41. A message from home – Timaru quilt

41. A message from home – Timaru quilt

Two friendship quilts that were created for the soldiers at Mount Felix have been discovered. Trinity Red Cross Guild’s annual report of 1918 mentions that an autograph quilt and four pounds were sent to Walton-on-Thames hospital in 1917-18. This unfinished calico quilt top with hand-embroidered messages turned up in a second hand shop in Brighton, England recently. An article about it in the Timaru Herald 10 Aug 1916 reads:

“The Ladies Red Cross Guild in connection with Trinity Church have a large quilt which it intended to send to one of the Hospitals where our soldiers are located. The quilt has been very neatly worked with a Red Cross in the centre, and further funds for the Red Cross are being raised by working on it- the name of every person who pays one shilling (or as much more as may be offered. A large number of names are already on the quilt, but there is room for more. It is thought that the soldiers who get the use of the quilt at Home will be more than interested in reading the names which are worked into it.”

The other was recently discovered in an attic in Walton, owned by local man Mike Messina. It was nearly burned on a family bonfire, but rescued just in time. It has been on display in New Zealand House, home of The High Commission of New Zealand, in London.

Sponsor: Hilary Brooks

Stitchers: Walton on Thames WI – Ann Johnson-Russell, Anne Drake, Barbara Johns, Hilary Brooks, Irene Stoker, Linda Lee, Lynne Francke, Pat Stock and Shoba Mooneeram; with Mike Messina and Wendy Ward.

Our WI is a group of sixty women who are interested in the world and how it relates to Walton so the opportunity to take part in the Mount Felix project was irresistible and a great honour. Those who have done the stitching have learned a lot and formed strong friendships. Some had never stitched and some had not done so since school but it was a delight to find we were capable of such fine embroidery. A total of 279 hours was spent on the quilt.

One member had witnessed the dreadful fire at its height. Two of us had worked at Mount Felix since it was offices and three of us have personal New Zealand links. One of us was involved in the rescue of the Stirling Quilt and it was a great pleasure to be able to complete our panel exactly one hundred years after it was made. Mike Messina who owns the quilt put in a few stitches.

In line with WI values this is a personal thank you to the men who lived and recuperated in our town