A few years ago, I found a model of Saint Mary’s Church on the top shelf of the safe. It looked as if it was done in cross stitch, and was quite accurate. After a quick dust off, it took pride of place next to the shop for everyone to admire. Visitors always ask who made it and could they buy it? The only clue we had was a note in the archives that said it was made by a lady called Cynthia Sherwood.

Quite by chance, at a funeral service, a lady told me that she could put me in contact with Cynthia. So, Parish Clerk, Janet Gillard, and I went to visit Cynthia, taking the precious model with us. Cynthia, although now in her early nineties, is a very spritely lady. She originally visited the church with a friend whose children sang in the choir. She was invited to climb to the top of the tower, and was so taken with the church that she decided it would make a wonderful needlecraft project. She purchased a postcard of the church with a halfpenny stamp on it (which she still has!) to copy, and came regularly with her sketchbook to make detailed drawings. The model took a couple of months to make.

Cynthia enjoyed recounting tales of her school years, and how she became a needlework teacher working in Alverstoke, Privett, Portsea and Portsmouth schools and colleges. She made many a costume for various productions, if it were not for her arthritis now, I would have had her signed up for next year’s panto!

CategoryParish Magazine
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