Blacksmith volunteer of the year

BLACKSMITH:  Paul Jones receives the Volunteer of the Year award for 2017 with Volunteering Redlands.  he has worked as a volunteer blacksmith at the Redland Museum for 20 years.
BLACKSMITH: Paul Jones receives the Volunteer of the Year award for 2017 with Volunteering Redlands. he has worked as a volunteer blacksmith at the Redland Museum for 20 years.

The clang from the blacksmith shop at the Redland Museum will be all the merrier this Christmas since blacksmith Paul Jones was named Volunteer of the Year.

Mr Jones, 63, of Victoria Point received the Greg Cook award at the Volunteering Redlands awards, held on December 2 at the Alexandra Hills Hotel.

A fitter and welder by trade, Mr Jones has been working as a volunteer blacksmith at the museum for the past 20 years.  He took to the craft 30 years ago when he was asked to weld some iron gates.

“I was the last one out the door.  But I found I loved doing it,” he said.

The love for the craft is also in the blood for Mr Jones whose great great grandfather also worked as a  blacksmith in Maryborough.  

Part of his work at the museum includes passing on his skills.  Among those would-be apprentices is Duncan Shingles-Riley of Cleveland who says he took to blacksmithing to answer a fascination for fire. 

“I like hot glowing things and my grandmother told me about the blacksmith shop,” he said.

Mr Shingles-Rileys has been coming to the blacksmith shop for the past 18 months.

“Paul is brilliant.  The award couldn’t go to a more deserving person.  He’s really encouraging and gets us to have a go,” he said.

Mr Shingles-Riley said he was honoured to have been involved in a project last year where the shop created 100 poppies, now installed at the Flanders war memorial.to mark the anniversary of the war in Flanders field in Belgium.

The current project is the creation of some decorative windows.

Mr Jones said that blacksmithing as a trade had “dried out” but it had revived as an art form.

As the Volunteer of the Year, he received a certificate, trophy and prize money.  He has already donated this money to the museum.

The blacksmith shop at the back of the museum is open every Saturday from 9am to 3pm.