I answered the call to be an Ambassador when the idea was first suggested by the UK Men’s Shed Association. As I felt that having learnt from the school of hard knocks how to create a Shed from scratch, I could pass on my wisdom or not, to others. Little did I know where this would lead!
Outside of the UK Men’s Sheds Association, I have since retiring, developed interests in the Health and Healthcare Sector—through participation in my GP Practice’s Patient Participation Group (PPG), and latterly, as a Trustee of Healthwatch Milton Keynes. There I was invited to become Treasurer early in 2020. My local PPG has organised many patient education sessions on a wide range of subjects with the result that I have become very knowledgable about the services available in the wider Milton Keynes unitary Authority. It was perhaps natural that my Health and Wellbeing interests should lead me towards membership of the UK Men’s Sheds Association Health and Wellbeing Advisory Group (HAWAG) which I now chair. HAWAG seeks to develop resource material of use to Shed Leaders on a range of health and wellbeing subjects and provide guidance where appropriate.
As a founder member and Secretary of my Shed—Men in Sheds West Bletchley, I have seen it grow from a small group of six to its current membership of nineteen. We are housed in a small ex-football changing room, but are actively fundraising to try and afford larger premises. We are in the unfortunate situation of having to turn potential members away because of restrictions placed upon us by the terms of the ‘Licence to Occupy’. I live in hope that I will one day see the Shed move to a purpose built location. For now, the fundraising continues and we do what we can to help the local community.
Those who know me will say that I’m a Chuffer Nutter as I have been known to chase around the country photographing mainline and heritage steam engines. I now have a catalogue extending to several thousands of images of those that escaped the cutters torch. By no means am I a rivet counter—a jibe often thrown at steam enthusiasts. I do however profess a love of all things Great Western or BR Western Region. There is something about a copper-clad chimney at the head of a rake of chocolate and cream liveried coaches. Not to say that I do not appreciate the products of Stanier, Gresley or Bulleid, but for me, Messrs Hawksworth and Collett got it right! To that end, I am a member of the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway and do my best to support that Heritage Line.
I’m a keen gardener and am Chair of my local Garden and Allotment Association. I’m a member of Garden Organic, the organic garden charity based at Ryton Gardens near Coventry and have recently become one of their Heritage Seed Library Guardians which means I propagate ‘lost’ seed varieties that have dropped out of catalogues and return bulk supplies to the Library on an annual basis. I’m a member of the National Trust and enjoy visiting their many and varied properties. When I can, I like to get out on my bike and dump the car, which has caused me to explore parts of the UK that I would never have done otherwise. Places like far the North of Scotland where I managed to reach Dunnet Head, the most northerly part of the UK mainland.
Contact me via my email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You will receive a friendly response and I hope, some helpful advice.
– Paul Egerton.