History of Project Narnia


While the project was not started by accident, it would be correct to say it started because of an accident. One of the three builders, Andy, was heading home on his motorbike late one September evening in 2011. On rounding a corner he found a large deer standing in the middle of the road. Despite every effort he and the deer had a significant coming together that killed the deer and left Andy in the ditch with his bike lying on top of him. Three cars drove by without stopping; finally a lady came to his aid, called for the ambulance and Andy's long road to recovery started with much care and attention from the staff at Warwick Hospital.

Broken bones in both legs, right arm, hand and shoulder meant Andy was unable to get about or do much for himself, and being a bachelor he did not have anyone at home to assist. Now a second member of the group, Jon, had lost his wife, Ruth, to Motor Neurone Disease in October 2010. Their house had been significantly adapted to cope with Ruth's needs, which in the event were not so far removed from the challenges now facing Andy. On being discharged from Warwick Hospital Andy was thus ferried to Jon's house for the next stage in his recuperation.

Now Jon and the third member of the group, Nick, had long been in the habit of going out for a beer on a Wednesday evening to chew the fat and generally put the world to rights, so once Andy was sufficiently able to be carted around in a wheelchair, in October 2011 he too joined the Wednesday meeting.

One of Nick's hobbies is cycling, and he had chalked up Land's End - John O'Groats as part of this. It was one of his companions from this ride that sent him a newspaper cutting from the Scunthorpe Telegraph. This told of how two guys had already made a wooden bike and were about to set a world record with it. Details of their exploits can be found on the Splinterbike website for which a link is provided.  As a diversion, Nick showed the cutting to the other two, little expecting much response, but as is often the way with such things it seemed to catch everyone's imagination. Wood is a substance known to all and there are few in the modern world who have not or cannot ride a bike, so it was a very identifiable object. All that and the addition of a pint or two and the project was born.