Christmas: Woodworker makes toys for deprived children

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Media caption,

The man making toys to send round the world

About 10 months before Christmas, a retired man gets to work handcrafting toys ready for the festive season.

But it's not Father Christmas.

Ted Bird, 80, from Cardiff, was an ambulance worker for most of his career and, when he retired in 2001, began helping Operation Christmas Child, which shares gifts with children across the world.

But he noticed a lot of the shoeboxes were a bit short on fun and spotted a way he could help.

Having trained as a furniture apprentice and been handy with woodwork all his life, he put his skills to good use.

"When I retired I started looking for something to occupy my time," he said.

"I make toys, I've always been interested in woodwork and I built up a small workshop at retirement age."

Image caption,
Ted Bird built up a workshop at retirement age and decided to keep it open to make toys for shoeboxes

Ted decided to keep his workshop open and now uses it from the end of November to pack up the gifts he has made ready to be shipped to children in countries including Zimbabwe and Moldova.

But the work starts much earlier - in about February - when Ted potters to and from his garage creating the gifts.

He has made about 150 items this year, including cars, noughts and crosses games, skittles and solitaire, working full days and some evenings.

"I've previously done more, but my age is catching up with me," he said.

In the run-up to Christmas, Ted keeps his workshop open for up to 11 hours a day, getting the shoeboxes packed and dispatched to their recipients.

"I get the satisfaction of knowing I'm giving a youngster I don't know - and never will know - a bit of fun, it's not so much an aid package but a fun package."

Image source, Operation Christmas Child
Image caption,
The shoebox are distributed in countries including Moldova

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