Two unique exhibitions at Ely Cathedral to commemorate the centenary of the end of WWI

By bridget hickish, Jan 23 2018 04:40PM

100 Hearts for 100 Years

The Royal School of Needlework teamed up with the armed forces charity, SSAFA, to help create ‘100 Hearts for 100 Years’.   These highly unique ‘sweetheart’ pincushions were created to commemorate the centenary of the end of the Battle of the Somme and are coming to Ely Cathedral as part of their commemorations to mark the centenary of the end of the Great War.    

‘Sweetheart’ pincushions date back to the First World War when convalescing soldiers made them to send home to their loved ones.  The exhibition will feature a few of these original pincushions, alongside recreated hearts made by the Royal School of Needlework, present day soldiers, veterans, military wives and schoolchildren, as well as groups Fine Cell Work, the Embroiderers Guild and NADFAS.  

This beautiful collection of needlework will be on display at Ely Cathedral from 1 – 28 February. The exhibition will be formally opened at a preview evening on 31 January, by Lt Col Neil Stace, a finalist in the 2015 BBC Great British Sewing Bee.  As an active serviceman and expert embroiderer, Neil used his skills to create his own commemorative pincushion which forms part of the display. Neil will give a talk on the significance of the pincushions as well as divulge information about his life in the army and how he became such a fan of sewing. Lt Col Neil Stace said: “I joined the Army at the age of 18 and the job has taken me on operations all over the world. Throughout my career sewing has always been a part of my life. A Hundred Hearts for Hundred Years is a fantastic project and I am supporting it for several reasons especially as a young platoon commander and a company commander I depended on the services of SSAFA”. 

In addition to the exhibition there will be a number of workshops including four specifically intended for children led by Lt Col Neil Space, and two embroidery workshops led by celebrated international textile artist, Helen Stevens. Places will be limited. Booking details and workshop dates are available on the Cathedral website.


To End All Wars

Visitors to this exhibition can also benefit from a dynamic new art installation by Ouse Life artists to mark the impact of the first world war in Cambridgeshire. The work will include a cascade of 100 banners, reminiscent of prayer flags, created by this group of highly talented local artists as a moving tribute to those involved in the war.


Both exhibitions will be in situ in the Cathedral from 1 to 28 February 2018. Please see website for further details: www.elycathedral.org


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