Dersingham specialist play equipment business ssends products to Sweden and Norway

Play Equipment at Flights of Fantasy Dersingham ready for export.'LtoR, Ingas Spagis, Russell Bowlby, Artis Keiris, Clive Hooks ANL-150406-120925009
Play Equipment at Flights of Fantasy Dersingham ready for export.'LtoR, Ingas Spagis, Russell Bowlby, Artis Keiris, Clive Hooks ANL-150406-120925009
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A combine harvester and a Massey Ferguson tractor are the latest items to be exported by a rapidly expanding Dersingham business.

But the farm machinery is not destined for the fields – they are both handcrafted wooden models which have been sent to Sweden and Norway for use on children’s play parks.

They were created by skilled craftsmen at the Flights of Fantasy Creative Play Ltd, which is based at Unit 2, Fern Hill, which builds custom made, luxury play equipment and children’s play areas for clients all over the world.

The harvester and the tractor, each costing around £12,000, both took around 300 hours to construct.

Designer and company founder Russell Bowlby, who lives in Sandringham, said: “The Massey Ferguson is about 70 per cent of the size of a real one and it’s very impressive. Massey Ferguson contributed towards the funding and advised on some of the finer details, such as the colours to be used and livery.

“The harvester is about half the size of real one and measures 17 feet long. This is going to Norway and the tractor is going to Sweden,” said Russell.

Sweden was the destination for play trains built by Flights of Fantasy which were shipped out two years ago. These were valued at around £30,000 each and had lengths of 16ft and 22ft and were constructed of timber and stainless steel.

The order books are filling up for the firm which began 25 years ago when Russell, who previously worked in the building trade restoring listed buildings, first built a Tudor-style cottage for his son in the garden.

“The business is growing massively, We have gone in recent years from eight staff to 12 and we are looking at taking on more workers,” said Russell.

It has built up an established portfolio of clients and most business is generated by word of mouth. At the end of last year, Among its recent projects was a £50,000 playhouse for a “very famous rock star”, which came complete with heating system, fully fitted kitchen, curtains and beds.

It also sent to Ireland a £130,000 treehouse which weighed 22 tonnes and created a £130,000 play area for a Russian millionaire living in Surrey. The one-off design of a space shuttle, complete with gantry, worth £40,000 went to a customer in the Middle East.

“Our next project which we are working on is a themed play area for the Robert Burns birthplace museum in Scotland,” said Russell, who has now read all the poems of the Scottish literary hero to generate ideas.