Repair Shop star Jay helps Bay reading charity with powerful personal message

Torbay Weekly

The Repair Shop star Jay Blades has been promoting a Torbay charity's drive to help adults to read.

Jay opened up and spoke of his own personal challenges in a BBC documentary about his struggles with learning to read at the age of 51.
The TV presenter and furniture restorer struggled with reading as a child and never shared that he couldn’t read until he was in his 30s.
Jay documented his journey learning to read for the BBC documentary which aired last week but is available on BBC iplayer on demand.

On the show he is helped to learn to read by a coach from the charity Read Easy.
And now the Read Easy charities in Torbay, Exeter and Plymouth which has been helping adults to learn to read all over Devon since 2015 is expecting a wave of new interest.
The host of The Repair Shop revealed that he broke down in tears when read a letter from his daughter for the first time.
Jay told The Sun newspaper: “I didn’t know it would mean so much to me. It grabs you emotionally.
“It was the first letter Zola had ever sent me — she had never sent one before because she knew I couldn’t read it.
“Reading her letter gave me everything I’d ever wanted but didn’t think I would ever experience.”
Jay who also starred on Strictly Come Dancing told the Radio Times: "When the teacher tells you you’re a dunce and you’re never going to amount to anything, that sticks with you."
He added: "People are embarrassed to admit they’re dyslexic. I’m 51 years old, and I’m getting taught like I’m a kid again."
Mandy Woodard, who pioneered Read Easy Torbay in 2015, said: "Jay is such a charismatic and warm person - I think we are going to get lots of enquiries after the programme goes out tonight."
She said: "One of the things that comes across quite strongly is that people who struggle to read have often learned other skills - the oldest reader we taught in Torbay was a man in his 80s. He ran a successful business and was the most amazing person. His wife did all the paperwork for the business.
"People say it's life-changing when they learn to read as adults."
Mandy is now looking for a new team leader for Torbay to guide and support the team of highly committed and enthusiastic volunteers who help adults in Torbay to learn to read. Anybody who is interested can contact Mandy on torbay@readeasy.org.uk

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