Northampton man handcrafts rocking horses for our Toys for Tots drive the last 8 years

Hampshire County

22News visited the workshop of a Northampton man who’s been donating handcrafted toys to our collection drive for years. 

“Increases the Christmas feeling and joy. I enjoy doing it,” said Peter Payne.

It’s not the North Pole, but from his workshop in Hatfield, Peter Payne has been taking rough wooden planks and turning them into beautiful rocking horses. He’s been bringing them to the 22News Toys for Tots toy drive for the last eight years. 

Payne said there’s a sense of pride that comes with the completion of every horse, “Whenever you make anything, you stand back and you look at it and you think, ‘I built that.’ And it came from a rough plank or board. I would say a rocking horse probably takes 20 hours.” That’s twenty hours of planning, and creating the finished products for some lucky children who receive them from toys for tots. 

Payne learned his craft at Smith Vocational High School in Northampton, and made woodworking his career. He’s made rocking horses for his grandchildren and great grandchildren, and gives them to kids in need. 

“You enjoyed making it, but hopefully they’ll get joy out of having it there for who knows how long,” said Payne. 

And Payne isn’t planning on stopping anytime soon, “As long as I stay healthy.” 

Our toys for tots drive ended at 7:00 p.m. Monday night. 

#WhyToysforTots: Peter Payne’s handmade rocking horses

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