Our fantastic volunteers at Repair Café Wales love to repair broken items to give them a new lease of life, especially when they have been loved so much that they require that little bit extra attention. This was very true of the rocking horse that Simon recently brought to our Splott Repair Café.

Simon and his wife Carol bought the horse for their son James nearly 40 years ago. For James, and later his sister Helen, the horse became a firm favourite providing hours of endless fun for them and their friends. When the rocking horse was eventually outgrown, it was with great reluctance put out to pasture in their attic.

With the arrival of grandchildren, Carol and Simon thought it would be a great idea to try and bring the elderly horse out of retirement. Unfortunately, the area where his neck and torso met had been weakened in its youth and was feared to be unrepairable. Sharing Repair Café Wales’ ethos, Carol and Simon really did not want to send their well-loved horse to landfill. This then led Simon to us.

Upon examination, I realised that repairing the horse would be a team effort and not something we would be able to do at a single pop up session. Undeterred, our fantastic volunteers rose to the challenge.

Imants arranged for Simon to bring the horse to him for assessment of the structural damage. He found that the head was loose, and after consulting our upholstery team, Imants started to open up the covering. Despite being packed with dusty straw, he was able to get to the joint between the body and neck with surprising ease. He was pleased to find that nothing was broken. Imants reinforced the joint between the back and neck with two pieces of wood which he glued and screwed. He then fixed a stainless steel strap to the lower part of the neck to provide resilience for the next generation.

Once the glue had dried, it was off to the upholstery team to repack, close up and finish the job. Using a strong linen thread through the original needle holes, Mel and Irene did a fantastic job of sewing up the outer corduroy fabric, which Imants had unpicked to repair the frame.

Meanwhile, Simon was busy at home restoring the saddle and mane.

The horse was then reunited with its family and presented to grandson Idris who has named him Keffyl. Idris and sister Erin are sure to have as much fun with Keffyl as their father and aunty had.

Simon and Carol are so pleased to have been able to pass the well restored horse on to the next generation and to have been able to use our skills and expertise.

So, if you have a pre-loved family favourite in your loft or simply a toaster, coffee table or item of clothing which needs some attention, our community repairers would be pleased to help you at one of our local events: https://repaircafewales.org/events/

By Kath Jenkins with contributions from Simon, Imants and Mel.