Sewing Soldier workshops and talks at the Cathedral in aid of SSAFA

SSAFA Wiltshire commemorate WW1 with ‘100 Hearts for 100 years’

29 January 2018

SSAFA Wiltshire commemorate WW1 with ‘100 Hearts for 100 years’

To commemorate the centenary of WW1, SSAFA Wiltshire branch have created 100 military Love Heart Pin cushions, and are exhibiting the beautiful tribute at Ely Cathedral  from 1 – 28 February.

During the war, pin cushions were made by wounded soldiers to send home to their loved ones. Known as ‘sweethearts,’ these moving mementos were made with love and proved to be excellent therapy for troops recovering from the horrors that they had experienced. Using a modern interpretation of the theme, SSAFA Wiltshire’s 100 hearts are on display in Ely Cathedral from 1 – 28 February where visitors can see this wonderful exhibition for free.

SSAFA Wiltshire began the project in October 2016, with the help of ‘Sewing Soldier’ Lt Col Neil Stace (finalist on the Great British Sewing Bee).

The 100 pin cushions were lovingly made by Neil along with the Royal School of Needlework, the Academy Quilters from the Defence Academy (Shrivenham), Fine Cell Work, and several other groups and individuals in a bid to raise money for SSAFA’s vital work supporting people in the local Armed Forces community.

 ‘Sewing Soldier’ Lt Col Neil Stace said at the time: “100 Hearts for a 100 years is a fantastic project and I am supporting it for several reasons. As a young platoon commander and a company commander I depended on the services of SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, for welfare support for my soldiers and families. SSAFA was such a part of my day to day job that I honestly thought they were employed by the Forces, so I am keen to raise awareness of what SSAFA does. I also passionately believe in the therapeutic value of creating things and the hearts are perfect for this. Sewing projects have helped me during some very demanding and stressful times on operations allowing me to focus and deal with pressure. “

The love heart pin cushions originate back to the Boer war, during WW1 they were given to injured soldiers to decorate whilst recuperating in hospitals in Northern France.  They were seen as romantic objects made with regimental felt, buttons and badges and would reflect things the soldier held close to his heart, often with the regimental insignia at the centre. They were also often decorated with poems and messages that were printed on small silk patches that came in cigarette packages with the soldier’s rations.