Our Volunteers

Our Volunteers
Don't bin it - Fix it!

20 November 2019

November 2019, Clockfest!

We’ve had our first AGM, which was a jolly affair, despite the fact that I was totally out of my comfort zone. But I was able to report that we have a ‘Volunteer Group of the Year’ award! We’ve come so far since our ‘kick-off meeting’ in February and starting our Trial Run just seven weeks later with a full complement of highly skilled volunteers. In November we had 2 new volunteers – Jon, who runs Fancy’s Farm, on IT, and Ruth on Sewing. I hope they come back. We need more volunteers to help people fill in forms and maybe on Reception, even if just to cover absences. It’s all very high energy and it’s fun! I was able to get my own repairs done this time, Lelly fixed my ring and has taken my bracelet home to silver solder in a less pressured environment.

Our regular 2 volunteers, who have had success in repairing clocks, were not at our October event so the clocks had a party on 9 November.

A wooden mantle clock with repairer.

It was a first appearance for an Art Deco clock that was going too fast. Alan adjusted the chiming mechanism of a Smiths mantle clock and gave advice on how to move a grandfather clock. He found that a Victorian mantle clock had a broken spring and could recommend a solution. An ornate clock we had seen before needed fine adjustment to the escapement mechanism. Steve fixed a clock that was gaining time.

Brian said that he was ‘over the moon’ when John fitted a new part to his fibre optic Christmas tree base.

I loved the string puppet that Bev had bought in Prague in the 1970’s. It had huge hands and was a caricature of a washer-woman. The strings were tangled.

Kerry found the polarity was reversed on a paging system and the owner reported “I was told this would have cost £300 to repair by the manufacturer. I am pleased”.

Not all repairs are successful. Robert on Electronics said that the Makita BMR104 radio had a screw down a very deep narrow hole. He is ordering some special long screwdrivers “so we will not be beaten like that again”.
A Philips toaster had special tamper-proof screws. “I think I have worked out that they are ‘external Torx’. I am ordering a set of sockets. Philips will not win!”

We’ll be in Christmas mode at our December 7 event. See you there! And some of our volunteers will be Santa’s helpers, fixing toys at the Victorian Christmas Fayre in the Palm House on December 14.

Ros Dean

02 November 2019

Making progress October’s Repair Cafe

 When we first heard about Repair Cafe Weymouth, I offered to make the tea and Judy offered to be a gofer. If we knew then, what we know now, would we have opened our mouths? Well yes, actually!  We had no idea what we were letting ourselves in for, but wouldn’t have it any other way.

1960's music box

This 1960’s music box from Singapore was brought in for repair. It had previously been over wound. The Rickshaw, Tree and Lace all needed gluing. Now it is fixed, the Rickshaw wheels turn while Swan Lake plays.

‘Thank you Phil, so happy to have the music box working. Very happy memories the box holds for me, it is well loved’ Jayne Fletcher

At the October event, a day when the heavens opened, we still had 71 items come through the door. We had two new volunteers, Maggie and Dee helping more people to fill out registration forms. Myself, Bernie, Steve and Jose, facilitated the electrical team as a new role which reduced wait times and no one was turned anyone. 

‘Thank you Robert for fixing my granddaughter’s reading light, she is very pleased and thankful’ ­- Jacqui Gisborne

Lisa visited from Dorchester Repair CafĂ© which has started on the last Sunday of each month at  Sunninghill Community Center, (behind the prep school), South Court, South Walks, DT1 1EB.  You will see some of our fantastic volunteers there too.

We have a fantastic sewing team, with manual and sewing machine skills, to deal with anything from a button on your favourite shirt, mending a pocket, fixing a zip to upholstering your favourite foot stool. They needed more repairs at this event, but enjoyed the camaraderie.

Jim Hadwyn's ornate wooden clock

We also witnessed a charming visitor with his dog and historic clock. It belonged to the last coastguard at Osmington Mills – Jim Hadwyn, who had died a year ago, in his 90’s. He was a fireman before he was a coastguard. His neighbour called on him a lot in his latter years. When he died, she saved the clock as it was going to be thrown and gave it to Kevin our visitor. He wanted it fixed, to return it as a gift. 

He will try to come next month on 9th November when a more experienced Clock repairer will be with us.  We hope it gets fixed – what a fantastic Christmas present that would make.

December’s event will be on the first Saturday of the month, 7th December as on the second weekend 14th-15th December the Palm House are holding its first ever Victorian Christmas Fayre with Santa’s workshop – where some of our volunteers will be repairing toys! If you have any old fashioned looking or wooden toys that need repairing, contact the Palm House about taking them in in advance so they can be repaired in Santa’s workshop.

By Judy Luffman and Bernie Searle