Jim Kerr’s impressive collection of toys was installed in Cambridge Library earlier this month.
The display of mainly agricultural vehicles and machinery will remain there until after the upcoming school holidays. Plans are also afoot for a mid-October ‘meet and greet’ at the library where those interested in finding out about the toys can share some face-to-face time with the man who created them.
Jim has been making a raft of different toys from about the age of five. “You had to make you own in those days,” he said. Later, he applied his skills to making toys for his three daughters, then his grandkids and almost everyone else he knew. Those that didn’t find homes with new owners – well over 100 items – have settled neatly into every corner of the Cambridge house he has called home for more than half a century.
The octogenarian has lived here for most of his life. When not making toys, often using material such as old welding rods, bits of washing machines and bicycles, he made a name for himself making meringues and delivering them to individuals and charitable organisations in the community. It was a role he ‘inherited’ from his late wife Joy, and one that brought him attention as one of television’s Good Sorts.
Jim also played with the Cambridge and Districts Pipe Band for 68 years and has enjoyed a long association with the Cambridge Lions.
It was a chance meeting with Dr Bronwyn Byers earlier this year that resulted in his toys being displayed at PGG Wrightson for several weeks in July – with the willing support of the outlet’s manager, Digby Johansen. Staff at PGG Wrightson added their own touches to the display – grass, grain and feed for the cattle.
Bronwyn’s suggestion that the display move to the library after being at PGG Wrightson won Digby’s support, and some of the Lions club members helped transport the boxes of toys to the library on September 6.