Page last updated at 20:11 GMT, Friday, 20 June 2008 21:11 UK

Elvis fan builds gala Graceland

Walter Gibb's Graceland
Walter Gibb built a three-dimensional timber replica of Graceland

An Elvis Presley fan from Grangemouth has converted his house into Graceland for his local gala day.

It took Walter Gibb and his family 11 weeks to make the three-dimensional timber replica of Elvis's Memphis home.

The 46-year-old, whose daughter Robyn is a maid of honour in the Grangemouth Children's Gala, said he wanted to do "something a wee bit special".

Mr Gibb said he wanted to raise the profile of the gala day which has been under threat in recent years.

"Rather than doing a Disney or a cartoon character theme, which a lot of children do and which is lovely, we decided to go for something different this year," he said.

His daughter shares his passion for the "king of rock 'n' roll" and she suggested the Graceland theme.

Mr Gibb said: "None of us had been there before so off the internet we got pictures of Graceland and we recreated it out of timber in a three-dimensional effect.

"Rather than just doing a flat screen and painting it, we decided to look into it seriously and try to create it as close as we could."

A neighbour's house shows what it looked like before the transformation
A neighbour's house shows what it looked like before the transformation

The front two gables, the sides and the roof of Mr Gibb's modern home are now covered by a timber copy of the American "colonial" style mansion.

Mr Gibb would not say how much it cost but it was "not as much as you might think".

"I am not a rich man", he added.

He said that at least 10 family members and friends gave their construction skills for free, keeping the costs down.

"A lot of people say that for one day it is a lot of effort but we feel we want to put the gala day on the map because there are rumours that it is not doing very well," he said.

Mr Gibb said that other gala days in the area were no longer running because of lack of money and he thought it was important for the community that Grangemouth retained its special day.

He set up a replica Elvis and a wishing well at the gates to the mansion to collect donations.

As the home of Scotland's petro-chemical industry, the massive companies which operate out of Grangemouth should be paying more back into the community, Mr Gibb added

"We don't want to see the gala day fail because it has been around for 100 years," he said.

"With the industry we have in Grangemouth I don't see why it should fail because at the end of the day they pollute our skies and they should give something back."




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