Community Memories Captured Forever in the Completed Heritage Quilt Project
18th December 2014

A Celebration event was held on Friday 21st November in the Learning and Resource Centre at Steyning Grammar School to unveil the five Heritage Quilts for school and community members to enjoy.  This momentous project has left a lasting legacy primarily to mark Steyning Grammar School’s 400th Anniversary, but it has also been a project that has enriched and changed the lives of all those involved and captured many wonderful stories and memories in the process.

Amanda Duke, Heritage Quilt Project Leader said: “We have left a legacy not only in the form of these luxurious quilts, the moving film, the beautiful book and the detailed catalogue of work, but we have a group of quilters that will continue to meet regularly following on from this project.  At the school we are planning the re-introduction of textiles to our curriculum and we will also be running enrichment workshops for young people to enjoy.  This has been a hugely rewarding project with many positive outcomes.”




The celebration began with a welcome from Headteacher Mr Nick Wergan who thanked all those many people that had been involved and the energy, enthusiasm and dedication with which the quilts have been put together. 

Nick Wergan said: “This has been an extraordinary project of collaboration and dedication. You cannot fail to be moved by the different stories these quilts tell, and their powerful message of a united, supportive and creative Steyning community. We are determined to nurture qualities of grit and resilience, curiosity and zest in our students – this beautiful work is a powerful example of those characteristics in action – and we are very proud to hang them in our Learning Resource Centre to inspire us all.”

Hilary Richardson from the Quilters Guild who unveiled the plaque dedicated to the quilt said: “The five wonderful quilts are fantastic and the quality outstanding.  Congratulations for involving so many community members, let’s hope we can get them round the country so other people can see them.”

Alastair Fairley, South East Regional member for the Heritage Lottery Fund also spoke saying: “If you wanted to look at the different ways people can connect with heritage, the Steyning Heritage Quilts project is a prime example. Mixing embroidery, history and craft, people will have not only learned about the school's 400-year history, but the project has engaged hundreds of students, volunteers, museum staff, and many of the local community along the way. 




"It is projects like these we ourselves celebrate as the Lottery reaches its own 20th anniversary – with thousands of projects and billions of pounds of investment it is, however, always the hard work and dedication of the public who keep our heritage so vibrant today, always finding new, inspiring ways to engage with our past and learn for the future."

A group of quilt makers gave some moving descriptions from the many people that had contributed to the project, one account recorded: “This has been the most amazing project, starting with an idea and from scraps of material to the most beautiful quilts.  So many personal memories have been sewn into the quilts.”

Jacquie Gale an experienced quilter was also thanked for her technical expertise and wisdom that has carried the project to completion along with the Quilt project team members Elisabeth Harden, Cynny Bucket, Jean Griffiths, Jan Hobson, Jane Hogg, Caroline Meeson, Lucy Simcox and the 500 or so quilters ranging from 11 – 96 years of age that have given their time and shared their memories.

Jan Hobson, Steyning Grammar School Governor has been committed to the project from the outset and played a huge role in documenting the quilt development and producing a ‘Quilt film’ to record the project history and the stories behind many of the quilt pieces said:  “Working on the quilt has been a brilliant example of school and community coming together.  The spirit has been joyful throughout.”

The success of this two year project is evident and the end result is exceptional.  The quilts may even go on tour to the Birmingham NEC as part of The Festival of Quilts, Europe’s leading patchwork and quilting show and an invitation has been received to go to Hever Castle for the Quilters Guild showcase event displaying over 200 quilts and wall hangings.

A book has been produced ‘The Story of Steyning Grammar School Heritage Quilts’ which records the project journey from the early planning stages, design concept, methods of making to detailed stories on each of the five quilt panels.  This book & the Quilt DVD are available from the main school reception priced £14.



About Steyning Grammar School:

A thriving comprehensive day and boarding school for students ages 11-19 set in the beautiful countryside of the South Downs, with close links to Brighton and the South Coast. The school has an intake in Year 7 and 9 and a successful Sixth Form College, offering both A Levels and the International Baccalaureate. An OfSTED ‘good with outstanding features’, students are extremely keen to learn and this is reflected in good examination results.

Steyning Grammar School has had the proud tradition of boarding provision since 1614. It boasts some of the finest and most modern facilities of any state or private boarding school. Following a three day inspection by Ofsted in October 2012, SGS Boarding was once again judged as 'Outstanding'. Very few schools achieve such a judgement and SGS Boarding is the first Outstanding State Boarding School in the country to achieve this grade under the new inspection framework.  The inspection report reinforces the popularity of Steyning Grammar School as demand from the UK, as well as overseas, continues to rise. The education is free to parents and families with just the very modest boarding costs to cover.

Full details can be found on the school’s website

Steyning Grammar School will be celebrating 400 years of excellence during the academic year 2014, visit our website for more details or to register your interest in the events.

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