By Leah Fox
This creative hamster owner sets up tiny patriotic scenes for her pets to pose in – including Glastonbury, Wimbledon and competing at the Great British Bake Off.
Beverly Borrill’s hamster hobby began when her daughter Isabel, 14, was making a mini hot air balloon for a school project, and thought it would be cute to put the family’s pet hamsters Max and Lulu in it for a picture.
After that, the 52-year-old teacher’s ideas started to come thick and fast and when she decided to breed the furry friends and their numbers swelled from two to 14 in 18 months, the photo opportunities were endless.
Creative Beverly spends hours painstakingly developing the archetypal British scenes from cardboard at her kitchen table before luring the rodents into the sets with their favourite treat – peanut butter – and snapping the shots.
So far the hamsters have played tennis at Wimbledon, phoned home from a red telephone box, partied hard at Glasto, picked up fish and chips and even starred in iconic British shows like Doctor Who, The Great British Bake Off and Masterchef before catching up outside Costa Coffee – all from the comfort of Beverly’s home in Devizes, Wilts.
The mum-of-four said: “I usually do British scenes because I am inspired by what goes on around me every day.
“Despite having lived abroad for several years, it’s easy to take inspiration from everyday life.
“All the action happens on the kitchen table, so it’s a regular thing to see the family eating their supper around a half constructed golf course or MasterChef set.
“People ask how to get their hamsters to sit still or how to tame a hamster so they don’t bite or destroy the set.
“The simple answer is patience and lots of perseverance. And a little bit of peanut butter!”
Beverly and Isabel set up Facebook page Harcourt Hammies to show off their creations, which quickly gained popularity.
Each set takes a different amount of time to create – sometimes just a few hours and others can take days – and they are often inspired by topical events or even ideas from friends.
Beverly said: “Isabel is now 14 and has become more interested in YouTube than crafting with me.
“She still very much enjoys her hamsters and through the trials and tribulations of teenage angst, the hammies have been wonderful therapy.
“So now I can honestly say the hamsters are my hobbies.”