A RETIRED teacher from Ilkley is through to the finals of the 2020 Cuprinol Shed Of The Year competition, with a beach house that’s become a respite for her and her elderly father.

Pat Crook, 51, is one of three on the shortlist in the ‘Budget’ category.

“Respite” was built by Pat originally as storage, but over the past few years has been transformed into a dementia-friendly beach house for her and her 92 year old father. She said: “Ten years ago my father Philip came to live with me following the death of my mother. Philip who has dementia hails from Dublin and grew up with his toes in the Irish Sea. Now his seaside days are over, he can realise them at the bottom of the garden.

“I originally built the shed with a friend for storage and in recent years my brother has helped me to renovate it mostly using upcycled materials. When I moved into this bungalow 15 years ago I decided to develop the garden with a Mediterranean feel. This gave me the idea to develop my own Beach House with pebble beach and sand for relaxation after a day at work.

“The shed has been invaluable to both my father and myself during lockdown as a place of respite. My brothers and friends did support me with my father’s care but this has not been possible as he is shielding so I am his only carer. This can be a challenge. At 92 it gives him a place to escape and dream of his days playing the clarinet for the Artane Boys band at the beach in Blackrock Ireland. With his feet amongst the sand and pebbles sporting headphones with Spotify it is 1939 and he is back with the band playing Tea For Two.”

The competition sees 27 competitors battling for the crown across nine categories. A winner from each will be decided by public vote, then an overall winner will be crowned by a panel of shed experts with a giant golden crown for the winning shed.

Alongside eternal shed glory, the overall winner will also receive £1,000, a plaque and £100 of Cuprinol products.

Head Judge and founder of the competition Andrew Wilcox said: “More than ever, the events of recent months have shown us what a valuable role sheds can play in our lives.

“They are spaces where we can help our NHS heroes, educate our children and care for our family.

“They highlight all that is great about Britain - our ingenuity, our eccentricity and our determination to help others.”

Kirsty Woodbine, Marketing Manager for Cuprinol said: ”We’ve been astonished by the quality of entries to this year’s competition.

“All our entrants have responded with real creativity and imagination, but more than that the introduction of this year’s new lockdown categories has shown a real outpouring of kindness and community spirit.

“This year more than ever Cuprinol Shed of the Year has served as a platform for those going above and beyond for each other.”

Public voting is now underway and will close on Sunday, August 9. Cast your vote at: www.readersheds.co.uk