South Normanton, England, farrier Billy Bartlett came up with the #oneheatheart challenge after speaking to his friend and fellow farrier Craig Rodger on Feb. 2 when the World War II veteran passed away from coronavirus.
Bartlett initially created the Valentine’s themed competition — where farriers and blacksmiths film themselves attempting to make a heart-shaped horse shoe out of old scraps of metal but only using one heat of steel — las a bit of fun for workers in the industry during lockdown.
But Bartlett was inspired to encourage others to sell or auction off their creations to raise money for The Captain Tom Foundation after the 100-year-old who generated £33 million in donations for the NHS by walking laps of his garden in the first lockdown died.
The "make one, sell one, donate one" heart horseshoe challenge that has taken social media by storm has seen farriers across the globe take part, with professionals in America and Australia joining over 60 farriers across the U.K. in raising an estimated £5,000 to £6,000 in total for Captain Tom’s charity.
Bartlett, who has been a farrier for 25 years, has made five heart-shaped horse shoes that he has now auctioned off and generated £300 in donations for the foundation, while more continue to try their hand at the #oneheatheart competition.
The 45-year-old dad has previously made sculptures of birds and horses out of old horse shoes and donated a percentage of the proceeds to organizations such as Sheffield Children’s Hospital and The Farriers Foundation which provides injured workers with financial support.
"With Valentine's coming up, one or two people asked me to make them a love heart out of their horse's shoe to make it more personal to them,” Bartlett says. "The thing is when you are making stuff out of steel, obviously you have to heat it up in order to be able to bend it. Normally, you would take four or five heats to make one love heart or even one horse shoe and I've made that many that I thought I would try and make it in one heat. I thought it would be good for other farriers to try and it just so happened it was the day that Captain Tom Moore had died, so the idea came from there and it has just snowballed through the power of Facebook.”
One farrier’s love-heart horse shoe has been auctioned off for £500, with all the proceeds going directly towards the war veteran’s charity.
"It makes me feel brilliant because of the situation everyone is in at the minute," he says. "There's normally farrier competitions and shoeing competitions but at the minute there is nothing happening. We farriers don't all speak to one another but it's nice that everyone is getting involved and their apprentices are getting involved. I didn't expect anybody to make as many as they have, there is one lad who has made 43 — he has had 43 orders and he is doing that for free and everything is being donated.”