No more horsing around for television star Jo

Reporter:

Staff Reporter

A MAN and horse who became the focus of national attention after trying to board a train together will be put under the spotlight again next week.

Pensioner Jo Purcell and his beloved white horse, Ruby, shot to fame when they were spotted attempting to get on a train in Wrexham earlier this year.

They were later seen around the town together before Ruby was taken into care.
The duo will be the subject of an S4C documentary Jo a Ruby next Wednesday at 9pm. English and Welsh subtitles will be available for the broadcast.

Firm friends Mr Purcell, 71, and Ruby will be followed in a programme which will take a look at the travelling community they belong to.

Sioned Morys, of production company Chwarel, said: “I had been interested in making a documentary about the contemporary Welsh gypsy and had started to look into the community in Wrexham.

“I decided after all the media publicity that I would look in more detail at Jo’s life.
“We followed him for two months and tried to get to know and understand his community better.

“By the time we started filming the local council had taken over the care of Ruby and in the programme we can follow Jo's attempts to get the horse he holds so dear returned to him.”

Ruby was taken away from Mr Purcell after being found walking along Wrexham Council land near the Maelor Hospital two months ago.

Mr Purcell, whose wife and daughter died two years ago, is of Irish origin and some of the film is shot in Ireland as well as Wrexham.

Ms Morys said: “I must say working on this programme has been one of the most rewarding experiences I've had in my 20 year career as a TV producer and director.

“As a production crew we had to gain the trust of the travelling community and that was difficult because of the reaction there’s been to the series My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding. It’s taken a high level of trust from both sides.”

The site where the travellers lived was close to the site of this year’s National Eisteddfod in Wrexham, but Ms Morys said they had no idea what the event was.

“They thought a massive horse fair was going to be held there,” she added.

“Eisteddfod officials have now welcomed them to the Eisteddfod field, the Maes, and taken them on a tour to explain what will be happening there.

“Jo now intends to visit the Eisteddfod, but without Ruby.”

See full story in the Leader

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