Remembrance bears win hospice Sewing Bee

The Big Hospice Sewing Bee has come to an end and the winner has been announced. 

This was St Elizabeth Hospice’s first Big Hospice Sewing Bee and the challenge was very well received by the local crafty community, with dozens of people entering the competition.

People were challenged to upcycle a used item into a cutting edge masterpiece and a range of fantastically creative items were entered into the Sewing Bee, from dresses and jackets to cushions and bags.

The winners, which proved extremely popular when on display in St Elizabeth Hospice’s reception, were two beautiful bears, made by Ros Oliver. First prize was a hamper full of delights for crafters including a voucher for Franklins, some beautiful material and a sewing box. 

Mrs Oliver, of Kesgrave, said: “My dad, John Wheeler, died a couple of years ago and was cared for by the hospice at home nurses, and ever since then my mum and I have supported the hospice through donating and taking part in the Lottery, but I wanted to do something else because the hospice is wonderful.

“I was absolutely gobsmacked when they told me I had won because I had seen some of the other items entered and thought they were fabulous!”

Second place went to Jo Leech of Ipswich and third place to Melanie Chew, of Stradbroke, both of whom made children’s outfits. They both won a bottle of prosecco.
Fiona Ginn, St Elizabeth Hospice’s partnerships fundraiser, said: “We were delighted with the response we received from the creative community towards the Sewing Bee and we had an amazing range of items upcycled and entered into the competition. The standard of the entries was so high, it was hard to choose the top prizes, but the bears were such a hit with everyone, are such a great idea and so well-made, they had to win top prize.

“We would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who entered the competition and to Franklins, Ipswich, Crafty Baba and Suffolk Craft Society for their support and for donating items for the winners hamper. Thank you also to our judges Amber Swinn and Andrea Clark.”

Most of the items entered into the competition will be sold on the hospice’s Made With Love shop, which sells handmade goods, lovingly created by supporters, volunteers and patients of the hospice.

The winning bears, called Bill and Ben, have already been snapped up following a silent bid at the hospice. 

Mrs Oliver said: “I made the bears out of shirts and ties I bought at the hospice shop in Woodbridge. Making remembrance bears out of the clothes of loved ones who have died; and memory bears out of children’s Babygro’s and outfits, is a mini side-line business for me. It started when mum asked me to make a bear out of dad’s dressing gown. I put a picture of it on Facebook and orders have been coming in ever since.

“It is a privilege that people trust me to cut up their loved ones clothes to make them into something. Mum still keeps hers on her bed and people say it’s a nice thing to have and they can cuddle it when they feel sad.”

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