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Thank You for a Magnificent Year...

Battle Trust's Most Spectacular Year date!

Obviously the Trust's long term ambition is to create and open a Living History Centre at Prestongrange Heritage Museum - including a Pavilion dedicated to the Prestonpans Tapestry. But no matter when or how that goal is eventually achieved, 2010 will go down in the annals of the Trust and of Prestonpans as The Year They Made the Tapestry.

But who were 'they' ...

The statistics are regularly bandied in discussion ... " more than 200 Stitchers". Yet the Tapestry involved folk other than just those 200 and more to whom a massive debt of gratitude will always be owed. Each has their own tag on their panel; each has their own tale recorded in the Official Guidebook; each has a signed copy of their panel en route to the Nation's Archives.

..... But without the creative insight of Andrew Crummy, that gave the Tapestry its distinctive style across every panel, and who also authorised and encouraged each stitcher to add their own personality each time - where would we be? Andrew has been long recognised in The Pans and now amongst embroiderers for his creative and leadership skills. The completion and display of the Tapestry has also brought him much wider recognition and the respect he truly deserves. And he has tirelessly travelled to the umpteen venues and discussed just how it was accomplished with many a fascinated visitor. And of course his Chef de Cabinet, Dorie Wilkie - volunteer, promoted on the field to Lead Stitcher, always a steady head and hand as hiccups were ameliorated; who led us all, everyone, to the magnificent finished artwork.

..... And there's a team known as The Panel Beaters, who's charming voices, led by Shona McManus, can be heard singing the Pibroch on the CD Iain Green cut and spliced to an unbelievable deadline. But more than that they sewed all the panels together into the 20 x 5 + 1 x 4 metre cohorts not once but twice with yet further 'thoughts' in mind. They agonised over the velcro used and the sagging and humidty and the room temperatures and the way the cohorts are rolled outside out - and bagged for transportation. On occasion they've grabbed bucket and mop to smarten up even clean a venue when the best laid plans o' mice gang agley!

..... The Panel Beaters and many more Stitchers besides became a veritable army of volunteer enablers and guides for visitors across the Highlands, the East Coast and Edinburgh. These myriad Stitchers have handed out leaflets and created flyers and billboards and brought thousands of visitors to enjoy and marvel at the Tapestry since July 26th 2010.

..... And we were all watched and interviewed throughout by acclaimed film maker Eric Robinson who has created a world class DVD for us to treasure the rest of our lives.

..... Then there's Arran Johnston, aka Bonnie Prince Charlie, who as well as acting with Martin Margulies as historian for the Trust, volunteered himself for the role of white van driver. It took him on the eight week Highland tour as Tour Organiser for all ten venues, for the dozen or more scheduled already for 2011. Sometimes almost a thankless task, but one he undertakes with help from good friends aplenty, taking the opportunities arising to give public lectures to appreciative groups as he goes and to trigger the Alan Breck Regiment to re-enact.

And .... Gillian Curtis-Hart, whose photographs grace the Official Guide, who co-ordinated more people, posted more tubes and arranged more events in the year than can be imagined - and stiched panel # 1 in Rome. And Sylvia Burgess who was behind the scenes progress chasing and organising both to get everything started initially and to get the Guide to bed on time.

And .... what of the extraordinary PR accomplished by Kristine Cunningham via tv, radio, professional and news media, our story hardly out of the media for the last six months.

And .... your Webmaster and Editor of the Official Guide? He who made that catalytic visit to Bayeux? He is, I am, still in a state of shock at what has been achieved artistically and socially, how much voluntary time and effort has been gladly given by 'strangers' till we met. But also in shock at what the future requires even demands. A permanent home in The Pans, nothing less, is a must. Much money to be raised through Appeals and Applications and the rest. And the dream of tours with the Tapestry to the Diaspora still beckons.....

This NewsNet posting is to 'Thank One and All' for 2010, for everything they have contributed, noticed and un-noticed, to accelerate and embolden the work of the Battle Trust. Where there have been slip ups and mishaps, in particular, an even bigger 'Thank You' to all those who came smiling through after any necessary grim-faced stage.

We've learnt a lot, it's heuristic ....

There's been a lot of learning going on for all sorts and conditions amongst us this past 12 months. The Trust carries that forward into 2011. Gareth Bryn-Jones, the Trust's architectural inspiration both for 1745 and for our dreams of today and tomorrow, now sits in the Chair. Here's hoping, here's believing as the Prince did so long ago, that the love and affection lavished thus far will remain with us for as long as it takes to finish the campaign. No Derby moments here!

Yours aye - from the immediate Past Chairman gifted the biggest pin cushion in the world ......

Published Date: December 6th 2010

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