This year marks the 50th anniversary of many BBC local radio stations across England. To celebrate this huge occasion, our Up For Arts teams in Merseyside and Cumbria helped to create beautiful new quilts to celebrate the history of their local stations and communities.

BBC Radio Merseyside 50th anniversary quilt


BBC Radio Merseyside went on the air on 22 November 1967. To mark half a century of broadcasting Up For Arts collaborated with listeners and local crafters from across Merseyside, Cheshire, West Lancashire to create this celebratory 50th birthday banner.

Each square represents the areas served by the station and the relationship between listeners, presenters, and programmes over the past 50 years.

Craft workshops were held at venues across the region including: Liverpool Central Library, Norton Priory Museum in Runcorn, the Williamson Art Gallery in Birkenhead, Prescot Elizabethan Fayre, Parr Mount Court in St Helens, The Atkinson in Southport and The Royal British Legion Pop-In Centre, Liverpool.

The celebratory banner is on display at BBC Radio Merseyside studios on Hanover Street in Liverpool. The building is open Monday to Friday 9am - 5pm – (Don’t forget the reception is closed at weekends)”

With thanks to the many craftspeople of all ages who created a square for the banner. Special thanks to Michelle Barton and Kay Redmond from the Quilters Guild for piecing together the finished banner. Also, thanks for the support of artist-maker-workshop facilitator Becky Waite, 'A' Team volunteers, BBC & Voluntary Arts staff and Helen Jones (Up for Arts Broadcast Manager, Radio Merseyside).

For any queries call Helen Jones, Up for Arts Merseyside / BBC Radio Merseyside, [email protected]

The Heathlands Project, BBC Radio Cumbria quilt


The Cumbria Quilts, a people's patchwork for the county,  went on show at Tullie House Museum & Art Gallery in Carlisle on Saturday 11 November depicting Cumbria’s greatest treasures.

Listeners to BBC Radio Cumbria and members of The Quilters Guild were invited to stitch what they loved most about the county on a 10” block. Nearly 100 blocks were returned expressing love of Cumbria in fabric and stitch.

The response was brilliant. Each patch tells a story of what people treasure most about this place. There are lots of the mountains and lakes complete with shimmering fish in metallic fabrics. But also lots of personal pieces depicting people’s favourite picnic spots, their house or garden and we have foody love too with a Cumberland Sausage on there. It’s a real celebration of the county and its crafting talent.

- Jennie Dennett, BBC Radio Cumbria’s Up for Arts broadcaster

Eaglesfield patch by Jackie Keevil, BBC Radio Cumbria quiltIt took nearly a month for all the contributed patches to be stitched together by Carolyne Searle of Sea Barn Quilting in Silloth with help from quilter Barbara Strong. The project began in April as part of the Get Creative weekend which encourages groups to show off their creative work and get more people involved.

BBC radio stations joined with The Quilters Guild to run sewing sessions to start the quilts, ready to be unveiled as part of the celebrations for the 50th anniversary of BBC Local Radio this week.

Local radio is about sewing communities together so what better way to mark the occasion than with a people’s patchwork for Cumbria. There are so many brilliant groups in this county that bring people together to be creative and this project has also helped shine a light on them.

- Jennie Dennett

Groups that contributed to the quilt include the Levens Quilters, the Lunesdale Quilters, Seaton’s Stitch Class, Sooz in the Shed and Creative Wellbeing in Carlisle, The Studio Morland and Myriad Studio in Penrith and the Cumberland Branch Embroiderers Guild.

One of the four quilts was also entirely made from patches from The Heathlands Project based near Carlisle which supports adults with disabilities and mental health problems.

"We’re proud of our project and love being able to share our work with others,” said Heathland’s textile artist Helen Walsh.

Herdwicks in Herdwick, BBC Radio Cumbria quiltQuilter Jackie Keevil was among those putting their patch on the quilt with a machine and hand-stitched picture of her home village of Eaglesfield in West Cumbria. “Crafting simply makes me feel happy,” she said. “It is a creative endeavour and we are creative beings at heart.”

The Cumbria Quilts will hang at Tullie House until 19 January 2018 when they will begin a tour of the county, starting at Barrow Library.

Any queries call Jennie Dennett, Up for Arts Cumbria / BBC Radio Cumbria, 07711 348907 / [email protected]

Pictures included:
Radio Merseyside quilt in-situ at Hanover Street
A section of the quilt created with patches from The Heathlands Project
Eaglesfield patch by Jackie Keevil
Herdwicks in Herdwick tweed by Ann Hunter, Levens Quilters