Marsden-born Poet Laureate Simon Armitage had a piece of family – and village – history restored on BBC TV’s The Repair Shop.

Simon, 60, had saved an old harmonium from the scrapheap when it was about to be thrown out by Marsden Parish Church 10 years ago.

The worn-out instrument, which had accompanied the church choir for decades, no longer played and Simon was offered it “for a song.”

The harmonium had been gathering dust at Simon’s home but it had a strong family connection as Simon, his father Peter and his grandfather too had all been in the choir and sung at the church.

The latest episode of The Repair Shop saw Simon take the harmonium to be restored. A label inside showed the instrument had last been serviced in 1902.

The show’s expert restorer David Burville cleaned off decades of dirt, removed a dead spider, patched holes in the bellows and replaced the foot-worn carpet on the pedals.

Simon’s dad, a well-known figure in Marsden who used to write shows and pantomimes in the village, died in February 2021. Simon told how his father shed tears of pride when his son phoned on a crackly line from the United States to tell him he’d been appointed Poet Laureate.

Simon has also written a poem about the harmonium – called Harmonium – which he recited on the programme.

Simon said: “I think objects somehow retain echoes of things that have happened and it’s interesting to think that a bit of my dad’s voice has harmonised with that harmonium and is still in there somewhere.”

The harmonium was soon “singing” again and David said: “It’s been a real honour to do this harmonium.”

When he first saw the restored instrument, Simon said: “It’s beautiful. It’s definitely got its voice back.”

Asked what his dad would have thought of it, he said: “I think he would be chuffed it’s up and running again. He would have loved it.”

Simon writes for the band LYR and performs with singer-songwriter Richard Walters and Patrick Pearson.

The group performed a song with Pat on the harmonium and afterwards the show’s presenter Jay Blades asked: “How’s it feel?” Simon replied: “It felt really moving and very satisfying to hear sweet noise coming out.

“To hear it playing contemporary music but still with that spiritual heart was a very pleasurable moment.

“When I look at the harmonium it’s very moving to think of my dad or my grandad singing along to it. But I also think of it as something that’s not just got a past, a memory and a history but it’s an instrument that’s been restored so it can have a future.”

The episode can be viewed on BBC iPlayer HERE.