Birthday honours: Super knitter from Norfolk awarded BEM

Margaret Seaman has knitted together a woolly recreation of Sandringham Estate.

Norfolk knitter Margaret Seaman has been awarded a BEM in the Queen's birthday honours 2022, announced on the eve of her Platinum Jubilee. - 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.

Margaret Seaman has knitted together a woolly recreation of Sandringham Estate.

Margaret Seaman has knitted together a woolly recreation of Sandringham Estate. - Credit: Sandringham Estate

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.

Margaret Seaman has knitted a pond to help raise funds for the Louise Hamilton Centre.

Where it all started: Margaret Seaman with her knitted pond in memory of husband Fred. - Credit: Nick Butcher

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.

Margaret Seaman's latest knitted creation, Knittingale Hospital, to raise money for Norfolk hospital

Margaret Seaman's latest knitted creation, Knittingale Hospital, to raise money for Norfolk hospitals. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2020

She presented the NHS Knittingale with an A&E department, three wards, a helipad, fifty-eight knitted figures, and it all sat beneath an enormous rainbow.

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.

Margaret Seaman with her knitted recreation of Sandringham. 

Margaret Seaman with her knitted recreation of Sandringham. - Credit: Contributed

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.”

Margaret Seaman with her knitted Sandringham Church 

Margaret Seaman with her knitted Sandringham Church - Credit: Archant

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.

Margaret Seaman has knitted together a woolly recreation of Sandringham Estate.

Margaret Seaman has knitted together a woolly recreation of Sandringham Estate. - Credit: Sandringham Estate

“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.”

Staff at their desks in knitter Margaret Seaman's Knittingale Hospital. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Staff at their desks in knitter Margaret Seaman's Knittingale Hospital. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2020

Margaret and Fred Seaman

Margaret and Fred Seaman - Credit: Archant

Margaret Seaman has knitted together a woolly recreation of Sandringham Estate.

Margaret Seaman has knitted together a woolly recreation of Sandringham Estate. - Credit: Sandringham Estate

Staff at their desks in knitter Margaret Seaman's Knittingale Hospital. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Staff at their desks in knitter Margaret Seaman's Knittingale Hospital. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2020

The restaurant in knitter Margaret Seaman's Knittingale Hospital. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The restaurant in knitter Margaret Seaman's Knittingale Hospital. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2020

Patients in the children's ward in knitter Margaret Seaman's Knittingale Hospital. Picture: DENISE B

Patients in the children's ward in knitter Margaret Seaman's Knittingale Hospital. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2020

Margaret Seaman's latest knitted creation, Knittingale Hospital, to raise money for Norfolk hospital

Margaret Seaman's latest knitted creation, Knittingale Hospital, to raise money for Norfolk hospitals. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2020

Margaret Seaman has knitted together a woolly recreation of Sandringham Estate.

Margaret Seaman has knitted together a woolly recreation of Sandringham Estate. - Credit: Sandringham Estate