Wicken model village restored
An unlikely tourist attraction that was crumbling away in an elderly widow's garden is brought back to life by big-hearted model citizens.
Pat Bullman and her husband Oliver created a model village in Wicken, Cambridgeshire, over a 50-year period.
But after Mr Bullman's death it began rotting away and Mrs Bullman, 80, put out a plea for people to help save it.
Two locals raced to the rescue and the village will reopen on what would have been Mr Bullman's birthday this month.
"It has been amazing. There's an awful lot of work that's gone into it," said Mrs Bullman, whose unnamed village in the front garden was once an unexpected hit with tourists visiting the county.
"It's the building that's amazed me, how many they've done and how beautiful they look. I'm just waiting to get them outside now so everybody can see them."
Fish and chips
Mr and Mrs Bullman started the display with one windmill for their daughter.
Over the years they added a fire station, railway station, hotel, fish and chip shop and a church, among others.
Mr Bullman was still handcrafting new pieces in his workshop until his death in 2012.
After 50 years, a resigned Mrs Bullman feared the village had little future until her plight was highlighted by the BBC and then other media outlets.
Beverley Lorking, a 73-year-old retired engineer from Soham who answered Mrs Bullman's plea, said only half a dozen buildings had to be scrapped and built from scratch.
"We have put bases in the bottom, we've put primer on and also a top coat of paint, and we've put rubber feet on them so they sit off the ground to stop water coming in.
"We've put in an awful lot of hours but it's been a joy and a pleasure."
A joyful Mrs Bullman, who wants the new village to be a "memorial" to her husband, said: "I sort of decided I wasn't ever going to be able to do anything and the buildings would just get thrown away as they fell to pieces.
"I just couldn't believe it could turn out like this."