An 80-year-old mandolin has been on quite the journey before ending up at a Brightwater workshop for restoration.

The wooden instrument was bought in Europe during the 1940s by Charlie Wilson, a sergeant in the army. He served in Italy and the Middle East before returning to New Zealand to his family and daughter Glenis Telfer.

When Charlie got back from the war, he’d sing to his family.

“He used to play it around the house, singing songs from the war time,” says Adrian, Glenis’s husband. “Then a couple of strings bust, and no one really played it after that.”

Years later, it was out for Glenis’ mother’s 80th birthday party and somebody stood on the neck of it.

“That’s how it got broken, it was an accident. One of those unfortunate things,” Adrian says.

As the mandolin is a family heirloom, the couple thought they would get it restored.

“We have got a grandson who is into music, so it will be great to pass it on to him.”

Dave Gilberd, who has been entrusted to repair the mandolin, says he’d love to know exactly when and where it was made.

He says he’s found remnants of a branding sticker inside the instrument and has carefully kept it.

“I’ll do an image search online to see if I can find out more about the origin.”

Once he’s done the repair, he’ll glue the sticker back in so it’s still part of the instrument. The restoration is a lengthy process and sadly, just weeks after handing over her precious mandolin, 75-year-old Glenis succumbed to an aggressive form of cancer.

Doctors couldn’t do anything for her, other than palliative care, and the speed she declined was a shock to all who knew her.

“It’s so sad that she will never see the finished result,” says Adrian.

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