Meet The Team

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Bill Smith

Following seventeen years designing security products for the world’s automotive industry, Bill doesn’t have a proper job anymore, preferring to be in the workshop mending broken metal. The skipper of project workboat Predator and an experienced mixed gas diver, (though currently enjoying a hiatus) his work and diving explorations have taken him all over the world.

An engineer by profession, expert welder and fabricator in steel, aluminium and stainless, Bill has a habit of building the things that most people have to buy, and of taking on repair jobs that most people would throw away. Bill has often appeared on television as a sonar/wreck location expert and is a fellow of the Explorer’s Club of New York

Bill is ably supported by his wife Rachel, who has run the Bluebird Project shop since its inception.

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Alain Douglas

Lifelong sidekick to Bill, Alain came to the Bluebird Project as a motor mechanic of 14 years experience before making a shift in career to become an office manager.

Due to his total inability to come back with any kind of witty response Alain often finds himself the butt of every joke, though his unfailing good humour ensures that he never gets upset; instead, he just sits and glowers.

Although a very enthusiastic member of the boat crew he isn’t happy to be in the water, preferring to stay in the wheelhouse and drive the boat and take care of the navigation.

Alain has become our purchaser and workshop caretaker, keeping our facilities running around us be it maintaining the compressed air system or anything else that needed doing, and when he's not doing that, Alain is also our webmaster.

John Barron

John ‘Tidy’ Barron was the second man to dive K7 back in 2000 so he’s a veteran of the project and now he’s traded his fins for a hammer to join us in the good fight against twisted aluminium.

John earned his nickname for constantly putting tools away before we’d finished using them until his wife tried to harness this effect around the house and he had to kick the habit. Unfailingly patient and uncommonly versatile around the workshop and a master of any gadget with more than the average number of buttons, John for a number of years also campaigned tirelessly for the United Colours of Benetton, until we finally stole his old sweatshirt and hung it on the workshop wall. A nicer man you couldn’t hope to meet. For his time on Bute, John was tasked with manning the air start boat, alongside Bluebird.

Richie Harrison

In some of his spare time, Richie likes to mess with armoured vehicles – and sailing boats...and fish tanks...and...but anyway, the rest he devotes to boat building with the Bluebird crew. Having watched from afar for some time, one day in 2009 Richie emailed to say he’d like to lend a hand and that was that. As John’s rivet-setting partner and all-round handy fabricator, Richie became an instant hit around the workshop, and he's been particularly responsible for the reinstallation of K7's hydraulic system and her first coats of blue paint. Rich crewed the safety RIB during his time on Bute.

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Barry Davies

Barry first joined us in May 2013 after visiting the Ruskin Museum in Coniston and becoming interested in the project. He soon became a workshop regular, travelling up from Grimsby every weekend and immediately being christened ‘Barry from Grimsby’, or ‘BFG’ for short. A cracking hand all round, BFG makes a great job of everything he touches and rapidly made his mark by taking on tasks such as the main spar lifting lugs, the sponson planing wedge stabilising fins, the installation of the main steering shaft and the repair of the ram for the water brake; he’s not shy with the kettle, either. Having installed much of the boat's steering, BFG saw it through and looked after the rudder while we were operating on Loch Fad. 

Jordon Aspin

Jordan joined the team in 2009 and day to day is an ROV pilot involved in the decommissioning of Sellafield. He is a time-served Fitter and Turner with Vickers Barrow on various contracts from naval weapons to nuclear submarines.

 

Jordan regularly makes the 280-mile round-trip to the workshop and stays with whoever will have him. Likes all forms of watercraft but has a worrying tendency to enjoy those propelled by cloth and bits of string, though this is usually overlooked as he is more often than not the supplier of the bacon buns and enough absurd humour to fill the workshop twice over. Jordan had the honour of repairing and reinstalling Mr Campbell’s seat pan, aided by his wife Lucy who proved equally adept at repairing bits of tin. Jordan skippered the safety RIB while we were on Loch Fad.

Rob Ford

Rob joined the project in 2005, initially as a shelf putter-upper, bench builder, and to generally do any other task not involving the boat. Known as Clark Kent in the early days due to the fact that when he did get the chance to do something interesting on the boat he was immediately called away to work, Rob’s speciality became the extensive de-riveting of Bluebird and the subsequent re-riveting as she went back together, and he also specialises in making an unholy mess when he takes things apart. Rob drove all our equipment to Bute and back again, and did fuel runs to the mainland for good measure.

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Novie Dzinora

Along with Paul, Novie earned a place on the team by dogged persistence in the face of adversity; they turned up on the beach one cold Saturday morning, trying to appear inconspicuous in their anoraks- they might as well have brought a banner and flashing lights! We demanded to know whether they were press only to find to our consternation that they were in fact "Speed Record Club Members" and thus were potentially far more dangerous. Having discovered that they had travelled vast distances to freeze their bits off on the beach, and having seen them do it week in, week out, we took pity on them and adopted them as our independent observers when it came time to start recovering bits of wreckage. It's doubtful that we would have coped if it hadn't been for their help on the night when Beanie got hurt and without their CD ROM-like knowledge of all things Campbell, we would have been stumped for answers on more than one occasion.

With the boat safely out of the water, Novie is now a workshop stalwart, screeching up outside the workshop five minutes after he left...Cumbria. The strongman of the project, Novie was often to be seen lugging drums of kerosene around at Loch Fad or heading off to recharge the starting air bottles.

Dave Cox

Dave joined us in 2013 and spent his early days being called 'mate' as that's what he incessantly called everybody else. (He also has another nickname as bestowed by some of the project ladies, but we won't go into that here). Working for the AA (the breakdown service, not the anonymous place for drinkers) Dave is of course really handy on the tools, and he's turned his hand to all sorts around the workshop; on Bute, he was often to be seen backing Bluebird into the water from behind the wheel of his AA truck.

Jack 'Youth' Younger

‘Youth’ joined the project in 2009, once we’d checked that it was ok with his mother! A mere 14 year old lad buried somewhere under a big mop of hair, it was decreed that hanging about with a bunch of sweary, politically incorrect middle-aged blokes couldn’t be any worse than his mates at the time, so he was allowed to stay and ‘Youth’ very rapidly became a very capable pair of hands, and a quick learner to boot. As he moved through school, then college, Youth decided that engineering was the way for him and he’s now a marine diesel engineer. He moved on for a time as he made his way, but came back for our trip to Bute, complete with a broken voice, hairs, and things. Being young and fearless, we often sent him out in his drysuit to hold on to Bluebird as a human anchor while we were at Loch Fad.