Kath Snowdon chuckles when she recalls it was her ‘nosiness’ that first got her involved in Daisy Chain. “A group of men from church were going to this farm to help out and I wanted to know what they were doing. I went along for a look and before I knew it, I was helping out two or three times a week.”

At the very beginning, even before any activity groups were started, Kath was helping out in the farmhouse sorting donations in the old stables and barn where they were all stored.

As someone who had worked with children since she was 18 in a number of roles in primary schools, plus working with children with special needs and autism, she soon became involved in setting up the activity groups for young people with enthusiasm and imagination.

“It was all about getting them up to the farm where they could have a run around and we would go swimming at Thornaby pool, activities at the local cricket club with the soft play equipment.”

Husband John, now retired, followed two years later in 2005, “I was made redundant so I went up to Daisy Chain to help out for a short time while I looked for another job. I ended up being there nine years,” he laughs.

A highlight for the Eaglescliffe couple was when they were shortlisted in 2008 for the Volunteer of the Year in the Sunday Sun’s Champions of the North awards and also in the same year when former Bionic Woman Lindsey Wagner arrived at Calf Fallow Lane to switch on the Christmas lights.

Kath recalls, “There was so much interest in that, it was brilliant publicity for Daisy Chain. She was amazing. She did some workshops with the children and she had such a lovely quiet, calm way with them.”

The couple have two sons, now in their thirties, Tony and Geoff, “They both helped out at Daisy Chain. Tony did a lot of sports with the children and Geoff was into the IT and games consoles.” Even Tony’s then girlfriend Kim (now wife) was part of the Snowdon family volunteering team.

Kath explains, “In those early days it was virtually all volunteers working to make Lesley’s dream come true. Everyone wanted to be there and make it happen, all sorts of incredible and dedicated people. There was a real buzz around the farm as we worked to get it up and running.

“I remember when we had the pond put in – the fire service came and filled it for us. We had fish for it which we had been keeping the barn and we released them into the pond one by one, that was a really good day. We had one child who really loved water. It was during the summer holidays when it was filled and he arrived in the car with his mum. Before anyone could blink he was out of the car, he ran and dived into the pond. We had to go and get towels to wrap him up, put him straight back in the car to go home and change.”

John also remembers when the A19 was being resurfaced, “Someone asked them to bring us the old planings for the Daisy Chain car park. We had a container to put them in but it bent under the strain of it all.

“We all learned a lot, very quickly, about animal husbandry, we worked so many events – the boat race, kayaking at the Tees Barrage, open days, fetes, you name it,” Kath smiles. “It was amazing to see the Day Centre built and the resources now are amazing for the children and the families.”

John was taken on as a project worker for Daisy Chain – now in their early sixties the couple have retired and taken up dog minding. “We still love popping up to the Christmas Fayre every year and we see lots of the children, many now grown up,” Kath smiles.