Woman finishes tapestry - after 42 years

Mary Daykin, of Taverham, with the tapestry she has recently finished during lockdown, having starte

Mary Daykin, of Taverham, with the tapestry she has recently finished during lockdown, having started it 40 years ago. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

A woman with osteoarthritis and incredible perseverance spent lockdown finishing a tapestry that has been 42 years in the making.

Mary Daykin, 75 and living in Taverham, near Norwich, bought the blank fabric at a market in Saint-Jean-de-Monts in the south of France over four decades ago while on holiday with her family.

Travelling extensively round England and Scotland because of her husband's job as a Littlewoods retail manager, the incomplete 42 x 30 inch tapestry would go with them - and straight into storage.

Mary Daykin, of Taverham, with the tapestry she has recently finished during lockdown, having starte

Mary Daykin, of Taverham, with the tapestry she has recently finished during lockdown, having started it 40 years ago. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

Every so often the Sunderland-born florist would get it out the cupboard, spend a week doing six inches of the cross-stitch template in one of the corners, and then put it away again.

"Life kept getting in the way", she said. "It's so painstaking and takes ages to do a tiny bit. You have to keep changing the colours of the wool to match the number, and the stitching is so intricate it feels like one part takes you forever."


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But lockdown changed all that - and gave Ms Daykin the perfect opportunity to do what she'd been meaning to for years.

Mary Daykin's tapestry she recently finished during lockdown, having started it 40 years ago. Pictur

Mary Daykin's tapestry she recently finished during lockdown, having started it 40 years ago. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

"I got it out on March 19 last year and didn't put it back in the cupboard", she said. "I thought, if it's there in front of me, it'll compel me to finish it."

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She went on: "I do jigsaws to keep my brain working, and I decided I wasn't allowed to do any more jigsaws until I'd finished my tapestry.

"I spent hours on it every single day in lockdown. The weather was superb, so a lot of the time I was just sitting stitching in my garden.

"I actually find it quite therapeutic."

The bridge detail in Mary Daykin's tapestry. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The bridge detail in Mary Daykin's tapestry. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

The tapestry, named "A Bridge Somewhere in France", was bought when Ms Daykin's daughter was 11. She's now 54.

"I finally finished this one on February 3 of this year", she explained. "My daughter then asked me if I wanted another one for my birthday but the answer was a resounding no.

"I really need to give my fingers and eyes a rest I think. I have osteoarthritis which would flare up in my knuckles sometimes when I was stitching.

"I'm definitely not done with tapestries forever though."

The stork detail in Mary Daykin's tapestry. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The stork detail in Mary Daykin's tapestry. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021


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