A BEWDLEY boat technician and enthusiast has realised a lifelong dream by building his very first vessel.

Tony Banks and his business partner Paul Martin will unveil ‘Beaulieu 30’ at the London Boat Show in January, which will be the culmination of two and a half years’ worth of hard work.

The 44-year-old father-of-three worked as a technician at the former Sealine International site in Kidderminster in a variety of roles for 10 years until 2007 before moving to Prosser Marine Sales in Scotland.

But his ambition was to build his own boats and, after discussing it with Paul, a former Sealine customer and motor yacht owner, they formed the manufacturing brand Banks Martin Boats in 2015.

They operate from a unit in Mamble, near Bewdley, and all their staff have spent most or all of their working lives in the boating industry.

The ‘Beaulieu 30’ riverboat is valued at around £150,000 and is set for its first water test in Stourport marina later this week. It will be shown off at London Boat Show, which takes place at ExCel from January 10-14.

Mr Martin said: “This feels amazing and a bit surreal. It has been a long time coming. There has been a lot of stress, heartache and hard work along the way but it is fantastic to get this point.

“We set up the company to design and build boats from scratch and Beaulieu 30 is the result of two and a half years’ work.

“The name ‘Beaulieu’ is the original French name given to Bewdley in 1275 and it means ‘beautiful place’. We wanted to have a connection to where I’m from and the story of how I wanted to build my own boat so this seemed a nice fit.

“I have been into boats all my life since I was a young child. My dad wanted to be in the Royal Navy when he was younger so you could say it’s in my blood.”

He added: “I’ve known Paul for years as I used to maintain and service his boats and it is our enthusiasm for boating that has driven this project from the start.

“I told him about my vision for to build my own and he told me get it down as a business plan and it went from there.”

Mr Martin said the company hopes to develop other models to create more new jobs in the future while also continuing to use local suppliers and sub-contractors.