FIVE hand-stitched panels charting the rich history of the Wee County were last week revealed at an Alloa Town Hall ceremony.

Inspired by the Great Tapestry of Scotland which came to Alloa in 2017 – and the lack of a Wee County representation on its panels – the Clackmannanshire Tapestry was revealed on Thursday, March 24, following years of stitching by volunteers.

Organised and led by Clackmannanshire Third Sector Interface (CTSI), the creation of the 100cm by 50cm panels involved 39 volunteers arranged in five groups, who put “blood, sweat and tears” into the work.

Designed by Andrew Crummy, who was also behind the Great Tapestry of Scotland, the project was supported by lead stitcher Lesley Thornton from Tillicoultry, aided by the Great Tapestry's Dorie Wilkie.

The panels, work on which began in 2019, depict five main industries of the county and the people involved: glass-working, mining, yarn spinning, brewing and weaving.

Volunteer groups adopted their own names with the Glassy Lassies, Clacks Crafters, Positive Spinners, Barrel of Laughs and Devon Divas working on their panels.

Workshops were initially organised to arm volunteers with skills, knowledge and equipment but Covid soon changed the landscape and many get-togethers had to move online before outdoor gatherings were allowed.

The panels were passed from stitcher to stitcher, quarantined in-between for days to ensure safety, but slowing progress.

Anthea Coulter, chief officer at CTSI, told the Advertiser: “The fact it's been through the pandemic – when you read some of the diary entries – it's been such a lifesaver for some people, just to have that social connection and feel a part of something that they can connect to.

“But, it's obviously taken longer [due to the pandemic], we didn't have so many blethers but there were still online blethers, we had online talks.

“It's just been a magical experience to be a part of it all the way through, just to see that volunteering effort coming together – from people who never picked up a needle – just a wonderful thing to be a part of.”

The tapestry will go on display at the Speirs Centre for the coming weeks and will later be hosted at the soon-to-launch Alloa Hub.

Anthea hopes the work will help bring more people in to visit the area, potentially as a starting point in their Clacks explorations.

At the unveiling ceremony last week, Lesley Thornton told the Alloa Town Hall crowd: “There's more to the Clackmannanshire Tapestry than you will see.

“More than the hours, more than the linen and wool, more than the blood, sweat and tears.

“And I assure you, if you test this for DNA, all three will be found!”