Team GB for Sew Powerful

My name is Sandy Simm from the UK. This will be my fourth year with the Sew Powerful Team and what a team it was and is becoming. I loved the idea of the charity as it was not asking for money, which I hadn't got, it only asked for my time which I had lots of!

Having just lost my house, my mum and a few years before my dad, I was not in a particularly good place. I have been a seamstress all my life. From the age of 10, making long gowns for my mum, as each Saturday night mummy and daddy went out dancing. They loved it. Even our holidays had to be in hotels where ballroom dancing was a must for every evening. She had to have at least 12 gowns – one for every night of our main two-week holiday!

I left school at 15 and went into the hosiery industry in and around the Midlands. I lived in the heart of the midlands in a small town called Hinckley in Leicestershire (pronounced Lestershire). I worked all my life sewing. I had my own business eventually making children's wear with English smocking. I was in my late 40's. I did go to university first, (aged 37), for three years, loved it and finished at the age of forty with a BSC (Batchelor of Science) Honours Degree with my graduation held in Coventry Cathedral. Just to prove I had a brain I suppose. Otherwise, I was dubbed a ‘dumb blonde'.

Anyway, age 58 and finding myself at a loss, feeling down and low, I had to sell my business. I desperately needed something – and I came across Sew Powerful. I can't even remember how I came across it. I read about it and read about it some more and then contacted Jason. I was full of ideas and couldn't believe I had found something where I could put my talents to some use without it costing me - as I was broke.

Jason was so enthusiastic and encouraged me. I wanted to work for them, to travel around the UK delivering the Sew Powerful word, doing demonstrations in schools and colleges and anywhere else I could go. Unfortunately, they couldn't go down this route as I would need expenses for fuel and overnight accommodation, but Jason put ideas my way. I became the UK coordinator – one of the first I believe. So, I got sewing – I made bags and got online trying to get the word out, asking people to get involved. I learned a lot during the first year. Taking the ups and downs, but people did start sending me bags. We did 100 that first year. I was thrilled. I called us Team GB for Sew Powerful and we were off the mark!

My spirits lifted, I set up for year 2. Team GB did 300. Then last year we did 450. I have a goal of reaching 600, then 1000 and then who knows! Keep your eye on Team GB for Sew Powerful – we have wings!

Again, I entered a very dark place this year in 2019, my daughter lost her baby girl Mini Rae. For the first time in a very, very long time I looked up out of my window and asked for me to be taken and not this precious baby girl. I asked Jason to say a prayer for her. But it was not to be. I threw myself into Sew Powerful. Kept coming up with ideas and eventually asked Jason, Cinnamon and Sew Powerful if they would support me to do a show here in the UK. It was one of the biggest quilting shows held in Europe. I didn't hold out much hope, as I knew how expensive it was. BUT they did! They supported me, they trusted me and they will never know how much good this did, I was elevated. Then they were coming over from the US to work with me. I put kits together, sent for banners, printed out patterns. Sue Kirby was sending me information every day to help put the show together. Telling me how it worked, how things were to be displayed.

The rest is history. I had the most wonderful 5 days. My self-esteem is on the ceiling, I talked ‘till I was hoarse. Oh, what wonderful people we all met. I felt like I had been with the girls and their mums in Lusaka. I embraced them. I understood and knew what Sew Powerful was all about.

My next goals are - I will and I can do more shows, travel the UK giving talks and demo's about Sew Powerful, get Sew Powerful into schools. I will and I can get the young people sewing and feeling good about giving and working with a charity. I will and I can, one day I will meet all the wonderful seamstresses to thank them and let them know what a fantastic job they are doing and I will give them a huge pat on the back. Then I will become an Atelier Angel, I want to start helping to pay the wages of at least 4 seamstresses this year!

Finally, I will go to Lusaka to visit the Ngombe Compound and the Needs Care School. I must meet everyone. I want to hug them and teach them.

OK, I don't pray, I am not religious but Sew Powerful will teach me if needs be. I am humbled and honoured to do this work. I feel needed, appreciated, loved and I am truly grateful. 

Hello Sew Powerful meet Sandy!

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