Christmas presents have now been exchanged for another year – and the people of Staffordshire Moorlands have been given an extra special gift that will last for generations to come.
The Staffordshire Millennium Embroideries represent a thousand years of the county’s history and, following a hugely successful tour across the UK, creator Sylvia Everitt has gifted them to the Nicholson Museum and Art Gallery.
Described by Sylvia as a labour of love, the embroideries took her five and a half years to complete and depict the achievers and innovators, the famous and infamous and events momentous and mundane that chart Staffordshire’s history in vivid colours.
Receiving the embroideries, Councillor Sybil Ralphs, Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for arts and culture, said: “What a gift we’ve been given! These embroideries are truly magnificent and we are so thrilled to be honoured with the role of custodian for these Staffordshire treasures.
“I know how much love and time Sylvia invested in these works – that’s evident to everyone who sees them – and we are delighted that she has trusted them to our care. And to Sylvia I say we will most certainly ensure we do all we can to celebrate her achievements and share these works of art with as many people as we can.
“The complete works will be going on display in the Nicholson Museum and Art Gallery later this year and I’m already looking forward with great anticipation to welcoming people through our doors to enjoy this unique record of a thousand years of Staffordshire’s history.”
Sylvia, who was awarded the MBE in the New Year’s Honours List of 2002, said she was pleased to find a suitable, permanent home for the embroideries.
She added: “Working on these embroideries was a significant commitment – my husband and I didn’t have a holiday for over five years – and they have been received with joy and enthusiasm wherever we have displayed them.
“I’m delighted to hand them into the safe keeping of the Nicholson and look forward to coming back to Leek to see them when they go on display later this year. I hope they bring as much pleasure and enjoyment to everyone who comes to see them as I had in doing them.”
The Staffordshire Millennium Embroideries will be on display from early February