Meet the Yorkshireman who keeps 500 lawnmowers in his conservatory
Enforced self-isolation has put lawnmower enthusiast Stan Hardwick's plans to grow his impressive collection on hold.
The 80-year-old retired golf club greenkeeper keeps around 500 vintage mowers in his Filey home, with many taking up the conservatory and some still in their original boxes in the loft.
Stan travels around the country in pursuit of rare models that come up for sale, even taking the ferry to Ireland with his wife Margaret to acquire one of the few surviving Elwood Maguire mowers.
Unfortunately, the lockdown has prevented the couple from making their May pilgrimage to the annual gathering of The Old Lawnmower Club at Milton Keynes Museum.
"We can't get to the meeting this year. Usually, we talk about mowers until we're sick! It's quite fun and I have a few pints with the lads. They have members from all over the world. An American even came up to visit my collection one year."
Stan began collecting mowers around 30 years ago, and also enjoys restoring them. The rarest model in his possession is a Shanks that dates back to 1861, which he paid £250 for.
"I bought half of it and had to put the other half together myself. I wouldn't sell it for less than £5,000.
"The shed is full and the conservatory is full now. I've got some in the lounge, some in my TV room. There's one from the 1940s still in its box in the loft, brand new.
"My most expensive mower is a replica of one the first mowers ever made, which cost £2,500."
He sources new additions to the collection from other enthusiasts, spotting many for sale on Ebay, and often finds himself racing to beat his rivals from one of the country's largest collections to an unusual mower.
"There are some chaps down south who have a big collection and will try to get there before anyone else does."
Although Stan's collection is strictly for display purposes, he does use a trusty 1930s push mower to cut his own grass. The only electric mower he has ever owned is a Flymo sitting in its unopened box in the loft.
"With the virus, I've been stuck inside, so my son has been cutting the grass for me. I use a Ransomes from the 1930s. It cuts brilliantly - if you mow two or three times a week, you get your exercise and a lovely lawn. I think it's why I'm still here at 80."