’QUILTING glitterati’ were there to witness the official launch of Steyning Grammar School’s Heritage Quilt.
The five panels, made by children from the school and adults from the community, hung in their permanent location in the school’s learning resource centre for the opening last Friday.
Hilary Richardson, from The Quilters’ Guild, unveiled the plaque. “I am absolutely astounded,” she said.
“It is an amazing project. I am overwhelmed to have five pieces hanging up and to have the community involved is fantastic.”
She said news of the 400th anniversary quilt would spread worldwide through the guild and praised the makers for documenting every step of the process.
Alastair Fairley from the Heritage Lottery Fund, which made the project possible thanks to its £5,600 grant, said it was ‘quite exceptional work’ which had achieved all sorts of things for the school.
He said over the National Lottery’s 20 years, the heritage fund had helped more than 37,000 projects, involving £6billion of investment.
“From our point of view, this is actually quite a small project,” he added.
“But the output that this has delivered is quite remarkable. Hundreds have been involved and all able to share experience, knowledge and skills, all focused on heritage.”
Head Nick Wergan spoke of the energy and enthusiasm from the quilters and said, with the finished product hanging in a prominent place in the school, it would inspire pupils for years to come.
The quilts will also be going on tour, including to Birmingham and Hever Castle in Kent.
Amanda Duke, the driving force behind the quilt, said 500 people aged seven to 96 had been directly involved in the two-year project and hundreds more indirectly.
“What we didn’t expect was just how amazing this would be. This project has changed and enriched lives. People’s stories and memories have been captured forever.”
She said they had left a legacy, not only in the quilt, but the accompanying film, book and detailed catalogue.
The school was now also looking to re-introduce textiles to the curriculum.