Exeter Central library has successfully raised £1000 in a crowdfunding appeal to make repairs to a rocking horse that has been resident in the children’s library since 1977.
The horse, Jubilee Beauty, will now receive the restoration needed to get it back in service, thanks to public generosity.
57 people contributed to the GoFundMe appeal, including Luis Gonzalez, who donated £485 on behalf of their daughter, who loves to ride the horse and is eager for it to return.
Luis Gonzalez said: “My five year old, Amanda, loves this rocking horse. Every Sunday we go to Exeter Library [and she] asks the same question - ‘when is it back?’’”
Emily Macaulay, Exeter Central library manager, who also contributed to the appeal, said: “When Jubilee Beauty got damaged we did not have the funding to fix her. It was amazing to see how many people wanted to help.
“We know the people of Exeter love their library - it was great to see them come through for Jubilee Beauty.”
The rocking horse is so named as it was made to celebrate the Queen’s Jubilee year in 1977, when it was donated to Exeter Library.
After more than 40 years of service, “she is a bit worn out”, said Emily.
“She is currently rocking side to side (as opposed to just forward and back). She is also chipped, scratched and badly marked.”
73-year-old Jack Bowman of Cockington Rocking Horses, Torquay, will begin work on Jubilee Beauty this week.
This is the third time he and his wife, Alison, have restored the horse. Jack said: “Every time I get it back, it’s looking a bit sorry for itself.”
The horse will be stripped bare so that the wood can be treated with gesso, an artist’s primer that has been in use “for thousands of years”.
“Michelangelo used it for the Sistine Chapel. So, it’s tried and tested!” said Jack, who has been making and restoring rocking horses since 2005.
The treated wood is then left to dry for about four weeks before painting begins.
Jack said: “My wife’s the artist, at this point she takes over”.
Alison will add dappling, the horse’s features and, once decided, a new theme for the horse’s surround.
It is likely to be mid to late March before Jubilee Beauty is back at the library, ready to entertain Exeter’s children once again.