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Arts

The Sewing Soldier comes to Carlisle

Neil Stace

Cumbria’s Museum of Military Life’s Tuesday Talks series continues with Neil Stace, an officer in the British Army, who was a finalist in the 3rd episode of the Great British Sewing Bee. Neil or the “Sewing Soldier” has been sewing and knitting since he was 8 years old and has made everything from Wedding dresses to sniper suits. With the return of BBC’s Great British Sewing Bee the talk is a timely addition to the Museum’s talks programme and complements the current ‘A Stitch in Time’ exhibition.

‘Sewing on the Front Line,’ Neil will be talking at the Museum, based in Alma Block within Carlisle Castle, on Tuesday 12 th February.

The talk will start at 6:00pm (doors open 5.30pm – a cash bar is available for refreshments) Tickets are £5 each (£6 on the door) and can be booked by calling the Museum on (01228) 532774 or email: [email protected] or online www.CumbriasMuseumofMilitaryLife.org.

Please book early to avoid disappointment.

About ‘Sewing on the Frontline’

Neil Stace will talk about how WW1 sweetheart pincushions, made by injured soldiers were an early form of occupational therapy, helping them cope with the traumatic experiences of fighting in the trenches. Neil will also talk about his own experiences and how sewing has helped him through difficult periods whilst serving on the front line in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Northern Ireland.

The talk will be supported by SSAFA – The Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen Families Association – a military charity who will be happy to talk about the great work they undertake. Visitors will also be able to view the SSAFA 100 Hearts which are currently on display in ‘A Stitch in Time’ exhibition.

About Lieutenant Colonel Neil Stace.

Neil joined the Army at the age of 18, passing through Sandhurst and completed an engineering degree. Whilst his early years were spent playing rugby and skiing, his job has seen him serve on operations all over the world.

Throughout his career sewing has always been a part of his life; his sewing machine went with him to Northern Ireland and Bosnia and his sewing skills were put to good use on several occasions in Afghanistan, including teaching Afghan women to sew. He has used knitting to calm down after rugby matches, has taught sewing to homeless veterans and was the costume “mistress” for the Chafyn Grove School production of the Sound of Music.

He is a keen supported of the SSAFA 100 Hearts project, the recreation of WW1 Love Heart pincushions, currently on display at the Museum. As a young Platoon Commander on operations he experienced first-hand the support SSAFA gave.

He also passionately believes in the therapeutic power of creation. Sewing projects have helped him during some very demanding and stressful times on operations allowing him to focus and deal with pressure.

He is still serving in the Army and is currently based at the Army Headquarters working I the field of Cyber Defense.

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