It was with sadness that we heard of the death of Mick Housby, one of the founder members of Elgin Model Railway Club.
Professionally Mick was an Air Traffic Controller, attaining the rank of Warrant Officer in the RAF. But although he had a great interest in matters linked with aviation, then he probably had as great an interest, if not greater, in matters to do with Railways. In March 1987, along with nine other similar minded individuals, Mick was instrumental in the formation of Elgin Model Railway Club. Although he did a stint as Chairman, Mick was much happier being a ‘doer’ rather than an administrator, and he was instrumental in helping the Club obtain its own premises. However this task was not without its challenges.
Through his RAF employment, Mick had become aware of an unused sectional building at RAF Lossiemouth and had made representations to the base CO who had agreed that it could be ‘redeployed’ to EMRC. Procedures were set in place and the building was about to be taken apart and moved to our site when the RAF Police turned up and threatened to arrest Mick and Ron March, another EMRC member, who was also employed at Lossiemouth. It turned out that the building was not strictly RAF property and that others had a claim on it. Fortunately the matter was resolved without Mick and Ron spending a spell in the guardhouse.
Undeterred, another sectional building was identified, nothing to do with any of HM Forces, purchased and transferred to our site. The walls were erected and the roof panels put in place. However, unknown to those involved in putting the building up, some of the sections were not properly fixed, the building started to sway, fold inwards and the roof came down. The only problem was that Mick was inside at the time. Frantic moving of panels revealed a bruised but otherwise unhurt Mick, who then immediately got involved in making sure that the building, was erected properly!
Once normal operations in our new premises were underway, Mick then became involved in the construction of various club layouts and in the organisation of our Annual Exhibition – Modelfair. His commitment to the Club with regard to this was such that, along with Mike Brenton, he personally guaranteed a loan from the Bank to allow for the necessary expenditure prior to the Exhibition as Club funds stood at only £16. Fortunately the Exhibition was a success, the start of a long and continuing sequence, and neither Mick nor Mike was called upon by the Bank to make good their guarantees.
Whether it was his involvement in building the club premises or not, Mick started building his own house, not in Elgin, but at Broomhill overlooking the Strathspey Railway. Inevitably Mick became involved with that as well and became a driver with that organisation. In that role he made a young boy very happy when, one Thomas weekend, he asked him up onto Thomas’ footplate and he sounded the whistle. As that boy’s godfather he made one ‘older’ boy very happy as he had to accompany him on that occasion!
Living some distance from Elgin meant that Mick’s regular involvement with the Club became less, but for several years he was there at Modelfair, assisting wherever he could and continued his membership even when it was no longer possible for him to maintain that commitment.
Our condolences and best wishes go to Mick’s wife Mitzi and her family.