The Argyll home of Mary’s Meals has made it through to the finals of this year’s ‘Shed of the Year’ competition.
Calum’s shed, in Dalmally, is the headquarters of the charity, which provides a meal a day for more than 500,000 chronically hungry school-children in 16 countries around the world.
The shed has won the ‘garden office’ category in this year’s national competition, beating over 100 other sheds to the title in the first round of the competition which was decided by an online vote.
Now Mary’s Meals is in with the chance of winning first prize in the final, judged by a panel of shed experts including TV presenter Sarah Beeny.
It costs Mary’s Meals an average of £9.40 to provide a meal a day in school for a hungry child, so the £1000 first prize would be enough to support 106 children for a year. The prize also comes with a year’s supply of wood care products (useful for other buildings on the Mary’s Meals site) from the competition’s sponsor Cuprinol.
Calum’s shed has been at the heart of the charity’s work since it began. During the Balkan conflict, Magnus MacFarlane Barrow, Mary’s Meals’ founder, borrowed it from his father (Calum) and used it to store donations of blankets and medicines before he delivered them to victims in Bosnia. Since then it has been used as a children’s play room, craft workshop, office and meeting room and has hosted high profile visitors including Duncan Bannatyne and Gerard Butler.
“My dad’s shed has always had a special significance for me, and through the Shed of the Year vote I’ve discovered that the place where I played pool as a teenager means a lot to a lot of other people as well,” says Magnus.
“Mary’s Meals has had a remarkable journey, starting as a small aid organisation and growing to become a charity that helps than 500,000 children. Calum’s shed has been a part of that story from the beginning, and we hope it will continue to play a role for many years to come.”
There are nine sheds in the competition final, including a pub shed, a museum and a shed shaped like a tardis. The winner will be announced during National Shed Week which starts on July 4.
Mary’s Meals has grown considerably in recent years and now has an office and warehouse in Glasgow and shops around Scotland , as well as supporters around the world. The corrugated tin building remains its international base.
You can read more about Calum’s shed and the other entries in the Shed of the Year competition at www.readersheds.co.uk.