FOR the past nine months, members of the Patchwork Quilt Challenge (based in Buckfastleigh) have been making quilts for people in Ukraine.

Audra Fitzgerald says: ‘We first received an urgent request for cot quilts and quilts for children in autumn 2022, just weeks before temperatures in Ukraine plummeted to around -10 degrees C.

‘Linda Grieveson, who founded the group in 2009, became increasingly aware of the plight of the people remaining in Ukraine who were gearing up to a winter living in sub-standard conditions as a result of the war.

‘A contact in Ermington put out a plea for warm bedding to be donated to a children’s hospital in the war-torn nation.

‘Our group has responded to such emergencies before, having put our sewing skills to good use during the pandemic and making over 120 pairs of scrubs for the NHS.

‘Linda put it to the group that we should focus our efforts on making quilts for the Ukranian hospital.

‘Secure in the fact that the bedding would be delivered direct to the hospital by volunteers driving minibuses to Ukraine, the project fulfilled our ethos of getting quilts directly to people who need them without becoming lost within a big organisation.’

To date, more than 60 quilts have been taken to Ukraine.

‘Our patchwork quilts are practical, colourful and hand made with love. All fabric is donated: only the wadding and cottons we need to be purchased.’

The Patchwork Quilt Challenge meet once per month downstairs at St Lukes in Buckfastleigh.

Between eight and 14 members meet each time, although for this project other sewers have joined forces and produced quilts at home.

‘Due to the ‘cost of living crisis’, we now pay rental for the hall where we meet.

‘However, this cost and the cost of some wadding has been met with a generous grant from Buckfastleigh Town Council.

‘Our local co-ordinator for getting the quilts to Ukraine is Jan.

‘She said in a recent email: ‘Only yesterday another building was hit by a rocket right where our medic is based, killing 40 people and three children; all innocent people.

‘Many, many more have been left with nothing.’

‘We continue to make quilts for this cause, and welcome anybody to join us: no quilting experience necessary.

Our next meeting is Saturday, April 22, between 10am and 3pm downstairs at St Lukes.’