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Last Updated: Monday, 9 August, 2004, 12:10 GMT 13:10 UK
New home planned for tapestry
The Last Invasion Tapestry
The tapestry took 76 volunteers two years to sew
A permanent home for a 100ft long tapestry marking the bicentenary of the last invasion of Britain by France may finally be created in Fishguard.

The Last Invasion Tapestry was one of the town's biggest tourist attractions when it was first displayed in 1997.

It remained on a show in a church hall in Fishguard's town square until 2001 but has rarely been seen since.

Now there are plans to house it at a gallery at the Town and Market Hall, which is being renovated.

People still come into the tourist information centre to ask about it and it is so embarrassing to say it is not on display
Hatti Woakes

Sewn by 76 volunteers over two years, the tapestry, similar to the Bayeux tapestry, tells the tale of the 1797 French invasion.

The French invasion is said to have been repelled by women dressed as soldiers, led by Jemima Nicholas.

It is owned and cared for by the Last Invasion Tapestry Trust.

The charity had originally hoped it would get Objective One and National Lottery funding to build a permanent home.

But that fell through although members are now optimistic the latest plan will succeed.

'Not on display'

Trustee Hatti Woakes said the trust needed to raise 150,000 to contribute towards the refurbishment of the market hall.

"We are applying to large bodies for grants and we have launched a fundraising campaign for the general pubic," she explained.

"Over 130,000 from 87 different countries came to see it when it was display in Fishguard.

"People still come into the tourist information centre to ask about it and it is so embarrassing to say it is not on display.

The Last Invasion Tapestry
The trust needs to raise 150,000 for the project

"The businesses are very keen to have it back because they noticed it brought so much trade to the town.

"We are optimistic and really do believe we are going to get there this time."

The tapestry is rarely seen in public these days although is currently on show at a local primary school in the centre of Fishguard for the summer holidays.

Last year it was taken out of storage at Scolton Manor where it is kept for events at Alexander Palace in London and for a weekend exhibition in Dublin.

"It's not an easy thing to exhibit as it's 100 foot long and it requires stewards as it is not behind a glass case," added Mrs Woakes.

If everything goes to plan the gallery, which will be built over part of the market hall, will open in early 2007.

Members of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority are to discuss supporting the appeal at a meeting next Monday.

Officers are recommending that an initial grant of 5,000 is given towards the fundraising drive.

Fishguard tapestry homeless
31 Oct 01  |  Wales

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