VOLUNTEERS NEEDED:

Help Stan keep pop­u­lar farm go­ing

Harefield Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - by Kather­ine Cle­men­tine kather­ine.cle­men­tine@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

VOLUNTEERS have an­swered a call to help an el­derly man keep an an­i­mal farm in Hilling­don open for mem­bers of the public to en­joy.

Stan Atkins, who is in his 80s and used to work as a park keeper, has tended to his farm at Pole Hill Park for 40 years.

It be­gan as a shel­ter for those moving into high rise ac­com­mo­da­tion in the bor­ough, who could no longer keep their cats and dogs with them.

Now, Mr Atkins keeps a pig, goats, four ponies, and sev­eral bird breeds in­clud­ing chicken and sil­ver pheas­ants – but he would love to open a pea­cock en­clo­sure.

Sue Kitt, from Ruis­lip, cur­rently lends a hand but needs ex­tra helpers with the skills to help build the en­clo­sure.

An ap­peal on Face­book has so far at­tracted 101 mem­bers to the group Stan’s Friends at Pets’ Cor­ner.

Sue said: “Stan is in his 80s and dou­bled over.

“He runs the farm sin­gle-hand­edly but was un­suc­cess­ful in get­ting char­ity sta­tus and has no help from the lo­cal author­ity.

“He does get do­na­tions but most of the money used to fund the farm comes from his pen­sion.

“He is cer­tainly un­able to help me com­plete the en­clo­sure.

“It has got to the point where I re­ally need peo­ple with know-how, mus­cles, ap­pro­pri­ate equip­ment and the will­ing­ness to spend some time help­ing to get this beast built.”

Some years ago, Stan had a pen hous­ing four pea­cocks as well as a num­ber of other birds, but van­dals got in one night and killed all the birds and left the bod­ies strewn around the farm.

Sue con­tin­ued: “I think this must have dis­heart­ened Stan and the guy who was help­ing him out at the time, and the pen got dis­man­tled.”

De­spite the ad­ver­sity, the farm is still en­joyed by vis­i­tors and mem­bers of the public today.

Sue said: “Stan’s there all day ev­ery day.

“The public all come to see it and re­mem­ber it from their child­hood, some peo­ple even came from Glouces­ter to show their kids as it was part of their child­hood.” One of the volunteers Stephanie Bay­fiord, has set up a Go Fund Me page. Go to https://www.gofundme.com/25dng5w if you would like to of­fer your sup­port.

If you’d like to of­fer Stan a help­ing hand, please con­tact kather­ine. cle­men­tine@trin­i­tymir­ror.com.

I re­ally need pe­ple with know-how, mus­cles and the will­ing­ness ... to get this beast built”

n WHO IS WILL­ING AND ABLE: Sue Kitt, who helps at the farm in Pole Hill Park, says some mus­cle and know-how is needed to re­build the bird shel­ter

n STAN’S THE MAN: Farm founder Stan Atkins runs the an­i­mal cen­tre him­self but is now in his 80s

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