Andrew Crummy, MBE, who created the Great Tapestry of Scotland dealt with his cancer diagnosis in 2017 in the only way he knew how.

He drew sketches to express his feelings which were later used as a template for a tapestry, and the documentary showing how the tapestry came about will be shown in Edinburgh this weekend.

Visitors to the Cornerstone Centre at St John’s Episcopal Church on Princes Street will be able to watch the documentary and see four completed panels of the tapestry. Stitchers will be on hand taking part in an afternoon workshop and will explain how it works. The ambition is to create a cancer tapestry which will show 1,000 stories of cancer, portraying the science behind cancer care and the human side of cancer treatment. The hope is also to represent the compassion and caring that comes from doctors, nurses and staff as well as family and friends.

Visit the Cornerstone Centre from 1.30pm on Saturday 3 February 2024.

Jon Gill, documentary maker, explained how he got involved. He said: “As soon as I heard Andrew’s story I just had to tell it. And it became so much more than I could have imagined at the beginning. What’s remarkable is that until now the stories in Andrew’s tapestries have been geographical… whereas The Cancer Tapestry is universal.”

Dr Crummy said: “In 2017 I went through treatment for throat cancer. Through this experience I began speaking to Rod Mountain, an ENT surgeon from Ninewells Hospital, Dundee. Rod had heard through a mutual friend Fraser MacLean that I had designed The Great Tapestry of Scotland.

“Rod phoned me while I was in hospital getting chemotherapy treatment, suggesting when I get better I should think about doing a Cancer Tapestry. While at the same time, my oncologist Dr Ioanna Nixon noticed I was sketching in the hospital and encouraged me to keep drawing. After my treatment Ioanna, who was then working at The Beatson in Glasgow, and Rod began the journey with me to create a Cancer Tapestry, later joined by Gillian Hart.  Over the coming years several panels have been created. And recently MacMillan Cancer Support supported the creation of a documentary by Jon Gill and this event.

“As a designer and community artist I felt I could give something back to The NHS and the amazing treatment I received. Getting The Cancer Tapestry up and running has been a real privilege, in particular the many moving stories that are shared and stitched.”

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Founding Editor of The Edinburgh Reporter.
Edinburgh-born multimedia journalist and iPhoneographer.