Repair Shop viewers moved to tears over war hero story behind ‘lucky’ teddy bear
1st April 2021

BBC Repair Shop viewers were in for an emotional one last night as a guest told the story behind a teddy bear he wanted fixed up.

Martin Beaver explained that Chiefy, dressed in his naval uniform, had been on board a World War II navy ship which met with disaster.

He explained to Jay Blades, Amanda Middleditch and Julie Tatchell that as well as being a treasured family heirloom, it also has a heart-breaking back story.

"My grandfather served in the Second World War, and was a chief petty officer on the HMS Repulse around sort of the Malaya, doing convoys and things like that," Martin told them.

"He was an under officer and looked after the guys in the ship. His nickname, while he was on the ship, was Chiefy.

"He was so well liked when he was transferred off of the ship, all the crew got together, and he was made by the tailor that was on the ship as a going away present."

But in a powerful twist, Martin added: "He was very lucky, he was transferred off the Repulse just before they were sunk.

"It was a big sinking the Allied troops, there was lots of people that died on it."

HMS Repulse was sunk in December 1941, alongside the HMS Prince of Wales, by the Japanese Imperial Navy – with around 840 people meeting their ends.

"Chiefy wasn't only just a keepsake," Martin continued, "He was my grandfather's memories of his pals and friends that died and sunk in the ship.

"That's why it's meant a lot to the family, Chiefy stayed on his bed. So we've always had him around."

Martin looked close to tears when the toy was fully restored, offering heartfelt thanks to the team for continuing his grandfather

"That's amazing, you are absolute geniuses!" an emotional Martin told them.

The team told him: "We were very aware when we were working on him of what he meant – certainly the memory of all the seamen that died on that ship."

And viewers were hit in the feels just as hard.

"Chiefy the teddy bear's going to make me a it weepy, I can feel it coming," one wrote.

A second remarked: "I can't believe how amazing they made Chiefy look. I also love their sense of humour."

"What an amazing transformation of Chiefy," a third commended.

*The Repair Shop airs Tuesdays at 8pm on BBC One.

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