Crafts­man heeds the call

Matamata Chronicle - - News - By NI­COLA STE­WART

Af­ter read­ing one line of a Mata­mata Chron­i­cle news story, Jim Gibbs was on a mis­sion.

Pohlen Hospi­tal was in need of a new paint­ing easel and he was the man for the job.

Hav­ing pre­vi­ously made six easels for his wife Ann, a pain­ter, he set about ren­o­vat­ing one to meet the needs of the pa­tients.

“I rang the hospi­tal to see what they wanted but they didn’t get back to me straight away, so I just in­vented as I went along,” said Mr Gibbs. “I’m a bit im­pul­sive.”

The for­mer jockey and horse trainer is a keen fur­ni­ture maker and has a huge shed and work­shop in his back­yard.

“When he starts work­ing on some­thing, he’s out in the shed and he doesn’t reap­pear un­til he’s fin­ished,” said Mrs Gibbs.

Mr Gibbs said he has ev­ery­thing he could ever need out there, with his tools, a big screen TV to watch the races, and an ex­ten­sive CD col­lec­tion.

His in­ter­est in car­pen­try was sparked when he be­gan mak­ing frames for Mrs Gibbs’ paint­ings. From there, he started craft­ing boot racks and other fur­ni­ture for lo­cal farm­ers, learn­ing as he went.

“It’s some­thing that I re­ally en­joy do­ing.”

Pohlen Foun­da­tion Trust sec­re­tary Ju­dith Chal­lis said the easel was a wel­come ad­di­tion to the pa­tients’ lounge, which is be­ing ex­tended.

“The community has re­ally pitched in to make this room re­ally amaz­ing,” she said.

“Eigh­teen to 20 peo­ple call this hospi­tal home and [the lounge] is the world.

“Some­thing as sim­ple as an easel is so valu­able.”

It was the sec­ond easel to be do­nated and Mrs Chal­lis said it was to be used by pa­tients in diver­sional ther­apy.

Ac­tiv­i­ties co­or­di­na­tor Jan­nette War­ing said there were a num­ber of pa­tients who could ben­e­fit from paint­ing.

The ex­tra easel meant she could now run small paint­ing work­shops and Mrs Gibbs had also pitched in with a num­ber of paint­ing ideas, said Ms War­ing.

While de­liv­er­ing the easel, Mr Gibbs man­aged to pick up a few more projects around the hospi­tal, keen to put his hand to any job that needed do­ing.

“I think I have enough to keep me busy,” he said.

“For now, any­way.”

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Well re­ceived: Pohlen Hospi­tal ac­tiv­i­ties co­or­di­na­tor Jan­nette War­ing and chief ex­ec­u­tive An­ton Turner are grate­ful to Ann and Jim Gibbs for the do­na­tion of a new easel.

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