model in our exhibition make sure history is never forgotten.

“I think Bernard is inspirational. We will be focusing on the personal story of the model and the fact that a veteran with sight loss has made it. It’s a great privilege to have it on display."