Ipswich life stylist appears on BBC One's the Repair Shop with grandfather's alarm clock
An Ipswich businesswoman is anticipating her appearance on the popular BBC show the Repair Shop with an item symbolic of time spent with her grandfather.
Karen Walker will appear in tonight's episode, the first of the series, with her grandfather's alarm clock which played an important role in his life.
Raised by her grandparents, Violet and David Alfanso Butler, Karen can remember her grandfather using his blue alarm clock to get him up after his night shift at Cranes Foundry or to remind him to do other tasks.
Karen said: "In early childhood, before I was at school, I had to sit in my grandad's bedroom while he slept after the night shift because granny was at work and everybody else was at school or college. The clock ticking was my familiar. I can remember that tick and sitting on the floor at the bottom of the bed and watching the world go by out the window.
"But it wasn't just the ticking, he would set the alarm for different times. One was lunch and we would always enjoy lunch together which was lovely. There would be another alarm for when he would go to pick up my uncle Freddy who was four years my senior and that would be a happy time for me because that would mean I would get my playmate. We'd go down to the school, pick up uncle Freddy and then I'd have a playmate for the afternoon and grandad would tell us stories."
Karen believes that the alarm clock may have helped her grandfather settle into a new time zone, as David moved from Jamaica in 1957 to Ipswich, as part of the Windrush generation.
When David retired, he no longer wanted or needed the clock and was going to throw it away as it had stopped working but Karen took it on. He died in July 2013
After showcasing the clock at the Suffolk Windrush Select Committee's exhibition at the Hold, Karen, a fan of the Repair Shop, decided to apply in August 2021. In December 2021 she heard back from staff on the show and in January 2022 she travelled to the famous barn at the Weald and Downland Living Museum in Singleton, Chichester for filming.
"I was in my element. I absolutely loved it," Karen added.
Karen hadn't told anyone that she was to appear on the show, apart from her granny who died in February. When Karen was called back to collect the fixed clock in March, it had become even more precious and symbolic.
"My persona had changed by then. It was more poignant and more sad. It just reiterated that time is precious and it was just so right to get the clock back. It reminded me of a time when granny and grandad were fit and well.
"That ticking of the clock represents living in the moment.
"It's now pride of place. I've got a little area in my house dedicated to granny and grandad. I use it to remind me to go the bed and when the grandchildren stay, I use it to remind me to give them a bath and tell them a story.
"Now my son says he wants it when I can no longer wind it."
Karen's message is to treasure memories of our elders and to write down their stories, as she cherishes the stories of her granny and grandad.
"Everyone has got elders in their lives, whether they're family or just people we look up to, and it's so important to get their stories," Karen added.
"We do not write down their stories enough. Any jokes, accolades, affirmations or any stories go home get a book, get a journal and write it down."
The episode airs this afternoon on BBC One at 3.45pm.