Thursday, May 30, 2024


A TALENTED group of local ladies have put their gifts to good use, skilfully creating tapestries depicting Newcastle’s four main churches. The Interchurch Stitchers spent the past 10 months planning and then deciding what each creation would feature.

Meeting each Thursday afternoon in the town’s parish centre, the 24-strong team are thrilled with the end products, which last week were presented to representatives from St John’s Church of Ireland, Donard Methodist Church, Newcastle Presbyterian Church and Our Lady of the Assumption Church. Ita Shannon, who helped form the group, has thanked everyone for their endeavours over the course of the year, adding that the group has had many benefits – not just sharing arts and crafts skills, but forging new friendships too.

Thanking everyone who took part, as well as the churches for their co-operation, Ita said that although this project has reached its conclusion, the group will carry on, with the ladies continuing with their crafts. From total novices, to stitching and tapestry experts, everyone who took part in this project learned something new, explained Ita, who is delighted with the group’s efforts to date. “It’s been a great project, and everyone should be very proud of their efforts. We have four lovely pieces of art now, which each tell their own story and will proudly be on display for many years to come,” she said.

Ita added that from the outset with her goal of creating this cross-community project she received support and guidance from Elaine Callen. She said the transformation from some of the stitchers’ first get-together, when they began making samplers, all the way through to the finished products, was “just fantastic.” Describing the team as a bunch of “amazing ladies”, Ita concluded: “I have got to know ladies through this group who I had never seen before, and that’s one of the many benefits. “Not only are we bonding over our love of arts and crafts, but we are sharing our stories and able to learn from one another about various aspects of life through this really successful social project.”

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