An author, historian and Salisbury Cathedral stalwart has had a unique sculpture unveiled in his honour at Braemar Lodge where he spent his final years
After his death aged 94 on New Year’s Day 2020, the family of Tim Hatton OBE made a generous donation so that Braemar Lodge could choose and commission a garden artwork for fellow residents to enjoy.
Members of the home’s gardening team knew that Tim was a recognised expert on the Cathedral and had spent nearly 20 years there as a volunteer guide.
Head Gardener Charles Hubberstey discussed ideas for a suitable piece of art with Lesley King, Braemar Lodge Gardener.
“Lesley and I considered various options carefully,” said Charles. “We thought of something to do with Salisbury Cathedral and its world-famous spire. It’s well known that peregrine falcons have nested on the top of the spire in the past few years, so the idea of a falcon seemed right, especially for a sculpture that was to be sited outdoors and among nature.”
After some research and with the agreement of the home, Charles and Lesley commissioned Lymington-based metal artist Michael Turner to design and produce the work.
Michael is an internationally recognised sculptor who makes robust, handcrafted garden artwork inspired by nature using recycled materials.
The result of his commission from Braemar Lodge is a stainless-steel falcon, just over life size, mounted on a six-foot oak branch.
Charles unveiled the falcon to a gathering of residents in the lounge before setting it on a plinth in the garden. Its simple inscription reads: ‘Thank You Tim Hatton’.
Residents, many of whom fondly recall Tim, immediately voiced their approval of what is the first garden sculpture at the home.
Marigold Routh said: “It’s very beautiful, stunning. The way it is poised on the wood, you feel its eyes are focused on you. I love its curved talons. I knew Tim very well and used to see his wife Sarah who was assiduous in visiting him regularly. Tim loved anything to do with the Cathedral and I’m sure he would have loved this sculpture.”
Tim was the author of a book on the history of Salisbury Cathedral, The Man Who Moved a Cathedral. He also published an autobiography, Tock Tock Birds, charting his military career including spells with the Indian Army and Gurkha Rifles.
In his 20s, he was a Company Commander during the 1947 partition of the Punjab, helping to escort 100,000 Muslims on foot through hostile Hindu territory to the safety of Pakistan.
He worked in Malaysia between 1948 and 1966 spending time in both the colonial service and as a director of the Malaysian Special Branch.
His distinguished career in the civil service brought him an MBE and an OBE and was followed by a period doing voluntary work in education.
He became a Cathedral guide after he and Sarah retired to Salisbury in 1994.
In his years as a guide, he mentored dozens of junior colleagues and especially enjoyed acting as an interpreter for foreign visitors.
He stepped down in 2013 and made his final return to the Cathedral on a visit with fellow Braemar Lodge residents when he was 93 in October 2018.
Resident and bird lover Helen Scott, who has often helped to feed birds who come into the garden, said: “I think the sculpture is magnificent. It will go very well here as long as it doesn’t frighten away the other birds!”