We were surprised to receive news of another wonderful bequest to the RAB Trust within a couple of weeks of that of Bernard Wawman.
Jim Read was by profession an accountant and then a management consultant, and had been a keen woodworker throughout his life. On retirement, he thought that violin making would offer an interesting challenge and took courses to learn how to make and repair stringed instruments. He equipped himself with a wonderful workshop at the back of his house on the edge of Derby; with a great selection of every tool he might need, for general woodworking and also some lovely high-quality violin making tools. He had also bequeathed his library of violin making books.
RAB trustees Luke Lindforth-Delaney and Helen Michetschläger travelled to Derby on a sunny October day to pick up the bequest. John Smith, Jim’s brother in law, told us a lovely story, indicative of Jim’s generous nature. Jim thought that if he was going to make and repair violins, he should learn to play. When his violin teacher found out he could repair violins, she sent her pupils to him if their violins needed attention. If the instruments were beyond repair, he set aside money to furnish the children with fully-functioning replacements.
Luke had been concerned that we might fall foul of further Covid restrictions if we tarried, so we hastily organised the collection, Luke hiring a van as we knew there was a lot to pick up. With the help of John and his wife Margaret, Luke and Helen packed everything and loaded up the van and Helen’s car. What a treasure trove! Luke drove the van straight to Newark, where the students helped unload.
We usually hold tool sales every year or so at Newark, where the students have the chance to buy donated tools and materials at heavily discounted prices. This benefits them twice over; they can buy more than they would be able to afford, and the money raised is recycled into cash awards which pay for work experience placements, training courses and more tools and materials. But how to run a tool sale during Covid time, when outsiders are not allowed in the college and the students have to socially distance?
Step up Chris Wallington, the helpful technician at Newark. He photographed all the items so that Helen could draw up a catalogue with the tools itemised and priced. Chris then circulated this to the students, collated their orders, and Helen did her best to distribute all the items fairly so that everyone got at least one of the items they really wanted. A socially-distanced tool sale, Covid compliant.
End result, lots of happy students!