AN 80-year-old retired greenskeeper has amassed what is thought to be the world’s largest personal collection of vintage lawnmowers — with 500 crammed in his home.
Stan Hardwick travels all over the country, and occasionally overseas, adding to his staggering assortment of machines, many of which have never been used.
The OAP’s pride and joy is an especially rare model dating back to 1861, which he paid £250 for, and now ‘would not sell for less’ than a whopping £5,000.
Stan has been collecting for 30 years and admits that after his shed and attic became full he had to start stashing them in the conservatory — and even the living room.
The pensioner said that pre-lockdown he would get out and mow his lawn three times a week, which kept him fit and explained why he’s ‘still here at 80’.
Stan’s wife, Margaret, luckily shares his love of lawnmowers and the pair travel around chasing new models to add to their collection.
Unfortunately, the lockdown has prevented them making their May pilgrimage to the annual gathering of The Old Lawnmower Club at Milton Keynes Museum.
Stan’s considered a ‘purist’ and owns only one electric mower, an unopened Flymo which is sitting in its original box in his attic.
His rarest model is the 1861 Shanks.
Dad-of-three Stan said: ‘I bought half of it and had to put the other half together myself. I wouldn’t sell it for less than £5,000.’
He’s so keen on adding to his collection that one year he took the ferry to Ireland with Margaret to acquire one of the few surviving Elwood Maguire mowers.
Stan said: ‘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.’
He sources new additions from other enthusiasts, spots many for sale on eBay, and often finds himself racing to beat rivals from one of the country’s largest collections to an unusual mower.
Stan’s hoard is strictly for display purposes, and he uses a trusty 1930s push mower to cut his own grass.
He said: ‘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.’