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Last Updated: Tuesday, 11 July 2006, 06:05 GMT 07:05 UK
Engineer's naked sculpture career
The sculptures are designed as garden features
A heating engineer with 27 years experience has embarked on an abrupt change of career sculpting life-size naked women.

Simon Willmott, 52, has ditched fixing radiators and boilers to turn his hand to making bronze or stone sculptures.

Mr Willmott, from Ruthin, Denbighshire, said red tape and rising taxation in his work as an engineer had led him to make the switch.

He bases his designs on two local women and a model from Nottingham.

The sculptures, which sell for about 2,000, have attracted interest from around the world, said Mr Willmott, who described them as ideal focal points for gardens.

He said he was fed up with rising oil and gas prices and other factors which he claimed had forced many engineers out of business.

He said: "I have no regrets whatsoever about leaving my old job."

He realised last year he need a change of direction and formed his company Naked Sculptures.

He said: "It's quite a career change but I knew the writing was on the wall for the engineering business, with the rise in the cost of oil and I knew that eventually I would do something else.

Simon Willmott
Simon Willmott's sculptures cost in the region of 2,000

"Engineers are really in trouble these days. It's regulation and taxation that are killing it off.

"People can't afford oil anymore. It's rising so much, eventually people will just stop using it.

"Engineers get no help with training, and we're taxed out of business.

"Out of a gross profit of around 43,000, I realised I was only taking home about 7,000. What's the point?"

He added: "I has always been interested in sculpting for years, and had been doing it since I can remember".

Four of his designs are to be shown at the Royal Horticultural Society's Tatton Park show in Cheshire on 19-23 July.

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