"Anything is Possible - The Resurrection of Fairfield House"
by Alan Stanton
A Kid with a Crazy Dream
In 1979 Alan Stanton was "just a kid with a crazy dream". Today, through the inspirational restoration project he initiated, Fairfield House in Nelson has been transformed from a demolition ready wreck, to a beautiful, publicly owned, heritage venue.
Determined to Save Fairfield
Determined to save Fairfield from being pulled down, armed with just a primus stove and sleeping bag, a young Alan moved in and squatted. He soon became honorary caretaker and rapidly ignited in countless others the seemingly impossible idea of restoring to its former glory this one time home of the influential Richmond-Atkinson mob.
In 2007, Alan suffered a major stroke. This prompted a second major project: the writing of Fairfield's restoration journey. The completion of this book was at the top of Alan's ‘bucket list' when he was diagnosed with motor neuron disease in June 2013.
Just as the renovation itself became a collaborative community effort, getting the book Anything is Possible to press in time for Alan to see it in print, had turned into a group affair, with support from local designer Galen King and publisher Robbie Burton of Potton & Burton Publishing.
An Inspirational Story
'Anything is Possible' books project manager Rachael Ennor says it is an inspirational story:
"Alan describes the many challenges they faced - lack of money, blocked drains, bees in the roof, dry rot in the walls, no glass in the windows and bureaucracy all around," she says. "He describes how a small, tenacious group of committed people with a common vision can make a lasting difference."
"While the book touches on the story of Fairfield House, from its early days as a workman's cottage to the grandeur of the Atkinson years, through to its time as a college boarding house and its abandonment - the book focuses on the 1980's resurrection, the building of community, and the appreciation of heritage. Alan's message is that with inspiration, determination, love and hard work, anything really is possible."
Fairfield's Glorious Resurrection
'Anything is Possible' chronicles the adventures of Fairfield's glorious resurrection: Major house parts are mysteriously returned; a vibrant committee, Friends of Old Fairfield, (FOOF) is brought to life and kiwi practical ingenuity, born of financial necessity, is beautifully portrayed. Along the way there are reflections and anecdotes about life, sport, employment and politics, which Rachael says are all written in Alan's easy, humorous and approachable style.
'Anything is Possible' was published & launched in November 2013, sadly Alan died in April 2014.
Many thanks to the generosity of donors who have paid for the book's production costs.
Friends of Old Fairfield would like to acknowledge the Kereru Trust for their generous support.