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Curly's community farm on Sheppey celebrates its third birthday all thanks to Nick Knowles and DIY SOS


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Curly's community farm at Bayview, Sheppey, has celebrated its third anniversary with a weekend of events.

It was set up by dads Garry and Kyle Ratcliffe to thank Islanders who helped when Nick Knowles' BBC TV show DIY SOS completely rebuilt the couple's bungalow in Brambledown to cater for their four adopted children.

Celebrating the third anniversary of Curly's Farm at Bayview, Sheppey
Celebrating the third anniversary of Curly's Farm at Bayview, Sheppey
Dads Garry, left, and Kyle Ratcliffe celebrate the third anniversary of Curly's Farm at Bayview, Sheppey, with their son 'Curly' Curtis
Dads Garry, left, and Kyle Ratcliffe celebrate the third anniversary of Curly's Farm at Bayview, Sheppey, with their son 'Curly' Curtis

Kyle, who runs the 10-acre farm, said: "The success of the farm has only been possible because of the support from our community and because of my amazing staff who go above and beyond each and every day."

He added: "Curly’s Farm is also the magical place it is today because of the awesome children who come to us every week to look, learn and help. Here’s to the next three - or even 30 - years.”

There was a 'silent' disco using headphones and foam, ice creams, cakes, gifts of jelly beans, a badge and a bookmark for every child who visited at the weekend. Entry was 3p to mark the third anniversary.

The farm is part of Curly’s Legacy, the children’s charity set up by the Ratcliffes and named after the nickname of their disabled son Curtis. It began with Curly's Caravan which offers holidays to vulnerable families.

The Ratcliffe family with DIY SOS presenter Nick Knowles outside their new home in September 2016. Picture: Chloe Holmwood
The Ratcliffe family with DIY SOS presenter Nick Knowles outside their new home in September 2016. Picture: Chloe Holmwood
Curly's Farm, Leysdown, volunteers building a farm in a weekend get started with some fencing work in August 2019. Picture: Sean Aidan
Curly's Farm, Leysdown, volunteers building a farm in a weekend get started with some fencing work in August 2019. Picture: Sean Aidan

Kyle said: "We wanted to give something back to the community which had done so much to support us when Nick Knowles and his DIY SOS programme visited us in 2016.

"While the caravan is hugely valuable to those families who visit it, it is the farm which has had such a massive impact on the community and on the hundreds of children, schools and groups who visit us each week and over weekends and during holidays."

Curly’s Farm was also named Start up Charity of the Year at the Kent Charity Awards.

Volunteers first arrived on the site in August 2019 to cut down undergrowth and install fences. It now has indoor pens, a wooden cow shed, offices, classrooms and custom-built hen houses.

The Ratcliffes also look after Haydn, Isobella and Phoebe and are regular visitors to Queenborough Harbour's craft market on Saturday's where they sell farm produce including eggs and sausages.

Cattle duties at Curly's Farm, Bayview, Sheppey. Picture: Kyle Ratcliffe
Cattle duties at Curly's Farm, Bayview, Sheppey. Picture: Kyle Ratcliffe
Feeding the sheep at Curly's Farm, Bayview, Sheppey. Picture: Kyle Ratcliffe
Feeding the sheep at Curly's Farm, Bayview, Sheppey. Picture: Kyle Ratcliffe
It's a mucky job but someone has to feed the pigs at Curly's Farm, Bayview, Sheppey. Picture: Kyle Ratcliffe
It's a mucky job but someone has to feed the pigs at Curly's Farm, Bayview, Sheppey. Picture: Kyle Ratcliffe

Curly's 2022 Calendar

Island businessman Toby Sprake who runs a family-owned drone and security company has produced a calendar to raise money for the farm, which relies on donations.

Toby, 29, from Minster, said: "I bought a drone in May and started posting pictures of Sheppey on Facebook. Then I thought about making a Sheppey calendar."

It has now snowballed into a fundraising scheme and is on target to raise £1,000 for Curly's Farm thanks to sponsorship from 30 other Sheppey businesses.

Toby, who used an DJI mini-2 drone to take all the photographs for the calendar, said: "My company SATS Security Services footed the bill for the printing and Handy Prints at Queenborough donated its time to design the calendar so all the money is going to Curly's."

There have been 500 copies of the £10 calendar printed which are available from the Toby's SATS Droneography Facebook page.

Sheppey businessman Toby Sprake from SATS Droneography has created a calendar for 2022 to raise funds for Curly's community farm at Bayview
Sheppey businessman Toby Sprake from SATS Droneography has created a calendar for 2022 to raise funds for Curly's community farm at Bayview
Sheppey businessman Toby Sprake from SATS Droneography has created a calendar for 2022 to raise funds for Curly's community farm at Bayview
Sheppey businessman Toby Sprake from SATS Droneography has created a calendar for 2022 to raise funds for Curly's community farm at Bayview

They will also be on sale at Fishy Fran's Fresh Fish stall at Stones' Nursery, Halfway, Curly's Farm at Bayview and at a pop-up market at Thistle Hill Community Centre on Saturday October 23.

A percentage of the profits will also go to the farm.

SATS stands for Satellite Aerial Telephone Systems and was set up by Toby's father to install satellite dishes.

Read more: All the latest news from Sheppey

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