Altar cloth is finally complete

Patchwork altar cloth being sewn together after 2 years work.'The patchwork depicts each of the 15 churches in the centre panel while the River Stour wraps round the north and east sides with symbols of Clare, Cavendish, Long Melford, Sudbury and Bures also shown. The wildlife and agricultural land form the west and southern borders. Each part is very distinctive and a range of techniques show a wide variety of creative skills.

Patchwork altar cloth being sewn together after 2 years work.'The patchwork depicts each of the 15 churches in the centre panel while the River Stour wraps round the north and east sides with symbols of Clare, Cavendish, Long Melford, Sudbury and Bures also shown. The wildlife and agricultural land form the west and southern borders. Each part is very distinctive and a range of techniques show a wide variety of creative skills.

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A TWO-YEAR project to make a colourful altar cloth for Sudbury and Long Melford churches culminated in a grand “sew in” this week.

Parishioners have been working on patchwork sections of the 12 foot long cloth for nearly two years.

The 15 sections were sewn together on Wednesday at Great Henny parish rooms and will now go on display at St Mary’s Church in the village.

Great Henny vicar the Rev Margaret King said: “The group have worked so hard on producing all the individual pieces and, together, they make up a wonderful scene of all 15 churches around Sudbury and Long Melford, with the River Stour snaking through it.

“All the river elements are different as each person has brought a different style to their work. And there are some quirky elements too, like an embroidered dragonfly and fish in the river.”

The idea came after a pilgrimage to Lindisfarne by Mrs King and her colleague Margaret Maybury, who enlisted the help of Rachel Sawn from Bulmer to get the group together.

This altar cloth, or frontal, is to be a travelling one which will be used in all 15 churches covering the area south and west of Sudbury and Long Melford.

It could take two to three years before it gets around all 15 churches as it will only be used for team services when there is a fifth Sunday in the month, of which there are only four or five in a year.