Alan Poxon: The former teacher turned kitemaker who never stopped loving his childhood passion
Now, at the kitemaker's base in Gargrave, he has no idea how many he has. He stopped counting when the tally reached 250 and they filled his studio and every spare room.
Sadly, he believes, too few children are following in the kiteflyer's tradition. His mission is to inspire a new love of the sport.
“There has been a whole generation of people who have never flown a kite and a lot of kids have never even seen a kite,” he said.
“Kids grow up very quickly these days and put ‘childish’ things to one side. They would love it, once they have a try.”
Mr Poxon is a self-employed maker and flyer of kites.
His schedule tends to flit from one event to the next, from St Anne’s to Filey, say, for kite-flying festivals.
There are talks with local groups on the intricacies of flying and making them. Then workshops, school visits and kite creation with local Brownies groups.
As a young man he trained in IT with British Coal before gaining his teaching certificates. Back in 2005, he decided to opt out of a 9-to-5 career. Instead, he started making kites.
The 65-year-old now spends much of his time on repairs for the more serious flyer.
There is a skill to the art and a lot of maths. But to Mr Poxon, he came to it “rather instinctively”, rather than learning.
“There are a lot of basic rules,” he said. “The formulas are very complex. It's just a feeling I get. I see a kite, I can work out how to fix it. I can't tell you how, but I do understand it.
“I grew up flying kites,” he added. “We would spend a week at Skegness every summer and the first job was finding a kite so I could fly. I used to take those kites home and wear them out. Even at junior school age I would take my mum's plastic carrier bags and make my own.”
Mr Poxon, who rediscovered his childhood hobby three decades ago, has since spent time with a professional display team.
It's a sad fact, he said now, that many clubs have seen their younger membership diminish. Part of the problem, he believes, is cheap kits that “aren't fit for purpose”.
But to inspire a new generation, Mr Poxon is intent on sharing the joys. On his wall at home, he has a cartoon image of a boy on a trike, which grows wings before taking off. It reads: “Everybody dreams of flying”.
“Not everybody can fly,” he acknowledged. “One of the easiest ways they can, is to fly a kite. There is something quite magical about it at times. On a lovely sunny afternoon, with a gentle breeze, it's just lovely. Or, on a windy day, it can be a great adrenaline blast.”