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Creative Sheffield dad’s show-stopping shed shortlisted for national competition

Paul Ruddiforth is a finalist in a competition to find Britain's best shed.

Paul Ruddiforth is a finalist in a competition to find Britain's best shed.

 

Dad-of-three Paul Ruddiforth boasts a man-cave to be proud of – a mini-museum at the bottom of his garden in Sheffield.

And now the 47-year-old has been shortlisted in the national shed of the year competition.

Most people store gardening equipment, tools and DIY materials in their sheds, but Paul, from Norton Lees, uses his for a different purpose altogether.

Since 2009, he has been hard at work transforming a mundane wooden structure into a vibrant mini museum to house his growing collection of retro fairground artefacts, which includes an array of arcade machines and memorabilia.

Among the collection, which Paul has built up through visiting car boot sales and searching online auction sites, there is a grabbing machine, fruit machines, old radios and TVs and a 1976 Raleigh Chopper bike.

After decorating the exterior of the shed and decking it out inside, Paul took his adult playground one step further by building his own Ferris wheel.

Upon completing his super shed vision, Paul said he was keen to showcase his handy work.

He said: “I vaguely recalled seeing a shed competition online so I looked it up and entered.

“I didn’t advertise it at all on social media or ask friends to vote for me, but obviously the general public took a shine to it as I got a call to say I was a finalist.

“I couldn’t believe it – I only entered for a bit of fun but it’s brilliant.”

Paul said he first got the idea for his retro fairground-themed shed when his treasured collection began to take over the house.

He said: “My wife had been nagging me to find somewhere else to store the collection. The problem is I can’t stop adding to it, I love all things retro especially those related to fairgrounds and arcades which bring back memories of my childhood.

“The loft is already full so I decided a shed was the best option, but I didn’t want it to be an ordinary shed.”

Paul says his three children – Katie, aged 15, 12-year-old Joshua and Chloe, nine, think the shed is fantastic, but his wife, Helen, thought he had gone loopy until she found out he was a finalist.

The show-stopping shed was one of 2,000 entries which have been whittled down to 32 finalists across eight categories, including Paul in the ‘normal shed’ category. The overall winner will be selected by a panel of shed experts.

As part of the competition Paul will feature in a new three-part TV series titled ‘Amazing Spaces: Shed of the Year’, on Channel 4 at 8pm on Thursdays, July 24, July 31 and August 7 where the category winners and overall winner will be revealed.

Other odd entries include a teapot-shaped shed, a cinema shed, a disco shed and a Titanic shed built entirely from salvaged materials.

 

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