OTLEY Sewing Collective had a special surprise when it opened the final day of its advent calendar in 2023.

Patrick Grant, from the Great British Sewing Bee, had heard about the phenomenal work the group has been doing for the community and sent the group a congratulatory message.

Patrick revealed on the video message that he is working on a project not far from Otley, and said: “Congratulations on everything you have done for the community.

“I understand you started during lockdown and have done all sorts of amazing things, so well done.

“I’m sure it’s incredibly appreciated by all who have received things and I’m sure you love doing it, so a fabulous thing all round.”

Andrea Petch had no idea of the impact her wish of helping the community at the beginning of the pandemic would have. She had 50 people answer her call for volunteers to sew scrubs for the NHS.

For the next 18 months, she organised the group she formed, The Otley Sewing Collective, working tirelessly, supporting the community and humbled to play a small part in Otley having one of the lowest Covid infection rates across the region.

Andi Petch said: “This is a fabulous end to the year for us, as well as other community projects we also created an advent calendar for the people of Otley to enjoy. This was inspired by our Christmas tree theme ‘the history of Otley’, and people have really liked it.”

Diane, one of the group members, commented: “Wow, none other than Patrick Grant! I’m seriously impressed that he would take the time for our little group. We absolutely love it!”

You can still see the message on the group’s Facebook page at facebook.com/OtleySewingCollective

The group meets at Beech Hill Church on the first Saturday morning (11am to 1pm) and the third Wednesday evening (7pm-9pm) each month.