Give us this day our daily shed: Scottish priest in running for Shed of the Year DIY prize

A Highland priest is up against the creators of a bra-fitting boutique and a Chitty Chitty Bang Bang-inspired “inventor’s workshop” in the 2021 Shed of the Year competition.

Shed heaven: Father Len Black in his shed, the Oratory of St Joseph, in Inverness

The "lockdown" category introduced in last year's competition has been retained, with several DIY bars created as pubs were closed until coronavirus restrictions began to ease.

This year, 331 entrants are vying for the title of Cuprinol Shed of the Year, more than double the number in 2020.In the competition's 15th year, Father Len Black, from Inverness, has made it to the finals with summerhouse The Oratory Of St Joseph.The Catholic priest streamed Mass from the shed every day during lockdown, attracting viewers from Essex to Australia.

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Fr Black said: “My shed started life as a 6 foot by 6 foot summer house about 22 years ago when I bought it in kit form in a charity auction for around £100.

Martin Anderson's shed in Balnaird Chapel, in Strathpeffer

"It stood at the bottom of the Rectory garden when I was an Anglican priest, and I used it as a quiet retreat.

“When I became a Catholic priest in 2011 the shed moved with us.

"Within the Catholic Church I have the care of a small group of ex-Anglicans in Scotland called the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham.

"As we had no permanent church, I enhanced the interior of the shed to make it suitable for saying daily Mass on weekdays.”

Les Rowe in his shed Tranquillity Base in Wallasey, Merseyside.

He added: “The shed, The Oratory of Saint Joseph, has been a work in progress over the years and all who come to Mass each week say it is a haven of tranquillity in a quiet garden not far from the centre of Inverness.”

Influencer Danielle Zarb-Cousin also impressed the judges with her 1970s-inspired Creme de Menthe bar in her parents' garden, which she created after going through a break-up.

Other finalists include specialist bra-fitter Joanna van Blommestein, who built lingerie boutique Bra Boss in her summerhouse.

Isle of Wight resident Nicholas Pointing built a Chitty Chitty Bang Bang-inspired shed, as he wanted a space to construct a replica of the film's car for his wife.

Mark Campbell, with his shed Winterwood, in Wingerworth, Derbyshire.

In the Nature's Haven category, Herefordshire archaeologist Rebecca Roseff built a medieval-inspired shelter to support rare horseshoe bat colonies for their summer roosts.

Hundreds of entries were whittled down to a shortlist of 22 over nine categories, with the winners decided by a public vote. Voting opened yesterday and will close on July 12.

The overall winner will receive £1,000, a plaque, £100 worth of Cuprinol products and "eternal shed glory".

Andrew Wilcox, head judge and founder of the competition, 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."

Adam and Jill Pennington in their entry, The Shed, in North Shields, Tyne and Wear.

Mr Wilcox went on: "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."