‘It was tough’ The Repair Shop expert Dean Westmoreland opens up on ‘heartbreaking’ death

The Repair Shop: Dean Westmoreland on heartbreaking task

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The Repair Shop is returning to screens for an all-new series of the hit BBC restoration show presented by Jay Blades. Ahead of the first episode airing, the show’s newest expert Dean Westmoreland and Dominic Chinea were interviewed on Morning Live by Kimberley Walsh and Gethin Jones about a particularly hard-hitting storyline. Cobbler Dean described the restoration as a “heartbreaking” one which added an extra weight of responsibility to his job. 

During Wednesday’s instalment of The Repair Shop, the show’s cobbler Dean and restoration expert Dominic undertake an emotional challenge by a former dare-devil racer’s wife Wendy and his daughter Hayley.

Morning Live showed a preview of the BBC show which saw guest Wendy explain her husband Mike started professionally racing in 1975 and carried on right up until 1978. 

Mike’s daughter revealed her dad was diagnosed with a brain tumour and despite receiving treatment, the tumour had grown too aggressive. 

In the clip, Hayley tearfully explained to Dominic her dad said he would love to give his racing boots to his grandson Harrison as they meant so much to him. 

After watching the heart-wrenching clip, Gethin said to Dean: “My goodness, what an emotional story that is Dean.”

Dean replied: “Yes, it was tough what they were going through and there were parts of the story we could all relate to in some way – and I kind of forgot the cameras were there.”

Unfortunately, while Dean was repairing the boots, he learned Mike had passed away following his battle with a brain tumour. 

Reflecting on his death, Gethin asked the cobbler what was going through his mind at the difficult time.

Dean explained: “It was kind of heartbreaking to hear that when you’re doing it and I guess it just adds and the extra weight of responsibility to do the job right and get it right for Harrison when he grows up. 

“Hopefully he can wear them or maybe go racing in them.”

Dean revealed it was a particularly tricky restoration as the boots were very faded and he wasn’t sure he could bring the colour back. 

“But you can see tonight the result of the [restoration]”, Dean added. 

Gethin and Kimberley asked Dominic what it was like to step in and help Dean repair the boots. 

Dominic explained: “Dean had the majority of the work, but the boots had a sort of skid plate underneath and I helped him straighten that up. 

“We were both very careful with the restoration so we could try and leave as much of the character and history as possible.”

He said they wanted to leave as many of the scratches and marks on the boots as they could. 

Dominic added: “I do really enjoy it and it’s a unique opportunity for me to be surrounded by such a clever bunch of people and be involved with so many different projects.”

Gethin said the clip of Wendy, baby Harrison and Hayley gave a picture of the importance of the restoration of Mike boots for their family. 

While the restorers couldn’t give away too many details about the reveal to the family, they both said they really engaged with their “incredible” story. 

Dominic added: “I would absolutely encourage anyone to give [restoring] a go, but the most important thing is to make a plan of what you want to do.” 

The Repair Shop series 9 premieres tonight at 8.10pm on BBC One.

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