Sewing queen Marie is awarded for 50 years in the Embroiderer’s Guild

Marie with her award - and her impressive collection of sewing machines. 
Picture Ian Hargreaves
Marie with her award - and her impressive collection of sewing machines. Picture Ian Hargreaves
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A SEAMSTRESS has received a certificate and a gold bar after completing half a century of sewing service.

Marie Whitworth, 86 from Hayling Island, was honoured last month for her 50 years of membership to the internationally-renowned Embroiderer’s Guild.

For three years of this, Mrs Whitworth served as an executive figure at the organisation – which keeps many articles from its vast, historical collection at Hampton Court Palace.

Marie was presented with her certificate at one of the guild’s regional events, held at Basingstoke.

She said being recognised came as something of a surprise.

‘I was a bit taken aback to be honest – I hadn’t realised the time had flown by like that.

‘It really is a rather lovely certificate.

‘It was a very nice ceremony as well, with all sorts of things going on.’

Despite the sum of her efforts, Marie has had to put her needles down for now.

‘I was diagnosed with polymyalgia and sciatica about 18 months ago.

‘As a result, I’ve had to have operations on my hand. It really affects you when you can’t do something you’ve been doing your whole life,’ she said.

However, placing her involuntary sabbatical aside, the scale of Marie’s love for sewing speaks for itself.

Since she was born in Portsmouth during the Second World War, she has collected over 60 machines – dating back as far as 1857.

She said: ‘What goes first, the collection or me? I can’t bring myself to think about parting with it. I love it.’

Throughout her career, Marie has fulfilled roles in the fur trade, dressmaking and sewing tuition.

She added: ‘I can’t understand how some people live without being able to sew.’