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Fixed up

A new life is on offer writes Claire Brine

They want to patch up the toys

WELCOME to a place where broken yet cherished family heirlooms are given new life. So far in BBC Two’s early-evening programme The Repair Shop, presenter Jay Blades and his team of experts have restored damaged paintings, crumbling furniture and antique toys that don’t want to play any more – all at the request of their owners. The aim is to challenge the throwaway attitude of modern society, demonstrating how, with a bit of care and attention, items that have seen better days can be made as good as new.

In the episode scheduled for broadcast next Tuesday (27 March), restorer Steve struggles to fix a 50-year-old steam car, while metalworker Dom has his hands full with a delicate Victorian lantern. Furniture restorer Jay explains why his team are in the business of fixing what’s broken, saying: ‘Everyone has something that means too much to be thrown away, and that’s where we come in.’

It’s certainly the case for Jill, who can’t bear to see the further deterioration of some of her oldest and cuddliest friends, Big Ted and Little Ted. Big Ted has been in her possession since childhood, while Little Ted belonged to her husband, Edwin, who died four years ago. Wanting the 70-year-old bears to be given a new lease of life in memory of her husband, Jill turns to soft toy experts Amanda and Julie for help.

The duo agree that the first thing the bears need is a good bath. Five washes later, they are finally clean. Then it’s time for Little Ted to receive some new clothes and Big Ted to be fitted with a new squeaker. While Amanda and Julie want to keep the traditional bears as Jill remembers them, they also want to patch up the toys, ensuring that any damage is fixed and that they appear refreshed. As they fill the bears with stuffing, they hope Jill will approve of the results.

Like it or not, the progression of time means that items we love get old. And sometimes that means, sadly, they fall apart or become decayed or damaged.

Sometimes we are the ones who feel broken. The wear and tear of life grinds us down. We lose a loved one and consequently lose our joy. Our self-esteem takes a beating when cruel words knock the stuffing out of us. Years of loneliness can leave us feeling empty on the inside.

But, however wrecked or ruined we may think we are, a new attitude is possible. And that’s because new life is possible when we know Jesus and allow him to work in us.

The Bible writer Paul puts it like this: ‘Anyone who belongs to Christ is a new person. The past is forgotten, and everything is new’ (2 Corinthians 5:17 Contemporary English Version).

When we give our hearts to Jesus, he can fix our brokenness. By his death on a cross, we are set free from the shameful consequences of our own wrongdoing. By his resurrection, we are given the power to become new people, full of love, hope and peace.

Whatever our age and stage of life, we don’t have to allow the struggles we face to chip away at us and ruin us. When we follow Jesus, he will work with us, helping us to be the best version of ourselves possible.

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