Where’s Ma’s Mah Jong Gone?

An appeal has been launched by a member of a famous Ruddington family for an item of great sentimental value which was accidentally given to a village charity shop.

Musician Guy Phethean is on the hunt for a ‘Mah Jong’ set, belonging to his mother Kathy, donated to the Nottinghamshire Hospice Shop in Ruddington in the autumn of 2018.

Guy (pictured above with Kathy) now lives in Essex but is keen to track down the set, and the associated hand-made wooden racks. They hold precious memories of his mum who died earlier that year, aged 91 and of his father, who made the racks.

Kathy used to host regular Mah Jong nights in the family’s Ruddington home where she’d play the game with friends she knew from the war. However, the set got swept up alongside other items donated to charity after Guy and his sister Mandi Hale cleared their parents’ house.

“My mum never threw anything away” reveals Guy. “There were cupboards full of games, jigsaws and other items which got given to the charity shop. We gave most of it to the hospice shop in Ruddington because it was next door to the chemist my family had owned since 1908.”

A watercolour painting of Ruddington High Street, by Ron Marshall in 1986, showing Phethean’s Pharmacy to the left of what is now the Nottinghamshire Hospice Shop

Guy, a keyboard player who’s performed alongside rock and pop legends Brian May, Ronnie Wood, Robert Palmer and others, says: “I would love to get it back. It holds fond memories not just of my mum but also of my dad, who made the racks. We were regulars at the hospice shop when I was growing up and we used to go there to donate items and buy stuff too.”

Mah Jong racks similar to those made by Guy’s father

Mah Jong is a tile-based game for four players developed during the Ming Dynasty in China, which spread throughout the world during the nineteenth century. It is played with a set of 144 tiles based on Chinese characters and symbols. The set and wooden box is very similar to the one in the top picture, with the tiles being made of bamboo and bone. The racks which Guy’s father Kenneth made, are wooden and stained a mahogany colour with felt underneath.

Although the Ruddington shop is currently closed again, due to the latest Coronavirus ‘lockdown’, manager Colette Priest has confirmed to RUDDINGTON.info that the missing Mah Jong set is sadly no longer on the premises, nor remembered by current volunteers. It’s assumed it was bought some time ago – hopefully by someone here in the village who is reading this!

Nottinghamshire Hospice retail manager, Penny Russell, says: “If you think you may have the set, we’d love to hear from you so we can put you in touch with Guy. He’d love to be reunited with it and would like to buy it back.”

Guy has also offered to make a donation to the hospice if he gets the set returned.

Can you help to reunite Guy with his mother’s Mah Jong set, please?  If so, you’re asked to get in touch by emailing marketing@nottshospice.org.

Ruddington’s Hospice Shop on High St with the former Phethean’s Pharmacy (now Benwell Daykin) next door

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