Brighton residents sew ‘Threads of Survival’ quilts to celebrate 75 years of the NHS

Residents of Brighton and Hove aged from 11 to 82 have been inspired to take up their needles to join the ‘Threads of Survival’ project, to make two quilts one celebrating and one highlighting the dangers faced by the NHS as she turns 75 years old on 5 July.

Brighton and Hove Threads of Survival is part of a national campaign which started during lockdown. The Brighton and Hove quilts are the most recent of 30 quilts made by

communities in locations across the country. All of the quilts represent the coming together of people from a range of communities to support the NHS and NHS workers.

Brighton and Hove Scroll of Support for the NHS which is over 120 metres long has eloquent and moving messages from more than 3,000 people and will be displayed alongside the quilts.

Louise Bray Allen, a community mental health nurse, will open the ‘Threads of Survival’ exhibition at Dorset Gardens Methodist Church, Dorset Gardens, Brighton BN2 1SA at 11am, accompanied by Ukrainian Voices women’s choir. The exhibition will be open until 4pm on Saturday 1 July to Monday, 3 July when it closes at 3pm.

On 5 July, the Threads of Survival group will be celebrating the NHS birthday with Sussex Defend the NHS. Professor Rob Galloway, an A&E consultant and medical advisor to the NHS Support Federation will be speaking at 10 30am outside the ONCA gallery. The quilts will be displayed in the ONCA Gallery Window, 14 St George’s Place, Brighton BN1 4GB from Wednesday 05 July (NHS birthday) to Monday, 10 July.

There will be a stall outside the gallery all day with opportunities to sign NHS birthday cards, add personal messages to the NHS Scroll and of course eat some cake.

Many of the squares movingly express individuals’ appreciation of the NHS and NHS workers: “The NHS saved my life”. “Born in hospital, bones mended, life saved”, “Migrants make the NHS”.

Others highlight the current threats to the NHS from cuts in funding, extensive privatisation, the systemic undervaluing of NHS workers, chronic understaffing, and crises in availability of services for e.g. “Covid Aftermath”, “Claps don’t pay the bills”, “Healthcare not Wealthcare”, NHS SOS, the massive waiting lists for children and adults waiting for mental health treatment and many more.

Sean de Podesta, from Sussex Defend the NHS, who inspired the NHS Scroll said: “Since 2018 I have been going around the city listening to people’s experiences of the NHS. I know how precious it is to so many people. The Threads of Survival Exhibitions are an opportunity for people to see something beautiful, to reflect on what the NHS means to them, and what we need to do to ensure its survival.”

Madeleine Dickens from the Threads of Survival project said: “We urge everyone to come along to see the inspirational quilts and scroll and to join in the events. As the quilts and the scroll graphically show, so many people are deeply concerned about the dismantling of the NHS and what is being inflicted on the NHS and NHS workers.”

This article was published by Brighton and Hove News on Saturday 01 July.