TRIBUTES have been paid to a skilled quilt artist who dedicated her life to her work and teaching others.
Maureen Thomas died on December 23 last year and an exhibition celebrating her life’s work has been organised.
The 74-year-old went missing overboard while on a cruise from New York to the Caribbean.
The boat was around 100 nautical miles south east of Atlantic City, New Jersey, at the time she went missing and the US Coast Guard scrambled a plane and helicopter to search for her.
The search was called off shortly after.
Maureen’s husband Mike and close friends Ann Bartlett and Lesley Neal have organised the exhibition for later this month, which will show off her talents and passion.
We wanted a celebration of her life - something that was colourful and showed her personality and art work.Mike Thomas
Mike, who lived with Maureen in Emsworth, said: ‘She had been doing quilting for more than 40 years and she was an accomplished painter.
‘Maureen would paint her own fabrics and spent so much time on her work.
‘We wanted a celebration of her life – something that was colourful and showed her personality and artwork.’
Maureen, who grew up in Gosport, held classes in her home studio for people who wanted to learn quilting. She was also a member of the Bourne Quilters and the Quilters’ Guild.
She took part regularly in the annual Emsworth Art Trail and Ann said Maureen’s home, on Beach Road, was always a must-see during the event.
‘Everyone came to Maureen’s house to see her work,’ she said.
‘We would have hundreds of people through the doors throughout the art trail event.’
Maggie Gebbett was being taught by Maureen and said she was always happy to share tips and give people design ideas.
Paying tribute, Ann said: ‘Maureen was always generous and was an effervescent person. She inspired a lot of people.’
Lesley added: ‘She was enthusiastic and so talented.’
The exhibition is being held on March 21 at Emsworth Community Centre, on North Street. It is open between 10.30am and 4.30pm with a short memorial service at midday.