Stan’s an­i­mal farm backed by vol­un­teers

Man given over­whelm­ing sup­port at Pets Cor­ner

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

A PLEA for vol­un­teers to help an el­derly man keep an an­i­mal farm in Hilling­don open for mem­bers of the pub­lic has seen an over­whelm­ing re­sponse, as lo­cals go above and be­yond his re­quest.

Stan Atkins, who is aged in his 80s, has tended to the farm at Pole Hill Park, also known lo­cally as ‘Pets Cor­ner’ for 40 years.

Vol­un­teer Sue Kitt, from Ruis­lip, lends a hand but needed ex­tra helpers with the skills to help build a pea­cock en­clo­sure, af­ter it had been van­dalised.

But her plea, fea­tured in the Gazette and our web­site getwest­lon­don, re­ceived such a re­sponse that a com­mit­tee has now been set up to or­gan­ise the dozens of of­fers of help that came flood­ing in.

Sue said: “They’re all so pas­sion­ate about it and a lot of them live close to that park.

“It’s clear that gen­er­a­tions of their fam­ily have lived close to that park. “I thought if the feel­ings are that strong and peo­ple are that pas­sion­ate about it, then you’ve got to do some­thing about it, so we’ve cre­ated a proper com­mit­tee to hope­fully keep go­ing for the long term.” A team of vol­un­teers from Hilling­don have al­ready set to work spruc­ing up the land­scape and in­ject­ing a new lease of life into the farm farm, which has been en­joyed by gene gen­er­a­tions of resid res­i­dents. A Face­book grou group, Stan’s Frie Friends at Pets Cor Cor­ner, was set up to co­ord or­di­nate jobs and has more tha than 100 mem mem­bers, as wel well as a cro crowd­fund­ing pag page to save mo money for too tools and eq equip­ment. Sue added: “T “They’re so ex ex­cited and en en­thu­si­as­tic an and it’s lovely be be­cause I’m get­ting so many com­ments on the page, where peo­ple want to do stuff, so I’m just try­ing to co­or­di­nate it all.

“Hope­fully, when the time comes that Stan’s not around any more we will have achieved charity sta­tus and there­fore the farm can con­tinue.”

Stan him­self is said to be ‘lov­ing’ the re­ac­tion the com­mu­nity has had to­wards Pets Cor­ner.

Sue said: “He’s been fol­low­ing groups around the farm - we’ve got pho­tos of groups of us with him and his eyes were twin­kling and he’s laugh­ing.

“The com­mu­ni­ca­tion be­tween all of us on Face­book is just crazy at the mo­ment, and we’re work­ing so des­per­ately hard. It’s more about get­ting a com­mit­ted group up and run­ning to grow into a proper charity.

“I’ve got a good mix of peo­ple from the com­mu­nity and hope­fully we can get a coun­cil­lor in­volved.

“We’re just go­ing to run with it and see what hap­pens, we can only do our best.”

Re­sponses to the plea came from far and wide and young and old and were all re­ceived by Stan.

His farm 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.

Tom Shirley, 77, of­fered a hand as he and his wife used to visit with his grand­chil­dren, while 15-year-old Jodie Au­bery hoped to de­vote her sum­mer hol­i­days to help­ing the an­i­mals.

An­other of­fer of help came from Luke Meagher, who said: “I would love to lend a hand any way I can. I don’t have much money or time, but what I do have I would love to give to Stan.

“The farm has been part of my child­hood.”

Caro­line Don­nelly, founder of Friends of Hayes End, who is now a com­mit­tee mem­ber, said: “We used to love go­ing there as kids, as did many of our mates from school, so would love to be able to give some­thing back.”

n PAS­SION­ATE: Vol­un­teers at the farm with Stan Atkins (also pic­tured be­low)

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