Daughter pays tribute to model engineer who 'tried his hand at anything'

Model engineer Barrie Bushell of Burwell

Barrie Bushell was a lifelong model engineer who, in the words of daughter Judith, "tried his hand at anything". - Credit: Family

A daughter has paid tribute to a lifelong model engineer and father who was “a very genuine man and very practically skilful”. 

Barrie Bushell was brought up in Norfolk before he moved to Burwell and a career in aerospace engineering, fuel management and built his own model machines. 

His daughter Judith said: “Dad tried his hand at anything.” 

Barrie died aged 87 earlier this month. 

Born on January 2, 1935 in Great Snoring, Norfolk, Barrie was part of a family of engineers and attended school in Walsingham before moving onto Bracondale School in Norwich.  

He spent a lot of his childhood working on the family farm, and after completing his national service with the RAF, moved into aeronautical engineering. 

“He met my mum Chris when he was 20 after leaving the RAF; they married when he was 22 and worked at Marshalls in Cambridge as an airframe fitter,” said Judith. 

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“He worked long hours to start a family and put a deposit on a house.” 

Barrie and Chris lived in Waterbeach for five years and, having later moved to Burwell in 1962, he left Marshalls to become a field service engineer with Avery Hardoll. 

Barrie Bushell of Burwell with his two dogs

Barrie Bushell was also a keen lover of dogs. Pictured is Barrie with his dogs Spike and Whizzer. - Credit: Family

The ex-Burwell Swifts footballer then became in charge of refuelling systems at RAF Mildenhall. 

But it was model engineering that he grew most fond of. 

“He always had an interest in engines, clocks and I think that was something he always wanted to do,” Judith said. 

“Once he got a family and sorted the house, it was natural for him to move into building models.” 

Perhaps one of Barrie’s most notable creations is a model steam engine named after his father Hubert. 

One of Barrie’s ancestors is thought to have helped make the hands for Big Ben, too. 

“The telescope he made was very clever; his observatory in the garden made of fibreglass was impressive,” said Judith. 

“I think he was a very genuine man and very practically skilful.” 

Barrie, a father-of-three, attended Burwell Tennis Club and liked motorbikes, dogs, debating about current affairs and in Judith’s words, boasted “a powerful voice” as a singer. 

She said: “I think he was the sort of man that would not say ‘I love you’ but you knew he did.” 

Barrie is survived by three children and four grandchildren. 

A funeral service will take place at All Saints Church, Newmarket on June 6 at 1pm.