Birthday honours: Super knitter from Norfolk awarded BEM
- Credit: Sandringham Estate
A Norfolk knitter who has done wonders with wool and raised over £50,000 for local good causes has been awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM).
Margaret Seaman's creations have included a knitted version of the Queen's Norfolk residence at Sandringham, and her lockdown masterpiece Knittingale Hospital.
The 93-year-old, from Caister, near Great Yarmouth, said she was "overwhelmed and thrilled" to receive the award, given for "charitable service in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, particularly during Covid-19" according to the citation.
It all started when she joined a knitting group at the Louise Hamilton Centre in Gorleston and decided to re-create a knitted pond and garden in memory of her late husband Fred.
This was displayed at the James Paget University Hospital and raised £13,000 for the palliative care centre.
During the pandemic, she used thirty-four balls of wool and took three months to craft an entire hospital to raise money for Norfolk's three hospitals.
Her works, including a knitted Golden Mile, have been displayed all over the country including at The Forum in Norwich and at Sandringham House.
Knittingale Hospital - a knitted version of the temporary wards bought in in response to the coronavirus pandemic, dubbed Nightingale Hospitals - made headlines around the world and inspired Prime Minister Boris Johnson to write to her expressing his admiration.
He said: “I was inspired to hear of your fantastic ‘Knittingale Hospital’ through which you have sewn together a stunning symbol of our NHS and a wonderful tribute to the extraordinary men and women who are fighting on the frontline of our battle against coronavirus.
“You have raised thousands of pounds and lifted the spirits of the nation.”
His words came as he handed out a daily Points of Light award aimed at recognising outstanding volunteer and community contributions.
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Mrs Seaman has repeatedly said it is the funds raised for charity that matters most.
“It does not seem to me that I am doing anything special," she told this newspaper.
“I enjoy what I am doing and I like to keep on doing it as long as I can.
“People like looking at the knitting and I like raising the money too.”