Gnomes leave woodland reserve for a spruce-up
Britain's biggest gnome collector has begun the painstaking task of repainting each and every one of her cheerful little figures – all 2,042 of them.
Fanatical Ann Atkin, 76, holds the Guinness World Record for owning the most gnomes and pixies. She puts them all on show to the public at a special "gnome reserve" in her four-acre garden in West Putford, Devon.
But when the tourists go home after each summer, dedicated Ann begins the arduous process of touching up the paintwork on their pointy red hats, colourful tunics and rosy cheeks.
The entire collection will be taken inside in the coming months to be washed and repaired.
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Ann began collecting gnomes after one appeared to her in a dream in 1978. She founded her reserve a year later, welcoming the public but urging each visitor to wear a hat so her gnomes felt at ease.
She been open for business for seven months a year ever since, with help from husband Ron, 75, and son Richard, 50 – who makes each gnome by hand.
Diligent Ann says she's relishing the task ahead as she loves to spruce up her little friends.
She said: "It normally takes a good few weeks. They can get quite grubby through the summer so normally they're in need of a little work. We also provide them with new clothes if they are in need of some, so the whole thing can take a very long time. It's quite a big task, but we all enjoy it."