James May swaps trains for planes

Top Gear star finds more toys to play with in Barnstaple.

Boys will be boys – and the lure of 100-year-old paper aeroplanes proved too strong for toy fan James May and a production crew filming a new episode of James May’s Toy Stories.

The television presenter made a special trip to Barnstaple on Wednesday to film the curious paper darts discovered during the restoration of St Anne’s Chapel.

In March, the Gazette revealed how chapel manager Peter Doel had found a ‘squadron’ of schoolboy misdemeanours in the eves of the 14th century Grade I listed building, used as a grammar school in the late 19th and early 20th century.

The story was followed up by the national and international press, with coverage of the fascinating find picked up as far away as India.

Mr Doel said: “They had seen an article in the Daily Mail online about the paper darts and thought the story might fit well with a new episode they are making about aerodynamics and gliding.

“They spent around an hour-and-a-quarter filming the finding of the darts in the eves, particularly the ones that looked like modern aeroplanes – luckily there were still plenty left to find. It was a lot of fun.

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“The production company was not too sure when the episode would be aired but thought sometime around Christmas this year.”

Mr Doel said he didn’t want to give too much away about the show but it is understood the episode will future James May attempting to break some sort of long distance gliding record.

James May and the Toy Stories team are no strangers to North Devon, having filmed two attempts to run model trains between Barnstaple and Bideford last year and in 2009.

Work began on a �230,000 chapel renovation last month and is expected to be complete by the end of July.

The building is being given a new lease of life thanks to funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Devon County Council and Barnstaple Town Council.

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