Campbelltown model boat maker donates ships to aged care residents

Campbelltown's Robert Butler is proof that you are never too old to keep learning new things.

The 98-year-old WWII veteran has spent the past 25 years mastering the art of making beautiful model boats.

Each boat Mr Butler makes is lovingly crafted and donated to family, friends and the lucky residents at Glenfield's Whiddon Aged Care facility.

He has donated more than a dozen boatsto residents at the aged care facility.

He said the boats were great conversation starters for people when they see them.

"I love making them as it keeps my mind active, which is something I think is important as we age," Mr Butler said.

Mr Butler, who has lived in Campbelltown for 66 years, said he loved making the boats after crafting his very first boat almost 25 years ago.

He said he was inspired by boats he had seen on display at Circular Quay and he then read up on how to make them.

Mr Butler said took a bit of trial and error at the start 'but you need to keep on learning in life, at any age'.

"You never stop learning and it's okay to make mistakes," he said.

The passionate local's kitchen is always home to boat in progress.

Robert Butler and Whiddon chief executive Chris Mamarelis. Picture: Supplied

Robert Butler and Whiddon chief executive Chris Mamarelis. Picture: Supplied

The build can take him anywhere from a month to a year even after spending a few hours each day working on his boats.

"You need a lot of patience to make these boats and you have to be careful in building them and cutting out the pieces to be able to complete the project," he said.

"It's a trade secret how to get the boats in a bottle and I'm not giving this away."

Once he finishes a boat, he starts all over again with a new project and said he wouldn't have it any other way.

When asked what he enjoys most about building the boats he said, "giving them to others".

On the eve of Mr Butler's 98th birthday, Whiddon chief executive Chris Mamarelis gifted the boat maker a new model boat and a birthday cake.

Mr Mamarelis said Whiddon iwas very grateful for the donation of the boats and they are enjoyed by many in the Whiddon family.

"Robert is an inspiration. He has built and donated over a dozen boats to our care homes for residents and visitors to enjoy," he said.

"He literally puts thousands of hours into these ships and he is an absolute gentleman who is a role model to all of us.

"We wanted to thank him for his valuable contributions, so we presented him with a new boat to build and joined Mr Butler with a cake to celebrate his birthday. It was our way of saying thank you for his kindness and generosity."