The Repair Shop: Guest overwhelmed by restoration of running shoes
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During a recent episode of The Repair Shop, cobbler Dean Westmoreland had the task of trying to restore a pair of running shoes that once belonged to a woman who competed at the 1936 Olympics in front of Adolf Hitler. Guest Tom Wenham brought his grandmother’s running shoes onto the BBC show in a bid to get them repaired. Despite leaving Tom speechless at the reveal, Dean has since admitted he was worried he wouldn’t be able to fix them.
In an interview before the show aired, Dean told The Yorkshire Post that he had to question his own abilities when he was presented with the running shoes.
“I always like a challenge,” he told the publication. “I thought they were just going to fall to dust, but you could see they were well made, so I thought they could stand being repaired.
“I was stumped by the old fibre construction. There were a few tricky bits, but everybody pitched in.”
He went on to add that he was really moved by Tom’s reaction after the big reveal.
Tom’s grandmother, athlete Audrey Brown, was the original owner of the running shoes.
She saw success at the 1936 Olympics, winning silver in the 4x100m relay.
The competition took place only three years before the outbreak of the Second World War, during a time where Hitler’s power was on the rise.
As a result, many people chose not to attend the Olympics in protest of the dictator.
Speaking about what his grandmother told him about that time, Tom explained to Jay Blades: “I know that she certainly felt deeply uncomfortable about certain elements of participating.
“It was Nazi Germany’s way of legitimising themselves on the world stage.”
He went on to add that Hitler watched his grandmother run as the German team were nailed on favourites for gold, but accidentally dropped the baton.
As a result, America ended up taking Gold, Audrey and her Great Britain teammates took silver and Canada won bronze at the end of the event.
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Tom continued: “So nan’s medal wasn’t presented to her by Hitler, which I think was something in hindsight she was quite happy with.
“But she was certainly aware of the enormous significance of the event and was very proud and wanted to represent her country.”
Discussing his fond memories of his nan, Tom added: “Growing up she was very much gran at the time.
“She perhaps didn’t look like your typical Olympic sprinter.”
When Tom returned to The Repair Shop to see the final result of the restoration, he was left lost for words.
“Oh, my goodness,” he said to Dean as he revealed the restored shoes.
“I’m sorry I’m speechless, that’s beyond anything that I could have expected Dean,” he added.
“That’s just unbelievable. Amazing. I cannot thank you enough.”
“I hope I did Audrey proud,” Dean concluded.
The Repair Shop returns on Wednesday at 8pm on BBC One.
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