First to arrive today is a musical challenge for the barn’s instrument expert, Pete Woods. John Barnes and his daughter Hazel have a very precious cornet that once belonged to John’s wife, and Hazel’s mum, Kath. Kath started playing the cornet when she was just six years old, and first met John in the Cleethorpes band they both played in as children. Kath and John married at 20 and were together for 58 years until Kath died last year. Kath passed on her passion for music to Hazel, and now Hazel hopes to be able to play this cornet again in memory of her mum. Suzie Fletcher assists Pete in getting the cornet, and its case, looking and sounding its best.
Next, a racy toy that’s hit the skids. Sheree and Paul Walker have brought in a wooden ride-on rocking motorbike that needs the attention of wood specialist Will Kirk. This unusual toy was bought by Sheree’s late dad Bob, a passionate motorbike enthusiast who once raced in the Isle of Man TT, and who wanted to pass on his passion for racing to his grandchildren. Unfortunately, during Bob’s battle with dementia, the bike was stored in the garden under a tarpaulin, leaving it tarnished and less than its best. Sheree and Paul would like to see it back up and running for their children to enjoy and to keep Bob’s memory alive.
Next to be called into action are the barn’s soft toy specialists, Amanda Middleditch and Julie Tatchell. Keith Jones from Cheshire has a small but very important young monkey in need of their care. The monkey belonged to Peter, Keith’s partner of nearly 15 years, before he died after catching Covid-19. Although Keith had heard about Monkey, he had never seen him until he came across him in a small box while going through Peter’s possessions. Sadly, Monkey was showing all the signs of an ageing toy that had been loved for many decades, and Keith is hoping the bear repair pair can work their magic and get Monkey back on his feet.
Finally, an important period of British history is encapsulated in a fragile and fading autograph book. The book belonged to Helen Brooke’s great aunt, Cynthia Maguire, a suffragette who campaigned for votes for women in the early 20th century. The book contains messages and signatures of many of the most notable suffragettes of the time, including Emmeline and Sylvia Pankhurst. This valuable historical record of the campaign for women’s votes is in the hands of the barn’s book-binding expert Chris Shaw and embroidery specialist Sara Dennis to ensure it is preserved for generations to come.