Student Lee is off to Monte Carlo in self made caravan

Lee Parker, a Year 13 student at Stowmarket High School, is taking his self made caravan on the road to Monte Carlo
Lee Parker, a Year 13 student at Stowmarket High School, is taking his self made caravan on the road to Monte Carlo
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When student Lee Parker revealed his ambition to build a caravan for his A-level work, his teacher thought he was joking.

Not only did the industrious Stowmarket High School 
pupil assemble the vehicle from the chassis up, he plans to take the finished project on a summer tour to Monte Carlo.

Jim Bannister, head of design and technology, said: “I stated that if he made a caravan I would sleep in it for a night. After a few weeks had passed and his caravan actually started to take shape I realised that I may have to stand by my words.”

The teardrop caravan took one academic year to complete as part of Lee’s Year 13 A-level Product Design course.

The 18-year-old started by fabricating and welding flat sheet steel to make the chassis to hold the teardrop pod.

He then constructed the marine ply pod from the base up with some pine for structural elements.

The pod had to be weatherproof and insulated as well as roadworthy.

The final stages of manufacture included fitting a door, window, ventilation and electrics before painting and varnishing.

The caravan will feature in the school’s annual design exhibition, which runs from Wednesday May 8 to Saturday May 11.

Work ranges from furniture to textile products, lighting units, children’s toys and water features.

Awards are given to students for outstanding design, craftmanship and flair by local businesses.

Judging the event are representatives from Suffolk County Council, Vinci PLC, Stowmarket Rotary Club, Bennett Homes and school head Keith Penn.

Mr Bannister said: “We look forward to the event each year. It gives us a chance to showcase the students’ talent and share it with the community.

“Each year the students do not fail to surprise me with their efforts.

“This year I’m absolutely blown away.

“Lee has real aspirations of becoming an aeronautical engineer.”

In the summer, he will put the caravan to the test by taking it on tour.

Mr Bannister added: “Originally Lee was planning a trip around Ireland but since he has tested and grown accustomed to the caravan he has decided to travel to sunnier parts namely Monte Carlo.

“After his caravan has featured in the upcoming show he intends to travel down to Dover onto Calais, plot a route through the Alps and end up in Monte Carlo.”