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Banner illustrates villagers' memories of Covid

A poignant, handcrafted banner revealing villagers' feelings during the 2020 Covid lockdown has gone on display at Saddleworth Museum.

Originally, Diggle artist Janet Iles was approached by Canon Sharon Jones, asking if she could think of an activity parishioners could get involved in while at home during the pandemic.

Janet recalls: “I came up with the idea of asking people to create a square representing their feelings about lockdown. 

“Then over four months I received more than 40 squares which I fashioned into the Covid banner, and invited the contributors to write a few words about their square, which are written in the booklet that accompanies the banner.

“I hope these words and images will serve as a memory of the unusual and unprecedented time we lived through during the pandemic and will leave a lasting impression on all who see them.

“I’m really pleased the visitors to Saddleworth Museum will be able to share and rekindle their own Covid memories.”

Saddleworth Team Rector, Rev Canon Sharon Jones, said: “Living through Covid, Forty-two squares...Forty-two stories from across Saddleworth.  An historic banner to inform generations to come.

“The title of the banner, ‘Nothing can separate us from the love of God’, is an expression of hope and faith in challenging times, and of faith in God who comforts and strengthens us.”

Contributors used various mediums to create their square – painting, embroidery, knitting, tatting, poetry and appliqué. Some reflected emotional accounts of grief, the pain of separation, restrictions and anxieties, mingled with the beauty of spring and the privilege of living somewhere beautiful.

Many people from the churches in the Saddleworth Team created squares, plus members of Diggle All Stars Theatre Group and the Piecemakers Community Quilting Group from Delph.

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