Lasting hugs arrive all wrapped up for Bourne school children

From a hobby that benefited her own family and friends – creative solicitor and keen quilter Alison Banerjee has turned a pastime into a passion to help others.

Alison, from law firm Buckles Solicitors LLP, began making quilts for her own children, family and friends after getting well and truly smitten with sewing some 20 years ago.

She has since become involved with Project Linus UK, a volunteer organisation which aims to provide a sense of security and comfort to sick  and traumatised babies, children and teenagers through the provision of new homemade patchwork quilts and knitted or crocheted blankets.

As coordinator for this area, Alison has led a project to ensure that every child at the Willoughby School in Bourne receives a quilt – something Alison describes as a ‘lasting hug’.

With the help of a number of quilters from across North Cambridgeshire and South Lincolnshire, each of the pupils at the Willoughby School has their own blanket – the result of three months’ hard work by volunteers.

Alison said: “There are 79 children in the school and every one of them has a quilt! I first met some of the children from Willoughby School in early February when they came to visit the Buckles office in Peterborough and they left with a quilt from Project Linus on the day. It has taken around three months to get together quilts for everyone thanks to a team of dedicated quilters.”

James Husbands, Headteacher at Willoughby School added: “We have very kindly been donated quilts for each one of our pupils thanks to the kindness and generosity of Alison and those who have made the quilts through Project Linus UK. The pupils and their parents have been delighted with the quilts. Thank you Project Linus and Buckles Solicitors.”

Alison, who estimates she has made 20 quilts a year over the past two decades, explained her passion: “Quilting is my time to daydream and think and just be. I need to create something with my own hands. I need to leave something material in this world. I need to  give some love to the people who receive my quilts even when I don’t know them. I need to  touch, feel and smell the fabric. I love to think about the many different combinations of colour and pattern I can make with it and even audition fabrics to see how they work together, and frequently surprise myself as to what unexpectedly works.

“It nourishes me, and I need to quilt. Quite simply, quilting is my thing.”

Anyone wishing to find out more about Project Linus UK or would like to get involved locally can visit