Crochet enthusiast set for festival

HRH The Duchess of Cornwall speaks to GrandMaker Celia Dennis, who will teach Crochet at GrandFest 2016, hosted by Royal Voluntary Service
HRH The Duchess of Cornwall speaks to GrandMaker Celia Dennis, who will teach Crochet at GrandFest 2016, hosted by Royal Voluntary Service

Celia Dennis from Coldwaltham will be returning to GrandFest this year to teach the art of crochet at the one day festival in London this June.

Proudly presented by Royal Voluntary Service and now in its second year, GrandFest celebrates the craft skills of talented older people.

Taking place on Sunday June 5 between 11am – 5pm in Spitalfields, GrandMakers, older people all over 70 years old will run masterclasses to pass on the heritage skills they have learnt and perfected over the years to the younger generation.

As President of Royal Voluntary Service, The Duchess of Cornwall recently met all of the talented GrandMakers at the launch of GrandFest 2016 to get a sneak preview of the skills they plan to showcase at GrandFest.

The festival is expected to be even bigger and better than last year, taking over nearby cafes, shops and museums with free master classes in craft skills such as knitting, preserve making, jewellery making and crochet.

72 year-old Celia has volunteered with Royal Voluntary Service for two and a half years, working with the Good Neighbours Scheme since she retired from the health service.

Celia covers the whole of West Sussex and spends around three days a week visiting clients and giving presentations to help attract volunteers.

As a child, Celia remembers her mother knitting while watching Wimbledon, and this first sparked her interest in crafts.

It was her grandmother who inspired her to try crochet and she would sit at her knee while making decorative table mats.

From there, she went on to experiment with making clothes and now regularly makes gifts for family and friends, such as babies’ shawls, christening gowns and cardigans.

Celia believes crochet is a great way to relax and switch off while creating something beautiful that gives a sense of achievement and pride.

Celia will be hosting crochet master classes at GrandFest and is thrilled to be part of the event.

“Creating your own clothes or accessories means you can choose the colours, styles and shapes that suit you rather than having to wear what fashion tells you to wear and gives you a great a sense of achievement.

“So come along to my masterclass where you can join in, as I show you how to do basic crochet stitches that will give you the confidence and skills to tackle your own projects at home.”

David McCullough, Chief Executive of the Royal Voluntary Service, says: “Royal Voluntary Service launched GrandFest to celebrate the many skills possessed by older people and to highlight the importance of them continuing to enjoy and share them in later life.

“Last year, GrandFest was a huge success, with hundreds of people booked into master classes to learn a new skill.

“We are hoping that this year will be even more popular and are thrilled to have Celia back to pass on her crochet skills.”

Royal Voluntary Service supports over 100,000 older people each month to stay independent in their own homes for longer with tailor made solutions.

Through its army of 36,000 volunteers, the charity runs services such as Good Neighbours (companionship), Meals-on-Wheels and Books-on-Wheels that alleviate loneliness and help older people.

Royal Voluntary Service also provides practical support for older people who have been in hospital through its On Ward Befriending and Home from Hospital services.

GrandFest is free with a suggested donation of £5 to take part.

For a full list of master classes available or to book a place, please visit: