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Series 13: Episode 5



Getting to work first is upholsterer Sonnaz, who has an appointment with Leigh from London. Leigh has brought in a tatty leather armchair with a request that this once-luxurious seat can be transformed. Leigh has had the armchair since 1986, when he purchased it with the love of his life, Greg, who worked for the US Air Force. The pair met in Greece, where Leigh describes falling instantly for Greg, who then moved to the UK so the smitten couple could be together. Setting up home, the armchair was their first joint purchase and centrepiece of the living room. Whilst blissfully happy, the couple were soon rocked by the Aids crisis, losing friends from London’s gay community. Tragically, Greg discovered he was HIV positive and, after a short battle with the illness, died in March 1989, less than a month before his 30th birthday. Leigh kept the chair as a poignant reminder of his true love, but now the chair is showing its 40 years of use. The leather is badly cracked and scuffed, the rich blue has faded and the seat cushion has been replaced by a plain fabric one. It’s clear the armchair needs a lot of attention, so Sonnaz delves into her extensive fix kit to restore this precious piece of furniture back to its 80s glory. \n\nNext to arrive is Sian from Northampton, who’s brought a very precious piece of jewellery given to her by her parents. The bangle, made from silver with a large piece of amber inlaid, was a gift for Sian when she graduated university in 1998. The piece is especially significant for Sian, as she struggled with dyslexia throughout her school life, all the way up to university, and credits her parent’s support with helping her to deal with the learning disorder. Sian wore the bangle daily, but during a night out it fell under the wheels of a taxi and has become seemingly irreparably broken, with other jewellers refusing to look at it. Luckily, expert Richard Talman is made of sterner stuff and immediately formulates a plan to remove the fragile amber stone so that he can get the bangle back into perfect condition. \n\nArriving for an appointment with skilled engineer David Burville is Jon from Swansea, who has brought along the broken remains of a carousel that belonged to his father, Stanley. With many ornate timber pieces on the table, it’s clear David has his work cut out on this reconstruction and repair job. Jon explains that his father was a hard-working man who took four months to craft this carousel model from scratch, despite having no professional experience. Passionate about funfairs, Stanley would volunteer to help with the rides so that he could learn how they worked, gaining the knowledge he then applied to the creation of his model. The intricate mechanical carousel was so impressive when it was first made, it was put proudly in the window of a local tobacconists. However, aged just seven, Jon lost his dad, and this carousel was stored away for him as an important link to the father lost so young. The carousel is completely dismantled and in multiple pieces with a central motor that is no longer working. On top of that, some of the horses are in seriously bad shape, with Jon himself providing hand-carved versions as potential replacements should David decide to use them. David gets down to business creating new bushings for the drum motor to get the horses moving smoothly again whilst painstakingly combining Jon’s newly carved horses for the missing spare parts.\n\nThe last visitor to The Repair Shop is Catherine from Holywood in Northern Ireland, who hopes instrument expert Pete Woods can bring his considerable talents to the restoration of a bodhran drum that once belonged to her late brother Seamus. The drum, which Seamus built himself from his father’s garden sieve, is a special reminder of a talented brother with a passion to entertain others. When Seamus passed away in 2016 due to cancer, the bodhran had been thought lost but was returned by some friends in its current dilapidated state. The hand-held drum is falling apart, with the skin completely torn and the original garden sieve ring tarnished and worn. Catherine wants the drum to be playable once again so that her father can reconnect with the musical memory of Seamus and even add some of their own new ones to the legacy of their much-missed brother and son.

Source: BBC 2

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