A SOUTHAMPTON grandad has restored a much-loved rocking horse ready for use by poorly youngsters.

Children visiting an outpatients’ clinic were delighted to see the return of their favourite toy after a makeover by Ron Baker.

The rocking horse, which is thought to have been donated to Royal Surrey County Hospital in the 1970s, was taken away after the hospital charity put out a plea for someone to restore the horse to its former glory.

Ron, 72, got in touch after seeing the charity’s post on Facebook and volunteered to take the project on free of charge.

It took him three months to restore while also adding a new mane and tail and repairing the saddle and reins.

He said: “It was something I could do to help and a way of giving back to the hospital. My daughter works at Royal Surrey and my wife used to work in the maternity services, so I thought, ‘I’ll have a go’. I really enjoyed doing it – the horse is a particularly beautifully-carved horse.”

Ron began making and restoring rocking horses soon after he retired when he decided to build one for his grandchildren. While on a family holiday in Yorkshire, he went along to a rocking horse factory to learn the ropes and it took him a year to complete his first horse.

Ron said: “My daughter, Michelle, had always recalled how disappointed she was as a little girl that she didn’t get the rocking horse she’d set her heart on one Christmas (we gave her a kitten instead). And so I was determined to remedy that when she started her own family. She was completely shocked and I remember her saying to me, ‘Oh, you do love me!’”