THE former headteacher of a Shropshire secondary school delighted the nation with the restoration of a portrait on BBC show The Repair Shop.

Sophy Bellis stepped down from Lakelands Secondary School in Ellesmere last year, but was back in the public eye when she appeared on Wednesday night’s episode of the hugely-popular show.

She was joined by her son Harry to have a portrait of herself as a young girl, commissioned by her mum around 1967/68, which had begun to flake and that she hoped for a full restoration.


“This is little Sophie – little serious Sophie,” she said.

“This is me painted by an artist called Roger Hampson who lived just up the road from us when I was a little girl in Bolton.

“My mum though an artist living up the road is a good opportunity.

“I believe I had to go several afternoons and sit on the orange chair for a couple of hours which is quite tough when you’re a little girl.

“I can also remember that that dress was really scratchy.”

She added: “He told my mum that the only thing he didn’t think he got right was my mouth because ’Sophy didn’t stop talking at any point’.”

Whitchurch Herald: The restored portrait of Sophy Bellis as appeared on the Repair Shop. The restored portrait of Sophy Bellis as appeared on the Repair Shop. (Image: BBC iPlayer.)

She said her mum Barbara thought ‘it was fantastic’ and ‘much-admired’ while Sophy’s own son harry also passed on his memories of it hanging at his Granny’s house.

The painting was taken to the Repair Shop to stop it flaking and Sophy added the painting brought out more of her mum while she was living with dementia.

Conservator Lucia Scalisi said she was honoured to be asked to work on the painting but did acknowledge the issues it faced.

She explained that she used acrylic adhesive tissue with a little bit of heat to re-attach the flaking from the painting.

And she said that it was unique for her to work on a portrait of someone who ‘was around to talk about it’ and called it ‘precious’.

Sophy was left blown away by the final result, which she called ‘incredible’.

“You are so clever,” she told Lucia.

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“I just can’t remember it ever looking this good.

“(Mum) would be so, so thrilled – we’re looking forward to taking her home.

“I’m feeling so elated – I never thought it would look as fabulous as it did and I feel really connected to her now.”