A quilt of memories

Photo & story:Graham Jones

Members of the United Reform Churches in Sheffield got together to commemorate family members involved in the First World War through making quilts. Mother and daughter, Freda and Ann Dukinfield of St James’ Church, Scott Road got out their old photos and documents to make a wonderful tableau quilt telling their family story.

Both worked on this project for many hours, with Freda, 92, doing the machine work and Ann doing the appliqué work and writing a poem about it. Around the turn of the 20th century in Keynsham, Somerset, the local butcher, George Fisher, and his wife, Alice, had thirteen children; eight boys, including Freda’s father, and five girls. In 1914 the boys all joined up to fight in the First World War and against the odds, all of them returned safely. However, the Second World War broke out and Freda joined the Civil Nursing reserve to look after wounded soldiers. She was stationed at Aldershot where she met Leslie Dukinfield from Sheffield. Queen Mary came to visit but there was some confusion about who came through which door and an embarrassed Leslie managed to knock the Queen on to the floor!

After the war Leslie and Freda married. Leslie wore his Sergeant’s uniform but Freda wore a dress that the hospital matron lent out to a succession of brides among her nursing staff because material was in short supply! They came back to Pitsmoor where Freda has lived ever since and where Ann has lived since she was born. Using skills learnt in the war, Freda became the plaster technician at the “potting shed” at Northern General Hospital. Cricketer, Geoffrey Boycott was one of her patients.

There was a display of all the quilts at Sheffield Central United Reform Church and The Lord Mayor, Burngreave councillor Talib Hussain, was so interested in the story that asked to meet Freda and was invited for tea. There was a display of some of the quilts in John Lewis’s but these family treasures are definitely not for sale.

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The content on this page was added to the website by Graham Jones on 2016-01-13 07:53:08.
The content of the page was last modified by Alice Kirby on 2016-09-28 12:28:48.

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