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Bentham blacksmith bids to help budding craftsmen in Africa
6:00pm Saturday 13th October 2012 in News
A BENTHAM blacksmith is appealing for donations of tools to help people in Africa create their own craftwork.
For 24 years, Kerry Burns used tools to make gates, railings, staircases and door furnishings and every conceivable sort of ironwork in a small workshop, in an old mill in Bentham.
Now he is trying to help people in Africa create their own masterpieces – by becoming a collector for Tools For Self Reliance, which works with groups of people wanting to start their own businesses.
“Many of my tools were inherited from my grandfather, others came from car boot sales," he said. "Some had been thrown out as broken or of unknown and long-forgotten purpose – the rest I made as I needed them. In a way, it was by using the tools that I learned."
He first got involved with the charity in the early 1990s when he donated a few spare tools.
“From time to time I wondered who was using them, and where. A plane, a chisel, a hammer – these things in the right hands are like a magic wand, they don’t just create items of beauty, and the appreciation of craftsmanship, but in their mastering, they create the craftsmen and women.
“Now that I have become a collector for Tools For Self Reliance, I’ve learned how carefully the charity works with groups of people wanting to start their own business, making it possible for them to achieve their aims.
“It provides not only the tools to do the job and suitable training, but access to business and health advice as well. I’ve never regretted giving those tools and the pleasure I now get from collecting what local people are willing to donate, and sending it down the line, is hard to describe.”
Anyone wishing to donate tools can contact Kerry on 015242 61034 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about the charity, visit tfsr.org