Peter Fox

12 June 1929 – 26 January 2020

Peter and Sheila wrote in an article for the QT Summer Newsletter 1998, entitled ‘Retirement in Kendal’, “The idea of the Quaker Tapestry had intrigued us since its earliest days although we didn’t become involved until 1989”

In 1989 Ann Nichols went to teach an embroidery workshop in Welwyn Garden City where Peter and Sheila were living at that time. Sheila had been instrumental in gathering together enough Friends to attend that workshop and, as a result, Peter, and Friends in that area, embroidered a small part of the Service Overseas panel.

Peter enjoyed the embroidery and contributed stitches on several other panels, he remembered;

“I felt, having been born in South Africa where my father was very involved in keeping Friends active there, that I’d also like to find the South Africa Panel and do something [embroidery] on it. I was asked by those currently working on it that I should to do the central line representing ground. This seems most appropriate seeing that my father had been Clerk of South Africa General Meeting (of Britain Yearly Meeting) and which subsequently became Southern Africa Yearly Meeting”  South Africa panel.

In 1990 Peter and Sheila played a large part in the staging of an exhibition of 26 panels of the Tapestry in St Albans Cathedral and from then on they were totally hooked! They were both involved in organising those early travelling exhibitions and they have served on many a Quaker Tapestry committee over the years.

In 1995 Peter and Sheila, knowing that they would both want to be involved in the life of the Tapestry, moved to Kendal. Their newsletter article written two and a half years later states, “We certainly haven’t found that retirement is a time for putting our feet up.”

They were both involved in volunteer stewarding – welcoming visitors at reception, serving in the shop, answering questions, and Peter was often called upon to demonstrate and talk about the stitches to various groups. It was a lovely change to see a man demonstrate the stitching – this art of embroidery is all too often thought to be a female only pastime. He was a wonderful role model for many a school group – it was amazing that his huge hands could wield such a tiny needle, performing such intricate embroidery.

Peter and Sheila’s activities also included various duties within Kendal Meeting. With his problem solving skills, Peter became involved in the Meeting House building maintenance, with technical problems involving heating and lighting and such like. Peter was involved with the Quaker Housing Complex (accommodation for elderly Friends), delivering meals and helping with driving.

They were both involved in preparations for the exhibitions. Peter and Sheila would assist with choosing which panels to take on the Roadshows each year. They would research which of the panels were embroidered within a particular area or whether the social history depicted within the panel had some significance to that part of the country.

In 1998 they wrote; “We manage to get to many concerts and fairly often some glorious walks in the country. Life is really full and enjoyable.”

Peter and Sheila were a double act and worked tirelessly for the Quaker Tapestry over the years. Sheila is still involved of course, and with her wealth of knowledge of the Tapestry, has recently been helping with sorting out some of the archive papers.

The Quaker Tapestry Publications Committee have been re-writing the Pictorial Guide book over the past few years and Peter and Sheila were called upon to organise the definitive date order of the panels. The updated version will be published later this year.

Peter gave such a lot of time to the Quaker Tapestry that his family have requested donations to be made to the Quaker Tapestry in his memory

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“An extraordinary history starting in the Lake District in 1652, founding banks, chocolate companies, building railways, establishing Pennsylvania, chatting with Russian Czars and Turkish Sultans.”

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