Co Antrim gran’s marathon sewing session for Syrian refugees

Jane Caldwell hard at work to complete the wall hanging
Jane Caldwell hard at work to complete the wall hanging

A kind-hearted grandmother has worked meticulously for the past two months to complete an intricate Middle Eastern style wall hanging in an act of solidarity with Syrian refugees.

Jane Caldwell, a 77-year-old from Cullybackey in Co Antrim, has been working for more than four hours each day to create the decorative wall hanging by sewing patterned squares together.

Jane, a former creative studies lecturer, said: “I hope the completed wall hangings will remind the Syrian women that we support them in the difficulties they face.”

The caring grandmother said she took up the challenge after learning of a ‘Stitch for Syria’ campaign by humanitarian organisation Concern Worldwide, where her daughter, Rose, is the UK executive director.

Concern had invited people to take up a needle and thread to show solidarity for a group of Syria refugee women in Lebanon, who are using cross-stitch to earn a vital income and deal with the trauma they have experienced as a result of conflict. The organisation asked people to make a section of a wall hanging for the centre in Lebanon where the women meet.

Hundreds of people downloaded a six centimetre square pattern that was based on a traditional Middle Eastern design.

“I’m really pleased with how it has turned out,” Jane said. “It has been amazing to see how creative people have been and how varied each design is. It is a privilege to have been able to put it all together.”

The wall hangings will be delivered soon to Lebanon, where they will be taken to a centre for the refugees.