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North Devon in 100 Objects: 100. The COVID Quilt

A quilt panel featuring a rainbow over a house with the text 'stay at home'.
A quilt patch featuring some bubbles with the text 'stay in your social bubble'
A quilt patch featuring a nurse sitting down and the text 'NHS 2020 End of a Covid-19 Shift'
A quilt patch featuring 9 hands, green and yellow in colour, with the text 'wash your hands!'

Our final object brings our collections right up to date.  The North Devon COVID Quilt has been made by local sewers using scraps from the North Devon scrubs making operation set up during the coronavirus pandemic by Denise Anstey.

‘It was during March 2020 that we learned via Social Media that some NHS staff and healthcare workers were in need of basic scrubs.  My partner and I decided to try to help. We placed video notices on North Devon News via Facebook and offers of help came flooding in.

We self-funded the initial 12 rolls of 50 meters of polyester fabric but soon received donations of more rolls and thread.  Neil and I spent hours collating the piece parts into garments, putting together bags for the sewers with thread, instructions and return details.

In all, we made over 400 sets of scrubs and over 300 scrub bags and supplied healthcare workers from Ilfracombe, Barnstaple, Bideford, South Molton, Holsworthy, Combe Martin, Bradworthy and many more areas.  At one point we ran out of fabric but after receiving a call from a nurse in tears we doubled our efforts.  We could never predict what colour we may end up with but the need was so great that this wasn’t an issue.

When we finally achieved our goal we had a lot of scrap fabric remaining.  Right from the outset I was determined not to have anything end up in landfill and I had the idea of asking our sewers to embroider icons which depict the pandemic onto squares to be made into quilts. ‘

Two quilts are being made, one to be auctioned in aid of the North Devon Hospice and the other for the Museum.  This quilt is a fitting tribute to a project which involved the community to help the community and provides a record of the times we are living through for future generations.

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