Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Young survivor opens puzzle shed for air ambulance

Photo 1: L-R Peter Parvin, John Slattery and Louis and Kaylie Parvin

A volunteer for Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance has painstakingly put together nearly 700 jigsaw puzzles to help raise more than £16,000 for the life-saving charity.

John Slattery, from Coxheath, checks each donated set is complete before selling them in return for donations to the Marden-based helicopter.

The retired farmhand first took up the hobby in August, 2007, and has since pieced together a grand total of 665 jigsaws.

His home is so full of puzzles that he’s just bought a bigger shed which was yesterday (Monday) officially opened by a toddler who was airlifted to hospital.

Little Louis Parvin suffered a fractured skull and was knocked unconscious when a wardrobe fell on top of him but has since made a full recovery.

John, 79, said: “Everything I sell is donated to the air ambulance and I’ve been sent puzzles from as far afield as America and Ireland.

“I photograph every one that I’ve done and there’s usually only about one in 10 that aren’t complete in which case I thrown them away.

“A 1,000-piece jigsaw will take me about four to five days and the biggest I’ve done is about 3,000 pieces. On average, I make about £350 a year from selling them.”

John and his wife Pat have been volunteers for the Air Ambulance since the helicopter was first launched nearly 25 years ago.

During that time, they have raised a grand total of £16,185 from selling puzzles, placing and emptying collection tins, selling merchandise at fundraising events and running a bonus ball game.

Air Ambulance Community Fundraising Officer Michelle Woodland said: “We are enormously indebted to John and Pat for their incredible hard work over such a long period of time.

“Their puzzle shed is a great example of the many and varied fundraising events that people do for us, which we really do appreciate.”

* If you would like to donate a puzzle to John and Pat, call 01622 745440 or email pat.slattery@talktalk.net

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