October 5th saw us back in St James’s Palace, our “Guild HQ”, to unpack, sort and count all the beautiful hand knitted and stitched items that talented Guild members and supporters “hand made with love” for those in need. It was very different to our normal three day Packing Week at the Palace, but all worked brilliantly – thanks to the hard work of around 100 Guild Friends. Stalls with small displays of the very best handmade items, together with samples of all the purchased items, were ready for the arrival of our wonderful Patron HRH Princess Alexandra for View Day at 2pm.
We are so grateful to Princess Alexandra for her continued support, the keen interest she takes in the work of the Guild and for taking the time to speak to almost everyone present at View Day.. The Sales Table was buzzing with the wonderful new QMCG logo tea towels, shopping bags and new Guild badges alongside the exquisitely, handmade Christmas decorations and two incredible knitted Christmas cribs. It was such a joy for everyone to come together after last year’s lockdowns.
As soon as the View Day guests left, all the clothing and displays were quickly packed away in time for our twice delayed AGM – which was held in the Entrée Room (normally home to “Mens” and “Various” stalls).
Guild Friends who stayed on for the AGM were treated to an inspirational talk by Kate MacKenzie and daughter Amy from Companions of Malta. We were all spellbound hearing how Westminster Council asked them to organise a hub for everything that the homeless of Westminster would need when they were moved into hotel and hostel accommodation at the start of the pandemic.
Gillie Jackson retired as Chair of Trustees after a truly remarkable 7 year’s leading our special charity through change and pandemic. A sign of the appreciation of so many in the Guild was the amount raised for a present in recognition of the brilliant job that Gillie has done. Gillie handed over to Teresa Myers – the Guild continues in safe hands!
Packing Week Part 2!
Because we couldn’t be sure, back in January, what would or would not be possible this autumn, we booked two days at Hendall Manor Barns in East Sussex for our second “Not at the Palace Packing Week”. A very small, crack team worked flat out for two days unpacking and sorting all the purchased and donated items, and then packing them up with the knitted and stitched items from the week before, ready for charities to collect on the second afternoon. This year we are particularly grateful to John Lewis for a huge donation of brand new, “samples” clothing, to George Turner Socks for over 1,000 of the finest quality socks and to the girls of Manor House School for an amazing large selection of clothes. We are also very grateful to our wonderful suppliers, who again went the extra mile to make sure all that we had purchased was there in time to pack.
Over 50,000 items of brand new clothing, bedding and PPE (including more fabulous hand stitched face masks) were collected by 43 English charities – three of which were supported for the first time this October. We are currently working on the Scottish distribution which we hope will happen shortly
And then we start all over again for next year when we will celebrate 140 years of this little charity doing a very big job.