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Sew far so good for big charity quilt

From left, Rebecca Teo, Jean Mabbutt, Brian Virr of West Oxfordshire MS Society, and shop owner David Cox. Pictures: OX68304 Ed Nix

From left, Rebecca Teo, Jean Mabbutt, Brian Virr of West Oxfordshire MS Society, and shop owner David Cox. Pictures: OX68304 Ed Nix Buy this photo

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Blackbird Leys and Greater Leys. Call me on 01865 425403

AFTER six months of painstaking sewing, this colourful quilt is going to help hundreds of people suffering from multiple sclerosis in West Oxfordshire.

From today staff at Freelance Fabrics, a fabric shop in The Kidlington Centre, will sell raffle tickets to the public for £1 each to win the double bed-sized quilt.

The money will be going to the West Oxfordshire branch of the MS Society, which supports people who have the neurological condition.

David Cox, the shop’s owner, said: “We’re going to have a gazebo outside the shopping centre today and sell raffle tickets.

“My friend Brian Virr has lived with MS for many years, and he really highlighted how damaging it can be to people’s lives and I thought we might be able to raise a bit of cash.

“The shop girls wanted to learn to sew and they created this out of all bits and pieces over the past few months in between serving customers.

“We’ve got it hanging in our window and we’ve raised £80 or £90 already.

“It was great to have done it. We’re just going to keep going until we raise a decent amount of money, £600 or £700.”

One of the quilters was shop assistant Rebecca Teo, 41.

She said: “It was quite fun, those fabrics we used were in the shop.

“We needed to think about how big we wanted the quilt to be, then we mix-and-matched the colours to decide which we wanted, then we cut the fabrics into squares and sewed them together by machine.”

The Woodstock resident said: “I am happy with it but it’s still not up to my standards.

“I’m very fussy and a perfectionist and I don’t like that some of the squares aren’t the same size. But we made it look okay.”

About 100,000 people in the UK have MS, and health bosses in Oxfordshire say it affects 1,950 people in the county.

For people who have MS, the coating around nerve fibres is damaged, causing a range of symptoms, such as vision problems, balance problems and dizziness, as well as memory problems.

Mr Virr, who has lived with MS for more than 20 years, said: “I get pains down the right side of my body and I can’t walk terribly well.

“I can’t do things like buttons, which other people take for granted but I can’t do.”

The Woodstock resident, 69, said: “It’s great that they’re doing this, it’s a really nice idea.”

Mr Virr, who is a member of the West Oxfordshire MS Society’s fundraising team, said: “The money will go to both our local branch – which helps provide equipment and physiotherapy for people with MS, as well as emotional support – and the national society.

“The MS Society ploughs thousands of pounds every year into research for a cure for it, although they’ve not found it yet.”

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