Dr Paul Averley is thrilled to be the proud owner of a handcrafted walking stick, courtesy of his talented patient, Wilf Laidler.

Renowned in stick dressing circles, Wilf is the secretary and treasurer of the Borders Stick Dressers’ Association (BSDA), which has 360 members, scattered throughout the world but mainly in the North of England or Southern Scotland.

Stick dressing is the decoration of walking sticks and shepherds crooks, generally with horn carved with animals, birds, and fish.  Wilf’s latest creation for Dr Averley has a jumping brown trout handle and a green stained chestnut shank.

Dr Averley is in good company as Wilf has previously made shepherds crooks and sticks for a bishop and for royalty including the Prince of Wales.

Mr Laidler, said: “I wanted to make Dr Averley a walking stick for two reasons; firstly as a nervous patient, I found him very reassuring and he took the time to put me at ease.  Secondly, I discovered he too loved working with wood – so as a thank you to a fellow craftsman I decided to make him his own walking stick.”

Dr Paul Averley said, “It can take up to 250 hours to make a single stick so I was honoured to receive such a bespoke gift from Wilf – it is a thing of beauty inspired by nature and I’m delighted with it!”