A pensioner who works at a charity shop has completed 7,000 JIGSAWS – to make sure there aren’t any missing pieces before they are sold.
Chris Cole, 72, has been volunteering at the charity shop for the past 20 years.
He spends his days completing jigsaws at the Mare & Foal Sanctuary in Babbacombe, Devon – and will sometimes spend up to 20 hours completing a single puzzle.
Chris took to the job due to issues with his heart, and now credits his good health to completing jigsaws on a daily basis.
He said: “The frustration of a piece missing is the worst thing in the world. A very large, complicated puzzle can take over 20 hours and I often spend ten hours a day at it.
“Sometimes the wife is calling me to come to bed because I’ve totally lost track of time.”
Chris admits to relishing the really hard ones, which include thatched cottages or blue sky – the hardest thing for puzzlers.
“I’ve been doing it for so long I’ve completed the same puzzle design as many as ten times. I just love it,” he added.
“It’s so therapeutic and it teaches you to be patient. You can really lose yourself in it.
“But, if I’m half way through and find a piece missing, it’s straight in the recycling. No one wants that!”
Mare & Foal Sanctuary Retail Manager, Dawn Green, said it was great to know the charity was selling the guarantee of a complete jigsaw to Babbacombe’s hard-core puzzlers.
She said: “We sell a lot of donated jigsaw puzzles, especially over the Christmas holidays, but, like other charity shops, we don’t have the time to check them.
“Once customers know they’ve been checked by Chris they sigh with relief. He has quite a reputation amongst puzzle lovers in Babbacombe.
“Staff often come across newly donated puzzles with Chris’s old stickers on them stating when they were last checked by him – one from as far back as 2003.
“But he’ll happily check them again. He’s a Godsend.”