Quilt-makers bag Aussie spirit for competitors and families

The Invictus spirit has reached far and wide, including to some of the best quilt-makers in Australia, who have produced a stunning set of quilts, laundry bags and black and yellow poppies to gift to competitors and their families and friends when Invictus Games Sydney 2018 begins.

The handcrafted Australian-themed pieces have been more than a year in the making and are a shining example of the enthusiasm for the fourth edition of the Games, which start in Sydney on 20 October.

The items are the outcome of a huge team effort by RSL Auxiliary groups from around the country, who voluntarily set to work shortly after it was announced that Sydney would host the Invictus Games in 2018.

Ann-Maree Jacobs with quiltsAnn-Maree Jacobs, of Canberra, personally made 12 quilts, 30 laundry bags and 27 black and yellow poppies.

“I have a friend of 45 years who is somebody you can’t say no to,” said Jacobs. “The instant I heard we were hosting the Invictus Games, I said to my husband ‘that phone’s going to ring’. And, sure enough, it did ring and we started getting to work.

“We said we wanted to make 590 bags in total and we got something like 1380. We said we wanted 20 quilts and we got 70. And we also wanted to identify the families of the competitors by giving them a black and yellow poppy to wear – the Invictus Games colours – and we got 8000.

“It’s just been wonderful. It’s all been totally voluntary and the women who’ve done this have done it at their own expense. We’ve got world-renowned prize-winning quilters from across the country who’ve made some of these quilts. It’s been lovely to see how people wanted to be involved.

“Some want to be involved because they’re connected to it, like me – I married into the Navy, they’re my family. Others have lost family members or knew somebody. Others just because they wanted to say thank you.”

RSL NSW President James Brown said he hoped the gifts would provide a prized memento for those involved in Invictus Games Sydney 2018.

“The RSL Auxiliaries are a passionate group of supporters who work tirelessly to help our veterans,” said Brown.

“We hope the competitors and their families and friends will treasure their gifts which have been created with care and dedication around Australia.”

Central Council of RSL Auxiliaries NSW President Pauline James said the bags, poppies and quilts were the RSL Auxiliaries’ way of showing their support.

“RSL Auxiliaries were founded on fellowship and a desire to care for our communities,” said James. “We are a voluntary organisation, dedicated to supporting the welfare of veterans of all wars and conflicts. As soon as it was announced the Invictus Games were coming to Sydney we jumped straight into action and started preparing the gifts.

“It is not just the NSW Auxiliaries which have thrown their support behind the project, Auxiliary groups from all around Australia have been busy preparing gifts to show their support for the veterans and their families and friends from all around the world. The support has been overwhelming.”

Quilter Kaye Brown, from Sydney’s south-west, suggested a day on which her guild members could come together to work on making the gifts.

“We had 25 people turn up to help, we had sewers and packers, ‘washer-uppers’, everything. We made a day of it and ended up making 137 bags. I also got some quilts together.

“I’ve got a son in the Air Force and my parents were in the Armed Forces in the 1940s, so it was something I was interested in – and I have a machine to quilt the quilts! But then my guild members all came on board, too, which was great.

“I’m only a little cog in a big wheel and you need a lot of little cogs to make a big wheel turn. It started off as a small idea and it’s become something really good.”

The laundry bags will form part of a welcome pack that competitors will receive on arrival for the Games. 

Members of the community who want to contribute to Invictus Games Sydney 2018 can come along and cheer on these determined servicemen and women. Get your tickets today>>>

David Sygall
Invictus Games Sydney 2018