"Sewing Soldier" Neil Stace, holding up a flag he has sewn
Forces Charities

Sew Your Appreciation For Our Armed Forces, Urges 'Sewing Soldier'

Neil Stace, from TV's Great British Sewing Bee, wants us to get out our needles and thread to help homeless veterans.

"Sewing Soldier" Neil Stace, holding up a flag he has sewn

If we cast our minds back to 2015, we might well remember Lieutenant Colonel Neil Stace on BBC 2's Great British Sewing Bee.

One of three eventual finalists, and finishing as a runner-up, he told the nation how he'd been laughed at for taking his sewing machine on tour to Afghanistan and Bosnia.

But, since picking up the hobby aged ten, he's stitched everything from ammo pouches to rugby shirts. 

The soldier, from Salisbury, is now back in the public eye as we ramp up to Armed Forces Day 2019. He's heading a big art project in the city, that will make up part of the celebrations taking place there at the end of June.

This year, it's all about flags. Along with charity Alabaré - that helps the homeless, vulnerable, and socially-excluded - Lt Col Stace aims to sew brightly coloured banners that say a proper thanks to our Armed Forces. 

That's where we come in. The project is open for us all - whether we've never so much as looked at a sewing needle before, or have hemmed a thousand outfits. 

Flags can take any form, as long as they show a message of support for the Armed Forces, along with some military pictures. They will go on public display in St Thomas' Church in Salisbury from June 24. 

The "Sewing Soldier" said:

"I am delighted to be supporting Alabaré in their Flags of Thanks project. The work they do with military veterans is truly inspiring."

But, what to do with all of those flags after they have been showcased?

For a sponsorship donation, they will be turned into ponchos, quilts and sleeping bags for ex-service personnel who are using Alabaré's Homes For Veterans service.

The charity has been busy providing shelter for homeless veterans across the south of England and Wales, and says at the moment it has the capacity to keep 100 ex-servicemen and women per night off the streets. 

Neil's wife, Kate Stace, is a Military Liaison Officer at Alabaré; and said:

"It’ll help by showing that our community cares, that we are grateful to our veterans' service."

Want to join Neil in sewing your appreciation for the Armed Forces? Find out more here.

See more about Homes For Veterans here