1st December 2020, updated 6th January 

The former master carpenter of Longleat House raised more than £1,000 for Alzheimer's Support in just three weeks from selling his hand-crafted Christmas gifts.

Ken Windess worked at Longleat for more than 30 years and now volunteers his time at Old Silk Works Club in Warminster where his wife June was a founder member. 

He helped with the renovation of the club and now works as a volunteer handyman, putting up shelves, building cupboards and helping with many practical projects. But he also turns his hand to more intricate projects, and last month created a range of hand-made pens, Christmas trees and snowmen from the wood of fallen trees in Longleat Forest.

He said: “Having seen Alzheimer’s Support’s Christmas shop on their website, I wanted to lend my support too. I make each item to order from different cuts of wood, including yew, oak and laburnum. That means every piece is different in colour and texture and therefore unique.”

Volunteering at Old Silk Works

Ken said: “Having a background in the building industry and being a carpenter and joiner by trade, I put up shelves, hung pictures, and did just about anything else that I could to help. Seeing the look on June’s face when she first saw the modern, light and airy, comfortable club building, was a sight I shall remember for the rest of my life.”

June, former housekeeper at Longleat and Ken's wife of 60 years, now lives in a care home , and Ken continues to volunteer with the charity. 

Alzheimer's Support CEO Babs Harris said: “Ken has long been a good friend to our charity. Now we’ve discovered that he is a very talented woodturner too!

"We have been blown away by the number of orders through our online shop and Ken has worked flat out to get all the items out in time for Christmas. It has been quite an operation!

"We’re hugely grateful for all the support Ken’s given us over the years and thank you too to everyone who bought one of his decorations to give as a gift this year. Every penny will go to support people with dementia here in Wiltshire."

Ken is now creating a new range of Easter items and will also turn his hand to bespoke items - contact us if you have something in mind. 

Buy Ken's hand-carved gifts