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Barack Obama and Prince William next to Batman in millionaire's amazing North Wales garden

Daily Post 27/06/2021 Gareth Hughes & Andrew Forgrave

Motorists cruising along a country lane in North Wales could be excused for slamming on the brakes and reversing to do a double-take.

Their eyes are not deceiving them: inside the electronically-controlled gates – watched over by a pair of stone lions – former US President Barack Obama sits on a bench chatting to his wife Michelle.

If they linger a little longer they might also make out a figure of Spiderman climbing up the outside of the large house at the top of the drive.

READ MORE: Underground 'car cave' hidden in abandoned North Wales mine in danger of being trashed

John Wayne is instantly recognisable astride his horse, while Olympic gymnast Beth Tweddle performs a routine atop a giant pedestal.

Elsewhere, Prince William stands alongside Oliver Hardy.

Whilst many people settle for a collection of gnomes, Mike Walsh also has a vast collection of statues in his Denbighshire garden.

Among a menagerie of animals are camels, a crocodile, an elephant, hippo and buffalo.

All of which ensures a surreal arrival for visitors to the home of the millionaire businessman and wife Judy.

It all started when Mike, 56, fancied the idea of having a model of a giraffe in his garden.

He commissioned Glan Conwy sculptor Peter Barnes to create a life-size fibreglass model.

“When the grandchildren started arriving I bought some Disney characters,” said Mike.

“It’s just grown from there over the past 16 years.

“There’s no particular theme but I tend to like things with educational links.”

Mike now runs a property development business after selling the insurance repairs company he ran with Judy and his brother Sean for £37m in 2007.

He commissioned some of the statues from Peter Barnes while others were bought from various parts of the country.

“I’m always on the lookout for something new,” he said.

There are more than 80 statues dotted throughout the grounds as well as additional curios.

These include a Russian machine-gun – and there’s also a model of a Spitfire on a shed roof.

a man standing in front of a dinosaur: Mike prefers statues that are educational © Andrew Price / View Finder Pictures Mike prefers statues that are educational

Two of the fibreglass statues have a particular poignancy for Mike, a former Military Policeman, and Sean, who served in the Royal Welch Fusiliers.

In 1977 their brother Martin, a bomb disposal officer with the Royal Army Ordnance Corps, was killed by an IRA bomb in Northern Ireland.

Ever since then the two have supported ex-servicemen’s charities.

The charity they established has raised over £2m for Help For Heroes and the British Limbless Ex-Servicemen’s Association.

Two of the statues in the grounds of Mike’s home in Rhuallt, near St Asaph, are of bomb disposal officers in full uniform.

A third, also commissioned by them and cast in bronze, is at the National Memorial Arboretum in Airewas, Staffordshire.

As there are security gates to the grounds, passers-by can get only a glimpse of the full collection.

“But we get a lot of people pulling up outside to have a look after seeing Barack Obama or a giraffe peering over the hedge,” chuckled Mike.

What do you make of Mike's garden? Share your views in the comments section below.

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