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Model village that’s now a ghost town

Patricia Bullman, 80, from Wicken, Cambridgeshire in her front garden with the model village built by her late husband Ollie Bullman. See MASONS story MNGARDEN; A pensioner has appealed for help to save a stunning miniature village that she built with her beloved husband before he died. Pat Bullman, 80, and her husband Oliver spent nearly 50 years on their labour of love - a lovingly crafted model village in their front garden in Wicken, Cambs. Children would come from all over the area to see the village and marvel at the couple's handiwork. But since Mr Bullman suddenly died from cancer two years ago, the painted wooden houses have been rotting because Pat is too frail to save them. ANL-141205-172350001

Patricia Bullman, 80, from Wicken, Cambridgeshire in her front garden with the model village built by her late husband Ollie Bullman. See MASONS story MNGARDEN; A pensioner has appealed for help to save a stunning miniature village that she built with her beloved husband before he died. Pat Bullman, 80, and her husband Oliver spent nearly 50 years on their labour of love - a lovingly crafted model village in their front garden in Wicken, Cambs. Children would come from all over the area to see the village and marvel at the couple's handiwork. But since Mr Bullman suddenly died from cancer two years ago, the painted wooden houses have been rotting because Pat is too frail to save them. ANL-141205-172350001

The visitors have long since left, there are weeds in the streets, and the tiny wooden houses are starting to rot away.

Oliver Bullman and his wife Pat, devoted more than 50 years of their lives to creating the model village in the front garden of their home in Church Road in Wicken.

Their labour of love became something of a tourist attraction, but two years after Oliver’s death the miniature village outside their bungalow is a ghost town, a fading reminder of its heyday.

Pat, now 80, is too frail to save it and fears it will disappear for good unless someone steps in to help.

“We used to love spending time together painting all the houses and thinking of new things to do,” said Pat.

“Oliver built everything and I did the painting. I’ve tried to keep things painted but I can’t stop all the wood from falling apart.

“It was so difficult when he died, and I find it terribly hard to watch the village just rotting away in front of my eyes.”

The couple started their display with a windmill which they built for their daughter, Shirley, when she was a little girl. She is now 57.

Over the years the couple added a fire station, railway station, hotel, fish and chip shop and a church, among many other models.

Binmen even used to bring the couple toy vehicles, when they found them in people’s rubbish, to place in the miniature streets.

Oliver, who worked as a digger driver, was still making new pieces for the village in a workshop in his back garden when he died from undiagnosed cancer at the age of 80.

Now after half a century Pat is resigned to the fact there is little future for the village with no name.

“It is a big effort to keep it exactly as it should be,” she said. I would love to try to get someone to take it over or I will have to let it all go.

“Everyone has such busy lives these days. There’s no time for anyone to help stop it all going downhill and crumbling away.”

 

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