From father to son: trombone gets new lease of life

published on 8 Feb 2023

An old Salvation Army trombone, which was passed from father to son 30 years ago, was played for the first time in 43 years in what was a moving Christmas 2022 episode of The Repair Shop.

Salvation Army regular, John Hanchett from Hedge End, Hampshire, reached out to BBC’s The Repair Shop when he heard the programme was looking for a brass instrument to feature.

John said: “The trombone belonged to my father, Arthur Hanchett, who played in the Salvation Army Red Shields band during the Second World War. It is the only item I have left in the world belonging to him. Sadly, I never got to hear him perform, but I hoped The Repair Shop could bring the old trombone back to life so that I will be able to pass it on to my own daughters.”

Just a few months after John was born in 1978, his father was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. The symptoms progressed significantly throughout John’s childhood, and he was just 14 years old when his father died in 1993. The old trombone travelled with John during his time with the Royal Marines, when he was bandmaster at The Salvation Army Portsmouth, and following his relocation to Hedge End Salvation Army. But it remained unplayable until now.

Salvation Army regular John Hanchett at front of screen, holding trombone with presenters of the Repair Shop
John and his father's trombone on The Repair shop, with Jay Blades and Pete Woods.

The team at The Repair Shop reshaped the bell, removing dents and creases in the shaping, burnished the metal, and gave the instrument a fresh silver plating, so that when the trombone was revealed to John, it was sparkling as if brand new.

When John held the repaired trombone for the very first time he said: “My father would have held it exactly as I hold it now. When I look in here, I can see my reflection, and the last person whose face would have been seen reflecting through that is my father’s. I would have loved one more hug, and this is so close and I’m just so grateful.”

You can watch the full episode of The Repair Shop here: The Repair Shop at Christmas 2022.

John Hanchett holds his father's repaired trombone on The Repair Shop.
John proceeded to perform The Coventry Carol on his father's restored trombone, breathing air into the music that Arthur once made.
A Salvation Army Officer sitting and speaking with an older gentleman with a long silver beard.

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