Pat was a patient of St Wilfrid’s Hospice and used Day Centre facilities, with Pat and his wife Mandy often seen in the Hospice making use of the therapies on offer to them. He told us about a lovely shepherd’s hut he had built for his grandchildren in his garden.
Pat’s Uncle Les, was a Pig Keeper based at the Slindon Estate and when he was working Pat (as a child) would often go up to play on the grounds. There was a shepherds hut in the grounds where Pat would spend many many hours playing and he often ate his dinners there. When the farm was sold, Les went on look after the grounds and woods and the Slindon Estate gave the hut to him as a gift. When Les died, his family asked Pat if he would like to have the shepherd’s hut – an offer which he jumped at.
The hut was left in the woods for a long time getting covered in brambles and weeds until one day Pat and Mandy moved it over to Eartham Wood yard where the long restoration project began and the hut was slowly restored it to its former glory. Pat made new windows, took apart and sanded down the original woodwork and whilst this was taking place, they discovered a time capsule which was 130 year old! Pat and Mandy were amazed that Pat had spent so many years in the shepherds hut and yet this was never discovered. Pat intended to restore the time capsule and keep it in the shepherds hut as an original feature. Once the restoration had been complete Pat and Mandy intended to let family and friends use it for holidays and possibly rent it out in the future, once they had bought some land to put it on.
In their own garden, Pat made his very own half size Shepherds Hut for his grandchildren to play in. It took approximately 2 to 3 months to make from scratch. Pat was completely self taught and learned as he went along. He passed on some of his skills to Mandy so that she could help with some other projects, finishing a swinging chair and a toy box together.
Mandy says “It was a very positive focus for myself and Pat and gave us a reason to get up in the mornings and stay busy. Pat found it very relaxing and therapeutic being able to continue to work and make something so special for the family. It was lovely coming into the hospice to have a break and a cup of tea with people in similar situations.”
Thank you to Pat and Mandy for taking the time to share their story with us.