A plea for volunteers to help an elderly man to 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, 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 was previously vandalised.
But her plea, featured in getwestlondon and the Uxbridge Gazette , 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, and 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 farm, which has been enjoyed by generations of residents.
Volunteers hope for charity status so the farm can continue
Sue continued: “They're so excited and enthusiastic and it's lovely 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 Pet's 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, not just to get the peacock pen up now, it's about more about getting a committed group up and running to grow into a proper charity.
“I've got some strong people, and 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, young and old, who were all captured by Stan and his farm, which 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.
77-year-old Tom Shirley offered a hand as he and his wife used to visit with his grandchildren, whilst 15-year-old Jodie Aubery hoped to devote her summer off school to helping the animals.
Another offer of help came from Luke Meagher, who said: “I would love to lend a hand anyway I can. I don't have much money or time but what I do have I would love give to Stan.
“The farm has been part of my childhood and I was so pleased when I moved out that I was close by.”
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.”