From REME to Robots

//From REME to Robots

In this blog Lorraine, one half of the dynamic duo We Are Bert, shares the story of how the wonderful Berts came about…

As Andy and I celebrated our 60th birthdays recently, we found ourselves reflecting on the winding path that brought us to where we are today. Andy began his career with helicopters when he joined the REME at 16 and went straight to Army Apprentice College. It only feels like yesterday we were just 19 years old, embarking on the adventure of military life. From the early days of our first posting to the births of our three children and the numerous packing and unpacking of boxes, our story is one of resilience, love, and unexpected twists.

In 2007, after 27 years of service, Andy bid farewell to his military uniform, ready to embrace civilian life. Little did we know that 16 years later, amidst the chaos and stress of Andy’s demanding job working with helicopters, our lives would take an unexpected turn. A breakdown shook us to our core, and in the darkness, we found solace in the most unlikely of places.

In the cluttered confines of our garage, Andy found his sanctuary. Transforming scrap metal, broken typewriters, cameras and vintage finds into whimsical robot sculptures. Each unique scrap art sculpture a testament to his resilience and creativity, we affectionately dubbed them “The Berts” after my great-grandfather Herbert (A man who could never throw away anything he deemed useful!). Crafting the Berts became Andy’s therapy, a way to quiet the storm raging within and find peace amidst the chaos of his mind.

Andy often describes making the Berts as his “meditation for engineers,” a soothing rhythm of creativity that calms his mind and soothes his soul. In the birth of an idea (that often changes!) the gentle clink of metal and the careful shaping of each piece, he finds a sense of purpose and tranquillity that he couldn’t find anywhere else. It’s a reminder that sometimes, the best therapy isn’t found in words or meditation apps, but in the act of creating something tangible with your own hands.

As the number of Berts continued to grow, filling our home with their whimsical presence, Andy and I found ourselves faced with a delightful dilemma. What started as Andy’s personal sanctuary in the garage had blossomed into a burgeoning collection of unique scrap art robot sculptures, each one brimming with character and charm. It was then that we realised these creations were meant to be shared with the world. And so, inspired by the joy they brought us, we decided to open our hearts to others who might find solace, inspiration, or simply a touch of whimsy in the presence of the Berts. And so, We Are Bert Ltd was born, offering people the opportunity to bring home their very own Bert through our website, Whether choosing from the Berts already available or collaborating with Andy to commission a bespoke creation using treasured mementos, each Bert becomes a cherished keepsake, a reminder of the beauty that can emerge from the most unexpected places.

But that’s not where the magic ends. Inspired by Andy’s creations, I’ve reignited my childhood passion for storytelling. Crafting children’s stories that breathe life into the Berts, we’ve embarked on an exhilarating journey of imagination and wonder. Among my creations, the first of many Bert stories, Weebert has an Adventure, has been published and is now available. Just like our own journey the story of Weebert shows how amazing adventures often start with a simple beginning.

To those who, like Andy, struggle to find solace in turbulent times, we offer a simple message: don’t be afraid to explore what brings you joy. Whether it’s painting, gardening, writing or even building scrap metal robots, there’s something out there for everyone. Embrace your passions, and let them guide you on your journey to healing and self-discovery. After all, it’s often in the pursuit of our passions that we find the greatest peace and fulfilment …. and who knows where it might lead!

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Weebert has an Adventure is available on Amazon

You can view the Berts collection here: