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Grandmother appeals for Grantham's help to finish quilt as she loses sight

A grandmother is appealing for help to finish stitching a quilt as she can no longer see to sew.

Brenda Oliver, 79, has been quilting all her life but was forced to stop when she began to lose her sight after being diagnosed with macular degeneration in 2010.

Both Brenda’s mother and grandmother also suffered with macular degeneration, a condition that affects the middle part of your vision. Brenda’s sight has got progressively worse over the last few years to the point where she can no longer follow her passion.

Marie Scoffield with the unfinished quilt. (14802908)
Marie Scoffield with the unfinished quilt. (14802908)

But determined not to leave her latest project unfinished, Brenda, who is a service-user at the South Lincolnshire Blind Society, on Finkin Street, Grantham, is appealing for local ‘sewing bees’ to finish off the quilt, which will then be auctioned off to raise funds for the society.

She said: “An unfinished quilt is no good to anyone but a finished quilt will be used and appreciated.”

Brenda qualified as an occupational therapist in the 1960s and worked for the NHS rehabilitating the dock workers in London. By the time she moved to Lincolnshire in the 1970s, she was already hooked on making quilts and researching the history of quilting. Her passion led her to host talks on quilting and the history of quilting to groups all over Lincolnshire.

Whilst researching the history of quilt making Brenda discovered that farmers’ wives would make quilts throughout the long winters and then in the summer months, when they were busy helping out on the farms, travellers would visit and the men would help out on the farm to pay their way whilst the female travellers would finish off the backing of the quilts the farmers’ wives had worked on over the winter.

Brenda used to borrow unfinished quilts from the Lincolnshire Museum of Life to take to show people when she did her talks.

The South Lincs Blind Society is now looking for volunteers who love to sew to join a new ‘sewing bees’ group.

Susan Swinburn, chief executive officer at the society, said: “We have had quite a few sewing items donated to the charity and we often get requests from service-users who can no longer see to sew for help with replacing buttons.

“We would like to establish our own sewing/knitting group so that we can offer our clients a button sewing service and they can create crafty projects.

“Join us to share your sewing skills, learn new ones, make new friends and help local people living with sight loss.”

For information, call 01476 592775.

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