Final Airing of the Quilts: End of beloved local tradition

The Caring Hearts Community Quilters show off their work.
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Members of the Caring Hearts Community Quilters group are preparing for their final Airing of the Quilts event, to take place on Saturday, April 10.

The group have been quilting together, and putting on the event, for the last 20 years to show off their work and continue to raise money for the materials that go into their quilts.

“We say it’s our last year because we’re all getting a lot older,” group member, Margaret Collier said.

“We’re not getting any younger people in.”

The day itself takes tremendous effort, with members of the quilters group having to transport anywhere between 150 and 200 quilts, hang them up at the Arms of Australia Inn Museum in Emu Plains, and pack them down again at the end of the day.

Despite the end to this beloved annual event, the group is committed to continue working together to produce quilts for charities in the local area.

“We’re still going to be quilting, we’re still going to have our Thursdays for quilting, and we’re even planning for next year,” Ms Collier said.

The Caring Hearts Community Quilters meet at Penrith Senior Citizens Centre on Thursdays to work together. The quilting has become as much about socialisation as it has about craft.

“If you don’t play bingo and stuff like that, it’s another way for older people to get together,” Ms Collier said.

The group commonly donate their quilts to palliative care nurses, who distribute them to patients on home visits. However, they have also donated the quilts to local NICU units and Children’s Wards, women’s refuges, and to those affected by fires and floods throughout NSW and Victoria.

They have been recognised many times for their work in the community, receiving a Premier’s Award in 2011. Ms Collier also received a Woman of Initiative Award from Zonta in 2009.

The airing of the quilts will take place on Saturday, April 10 at the Arms of Australia Inn Museum. Aside from the quilts, there will also be a gift stall, book stall, a trading table, vintage embroidery, and a quilt raffle. Entry is a $5 donation.

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