Carving out funds for resort carers

chainsaw sculptor James Shelliker
chainsaw sculptor James Shelliker
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Here’s one BBC Children in Need challenge which is a real hoot – so long as chainsaw sculptor James Shelliker keeps his (too) wits (too woo) about him.

This fine owl is just one of the Kirkham based Acorn Woodcraft artist’s many creations often carved in situ and from a single piece of wood.

James was one of hundreds of local volunteers involved in this summer’s BBC DIY SOS makeover of Blackpool Carers Centre’s new home Beaverbrooks House on Newton Drive.

The amazing transformation of a semi derelict Victorian building into bespoke young carers centre – thanks to designer Laurence Llewelyn Bowen, landscape architect Laurence Mitchell and others – is under wraps until the programme goes out as the Big Build for BBC Children in Need on Thursday at 8pm.

James won’t be drawn on what he- and others - did for the project but he is returning to the centre on Friday, Children in Need Day proper, for a 12 hour fund-raising marathon with money raised to be split between the resort carers’ charity and Children in Need.

The creative woodman will be carving out funds for both appeals by creating as many owls and other creatures and garden features as possible between 8am to 8pm – and this time well wishers will be able to drop in on the gardens to see the master craftsman at work.

“We’re thrilled and delighted that James has offered to do this for the charity and for Children in Need,” said Michelle Smith, chief executive of Blackpool Carers.

“We weren’t allowed on site during the build and only met the volunteers on the day of the Big Reveal – and at a later open weekend. We were overwhelmed by their support and generosity and, as you can see, it’s ongoing.”

Staff and carers will attend the screening of the programme at the epicentre of it all – Beaverbrooks House on Thursday. It was named after the charitable trust of the award winning jewellery retailers bought and donated the building to the charity.

The devastation wrought by metal thieves after NHS services moved out set back the charity’s hopes of a quick move from cramped quarters at Robson Way into the new HQ – until DIY SOS came to the rescue earlier this year and took on the build in June.

James and hundreds of big hearted tradesmen and women, along with major contributors and suppliers from Blackpool, the Fylde and far further afield, saved the day – and have helped create a better future for resort carers.

Most of the names of those who took part are listed on the charity’s website but the list is growing daily.

* Every £5 donation will be entered into a raffle to win one of the many carvings. Supporters can call in on the Friday or via James’ Just Giving page