Scavenger Car Club members Doug Hayhurst and Andy Maksymchuk shine and grease up the Polar Express they built for Okanagan Landing Elementary. (Jennifer Smith/Morning Star)

Club climbs aboard Vernon Polar Express tradition

Vernon club builds life-sized train for school

Echoing the glory of Christmas morning, children at Okanagan Landing Elementary were overjoyed with a giant surprise recently.

Dressed in their pyjamas, Melissa Hayhurst’s Kindergarten class shuffled to the school library where they were passed special tickets to board a life-sized Polar Express train.

Entering the caboose, each of the children took a seat in one of the 24 little chairs set up inside. Treated with hot chocolate, they were then told the story of The Polar Express by Mrs. Hayhurst.

“I’ve been doing it for four years,” said Hayhurst, who used to construct a giant train out of paper with her father. But after her father passed away two years ago, the teacher wanted to make this tradition a little more special. Therefore she asked her uncle and his Scavenger Car Club friends if they would help — in memory of her dad.

See: Charles Clifton Hayhurst

Andy Maksymchuk, Doug Hayhurst, Tim Maksymchuk, John Wolfe and Ray Dase all pitched in to bring the train to life.

“We were approached, we had nothing to do, we’re retired for years now, and were asked, ‘would you take on a Polar Express,’” said Doug Hayhurst, Melissa’s uncle. “I looked at Andy and he looked at me, ‘I don’t even know what that is.’

“It turns out to be a train heading for the North Pole to see Santa Claus,” said Hayhurst, known as a handyman for his unique woodwork.

So the retired gentlemen got to work and enjoyed the chance to create something special for the children.

“It started with a lot of imagination and approximately three weeks of work in a heated shop and this is the result,” said Hayhurst, dressed for the occasion as the fireman, complete with grease smudges on his face, while Maksymchuk wore overalls and an engineer’s hat.

While the Kindergarten class was the first to use the Polar Express, other classes got the chance to hop aboard as well. It will also be stored at the school and used year after year.

The project was also another chance for some members of the Scavengers Car Club to come together. The club is celebrating its 60th anniversary next year.

See: Scavengers drive into history

“We drifted apart over our working years, everybody either got married or left town,” said Maksymchuk. “And now we’re still coming back into town for retirement.”

The members reunite socially two to three times a month.

“It’s quite remarkable actually,” said Hayhurst.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here


Just Posted

Museum offers a brief history of pandemics in the Okanagan

Greater Vernon Museum exhibit offers historical view of past outbreaks that affected the local area

Heating, flooring, other projects prepare Shuswap schools for reopening

School District #83 staff comfortable with work done at Parkview to address moisture issues

Funding plan approved for downtown Vernon cultural centre

The funding strategy includes $4 million to be raised in the community

Support keeps Vernon’s O’Keefe Ranch afloat through fall

The ranch hit hard by COVID-19 will stay open through October, possibly December

Morning Start: There is a Hot Pink Lake in Australia

Your morning start for Friday, Sept. 25, 2020

B.C.’s top doctor thanks supporters after revealing threats over COVID-19 measures

Dr. Bonnie Henry says COVID-19 has caused some people to lash out in anger and frustration out of fear

PHOTOS: 2nd calf in a month confirmed among Southern Resident killer whale pod

Center for Whale Research said they will eagerly await to observe the calf to evaluate its health

B.C. VOTES 2020: Speculation tax misses speculators, B.C. Liberals say

Andrew Wilkinson, John Horgan clash over housing costs, solutions

Kelowna RCMP warn public as gift card scam season comes

“Gift cards are for gifts, not payments,” Kelowna RCMP said

Osoyoos model train attraction wins Tripadvisor award

Desert Model Railroad wins nod for Traveller’s Choice

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Hedley man advertises bounty on rats

One rat tail will net five dollars

97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized from farm in Princeton

RCMP assisted as BC SPCA executed search warrant

NDP, Greens divided on pace of child care improvements in B.C. election campaign

NDP Leader John Horgan recommitted to $10-a-day child care and blamed the Greens for not supporting his efforts

Most Read