I was lucky enough, as a representative and Chair of the British Toymakers Guild, to be invited specifically to visit a lad called L who attended Hampton Hill Junior School, based in west London.
L had a variety of issues and was a very practical lad who was very frustrated with his automata design. In fact, there was not much wrong with his designs and we looked at various Automata examples – Robert Race, Axminster Tools and others from a number of books I took with me.
After having had a one to one chat with L, he took me down to his class who were engaged in making marble runs with very limited resource. L showed me his groups marble run hoping that his would be awarded first prize. A true engineer and toy maker in the making I suggested L became a member of the BTG at some stage in the future!
The following was an email I received a few days later from L’s teacher:
Thank you so much for your message and for taking the time to visit us here at HHJS. We are so grateful to you for helping our young man, as well as the rest of the year group, who I know were extremely grateful for your support with their marble runs.
L's parents have also asked me to pass on their thanks:
'If you speak to Bob which I’m sure you will please can you say a huge thank you from the parents of a little boy who def needs his confidence and self esteem building and things like this help enormously!'
I have copied in Miss Johnston who you met when you visited. Miss Johnston is the Year Group Lead for year 5 as well as the Subject Lead for Science so all of the amazing toy making work the children are involved with is organised by her.
I have also attached a photograph of L's completed marble run which was a great success!
Thank you again for all of your efforts Bob, and please do stay in touch.
Hampton Hill Junior School
What a lovely letter and one that encourages me to pursue a better partnership between the BTG and schools!
Article written by Bob Duggan, Chair of BTG