Hand-made helmet fit for prince

FIT FOR A PRINCE: Trevor Lamb with one of his handmade vintage helmets.
FIT FOR A PRINCE: Trevor Lamb with one of his handmade vintage helmets.

He has made headgear for Hollywood stars, Hobbits, balloonists and biker gangs - and now, a helmet fit for a prince.

When Prince William and his wife, Catherine, visited Blenheim's Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre yesterday they were given a child-sized, vintage-style leather flying helmet for Prince George. Modelled on a World War I pilot's helmet, it was hand-crafted out of deerskin leather, custom-dyed and lined with possum fur.

The maker of the quirky gift, Trevor Lamb of Carterton's Leather and Art, thought he was chosen "because they were trying to think of something that wasn't a buzzy bee."

Specialising in vintage-style helmets since 1992, the Greytown-raised entrepreneur was proud but "nonplussed" when he got the commission several months ago. "I just thought, I better get this right."

While he was not a big royalist, being of mostly Irish extraction, he respected the Cambridges and the commission was a special opportunity.

Trained in craft design at Southland Polytech, the former policeman has worked on leather goods for customers all over the world and in costuming with Weta Workshop on films such as Elysium and the Hobbit movies. Even so, the experience of making a helmet for a prince was "spooky, a bit freaky".

Lamb also makes leather bags, belts, bracelets, sculpture and "fantasy headwear", and has even worked leather for gang members.

But World War I and II aviator-style helmets were his mainstay, ordered by balloonists, hunters, vintage-car enthusiasts and trampers worldwide.

The Dominion Post