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Bishop's Stortford schoolboy appeals for help to break world record for biggest model tank




A Birchwood High School student with learning disabilities is appealing for help as he aims for a spot in the Guinness World Records book.

William Rose, 15, is well on his way to creating the biggest, moving, firing model tank. It is currently 3.96m (13ft long) but he has hit a shortage of parts.

The military hardware is being built from K’nex, a construction toy system invented by American Joel Glickman.

Great Dunmow. Birchwood pupil William Rose with his fully working, but unfinished tank created entirely from Knex. .Pic: Vikki Lince. (22580981)
Great Dunmow. Birchwood pupil William Rose with his fully working, but unfinished tank created entirely from Knex. .Pic: Vikki Lince. (22580981)

His teacher mum Carole said: “My son has learning disabilities and is amazing at putting this together from his amazing mind.

“Boot sales have stopped now so we're struggling to get cheap parts. I’m asking if anyone has any K’nex lurking in their cupboards or lofts that they would kindly donate to help him complete this. It's so important to us both.”

William, a Year 10 pupil at the Parsonage Lane secondary, previously attended a specialised speech and language school, Powers Hall in Witham.

Great Dunmow. Birchwood pupil William Rose with his fully working, but unfinished tank created entirely from Knex. .Pic: Vikki Lince. (22580953)
Great Dunmow. Birchwood pupil William Rose with his fully working, but unfinished tank created entirely from Knex. .Pic: Vikki Lince. (22580953)

Carole said: “He did not speak until he was five and then was delayed in vocabulary. The school was amazing and William was ready to go into mainstream education with support for secondary.”

William lives in Great Dunmow with his mum and brothers Ben, 21, and Jack, 19. The family previously lived in Bishop’s Stortford.

Carole said: “William's always been interested in Lego and built many different projects, but as he got older he wanted to build more moving objects.

“He found K’nex a few years ago and just started with the standard sets making rollercoasters. He went to a theme park and loved a ride there. He came back and just built it in the garden, all from memory or from a picture.

The tank design William is copying (22581253)
The tank design William is copying (22581253)

“This continued to building a chair to sit on with a drinks holder etc that takes even my weight – and I'm not a bag of feathers – a catapult and a moving bin! When Will has a project on the go he spends all day on it – we only see him for food.

“The biggest challenge for Will is to get the tank to move and fire, so the fact that it's over 13ft long and still getting bigger, as far as we know this will be the biggest moving K’nex ever built.

"It takes three months for the project to be approved by Guinness, then it will take another three months for William to achieve and verify it. We plan to have the mayor of Dunmow to verify this.”

William’s dream career would utilise his building skills. Carole added: “This is William's only hobby really. He likes to cook with me, but mainly to eat the biscuits!”

To help him reach his tank-building target, the Rose family have set up a Facebook group, WilliamsKnexChallenge, and have been overwhelmed with the response from K'nex donors.


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