Wiltshire Publications

Bratton toymaker packs away his tools

BRATTON charity toymaker Harry Cooper has announced his retirement, years after he started making toys for children throughout the world. 

Harry started making wooden toys as a hobby some 20 years ago when he was made redundant. He has now decided to pack away his tools as he approaches his 80th birthday.

Harry’s toys have made their way all over the world and he estimates that he has made £5million worth of toys from his workshop in his garden in Bratton. On busy days he would work up to 18 hours a day.

His toys have supported playgroups, Frenchay Hospital, Children in Need, hospitals in Russia and Romania, and many more, while his activities have attracted attention from the national media.

Harry’s designs are simple but effective, and his toys are sturdy wooden items which include chalkboards, wooden horses, and see-saws.

Harry’s toymaking started almost by accident. He explains, “My grandson came home from the local playgroup in Bratton, and said, ‘I’ve told them you’ll make us a chalkboard!’ It all started from there, and before I knew it I was in the workshop for hours a  day.

“I’ve never changed the designs and I’ve never had one toy come back. I think they’re good because they’re built properly. The toys you buy these days are plastic and are gone within a week.”

Harry will now use his extra leisure time to spend more time fishing.