Gifts of beauty for the hurting

22 Sep 2020

Photo: The gift of a beautiful handmade quilt lifted the spirits of Clelland Lodge resident John Parker

By Emily Ferguson

Living in a residential aged care service is not what John Parker expected to be doing at the age of 67. But his spirits were lifted when Rachel Thomas, Associate Chaplain at Fresh Hope Care’s Clelland Lodge in North Nowra, presented him with an exquisite quilt, handmade by a local resident.

“I’m in a an aged care service and very few things are mine,” John said. “Rachel said she knew a lady who made quilts and I thought I would get an ordinary quilt, but Rachel gave me a thing of beauty – now I’ve got a million-dollar quilt on my bed! It lifted my spirits remarkably to think I have something of value. I think the lady gave it to me from the depths of her heart and I really do appreciate it.”

The quilt was handmade by Dianne Croft, a local Christian lady who has been making quilts since she was 12 years old.

“Eleven years ago, lots and lots of things happened and I was going to take my life,” Dianne recounts. “I was sitting here and the Lord said, ‘I’ve got better things for you to do. I want you to sew and keep sewing’. So I kept sewing and prayed, ‘Lord please open doors where there seems to be no way of reaching people.’

“He said my purpose in life is to give colour and joy into people’s lives that are really struggling and hurting. He’s given me a purpose for life, to get up and keep going, and he’s given others like Rachel a tool to use wisely to be able to reach people who are hurting.”

Dianne has made and gifted over 5000 quilts in the past 11 years, with John’s being one of eight presented to various residents of Clelland Lodge by Rachel.

“When I was at Dianne’s workshop earlier this year, there was a great big bundle of quilts and Dianne said she was sure people at Clelland Lodge would like them and that I should take them!” said Rachel.

“I spoke to the manager at Clelland about it and she thought it might be nice when people are palliative to have a beautiful quilt. The idea is that we make the environment really beautiful for when the family come, to make special moments for them. John is another resident I had on my heart who I thought would really love a quilt – I gave it to him last week and he is really thrilled.

“The staff are so touched, too. It’s been such a hard year for aged care services; we’re all under the pump and no one wants to drop their guard and unintentionally bring COVID-19 in. So, to have someone gift beautiful quilts made them smile and was encouraging for them. I think it gave the feeling that what we do really matters, makes a difference to people’s lives and that other people want to be part of that too.”


Read more stories of Fresh Hope here.