A rocking horse from recycled paper? Whoa

BEHXILL'S own eco-friendly coffin craftsman has taken up the reins on his latest venture in the name of charity.

Papier mache worker Dennis Marshall, who recently announced plans to construct a boat entirely from old newspaper for Indian Ocean rower Matt Hellier to sail across the Channel, has backed a winner with his latest creation: a papier mache rocking horse named Jet.

Strong enough for 6' 6" Observer work experience student Sebastian Hein to stand on, Jet was made by creating a mould from a 1960s Triang horse. Using entirely recycled paper, water and glue, Dennis' papier mache dries according to his secret process, which avoids heat for ecological reasons. Even the saddle around its back was recycled - donated by a local lady.

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Dennis said: "We were once the papier mache centre of the world. The stuff is one-third stronger than timber of the same thickness."

The horse is being raffled off at 1 a ticket as Dennis aims to raise 1,000. A quarter of this will go directly towards a trauma bed at the Conquest, and quarter to Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital.

The remaining half will fund a Subbuteo league run from the Pelham Hotel, Sidley, which in turn will continue to generate funds for the two beneficiaries.

Jet, so named because the remarkably strong, black surface is similar to the semi-precious stone mined in Whitby, goes on display in Dennis' new shop in Buckhurst Road, after the official opening on February 1.

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Tickets for the raffle are available from Premier, Bengal Brasserie, Maggie's Kitchen, Deb N Hair, London Road Butchers, To God From God, all of London Road, Indian Ocean in Little Common, Pelham Hotel in Sidley, Hungry Horse in Turkey Road, The Retreat in St Leonards Road, The First Step in Buckhurst Place, and the Observer offices in Sackville Road.

For information on Dennis' work, please visit www.papersail.co.uk

Dennis Marshall with his papier mache horse - strong enough for a very tall man to stand on

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