Quilts stitched to­gether with love

The Southland Times - - National News - Paula Hul­burt

It started with a sin­gle stitch: a quilt made with love for her mother. When Miriam Sul­li­van, 92, moved into Seav­iew Rest Home in Pic­ton, her trea­sured quilt, made by daugh­ter Maria Bow­den, came too. The quilt was much ad­mired and the tal­ented seam­stress spent the next nine months cre­at­ing 31 more for all the other res­i­dents. Her self­less ges­ture saw the Pic­ton grand­mother of eight awarded a 2019 Ki­wibank New Zealand Lo­cal Hero of the Year Award on Wed­nes­day. Bow­den was one of 11 peo­ple to be recog­nised for their achieve­ments. The an­nual awards hon­our peo­ple who make a pos­i­tive con­tri­bu­tion in the re­gion they live in. Bow­den, 65, said: ‘‘There are peo­ple who do a lot more than me but I loved mak­ing them [the quilts].’’ As part of the awards, win­ners were pre­sented with spe­cially made medals to of­fi­cially recog­nise their achieve­ments at a glitzy cer­e­mony held at the Marl­bor­ough Con­ven­tion Cen­tre in Blen­heim. Bow­den, who took up quilt­ing in her 50s, said she cre­ated a quilt in hon­our of her mother’s Ir­ish her­itage. ‘‘All my aun­ties are good with their hands and do needle­craft, and quilt­ing was some­thing I thought I’d just try. ‘‘Mum had it on her bed and ev­ery­one loved it. I saw how homely it looked and thought I’d make one for ev­ery­one. ‘‘It was self­ish re­ally as I wanted to try out dif­fer­ent pat­terns,’’ she said. The res­i­dents were de­lighted with their cosy ad­di­tions and Bow­den said it gave her ‘‘great plea­sure’’ to see them proudly dis­played. ‘‘I get the warm fuzzies. I like that they have some­thing to snug­gle into and dur­ing their last days when fam­i­lies are gath­ered around their bed for the last time, I like to think it might make a small dif­fer­ence,’’ she said. Ward coun­cil­lor Mark Peters at­tended the cer­e­mony to hand out the medals and con­grat­u­late the win­ners. ‘‘Our re­gion’s 11 lo­cal he­roes demon­strate the acts of char­ity, com­mit­ment and self­less­ness which is what holds a com­mu­nity to­gether. ‘‘Many of these in­di­vid­u­als are in­spir­ing mem­bers of our com­mu­nity who have all uniquely touched the lives of oth­ers ... to ac­knowl­edge these peo­ple and their ef­forts in mak­ing Marl­bor­ough a bet­ter place to live,’’ he said.

SCOTT HAM­MOND/ STUFF

Maria Bow­den, left, was awarded a Ki­wibank 2019 Lo­cal Hero of the Year. She made a quilt for her mother, Miriam Sul­li­van, right, and then 31 more for the other res­i­dents of Seav­iew Rest Home.

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