A thoughtful uncle has built the ultimate boy’s toy for his truck-mad nephew by making him a remote-controlled lorry to ride around his local park.
Darren Buckler, 40, spent 12 hours over two days constructing a replica of a Mercedes Actros HGV in his garage for four-year-old Hugene after the boy had to endure five weeks in hospital with kidney disease in December.
The self-employed landscaper made the miniature four-wheel drive with a plank aluminium body big enough for a child to sit in and fitted it with a 24-volt battery, adding flashing safety lights.
Mr Buckler says little Hugene loves nothing more than travelling around his local park in the impressive toy, which has a top speed of 5mph and a battery life of over an hour.
Mr Buckler says he is now thinking about making the models full-time after being inundated with orders when he posted a photo of the present on Facebook.
He has so far made over £10,000 in less than a month selling 10 lorries at £690 each and raffling five off at £15 a ticket.
The dad-of-three says there is currently a two-week waiting time on the trucks, which are 2ft wide, 4.5ft long and 4ft tall and are available in red, black, blue or white.
Mr Buckler, a former truck driver who lives with partner Leanne Bradford, 37, in Walsall in the West Midlands, said trucks have always been his hobby.
He said he saw one of the toy lorries and thought he could make a more realistic one, and thought he’d give it a go for his sister’s son, Hugene.
“It was to cheer him up really as he had just come out of Birmingham Children's Hospital with kidney disease, which is going to require further operations,” he said.
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“We live in the same street and there’s a green area called ‘the snicket’ where he can drive it. He absolutely loves it.
"I thought it would be a one-off but then I posted some photos of it on Facebook and I was inundated with requests for them. It’s like the whole country wants one.
"I might pack my full-time job in and try to set up myself as a business but at the moment I’m enjoying my hobby.
"I don't make much profit from them as they cost about £600 to build but I'm hoping to reduce the cost if I can buy the materials in bulk.
"I'm also going to raffle some off for charity as well – it’s not really about the money for me at the moment, I'm just enjoying making them for now.”