BBC The Repair Shop expert suffers permanent physical injury as he opens up on work hazard: 'Caught so many times’

BBC The Repair Shop expert suffers permanent physical injury as he opens up on work hazard: 'Caught so many times’

Jay Blades discusses filming special The One Show with David Jason

Lauren Williams

By Lauren Williams

Published: 02/04/2024

- 17:56

The cobbler first joined the BBC series back in 2021 and has seen his fair share of historic repairs

The Repair Shop star Dean Westmoreland has revealed the workplace hazards he has suffered over the years as a cobbler.

Westmoreland never intended on becoming a cobbler when he was younger but quickly fell into the trade when he applied for a job in a local shop – unaware it was a cobbler’s.

He quickly fell in love with the craft and since joining The Repair Shop team, has tackled all sorts of shoes.

However, his passion doesn’t come easy as the BBC star has suffered a permanent physical injury following years of using heavy machinery.

Westmoreland explained: “I have a squared off thumb,” and also suffers from a hand ache at the end of a long day cobbling.

“This thumb has been caught on the machine so many times that it’s now squared off.”

Dean Westmoreland

Dean fell into the world of cobbling after thinking he applied for a different role


Despite suffering from the physical issue, Westmoreland appreciates the magic when the owner is reunited with their item which has such a sentimental value.

He noted: “It’s really fulfilling. You know the history of the item, and the story, and you get an insight into people’s lives.

“So there’s that extra responsibility. When you give it back and they’re happy, there’s such a sense of relief.

“I’m learning every single day and that’s what drives me to get better. There is more than a lifetime’s worth of learning in footwear. I’m hungry for it."

The Repair Shop

Dean Westmoreland arrived on the show in 2021


In the latest series of the BBC show, Westmoreland sees a pair of tiny cowboy boots walk into the barn, brought in by Diane Wynell-Sutherland.

She explained that they belonged to her son after her brother, Roger Pope - a session musician - found them while on his travels around America with stars such as Sir Elton John.

Her brother tragically died of cancer in 2013 but the boots remained a treasured reminder of his love for his nephew.

They were cracked and faded but that didn’t stop Westmoreland from taking on the challenge to return them to their original state.

Dean Westmoreland

Dean opened up about his physical injuries


When discussing the process, he noted: “They were so tiny. The initial thing was, ‘How am I going to get my hands inside to actually work on such a tiny pair of boots?’ The sole was gone.

“The leather was in a bad way, some of the colour had come away. It was a case of trying to restore it in a sympathetic way that didn’t remove any of that history.”

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