Gemma Apps admits parting with the dolls’ house her late grandfather built for her will be difficult, but she thinks he would have been proud to see it support good causes.
Gemma, 31, does not have room for it in her home at Ampton, so it has spent years in her mother’s outbuilding. But now she has donated it to family friend Bryan Garnham from Great Barton who has for years raised money by selling donated items.
It is a far cry from his usual bicycles and mowers but Bryan said: “It’s beautiful – a marvellous bit of work and it must have £500-worth of furniture in it. The settee has a £120 price tag underneath.”
Gemma recalls touring dolls’ house fairs with her grandfather Malcolm Apps, who died seven years ago, to buy furniture, wallpaper and pets for the house.
It bore a plaque saying: “This dolls’ house was made for Gemma Apps by her loving grandfather Malcolm Apps. Work commenced 1993, completed 1995.”
Gemma is keeping the plaque and some of the pets she insisted the house should have, along with photos of her as a girl on ponies which he reduced in size to make pictures for the walls.
“It was his first retirement project,” she said. “He had designed it and wanted to create something of grandeur.
“He did his research before he built it because he wanted it to be an accurate Edwardian household.
“He spent all his working career with calorgas and he decided he wanted to do something different – he was abit of a perfectionist.”
The dolls’ house is being auctioned on Ebay for St Nicholas Hospice Care, East Anglian Children’s Hospices and Guide Dogs for the Blind.
Gemma said: “I want it to raise as much as possible because one of the charities is St Nicholas Hospice and they did so much up there for my grandfather and my grandmother, who died the year before.
“If I had the space for it in the house I’d keep it, but I haven’t. It’s a very emotional thing, but its a positive thing.
“I don’t want it to sit in a dark corner of an outbuilding – it needs to be out there being loved.”
She warns, though that Malcolm created a collectors piece, not a toy, and she was aware of that even as a child so did not treat it roughly.
“I particularly like all the electrics. He rigged it so it all lights up – all the lights work.
“It’s even got a Christmas tree. I remember the day we got the Christmas tree and I couldn’t wait to get it home and see it lit up. All the fires have lights in them, too.”
She thinks Malcolm would have been proud that it is going to raise money for charity. To bid, click here