Repair

Walsall tutor has heartbreaking pair of boxing gloves restored in BBC repair shop

Andy Tams, center, with Jay Blades and Suzie Fletcher

Andy Tams, Undergraduate Medical Education Team Leader (UMET) and Advanced Nurse Practitioner at Walsall Manor Hospital, has lovingly restored a pair of battered old leather boxing gloves by ‘master saddler’ Suzie Fletcher during the hour-long show.

Once worn by Andy’s late adoptive uncle, Adrian Tams, the gloves had stayed with Andy since the late 1970s. But they held poignant significance as Adrian died tragically at the age of 18.

Adrian, who had attended Edward Shelley School and boxed for the Pleck Amateur Boxing Club, was hit by a car on Christmas Day 1974 on his way to his birth mother’s home for the first time after stopping to help a motorist change a tire.

Andy Tams boxing gloves after full frame

The son of an Irish mother and a Jamaican father, Adrian, who was initially taken in by the Tams family, was never able to see his mother and died of his injuries three days later on December 28. the day before Andy’s fourth birthday.

Adrian’s brother, who was with him, was seriously injured and left in a wheelchair.

Adrian Tams

Andy, 52, had been wearing the gloves since he was eight years old not knowing what to do with them and was featured in season five of the popular BBC show.

“I just kept them in a plastic bag in a drawer,” Andy said. “When I was young, my brother Neil, who is 18 months younger than me, and I would each put on one of the gloves and fight each other.

“When Adrian died the family was devastated. Even to this day we remember him and I have a younger brother named Adrian in honor of his memory.

“So I always wanted to do something with the gloves, but I didn’t know what. Then one Sunday night my wife and I were watching The Repair Shop and I thought ‘I wonder if they could do something? with those boxing gloves?’

The family of Andy Tams’ father with his baby Adrian

Once contacted, Andy agreed to appear on the show and Suzie was able to work her magic.

“The gloves were in really bad shape,” Andy said. “Suzie immediately removed them because they were so flimsy, bits of leather were missing, the color had faded and they were torn, especially the one on the right. Even the upholstery inside was in bad shape – everything had disappeared.”

Suzie’s transformation took several weeks but was worth the wait.

“They have been very sympathetically restored,” Andy added. “She changed some of the leather, relaced them and brought the color back.”

Andy surprised his father Michael, 74, of Pleck, by presenting them to him in a frame and his reaction is shown in the programme.

Michael, a retired firefighter, was actually on duty when the call came in about a serious traffic accident and, although he didn’t know it was his foster brother at the he had the feeling that something was wrong.

Any said: “I thought it might be heartbreaking for my dad, but I think he was in shock – he had no idea he was going to be on TV and was quite surprised by it,” Andy said.

Sharon Abelle, a former colleague of Andy’s, saw the show and her partner Daz, who frames the memorabilia, got in touch, and through his efforts, the gloves are now in a boxed frame, complete with photos and lighting.