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This month we are highlighting one of our sewing ladies, Madeline Little.  Madeline has been regularly volunteering with MHRC since January 2015 and brought a lifetime of sewing skills to the team.  Like many of us, she learned her sewing skills from her mother who repaired and made all the family's clothes.  This habit was instilled in Madeline who grew up making her own and, later, her children's clothes.    In 1989 she bought a patchwork tea cosy at a WI fair in Weymouth and, as she wanted to learn how to make her own, she approached Malvern Quilters for their help - and the rest, as they say, is history! 


P1010094              P1010092

Her interest and skill in patchwork and quilting grew and during the past 20 years she has designed and made numerous different quilts for family and friends.  As the result of attending quilting fairs, on her retirement Madeline was introduced to Dianne Huck, the then editor of 'British Patchwork and Quilting' magazine.  There followed 10 years of following her dream while Madeline accompanied Dianne on quilting tours around the world, visiting U.S.A, Egypt, Sweden and France.


Last September, Madeline joined other members of the MHRC sewing team to complete a treasured memory quilt for a Malvern resident who was too ill to finish it herself.  Over the course of several Sunday mornings, the friends worked together and the quilt was completed in time for it to be presented to its owner a few weeks before she died.  Madeline has proved to be a valuable member of the MHRC sewing team and cheerfully and competently tackled a variety of different sewing challenges.














Roman Iwanczuk has been a regular volunteer at the Malvern Hills Repair Café since joining us at our third session in March 2013.


From a young age, Roman has always liked to build and repair things.  In his teenage years he had a Saturday job in a radio and electronics repair shop which inspired him to do a degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering followed by a career in technicall support and development in the microchip industry.  This eventually led to a successful 20 year career in the USA's Silicon Valley in California, a career about which Roman is very modest!   A few years ago, he and his wife Tracey decided to retire in UK and he joined the Repair Cafe team after reading about the project in the local paper.  As he says, he can now continue to enjoy using his numerous skills to save electrical and electronic items from being sent to landfill.  He is also adept at mechancial repairs which can be as challenging as the electrical ones.


Roman throughly enjoys a challenge and dealing with those repairs that present a 'bit of a puzzle', that require some extra mental agility to work out the failure points and the correct repair strategy.  This certainly applies to possibly his most unusual and demanding repair to date - how to fix the broken leg of a child's plastic toy horse!  Roman stunned everyone by painstakingly inserting a splint and re-building the leg around it.  As the little girl's mother said at the time, "Roman took as much care repairing my daughter's plastic toy as a surgeon would when mending a broken human leg!".


Many months later the repair is still in place.


Roman finds the most rewarding aspect of volunteering at the Repair Café is seeing the wide smile of a satisfied customer, no matter what the repair.






It’s appropriate that the first repairer we highlight is JOHN BIBBY who has been a loyal and hard-working volunteer since our second Repair Café session in February 2013. John is multi-skilled and able to turn his hand to all types of repairs but particularly enjoys the opportunity of working with wood and furniture. Several of his more unusual repairs – such as the complete re-building of a dolls’ house – have been highlighted in the local media and he has often taken items home to complete in his own time when that extra helping hand is needed.


John Bibby stool

John learnt about tools and how to fix things from his father who was a carpenter joiner by trade. This early influence led him to become an apprentice electronics engineer with the Ministry of Aviation in Bromley, Kent. On re-location to Malvern, he remained working with the organisation on their south site until his recent retirement.


His love of ‘fixing’ things has remained with him his entire life and he can often be found creating in his workshop at home. As John takes delight in saying and has often proven:

“If you can take something apart, you’re a scientist. If you can take something apart and put it together again, you’re an engineer!”

Not only is he a familiar face at the Repair Café, John is also a volunteer ambassador for two organisations which are teaching and enthusing children to enjoy, explore and understand engineering - STEM, the Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics Network and The Bloodhound Project, a global engineering adventure, using a 1000 mph World Land Speed Record attempt to inspire the next generation.

Another hidden talent - John enjoys making violins!

mac victory

Our October repairer is Mac Victory who has been a loyal supporter of Malvern Hills Repair Cafe since the first session in December 2012.  He enjoys volunteering because, as a long-standing Green Party member who has stood as Prospective Parliamentary Candidate three times, he is passionately against the built-in obsolescence that runs through our throwaway society.  The services offered by the Repair Cafe help to extend a product's life and thus reduce unnecessary consumption.


Mac's father was an engineer at the Board of Trade and encouraged his early interest in practical skills. When he was 15 he bought a Lambretta for £10.00 which was in bits - and proceeded to put it together again!   He enjoys the value that repair instills in a broken item and particularly likes thinking 'outside the box' and applying alternative strategies to solving problems that defy normal logic and techniques.  This naturally led him to become an inventor and co-founding the Malvern Inventors Club with the late Ian Browse - this club still exists and serves as a platform for like-minded people to share their ideas and problems in confidence.


Mac's most successful invention to date has been the Rotaire Dryline which is basically an umbrella for a normal rotary washing line. The Dryline fits over the washing like a perforated skirt and allows the wind to blow through and dry the clothes etc. - whilst keeping the rain out!  This allows washing to be dried outdoors on the wettest day.  It eliminates the need for a tumble dryer and saves a significant amount of domestic energy.  In 2013 Mac appeared on Dragons' Den but they hated it!  Reflecting after the programme, Mac realised that the Dragons couldn't relate to everyday laundry because they probably all employ someone else to do it in their own homes!!  Although he was dismissed within minutes - he is still benefitting from the publicity!


There were other accolades for the Dryline - it won the award for the Best Product from Sage Accounts and Mac is one of Kevin McCloud's (Grand Designs) Green Heroes.  Kevin loved the the environmental benefits of such a simple idea.


Mac has lived for many years in Malvern Wells with his wife Fran.   In addition to his numerous practical skills, Mac is also a talented artist.