Jenny Dayton had visits from fey folk all her life, but it wasn’t until her world turned upside down that she listened
“My earliest memory of the supernatural was before I could even talk. I used to watch pretty lights flying above my cot and I always wanted to join them up there! When I was about four years old, my mother took me to visit her friend and I played in her garden, collecting lavender and daydreaming. Afterwards, I was given a Cicely Mary Barkers Flower Fairies book to look at. It was such a poignant moment, because for the first time I had a name for the magical flying things – they were fairies. “As I grew up, these lights appeared less frequently. But when they did visit, they were spectacular. Once, I was hanging the washing out in the garden and I turned to see several golden orbs dancing around in a circle. There was nothing around that could have caused a reflection like this and I could clearly see they were three-dimensional. All my senses were heightened and everything felt intense and magical. When you encounter fairies, you just know that it’s a different experience to ordinary life.
Losing my way
“In 2007, I moved to Saddleworth to follow my dream job at a corporate company, but it didn’t last long and I was soon out of work. I found myself a long way from my friends, family and the home I had lived in for over 20 years. I’d completely changed my life for this opportunity, leaving my husband and teenage son in our old house, while our son finished college and we sold the house. To make matters worse, I needed to have a hysterectomy and my thyroid removed not long after I relocated. I had these operations a few weeks apart, so it meant I was convalescing all alone. In the space of a few months, my world had been turned upside down. The job I had taken really wasn’t me, I was uncomfortable in the boardroom with the politics and hidden agendas – I didn’t really understand how it worked, but I knew I didn’t like it. How had I blown so far off course? Where was the girl who just wanted to spend time outdoors, creating magical things and caring for wildlife? I’d got it all wrong. I felt like a failure.
Fairies to the rescue
“It was only after I lost my job and was forced to slow down that I began to hear the fairies communicate with me again. It started with the thought, “Be yourself, do what you love and you will be healed.” These words popped into my head from out of nowhere and were accompanied with a strong sense of joy. I followed the advice and started crafting, as I had always found making things therapeutic. I bought some wool tops from a local mill and taught myself to make wet felt. Standing at the kitchen sink, I lifted my first attempt up to the light and was amazed to see that what I was holding bore no resemblance to the material I was expecting to see. The wispy, delicate fibres had an ethereal quality and seemed to come to life in my hands. I suddenly realised that this was a fairy trying to help me. “I crafted the felt into a tiny fey figure, which I hung in my bedroom window. That night, while I slept, I had a dream about a fairy being blown off course and finding herself at a special healing place, inside the hill at the back of my house. In the morning, I looked through my window and wondered if the thorn tree on the slope in my garden could be the magical portal where fairies wanted to come to rest and relax. “I made more fairies and each one had a story that came to me overnight. I slept with a notebook by my bed so I could jot them all down. Once I had a collection of figures, I invited a photographer to take some pictures of them by the hill in my garden. When we looked at the images, neither of us could believe what we saw. Over the thorn tree was an orb, in exactly the same place as my dreams. We were both flabbergasted.
Spreading the love
“After this experience, I decided to set up the Fairy Sanctuary in my garden. It’s an enchanting place for people to reconnect with these magical beings. It’s an enchanting place for people to reconnect with these magical beings. One of the best things about my job is sharing the joy and happiness fairies bring into the lives of so many people. Every day I receive letters describing how these little creatures have enriched their lives. Taking care of wildlife by building bug hotels, planting flowers that attract bees, feeding birds, creating wildflower meadows or even the smallest act of picking up a piece of litter makes a big difference to the fey folk. They are nature’s little guardians and we all have a responsibility to help them protect the beautiful planet we live on. Building fairy shelters and putting out food is fun – it’s good for the environment and gets you outdoors and interacting with Mother Earth, too. My goal is for everyone to join my campaign to Help A Fairy and experience for themselves the magic of a life re-sparkled!”
Join the Help A Fairy campaign by visiting fairysanctuary.co.uk