Repair Shop achieves the 'impossible' and restores toy with very special memories

By Natasha Wynarczyk

After Cathy Downie’s beloved uncle Jimmy died when she was just 15, an acrobatic clown he bought her took on a new significance.

As time passed, the toy, also called Jimmy, became damaged and worn and it was put away in the cupboard to avoid further harm.

But to Cathy’s joy, it has now been restored to its former glory by experts on the Repair Shop.

The 71-year-old told how the clown, which flipped upside down when she pressed a button, quickly became her favourite plaything after she was given it at the age of five.

Cathy said: “I was an only child and Jimmy was like my wee brother. Because of the name, and how close I was to my uncle, it made him even more special to me.

“Uncle Jimmy died when I was 15, but I wasn’t able to properly say goodbye to him as I was doing my exams.

“I struggled with missing him and it made the toy all the more precious.

“It became this link to him after he was gone.” The clown broke 40 years ago. It also had a hole in its head and the paintwork had faded.

Cathy, of Edinburgh, asked local firms if they could fix Jimmy, but none were interested. So she turned to BBC ’s Repair Shop, and appears in tonight’s show.

Get all the biggest showbiz news straight to your inbox. Sign up for the free Mirror Showbiz newsletter.

Steve Fletcher fixed the ­spinning mechanism so the clown could flip again. Julie Tatchell sewed up the tattered costume and antiques expert Kirsten Ramsay used filler to fix the hole in its head and touched up the ­paintwork on its face.

Mum-of-two Cathy said: “I was gobsmacked with the result, they did a tremendous job.

“If my uncle could see what they had done with it, he would have been so pleased.”

Jimmy was in his 60s when he died of cancer. Cathy told how getting the toy clown repaired was a way of “saying thank you to him for all the good times we shared together”.

  • The Repair Shop, tonight 8pm, BBC1.

Do you have a story to sell? Get in touch with us at or call us direct at 0207 29 33033.

What is inkl?

Important stories

See news based on value, not advertising potential. Get the latest news from around the world.

Trusted newsrooms

We bring you reliable news from the world’s most experienced journalists in the most trusted newsrooms.

Ad-free reading

Read without interruptions, distractions or intrusions of privacy.