A top trailer firm is restoring a 30-year-old horsebox to its former glory as part of “an exciting” community project being filmed for a new television series.
Ifor Williams Trailers has joined forces with the producers of Prosiect Pum Mil (5,000 Pound Project) to provide a mobile office and commentary position for local shows in the close-knit rural community of Ysbyty Ifan in Conwy.
The show is a spin-off from the popular S4C programme Priodas Pum Mil in which presenters Emma Walford and Trystan Ellis-Morris organised dream weddings for happy couples across Wales – all within a budget of £5,000.
The TV company, Boom Cymru, has applied the same principle to the new series – but this time it’s all about inspirational community projects, once again steered by Emma and Trystan.
At the heart of the episode being filmed in Ysbyty Ifan is the horsebox which originally rolled off the production line in 1987 when S4C was just five years old, the Simpsons cartoon characters made their debut and Rick Astley released his first hit single, Never Gonna Give You Up.
The trailer was bought second hand by mother-of-four Jane Roberts, who lives on the family farm, Pennant, back in 1999.
But after three decades of constant use followed by a period of being left to rot outside, it was clear the vintage horsebox was desperately in need of some TLC – not to mention replacing all the panels, fixing the brakes and the bearings, cleaning the chassis and installing some windows.
It is being restored by Ifor Williams Trailers mechanic Steve Lawrence and all the work is being carried out free of charge by the company so that the project can stay within budget.
When Steve has worked his magic, it is being handed over to Priodas Pum Mil’s designer, Gwyn Eiddior, and local volunteers to convert the interior.
Mrs Roberts and her family have kindly donated the horsebox as a centrepiece of the project.
She said: “It’s going to a good home and when it’s mended it’s going to be ideal. It’s really exciting”
As the horsebox was no longer roadworthy, it was transported from the farm to the workshop at Ifor Williams Trailers’ Corwen Sales Centre by Cynwyd-based Williams Haulage.
The transport company, who usually ferry IWT’s new models to the UK and international network of distributors, responded at a moment’s notice when the call for help came.
Emma Walford said: “We’re totally dependent upon the community and the generosity of the community and local businesses to realise the project which will make a difference to the community.
“We’re working with a local committee in Ysbyty Ifan made up of members or representatives from different organisations to create something special that will benefit the community for many years to come.
“The horsebox will be utterly transformed and turned into a mobile office and somewhere commentary can be provided for local events like sheepdog trailers.
“We are so grateful to Ifor Williams Trailers because this particular project would not be possible without their extremely generous help.”
Visiting the workshop at Ifor Williams Trailers turned into a trip down memory lane for fellow presenter Trystan.
He said: “I was brought up in Deiniolen in a very close-knit community and Ysbyty Ifan reminds me a lot of my own home community.
“When I was a child we used to play spot-the-trailer when we were travelling in the car. Spotting Ifor Williams Trailers kept my sister and I amused for hours.
“This particular horsebox was made in 1987 and I’m only a couple of years older so I can identify a lot with it. It’s a great vintage.”
According to mechanic Steve Lawrence, the aging trailer had clearly seen better days and he was looking forward to bringing it back to life.
He said: “It needs new brakes and bearings and all the panels have to be renewed. Then it needs an overall clean and a spray here and there, along with new tyres because the old ones are cracked.
“Mechanically, it’s not fit to be on the road at the moment but structurally it’s not too bad apart from the panels. The chassis, the frame and the ramp are all solid which is a testament to how robust and durable our trailers are.
“As part of the project, I’m also going to be installing some sliding windows to allow a bit of light and air into the horsebox. Apart from that I’m going to leave it as a blank canvas for Gwyn Eiddior and the gang.”
Designer Gwyn said: “The horsebox is perfect to be transformed for the community, so that they can administer their events from it, sheep dog trials, tractor races and so on.
“We’re very grateful to everyone here at Ifor Williams for helping us get it ready so that it is safe to be on the road and generally ship-shape and ready for the future.
“The brief I had from the Ysbyty Ifan was that they wanted somewhere where they can administer events so I’ll give them a little counter so it can be used as a management centre or mission control for local shows and events.
“The side door can be used as a commentary position and all in all we hope it’s going to be a brilliant legacy.”
Ifor Williams Trailers spokeswoman Lois Wynne said the company was delighted to lend a hand.
She added: “We are very much a community-based company and we were pleased to have an opportunity to help this wonderful project in Ysbyty Ifan which will benefit the local community for many years to come.
“We have had fantastic support from our loyal customers over many years and in return we feel it is vitally important to support the rural community – Prosiect Pum Mil provided us with a great way of giving something back.”
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News » Top trailer firm and TV show transform vintage horsebox into mission control for local events