BBC The Repair Shop fans in tears over heartbreaking backstory to cherished item: 'I'm bawling!'

Jay Blades and Leigh

Leigh's story left viewers emotional

BBC
Olivia Gantzer

By Olivia Gantzer


Published: 30/05/2024

- 14:17

The story behind an old armchair left viewers in floods of tears

The Repair Shop is known for leaving fans emotional with touching and nostalgic stories.

The latest episode of BBC programme left viewers "bawling" over a heartbreaking memory one of the guests shared.


It came as guest Leigh introduced the restoration experts to an armchair which had seen better days. He explained he had bought it with his late partner 40 years ago.

Upholstery restorer Sonnaz Nooranvary was on hand to attempt to help restore the chair, and Leigh was soon sharing his story with her and host Jay Blades.

He detailed how he had met his partner Greg at a bar in Athens in 1983, recalling: "I caught a glimpse of him in the mirror and I said he was the most beautiful man I’d ever seen… And that was the start of the most wonderful relationship."

However, he went on to detail how Greg unfortunately faced numerous visa issues which kept them apart as he attempted to make the move to the UK.

Jay Blades and Sonnaz Nooranvary

Jay and Sonnaz were moved by Leigh's story

BBC

Thankfully, in 1986 he was able to settle in the UK to enjoy a life with Leigh.

"Everything was beautiful. We had a brand new life and brand new flat together and this was our first piece of furniture we got together to build our home," he shared.

Devastatingly, the couple were hit with the news Greg found out he was HIV positive just six months later. He tragically died the same year, just before his 30th birthday.

Leigh continued: "If you were HIV positive you were going to die and I lost so many friends too."

Leigh's chair

The chair was restored to its former state by Sonnaz Nooranvary

BBC

The chair became a source of comfort for Leigh and helped him cling to happier memories, but he was now worried it would soon fall apart.

"I have photos of him polishing it so he would be disgusted with it now," he admitted.

Thankfully, Nooranvary was able to fix the chair and it looked as good as new by the time Leigh came to collect it from the signature barn. He stated it felt "indescribable" to see the chair in such good condition.

"All of the memories and amount of love and companionship all those beautiful things. It's just bringing back memories of all those years and it was so unfair he was taken away so early," he reflected.

"Our whole history is in that chair and now the story goes on and the chair goes on."

Leigh

Leigh talked about his late partner, Greg

BBC

Fans were left moved by the story and restoration, and quickly took to social media to express how the episode had touched them.

One penned: "Amazing that something as mundane as a chair can evoke such memories. This is why everything in #therepairshop is treated with such reverence. Glorious viewing."

Another commented: "Absolutely bawling!" while someone else added: "I'm not emotionally stable enough for this. #therepairshop."

"Yep, I can tell this is going to break me #therepairshop," another remarked, while a fifth shared: "#TheRepairShop Tissues needed in tonight’s episode."

"She has made a beautiful job of that leather chair #therepairshop," (sic) another pointed out.

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