Grandmother, 77, completes wall hangings for Syrian refugee woman in Lebanon

Roberta Hamill
Roberta Hamill

A Co Antrim grandmother has put the finishing touches to wall hangings for Syrian refugee women in Lebanon.

Jane Caldwell, 77, from Cullybackey, put together the works from hundreds of patterned squares of material. She spent four hours a day sewing the squares into one piece using more than one million stitches.

The wall hangings will soon be delivered to Lebanon, where they will be displayed in a centre where the refugee women meet.

Ms Caldwell said: "I'm really pleased with how it has turned out.

"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. I hope the completed wall hangings will remind the Syrian women that we support them in the difficulties they face."

She spent the last two months sewing together more than 900 cross-stitched patterns made by hundreds of people in 20 countries.

The former creative studies lecturer took up the challenge after learning of the campaign by charity Concern Worldwide from her daughter Rose, who is a senior member of the humanitarian aid organisation.

Concern had invited people to take up a needle and thread in solidarity with the refugees, who are using cross-stitching to earn a vital income and deal with the trauma they have experienced during the conflict.

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

Some added individual twists like using neon thread, beads and borders.

After receiving the designs in the post, it fell to Ms Caldwell to create the final product.