Balmoral Show is full of interesting characters, though you’ll do well to find one more eye-catching than Raymond Anderson.
The 62-year-old from Sixmilecross – known as Hillbilly Ray – has recently begun putting his joinery skills to use in building a fleet of restored Austin vehicles in a “rough and ready” hillbilly style.
Channelling the spirit of everyone’s favourite hillbilly, Jed Clampett, Ray has put on a special display of his vintage motors at Balmoral Show to raise money for Cancer Focus.
He explained how his hobby transformed into a business.
He said: “I worked in the building trade, I’m a joiner by trade.
“This last 35 years I’ve been restoring 1920s Austin cars as a hobby. Some of them I started doing weddings and funerals with.
“And then in this past four or five years I thought of building an old Hillbilly wagon – something a bit more rough and ready than the other cars.”
He now has a collection of four fully functioning Hillbilly automobiles built from scrap including a hearse follower’s car. He said: “All I really need is the tax book, the running gear – engine, chassis, bonnet, radiator – and the rest is all done just with whatever I’m able to form up out of my head.”
Mr Anderson’s madcap inventions incorporate timber from a 200-year-old church, a pot stove, tree bark and a lot of his father’s horse regalia.
He said: “This is only my second year doing this, and the first year these cars have been out. It’s something new for me. It’s something different.”
His hillbilly auto collection proved a big success at Christmas when he dressed as Santa Claus and created his own Clampett’s grotto.