Craftsman heeds the call
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.”
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.