MOTHER's Newsworthies: Tracey and Stephen Cameron, John and Nichola Fletcher and Richard Munson

Learn how Tracey and Stephen Cameron restore worn-out merry-go-round creatures; John and Nichola Fletcher started Great Britian's first deer farm; and Richard Munson founded the Solar Lobby.

| March/April 1983

Brief: Tracey and Stephen Cameron

Many folks who frequent today's carnival carousels will have Tracey and Stephen Cameron to thank for the pleasure of their rides, since the sister and brother partners have taken on the unusual challenge of restoring worn-out merry-go-round creatures.

A third-floor walk-up in downtown Hartford, Connecticut serves as the duo's office/workshop ... and there — amid a considerable clutter of antiquated animal figures in various sizes, shapes, and stages of restoration — the Camerons tackle both the business and the art of their trade. Tracey's duties include handling client negotiations, preparing repair sketches, and completing any decorative painting ... while it's Steve's job to do all hand carving and woodwork restoration.

The renovation process begins with Tracey's sketches of the end product. These guide Steve through his work ... using chisels, mallets, sandpaper, rasps, and fillers to repair and reconstruct the beast as needed. Then sealer, primer, and acrylic enamel are applied before Tracey does a careful airbrushing and affixes the last coat of enamel. And finally, the mended merry go-round mount — bedecked with hand-painted bangles and other ornamental touches — is epoxy-hardened and delivered to the client.

The Camerons have yet to settle on a permanent name for their burgeoning business — they're known simply as "Tracey and her brother, the people who restore merry-go-round animals," but that hasn't kept their reputation from growing ... or the work from pouring in! — Steve Libby 

Brief: John and Nichola Fletcher

Eight years ago (shortly after he'd completed his Ph.D. thesis on the reproductive physiology of the red deer), John and Nichola Fletcher started Great Britain's first deer farm — dubbed Reediehill — just outside of Auchtermuchty, Scotland.

Though deer meat has enjoyed only limited popularity in the past, the Fletchers contend that people's dislike of venison can largely be blamed on the tough, bitter quality of the meat that was — until recently-commonly available on the commercial market ... much of which was the product of older wild deer. With the advent of farm-raised venison, on the other hand, a consistently high standard can be maintained ... John and Nichola butcher their stags when the animals are between the ages of 18 months and 2-1/2 years (hinds — adult females — are sold, at about $450 apiece, for breeding). Reediehill currently boasts 250 hinds, 6 stags, and some "growing stock."

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