The Repair Shop fans in tears as Polio victim is reunited with walking doll: ‘I’m gone’

The Repair Shop: guest discovers her doll is fixed

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Maureen Donaghy and her husband John came to the BBC workshop with a lifelong companion who desperately needed to be restored. During the festive special, the guest introduced host Jay Blades and fellow menders Amanda Middlemarch and Julie Tatchell, to her childhood doll called Susie. Maureen revealed how she had sadly been diagnosed with Polio as a child during a family holiday. The Repair Shop fans at home rushed to social media after Maureen’s emotional reunion with her doll left fans in tears.

After unveiling the item, Maureen told the BBC host: “This is my doll, Susie.”

“Can you tell us about her?” Jay asked.

“When I was two [years old], in 1950, I was on holiday with my family in Millport on the Isle of Cumbria,” she explained.

“And I took ill and was diagnosed with polio,” the guest added.

As there were no hospitals on the island that were suitable to help Maureen, the guest had revealed she was taken to the mainland on a fisherman’s boat.  

“My parents weren’t allowed to come with me,” she told BBC audiences.

Unable to believe the severity of the story, Jay exclaimed: “Sorry? And you was two years old?”

The virus which was often known as creeping paralysis targeted children and teenagers.

According to the BBC, in 1957, there were 297 cases of polio in Northern Ireland.

Survivors of the deadly disease would often be left unable to walk or move their limbs.

Reflecting on her time as a child, the guest confessed: “I couldn’t walk.

“The muscles in my legs had deteriorated,” she stated.

On Christmas morning, Maureen was given Susie, a walking doll that later became a pivotal part of her life.

She recalled: “I remember my father kneeling down holding Susie by the hands [and] I stood beside Susie and my mother helped me.”

Later, it was revealed that Maureen now suffers from a post-polio syndrome which “attacks the muscles”

“I can’t be repaired this time, but she [Suzie] can, I hope.” The doll owner said.

Much to the fan’s amazement, expert Steve Fletcher repaired the doll’s mechanism in order for the childhood toy to walk again.

Viewers flooded in with emotional tweets following Maureen’s emotional reunion, @feelgudfee said: “#therepairshop oh how lovely SUZZIE.”

@Lorrain08255027 added: “Well @teddybearladies you’ve only gone and done it again. Beautiful restoration of Susie #TheRepairShop.”

@edina_louise echoed: “Okay, I’m gone. I knew the doll would break me. #therepairshop.”

And @bloodyexhausted weighed in: “In floods at #TheRepairShop. Again.”

While @alicepowell concurred: “@TheRepairShop gets me every time. These people are amazing #therepairshop.”

The Repair Shop’s At Christmas 2021 is now available on BBC iPlayer.

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