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Catholic Vancouver Aug 4, 2017

Maple Ridge woman aims to beat world record

By Agnieszka Krawczynski

Jacqueline Ledet aims to create a 1,000-pound copper ball to beat a world record and make some money for her parish. (Photo submitted)

MAPLE RIDGE—A jewelry maker in Maple Ridge is hoping a ball of copper scraps will help her beat a world record and make thousands of dollars for St. Luke’s Parish.

Jacqueline Ledet has spent the last two years collecting copper wire and rolling it into a giant ball she hopes will reach about 1,000 pounds.

“People bring me bags of Christmas lights, scraps from home projects, and electrical cords from appliances,” Ledet told The B.C. Catholic. She strips the wire herself and adds it to the ball.

The current record for world’s largest copper ball is held by U.S. landscaper Rick Fortin. His creation weighed in at 922 pounds in 2011.

Ledet, who spends most of her weekends and evenings working on her ball, said she didn’t set out to beat a world record at the start.

“My husband, years ago, was an electrician. He would bring home all these leftover bits of wire and stuff, and I like making jewelry, so I would take the wire, strip it, and use it to make jewelry pieces,” she said.

“It got to the point where I had too many pieces of copper,” so she began rolling the extra bits into a little ball. That paperweight grew from the size of an orange to the size of a melon.

Ledet, now with an ever-growing ball of wire, started thinking about collecting the metal and cashing it in for her retirement fund.

“No sooner did I have that thought that I felt the Holy Spirit saying to me if I’m going to be collecting copper and cashing it in, it needs to be for charity.”

Her mind flew to her parish, St. Luke’s. The parish centre had been newly built, but rooms including the commercial-size kitchen for social events were not yet completely furnished.

She expects cashing in a 1,000-pound copper ball will earn something like $3,000 for the parish, with the possibility of raising more if the community makes a social event out of beating the record.

“She’s done a tremendous amount of work to put this ball together,” said parishioner and family friend James Brown.

Ledet’s copper ball is already bringing the parish closer together. Brown has noticed since she left a cardboard box for donated wires in the church foyer, parishioners have not only jumped on board with bringing their old Christmas lights and extension cords, but also spent more time at social gatherings.

“People that have been bringing this copper have become more active in our parish,” Brown said. “It has really helped our parish community become more of a family.”

Ledet estimates her copper ball is currently around 350 pounds and has temporarily stopped adding more wire until she can find a space larger than her sewing room to finish it.

She finds stripping the wire meditative and has even told donors she prays for them as she peels back insulation to get at the copper.

“This is way more fulling than making jewelry."

Ledet's copper ball when it was only 115 pounds. She now estimates the ball is up to 350 pounds. (Photo Submitted)

Her copper collection has also gone to benefit other causes. Recently, Ledet joined her parish’s outreach to seasonal farm workers and as she brought food and prayed with farmers from Guatemala and Mexico working in Canadian fields, she decided to make rosaries for them.

With donated copper wire, old bead necklaces, and other materials, she’s already made about 100 rosaries to give away.

“Part of the enjoyment with the rosaries, as with the copper ball, is making something that will add value to someone and making it out of scraps and pieces,” she said.

“I find when the Holy Spirit gives me an idea and I act on it, it’s really compelling and it’s enjoyable, which is how it’s supposed to be.”