Island Life Magazine Ltd February/March 2007 - Page 56

life - EQUESTRIAN We get to know the Island’s most well known Blacksmith He’s been an Island Blacksmith for over 35 years, he has shod over 91,000 horses in his lifetime, but who is Malcolm Purcell, we find out. Malcolm Purcell is a well known I did like crosscountry running and charact er within the equestrian and gardening. hunting fraternity on the Island. Q. What were your childhood dreams? Malcolm who came from a council house background moved onto A. I don’t believe I had any. the Island with his wife Sandra property boom. Durng the boom Q. What job did you want to do as a teenager? they decided to sell their property in A. I was pretty open minded I Niton and move to a bigger property simply wanted to leave home and in Blackwater. After a while in make something of myself. to Niton in 1971, just before the Blackwater they decided to buy the farm opposite, where they live to this day. Q. Why did you choose the blacksmith route? Malcolm has been married to A. Having failed school, I joined the Sandra, for 40 years, they lived in services as a boy entrant at 15, I tried the same village, went to the same the Merchant Navy and failed an school, and was even in the same eye sight test. In the end the army class. took me in (1961) and I served 10 Sandra gave birth to two children years. I was in the Royal Armoured Nathaniel, and Debbie. They now Core, Household Cavalry. As I was have two two grandchildren Shelby a Horse Guard I learnt to ride in and Chelsea. the army. One of the trades I was We ask Malcolm about his time on the Isle of Wight. offered was in the balacksmith shop as a farrier, I was trained on full pay, we had every modern facility. I did Malcolm has shod over 91,000 horses in his lifetime. from an early age. I acquired my first Lamb pony which had been rejected from Q. Approx, how many horses have you shod since starting your career. the pits. Q. How long was your apprenticeship and where did you serve it? A. 91,000 horses, 364,000 horse A. 5 Years in the army (Royal Horse Q. What’s the worst horse you have ever shod? shoes. Q. Where were you born and when? not care for the discipline, however A. Wolverhampton Staffordshire, it was good for me. It was a major 1946. influence in my life. Q. How many apprentices have you trained over the years? called Hannibal, which was a Q. Do any of your family ride or have connections in the farrier business? A. I’ve had a few fall by the wayside the workshop for over an hour. but I have had 8 successful ones. I’ve never suffered broken bones Only 3 remain on the Island, Ian although I’ve been socked in the ribs Turner, Nigel Johnson and Michael a few times. Q. Did you leave school with any qualifications? A. None whatsoever I even managed to fail the 11+, although 56 I made the most of it, looking back No, none whatsoever. I have ridden Guards) A. A Drum horse in the army famous horse, Had me trapped in Sponsored by Froghill and Brickfields