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Last Updated: Thursday, 10 May 2007, 05:44 GMT 06:44 UK
Woman's charity tie quilt effort
Shirley Bray with some of the ties
Hundreds of ties have already been donated
A woman from Gwynedd is spending up to a year creating a quilt made from ties to raise money for the Wales Air Ambulance.

Shirley Bray, 71, from Tywyn, has already received 900 ties, including ones from prime minister Tony Blair and his likely successor Gordon Brown.

She needs a further 300 before the completed quilt is auctioned online.

Air ambulance fund-raisers said they hoped Mrs Bray's "novel" idea would raise a lot of money.

'Big process'

BBC Radio Wales presenter Roy Noble, BBC Wales weatherman Derek Brockway and the Wales rugby team are among those who have contributed their neck wear.

"I've had around 900 ties already but I still need around another 300," said Mrs Bray.

"It is a big process because you have to wash every single tie for hygiene and then every one of them needs to be undone.

"My husband is helping me with this part, and he's sitting unpicking 50 at a time."

Mrs Bray said she has always sewn, even making all the linen needed when she and her husband Harry, 76, were running a B&B.

After the painstaking washing and unpicking of the ties, the "best bits" are carefully cut out and then they will be hand-tacked in place before being machine-stitched to a pattern designed by Mrs Bray.

The whole process will take around 12 months.

According to Anna Evans, the north and mid Wales fundraising manager with the air ambulance, Mrs Bray is a "marvellous volunteer and friend to the Wales Air Ambulance".

She added: "Not only does she give up her time to work in our Tywyn charity shop, she has gone the extra mile and embarked on a novel way to raise extra funds for the charity.

"We really wish her all the best, and are keeping our fingers crossed that the quilt will be sold for a great price that reflects its true value."

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