02 Jun Essex Grandad With Collection of 80 Retro Arcade Games Shortlisted For Award
An Essex grandad with an impressive collection of retro arcade games has secured a place on the shortlist for Cuprinol Shed of the Year 2021.
Gary Pound, 55, from Witham, has between 70 and 80 arcade machines in his shed, which includes vintage machines from the 1950s to 1980s.
Entering in the Unexpected/Unique category, his shed – which he calls Grandad Arcade – is the result of more than 20 years of hunting down and collecting them.
His love for arcade machines stems from growing up near Essex piers, and playing on the machines as a child.
“I lived my teenage years as a kid in Frinton,” Gary says. “I lived near the water and I just remember as a kid, from the age of nine to 16, spending all my time down the arcades at Waltham pier and Clacton Pier.
“When I eventually moved home, bought my first house and then the bungalow that I live in now, it just escalated.
“I bought one shed and a few machines and it just went on from there.”
Gary hopes to one day pass on his shed-legacy to his two-year-old granddaughter Madison.
“I’m getting her involved big time,” he says. “Hence why I call it Grandad Arcade because everytime she comes round she goes ‘granddad machines, machines grandad’.
“One day she can take them over.”
The competition will now see the 22 finalists go shed-to-shed across the nine categories. A winner from each will be decided by public vote, before a panel of shed experts decide which overall winner will be awarded the giant golden crown.
Alongside eternal shed glory, the overall winner will also receive £1,000, a plaque and £100 of Cuprinol products.
Head judge and founder of the competition Andrew Wilcox said: “The past year has been an incredibly challenging time for all of us and, now more than ever, we’re aware of how important the humble shed can be.
“Sheds are not just unloved, brown structures at the bottom of the garden that house tools and household junk, they are vital spaces where you can go to relax, work on a project or burn off some steam.
“The high-calibre entries this year really prove why we set up the competition in the first place – to highlight the valuable role sheds can play in our lives, in our businesses and the positive impact they have on our wellbeing.”
Kirsty Woodbine, Marketing Manager for Cuprinol, added: “We are overwhelmed by the amount and quality of entries we’ve received this year.
“The sheds were of such a high standard that narrowing them down to just 22 was an incredibly difficult task.
“The level of innovation, imagination and creativity we’ve seen has been incredible, as has the number of people using their sheds as dedicated spaces to help others in their community. This year’s contest has been truly life affirming.”
Last year’s shed-building superstar Daniel Holloway walked away with the coveted title of Cuprinol Shed of the Year 2020 after wowing judges with his nature-inspired refuge Bedouin Tree-Shed, built around two tree trunks in his back garden.
Ashley Bates took home the competition’s first ever Special Commendation in 2020, after setting up The Shed School to help educate children while lockdown closed classrooms.
Public voting for the 15th annual competition opens on Wednesday, June 2 and will close on Monday, July 12.