World’s biggest GNOME collector begins repainting each character… all 2,042 of them

September 11, 2013 | by | 0 Comments

Britain’s biggest gnome collector has begun the painstaking task of repainting each and every one of her cheerful little figures – all 2,042 of them.

Fanatical Ann Atkin, 76, holds the Guinness World Record for owning the most gnomes and pixies.

She puts them all on show to the public at a special “gnome reserve” in her four-acre garden in West Putford, Devon.

Ann Atkin owner of the Gnome Reserve and Wild Flower Garden in Devon, performs the annual task of giving the Gnome's a new lick of paint

Ann Atkin owner of the Gnome Reserve and Wild Flower Garden in Devon, performs the annual task of giving the Gnome’s a new lick of paint

But when the tourists go home after each summer, dedicated Ann begins the arduous process of touching up the paintwork on their pointy red hats, colourful tunics and rosy cheeks.

The entire collection will be taken inside in the coming months to be washed and repaired.

Ann began collecting gnomes after one appeared to her in a dream in 1978.

She founded her reserve a year later, welcoming the public but urging each visitor to wear a hat so her gnomes feel at ease.

A gnome rides a pig

A gnome rides a pig

A laughing gnome points their finger

A laughing gnome points their finger

Another of the Gnomes at the Gnome Reserve and Wild Flower Garden in Devon, which holds the world's largest collection of the characters

Another of the Gnomes at the Gnome Reserve and Wild Flower Garden in Devon, which holds the world’s largest collection of the characters

Ann’s been open for business for seven months a year ever since, with help from husband Ron, 75, and son Richard, 50 – who makes each gnome by hand.

Diligent Ann says she’s relishing the task ahead as she loves to spruce up her little friends.

She said: “It normally takes a good few weeks. My son Richard will bathe them and give them a good wash before I touch them up with paint.

“They can get quite grubby through the summer so normally they’re in need of a little work.

“We also provide them with new clothes if they are in need of some, so the whole thing can take a very long time. It’s quite a big task, but we all enjoy it.

“Gnomes are just magical little creatures. They take you away from any cares or worries that are going on in your life and put a smile on your face.”

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