Sewing group’s creation aids canal restoration

A quilted blanket is presented to the Canal Trust. Janet Weller, Doreen Walker, Maureen Riley, Margaret McCall, Mary Croft, Gwen Biggin and audrey Knight are pictured with Stephen Thompson, promotions officer at the canal trust.
A quilted blanket is presented to the Canal Trust. Janet Weller, Doreen Walker, Maureen Riley, Margaret McCall, Mary Croft, Gwen Biggin and audrey Knight are pictured with Stephen Thompson, promotions officer at the canal trust.
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Needlewomen have crafted a work of art to raise money for the restoration and development of Chesterfield canal.

Seven members of Chesterfield’s 50+ sewing group have made a patchwork quilt, which will be raffled at a festival this summer.

The group, which meets on Thursday mornings in the Pomegranate Theatre’s coffee bar, spent three months hand-stitching 289 squares which its co-ordinator Margaret McCall sewed together during a week’s holiday in Cornwall.

The eldest member of the sewing group is 86-year-old Mary Croft, of Gilbert Avenue, Walton, Chesterfield and the youngest is co-ordinator Margaret, who is a youthful 61.

Margaret, of Moorcroft, Matlock, said: “They are an amazing group. It is a real privilege to work with these ladies.”

The inspiration for making a quilt came from Gwen Biggin, 78, of 21 Aspley Close, Chesterfield, who is a member of patchwork groups at Wingerworth and Pentrich.

She brought along rag rugs and a Japanese folded patchwork quilt to a Make Do and Mend event held as part of last year’s 40s weekend in Chesterfield.

Gwen said: “I like doing patchwork because I like the feel of cloth. My great-grandad, grandad and father were tailors. My dad H.F. Flood had a shop in the market hall in Chesterfield and before that he was above Pillars pot shop in the Shambles. He worked until his late 70s.”

The group - which has made costumes for the Pomegranate Youth Theatre as a thank you to the teenagers who gave them lessons in mobile phone use - decided to raise money for the Chesterfield Canal Trust because the youth theatre’s current play, Cuckoo, focuses on the canal.

Members thought it fitting to create a patchwork quilt because they are often made by canal boat owners to cover their beds.

Stephen Thompson, promotions and exhibitions officer at the Chesterfield Canal Trust, said of the interaction between the groups: “It think it is wonderful. It encompasses the aims of the trust to engage with the local community in as many ways as we can. The young people who have put time in as regards the theatre production and the more senior members who have put together this quilt have made a fantastic effort.”

Raffle tickets for the quilt have gone on sale and the winner will be drawn at a festival on June 30 and July 1, organised by the canal trust at Staveley town basin.

The festival will include excerpts from the youth theatre’s production of Cuckoo with CDs of the show for sale, canal trips, live music from The Swing Commanders, clog dancing and sword dancing.

l Raffle tickets for the quilt cost £1 each and are available from the Hollingwood Hub, canal trust members or call (01246) 577569.

l Cuckoo - Tales from Chesterfield Canal will be staged at the Pomegranate Theatre, Chesterfield, from March 14-17.