Do you remember a silky 1970s school gymnastics display?

Sudbury has been a major hub of the UK silk industry since the 18th century. Picture: ALUN CALLENDE

Sudbury has been a major hub of the UK silk industry since the 18th century. Picture: ALUN CALLENDER/GAINSBOROUGH SILK - Credit: ALLUN CALENDER

Organisers of a major project celebrating Sudbury’s silk industry are appealing for memories of a school gymnastics display at a summer fete more than 40 years ago.

The Sudbury Silk Stories project is searching for details of a silk-clad performance at Great Cornard Middle School in the 1970s and wants anyone with photographs or memories to contact them.

The mother of one of the pupils worked in the Stephen Walters and Sons mill and was able to provide silk offcuts to make costumes for the display.

The story was told to project co-ordinator Carole Creasey as she interviewed those connected to the silk industry.

Pupils were laid on the floor, drawn around and the resulting shapes then sewn together to make the costumes.


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Derek Davis, Babergh District Council's cabinet member for communities, said: "This story sums up what the Silk Stories project is about - all the ways the silk industry has flowed from the mills into the history, fabric and day to day life of the surrounding area.

"It shows just how the industry has shaped our community in unexpected and wonderful ways, and we'd love to hear more about it."

Sudbury Silk Stories wants to include the story of the silk Summer Fete costumes on the project's new website, alongside the interviews with silk industry staff.

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This website is being built to bring together the behind the scenes stories and anecdotes from the people who have helped create the acclaimed silk industry of Sudbury.

The project will also create a short film that will play at the Sudbury Silk Festival on September 7.

Anyone with details can email Carole Creasey or contact Babergh Council via its website and social media.

Sudbury Silk Stories, funded by Babergh District Council and £36,400 from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, is looking for the stories of current and former employees of Sudbury's silk industry.

It will explore the social history and changes that have taken place in the local industry, which continues to produce some of Europe's finest silk.

The project will record and share the experiences of silk mill staff, to create both a short film and an archive of interviews for the local community and for visitors to learn from.

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