Milford quilt has love in every stitch

Newport Womens Shed members who worked on the quilt for Milford Hospice.

FOR many people who have lost loved ones there is a feeling that they are just out of sight, hidden from view but very much there.

A group of 30 women have sewed the names of loved ones who have died into heart-shaped pieces of material, and sealed them out of sight in the centre of a quilt, which has been donated to Milford Hospice.

The quilt is the work of the Newport Women’s Shed members, led by a quilter from Murroe, with family roots in Newport.

“During lockdown, people had no chance to grieve properly. We came up with the idea of a quilt and got a grant of €1,000 from the Hospice Foundation,” Geraldine O’Keefe, leader with the project told the Limerick Post.

“One lady lost both her special needs son and her father in a very short space of time. It was devastating for her, but making the quilt and coming to the Women’s Shed has really helped her.”

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Geraldine herself lost her mother, May Coffey, (90) whom she had cared for for 20 years.

“We were blessed because she got her wish, which was to die at home, and Milford were such a huge support to us, as they have been to so many people. We were so lucky when you think of how many people couldn’t even be with their loved ones. That’s why we wanted to do something for Milford,” said Geraldine.

For many of the women, it was the first time they had even used a sewing machine, but everyone set to, to produce individual squares. When it was ready, Geraldine embroidered the names on the little white hearts and a special ceremony was held as the hearts were placed inside the quilt and sewn in.

No decision has been reached about whether Milford will raffle the quilt to raise funds or keep it, but either way, Geraldine says it was “an honour to work on it. It has helped so many of the ladies here. Their names will be in that quilt forever. That is an heirloom.”