It all began in 1990 with a coffee morning held in Brasted Kent, and organised by Sabrina Palley hoping to form a local quilt group.
"Subsequently The Village Quilters was formed, being made up of six people who all lived in villages in Kent nearby and we started meeting regularly in each others houses, deliberately keeping the numbers to six so that we could all fit in. At that time our church in Brasted was fundraising for a new roof after a fire and so we made a quilt to raffle for the church.
In 1991 we finished the quilt and so we decided to hold an exhibition of all the quilts we had made previously which we did at Hever Village Hall, just down from the castle, during which we served teas and raffled our quilt. Luckily it was sunny as there was no wet weather plan, the church hall being very small and we had lots of full sized hand quilted quilts inside! I had advertised our exhibition in all the quilting magazines and we were thrilled to have 300 visitors and we made £2,000 for the church.
The success of our show attracted the interest of the management of Hever Castle who were interested in the idea of whether holding a quilt show in the grounds of Hever Castle would bring in lots of visitors to the castle and this they decided to do. Since we were too small a group to organise such an event we suggested the Castle ask Jennie Lewis from Region 2 if she and their members would be interested in helping with this event. Luckily Jennie was happy to take it on and it was a great success. I remember we had a local television news team who came to the castle and we demonstrated quilting for the cameras and answered their questions!
For many years our group helped with the show and demonstrated patchwork and quilting techniques. We are delighted that the annual show has remained a success and we cant believe that our little exhibition 26 years ago was the inspiration for something that has given so many people such pleasure over the years.
Incidentally our little group still meets regularly and we had another exhibition in Limpsfield Chart in 2010 and Much Wenlock in 2011. We continue to make quilts ( hand quilted) although these are more likely to be cot quilts these days!"