MU banner completed after 8 years and 411,456 stitches

After 411,456 stitches and eight years of planning, the new Mothers' Union banner was dedicated on Sunday during the celebration of the feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Christine Stedman, Rev John Chambers, Susan Scrafton, Bishop James, Ros Dobbins, Ann McDonald, Margaret Clayson, Lucy and Isaac with the new bannerThe banner was dedicated at the 10am service at St Mary the Virgin Parish Church, Richmond, with the Rt Revd James Bell, Bishop of Ripon, present.

Susan Scrafton, who stitched the banner, says, “We had a lovely service followed by coffee and cake.

“Then 30 members and friends of MU, including the Bishop, had lunch at The Kings Head Hotel in Richmond.

“Also, Ros Dobbin, our Diocesan President, was at the service.”

The banner was started on 28th October 2007 and finished on the 25th April by a team of dedicated craftswomen from the Mothers' Union.

 The banner’s design was inspired by a Christmas card Ann McDonald received after it was clear that the old banner was beyond repair.

Susan Scrafton and Bishop James with the new MU banner

Susan mentions, “Ann altered the image and scanned it and put it through a programme on a special computer. It printed the image on to graph paper and put all the colours on it.”

Next, Susan was left to stitch the banner.

“There were 200 stitches to half an inch,” she says.

“The banner was completed with three grandchildren arriving at intervals, for each of whom I stitched for also.”

The image on the right shows Susan Scrafton and Bishop James with the Mothers’ Union banner.

After the stitching was complete in April, the back panel was then worked on by Christine Stedman and 

Margaret Clayson in gold kid and handmade gold cords, using the same material as the church’s millennium vestments.

Susan describes, “On the back panel, the letters of the church’s name are made from gold leather and there is handmade gold twist chord outlining each letter.”

The banner was then dedicated at the church’s Patronal Festival.

 Susan says, “St Mary’s Mothers’ Union hopes that this beautiful banner will grace St Mary’s church for many years to come.”


For more information on St Mary the Virgin Parish Church, please visit their new website:

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