It's that time of the year again when the finalists are announced for the annual Shed of the Year competition, run and organised as always by Uncle Wilco from Readersheds.co.uk and sponsored for the 15th time in a row by Cuprinol. As always there are plenty of marvellous entries, although sadly no specific category for garden offices (this year’s categories are Budget
Pub & Entertainment,
Nature’s Haven , and
Lockdow). The nearest is the Workshop/Studio section in which the Shedworking staff were very taken by Nicholas Pointing's Chitty Inventor's Workshop on the Isle of Wight. Here's what he says about it:
"The workshop was constructed solely to build from scratch a full scale road going Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, it has then evolved into a Chitty inventors workshop, where we went on to build a mini Chitty Chitty Bang Bang based on a ride on Lawn mower, and a pint sized split screen camper on a mobility scooter! The walls now support a Tardis waiting its next time travel! The workshop has become a collection of newspaper cuttings and memorabilia all things Chitty and of the year we drove Chitty overland to Australia! The workshop is an ongoing project we have just added a Red telephone and post box and small extension is on the cards making room for the Powered deck chair!"
There has been a record-breaking 331 entrants vying for the top shed spot, more than double the entries compared to 2020. Now we're down to the 22 finalists, including one of our favourites, The Oratory Of St Joseph. This is a finalist in the Lockdown category where Catholic priest Father Len Black, from Inverness, is proudly championing the summerhouse where he has held Mass since 2011. Over lockdown, he streamed Mass every day from the shed though his website, attracting viewers from Essex to Australia.
Remarkably, it's not the only place of worship in the final mix. Below is Martin Anderson's atmospheric Balnaird Chapel in the Highlands. Here's how he describes it:
It is based on an old towing cabin and clad and steepled in corrugated iron to replicate the old tin chapels of which a few are still about bought in the 19C from catalogues, also similar to alpine churches, echoed in the colours The steeple has a finial incorporating a cross, star of david and crescent moon to make it multidenominational. It's purpose is to bring the community together, all welcome, for ceilidh, music, reading, any creativity. Internally is ongoing task as we source suitable items. There is a stained glass window and pew from John o' Groats and a 100 year old american pedal organ in working order inside just now
As in previous years, a winner from each category will be decided by public vote (you can vote here), before a panel of shed experts decide on the overall winner who gets the giant golden crown, £1,000, a plaque and £100 of Cuprinol products.
Head judge and founder Uncle Wilco said: “The past year has been an incredibly challenging time for all of us and, now more than ever, we’re aware of how important the humble shed can be. Sheds are not just unloved, brown structures at the bottom of the garden that house tools and household junk, they are vital spaces where you can go to relax, work on a project or burn off some steam. The high-calibre entries this year really prove why we set up the competition in the first place - to highlight the valuable role sheds can play in our lives, in our businesses and the positive impact they have on our wellbeing.”
Kirsty Woodbine, Marketing Manager for Cuprinol, added: “We are overwhelmed by the amount and quality of entries we’ve received this year. The level of innovation, imagination and creativity we’ve seen has been incredible, as has the number of people using their sheds as dedicated spaces to help others in their community. This year’s contest has been truly life affirming.”
Public voting is now open and will close on Monday, July 12.