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Sewing fans turn out in force to make ‘pillowcase dresses’ for needy youngsters

PUBLISHED: 21:39 02 March 2018 | UPDATED: 21:51 02 March 2018

CJ Glover and Irene Palmer help make dresses for Ugandan youngsters at a 12-hour sewathon held at the Lighthouse Community Church, Sheringham. Photo: GARETH GABRIEL

CJ Glover and Irene Palmer help make dresses for Ugandan youngsters at a 12-hour sewathon held at the Lighthouse Community Church, Sheringham. Photo: GARETH GABRIEL

Gareth Gabriel - Film and Photo

More than 200 nimble-fingered sewing fans from all over the county helped make dresses, skirts and handbags for needy Ugandan girls, as part of a project run by Sheringham’s Lighthouse Community Church to support a school in the troubled country.

Hannah Morrison and Olly Gabriel help make dresses for Ugandan youngsters at a 12-hour sewathon held at the Lighthouse Community Church, Sheringham. Photo: GARETH GABRIELHannah Morrison and Olly Gabriel help make dresses for Ugandan youngsters at a 12-hour sewathon held at the Lighthouse Community Church, Sheringham. Photo: GARETH GABRIEL

Reed People, which was launched by the Lighthouse Charity Trust in 2013, aims to support children and teachers at the Lumperie School, in southern Uganda.

Since visiting the 250-pupil primary school for the first time to build a toilet block, make desks and concrete classroom floors, teams of church members have made regular trips, fitting new doors and windows, installing a rain water collection tank and taking out hand-made clothes.

Volunteers making clothes for needy Ugandan children at a 12-hour sewathon held at the Lighthouse Community Church, Sheringham. Photo: GARETH GABRIELVolunteers making clothes for needy Ugandan children at a 12-hour sewathon held at the Lighthouse Community Church, Sheringham. Photo: GARETH GABRIEL

Sewathon organiser Jo Mutton, whose husband Ian plans to fly out to Uganda this week with a team of fellow Lighthouse members to help local men install electricity and renovate a veranda, said the project was part of a ten-year plan to improve accommodation for pupils.

“Because of the trouble in northern Uganda in the past, around 40 children have been sent by their parents to the school for safety reasons and, as a result of that, some of the classrooms have had to be turned into dormitories,” she explained.

Octogenarian Sheila Stringer, who travelled from her home at Diss to help make dresses for Ugandan youngsters as part of a 12-hour sewathon held at the Lighthouse Community Church, Sheringham. Photo: GARETH GABRIELOctogenarian Sheila Stringer, who travelled from her home at Diss to help make dresses for Ugandan youngsters as part of a 12-hour sewathon held at the Lighthouse Community Church, Sheringham. Photo: GARETH GABRIEL

Future plans including buying the land the school is situated on and building more classrooms, dormitories and washrooms, as well as a kitchen and medical room, which would allow the school to take up to 650 pupils and make it more financially secure.

Project leaders also hope to build a secondary school and technical college on land the trust has already bought.

Volunteers making clothes for needy Ugandan children at a 12-hour sewathon held at the Lighthouse Community Church, Sheringham. Photo: GARETH GABRIELVolunteers making clothes for needy Ugandan children at a 12-hour sewathon held at the Lighthouse Community Church, Sheringham. Photo: GARETH GABRIEL

The Cromer Road church held its first sewathon last year, with dozens of people taking part in a 24-hour stitching marathon.

This year’s event, which ran for 12 hours, saw 240 people from as far afield as Norwich and Diss use unpicked pillowcases to make 140 dresses, 30 skirts, 53 handbags and 430 reusable sanitary towels.

Volunteers making clothes for needy Ugandan children at a 12-hour sewathon held at the Lighthouse Community Church, Sheringham. Photo: GARETH GABRIELVolunteers making clothes for needy Ugandan children at a 12-hour sewathon held at the Lighthouse Community Church, Sheringham. Photo: GARETH GABRIEL

“It was absolutely overwhelming,” Mrs Mutton said “I found it quite emotional and humbling to see so many people turn out to support a community they are never likely to meet, yet who are so vulnerable.”

To find out more about the Reed People project, or to make a donation, visit: www.reedpeople.org

Volunteers making clothes for needy Ugandan children at a 12-hour sewathon held at the Lighthouse Community Church, Sheringham. Photo: GARETH GABRIELVolunteers making clothes for needy Ugandan children at a 12-hour sewathon held at the Lighthouse Community Church, Sheringham. Photo: GARETH GABRIEL

Volunteers making clothes for needy Ugandan children at a 12-hour sewathon held at the Lighthouse Community Church, Sheringham. Photo: GARETH GABRIELVolunteers making clothes for needy Ugandan children at a 12-hour sewathon held at the Lighthouse Community Church, Sheringham. Photo: GARETH GABRIEL


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