Above: Textile artist Susan Quirk and Deborah Longman, Head of Fundraising at Swansea Bay Health Charity hold up the quilt
While some spent their lockdown raising money for the NHS through feats of athletic endurance, Susan Quirk set herself a marathon challenge of a different kind that didn’t involve any running but there were still plenty of stitches.
The Swansea textile artist has managed to stitch together a thank you gift that encapsulates the very fabric of what the NHS means to so many of us – colour, comfort and protection – through spending 200 hours making a rainbow quilt consisting of 700 pieces of fabric bound together with over 20,000 hand stitches using almost 175 metres of thread.
She has managed to raise £600 so far for Swansea Bay University Health Board’s Swansea Bay Health Charity, thanks to a JustGiving page and online diary which kept people updated with her progress.
The completed quilt has been handed over to SBUHB and will go on display in Morriston Hospital.
Mrs Quirk (Below) said: “What started out as a project to keep me busy during the lockdown has turned into an opportunity to support my local NHS trust during the COVID19 pandemic.
“Whilst I am never going to be able to run a marathon or do an endurance bike ride to raise funds, I can sew and the quilt has turned into a marathon challenge, with 700 pieces of fabric sewn together and over 20,000 hand quilting stitches using almost 175 metres of quilting thread to sew it together.
“I’m pleased with the end result. Anyone who works with textiles will know that half the joy is going to shops and holding different materials next to each other to see if they work. I couldn’t do that as I had to order everything online, so it was such a relief to see that it all worked.”
Explaining her inspiration for the project the former design technology and textiles teacher, who is now a secondary STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Development Officer, said: “It started out as something to keep me occupied during lockdown.
“We established a support group amongst the neighbours on our street and the rainbow, as the symbol of support for the NHS and key workers, was reproduced in different formats and I decided to portray it was a quilt.
“The message Stronger Together is stitched into the border, as a tribute to all the NHS key workers who have cared for us during this crisis. It also highlights the point that if we all play our part, large or small, we will be stronger together. It’s meant as a rallying call to the NHS and key workers.
“Although it took me something like 200 hours over 8 weeks to complete, I had a lot of pleasure from doing it and if something good comes from it then all the better.”
Deborah Longman, Head of Fundraising at Swansea Bay Health Charity, said: “We have been overwhelmed with the generosity of the public, and we have seen some really unusual ways that people have fundraised for us.
“The quilt made by Susan is an excellent example of where someone has used their talents to raise valuable funds.
“We are also delighted that Susan has donated the quilt, and we will be honoured to put this on display at Morriston hospital. It will serve as a legacy and a reminder of this challenging time, and how our communities rallied together throughout to support our services and each other.”
To donate please visit: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/susan-quirk2